8 Action-Packed Family Breaks in the UK

Is there ever an excuse to be bored in Britain?

We’re a lucky lot here in the UK. No, really. We might not have a surplus of sunbathing weather, but from rugged coastline to rolling hills, Britain is packed with potential family adventures. So make the most of late summer sun (and the inevitable day or two of drizzle) with action-packed breaks parents and children can both enjoy. The opportunities are almost endless, but here are a few suggestions to get you started.

The perfect companion for your action-packed adventure, the All-New Kia Niro offers plenty of space for kids and kit, a ride of refined comfort and the economy of a true petrol-electric hybrid. Whether your adventure waits at the other side of town or the other side of the country, the All-New Niro ensures that everyone arrives refreshed and ready for action.

Mountain biking in Wales
© Crown copyright (2016) Visit Wales
Mountain biking takes you off road, away from traffic and into some of the UK’s most striking countryside. Nowhere is that more true than in Wales’ beautiful Brecon Beacons, where family friendly routes crisscross an ever-changing landscape of rolling hills, wooded river valleys and high moors. The trails are well marked and plenty of cycle hire businesses cater for those who want to try an activity which perfectly combines adventure, exhilaration and the great outdoors.
Playing at Cotswold Water Park
South Cerney Outdoor
We’re spoilt for choice in the UK when it comes to inland water and the activities that surround it. The Cotswold Water Park, a 40 square mile stretch of sublime landscape dotted with lakes and crisscrossed with paths and trails, offers everything an adventurous family could want. Activities on offer range from boat trips and biking to tree-top adventure and wildlife watching. It even has a beach.
Volunteering nationwide
National Trust
We don’t expect you to spend weekends in the local charity shop (unless you really want to). Instead, volunteering with an organisation like the National Trust can mean getting out and about in nature while helping to preserve and promote some of the UK’s most important landmarks, from stately homes to stretches of unspoilt coastline. Volunteers act as room guides in historic houses, green-fingered assistants to expert gardeners and coastal conservationists, among many others.
Fossil-hunting in North Yorkshire
Christopher Hopefitch via Getty Images
If you crave a different kind of day at the seaside why not ditch the candyfloss and sandy sandwiches and discover the thrill of fossil-hunting? Finding ammonites (ancient sea creatures) along the North Yorkshire coast south of Whitby isn’t just a job for eagle-eyed experts. On the day after a stormy sea the foreshore can be littered with the remains of ancient life. You need to know what to look for and where, but there are plenty of guides willing to share their secrets.
Stargazing in Northumberland
Ronald Risman / EyeEm via Getty Images
Kielder Forest in Northumberland is 250 square miles of scenic woodland and officially home to the darkest nights in England. That makes it an obvious attraction for serious astronomers, and also a wonderful spot for families who want to mix the daytime delights of a forest park – cycling, walking, watersports and so on – with the awe-inspiring panorama of the Milky Way on a clear night.
Wild swimming in Scotland
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Firkin Point on Loch Lomond is one of many stunning spots for a thrilling open air dip in Scotland. Wild swimming (swimming in open water) is an exhilarating alternative to the local pool, and perfectly safe if you take common sense precautions. Most importantly, make sure you look out for places that have been designated Family Friendly by the Outdoor Swimming Society. Firkin Point, framed by the picture perfect landscape of the Loch Lomond National Park, is one.
Canoeing or kayaking in Northern Ireland
Canoeing is a unique way to enjoy the UK’s great outdoors. Kids love messing about on the water; parents appreciate the scenery and serenity. Northern Ireland’s excellent Canoe Trails suit beginner and experienced paddler alike, with rivers that meander through lush pastures and verdant valleys. Lough Erne and BlackWater are the most family-friendly, and there’s plenty of places to hire kit along the way.
Surfing in Cornwall
Visit Cornwall
The windswept young nomad who lives for sand and swell may be an enduring surfing image, but in reality the sport is an increasingly popular activity with adventure-loving families. Cornwall is the UK’s surfing capital, and towns like Newquay, Padstow and St Ives have all the facilities you need to get started, from surf schools and equipment hire shops to quaint beachside cafes for much needed post-paddle pick-me-ups.

From its exceptional safety features to the excellent fuel economy of its Hybrid System, visit the Kia website to discover more about the All-New Kia Niro.