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Best Family Staycations for Bank Holidays

Friday 28 April 2023

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Every year, summer is the season of beautiful long weekends, thanks to UK bank holidays. But how can you make the most of these weekends with an extra lay-in and warm summer weather? The only answer is to go on a family staycation.

Staycations are the perfect way to enjoy a long weekend – they give you a chance to see somewhere new and spend some quality family time. If you’re thinking of seeing somewhere new in the UK on a bank holiday weekend, allow us to help you decide where to go. From historic castles to surfing lessons, these are the best family staycations for bank holidays in the UK.

Cardiff, Wales

When you’re deciding where to go on a family staycation, sometimes the obvious answers are the best ones. Visiting one of the UK’s capital cities is a great way to introduce your little ones to wider British culture, and with so many places to visit and things to do, Cardiff is an exciting destination. For a bit of educational fun, why not visit Llandaff Castle, one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain? Followed by a game of Treetop Adventure Golf, you can pack your bank holiday weekend full of learning and games without compromise. If your children are a little older, keep an eye on the Principality Stadium for rugby matches, sporting events, or concerts. The electric energy makes for an unforgettable family experience.

Getting to Cardiff by train

You can get to Cardiff from various cities and towns across the UK using the CrossCountry network. Direct services to Cardiff Central Station run from Birmingham New Street, Leeds, Derby, and more.

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

One of the UK’s most historic cities, Cambridge makes for a varied weekend away – whether you’re looking for a weekend in the countryside or a family city break. Whether you’re staying in the city centre or travelling in from Cambridge’s rural outskirts, you simply must take your kids punting. One of Cambridge’s traditions, punting is a brilliant way to take in the sights on a sunny day, like the famous Mathematical Bridge and Trinity College. Plus, the whole family can enjoy having a go at steering the punt (and trying not to fall into the River Cam!).

If you do fancy a swim, be sure to check out Jesus Green Pool. There is a lido for splashing, as well as a sauna. So, whether your little one’s love splashing or the adults want to chill, you’re sure to leave with a smile on your face.

Getting to Cambridge by train:

You can train directly to Cambridge Station from origin stations such as Leicester and Birmingham New Street. If you’re travelling from further afield, you can change at Birmingham New Street from a wide range of CrossCountry services.

Photo by Chris Boland

Penzance, Cornwall

If a bank holiday weekend is not quite long enough to travel abroad, you can still get that international feeling from a family staycation to sunny Penzance! One of the southernmost towns in the UK, Penzance benefits from a slightly warmer climate, and the friendly locals and bright blue sea make it the perfect spot to book your stay.

As Cornwall is such a tourist hotspot during the bank holidays, there are also plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Whether you’re booking a luxury cottage for your extended family or a campsite pitch big enough for a 4-person tent, there are places to stay for all budgets near Penzance.

Though Penzance has a myriad of options, there is only really one way to spend a sunny bank holiday with kids, and that is by the sea. Pack a picnic, grab your goggles, and have a dip in one of Penzance’s many beaches. If that doesn’t tire you out, make sure to book tickets to the Minack Theatre; an open-air theatre set on a cliff side. This dramatic location puts on a range of productions, including plays, comedy, music, and more.

Getting to Penzance by train:

Using the CrossCountry network, you can arrive at your Penzance stay directly from all around the UK. Hop on board at Aberdeen, York, Bristol, Exeter, and more.

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

Right on the border between England and Scotland, Berwick-upon-Tweed is a quiet town perfect for a relaxing weekend away with the family. With plenty of rural walks in the surrounding area, this is an ideal staycation destination to slow down the pace of life and make family memories. Furthermore, the Elizabethan architecture and unmatched views make it one of the UK’s most picturesque holiday locations that you can return to time and time again.

With a dual seaside and riverside location, you can enjoy the varied natural environment and reconnect with British wildlife at its best. Little Beach is also a prime spot for fossils – so watch out for ammonites and coral fossils to take home as a souvenir!

For something a little bit special, we recommend a day trip to Lindisfarne – a holy island with a deep history. Famous for being a pilgrimage site dedicated to St. Cuthbert, a visit to Lindisfarne transports you to another time. With such a beautifully rugged landscape to explore, kids of any age will be fascinated by Lindisfarne’s history. Plus, it’s only a 35-minute bus from Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Getting to Berwick-upon-Tweed by train:

Berwick-upon-Tweed is accessible with a direct train route from Scottish and English origin points, using the CrossCountry network. Whether you start at Edinburgh, Wakefield, or Weston-super-Mare, sit back and enjoy a relaxed train journey to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Edinburgh, Midlothian

Packed with Scottish history and scenic spots, Edinburgh has long been a favourite for staycations in the UK. With so much to do, there are countless ways to have a great bank holiday weekend as a family in Scotland’s capital. Younger kids and teenagers alike (not to mention the grown-ups!) will enjoy a visit to Edinburgh Castle. At the central point of the city, the castle offers insights into Scottish history and culture, along with demonstrations of playing bagpipes and folding a kilt. It is the ideal place to really get to know Scotland when visiting for a short time.

Edinburgh is uniquely placed to offer city, countryside, and coastal landscapes – all in one weekend! To make the most of your bank holiday, we recommend a beach day at Portobello followed by a family meal in the city, as well as a climb up Arthur’s seat to complete your weekend. If you’re feeling hungry, why not pop into Sir Walter Scotts Tea Room to sample some traditional Scottish food?

Getting to Edinburgh by train:

You can get to Edinburgh Waverley station from a range of CrossCountry stations, such as York, Birmingham New Street, Plymouth, and Truro.

If you’re planning a bank holiday staycation, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best historical places in the UK, the best forests in the UK, or the best cinemas in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.

Written by Seb

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