UK Summer Holiday Family Favourites

June 8, 2018

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

UK Summer Holiday Family Favourites
Memories forged in the summers of my childhood always start popping back into my head around this time of year.  The first tingle of possible sunburn and I’m back with my legs stuck to the backseat of our family car, willing us to be there already.  I’m lucky in that the ‘there’ part did vary when I was younger.
Camel Estuary, UK Summer Holiday Family Favourites

The Camel Estuary, Cornwall

I remember the vast blue skies of Cornwall, which was all I could see from the high-sided lanes dotted with gargantuan pink foxgloves.  And driving down the hill into Dartmouth, with everything hidden and then suddenly it all lays out in front of you. I remember Salcombe for its impossibly perfect sand – how could Nice or St. Tropez have any better? And I remember the Channel Island ferry crossings where I read Famous Five Stories and then tried to relive them for the rest of the holiday. There’s a reason we love these destinations, and even though these days it’s just so easy to go somewhere exotic, sometimes it’s really nice not to. Here are some of my UK summer holiday family favourites – with very up to date recommendations for where to stay. I’m pretty sure the caravan I stayed in in Cornwall is long gone…

For many us Cornwall’s huge, bare blue skies and high-sided lanes sum up summer.  I don’t want to spark controversy, but this is where you’ll fine some of the UK’s best beaches, some truly stunning stretches of coastline, great bucket-and-spade seaside villages, wild moorland and secret valleys. Cornwall’s north coast is known for its big waves, beloved of surfers, and offers 60 miles of dramatic Atlantic Heritage Coast from Bude to Bedruthan – cliffs, coves, market towns, farmsteads and atmospheric Bodmin Moor.  The south coast is quieter and softer, with sheltered coves and a more Mediterranean vibe. This is where you’ll find St Michael’s Mount, and a special kind of light much appreciated by painters.  

St Enodoc hotel in RockWhere to Stay?
The St. Enodoc Hotel in Rock is a 20 room, beachside charmer with views of the Camel Estuary. The decor is chic and colourful and the restaurant is modern – with an emphasis on fresh, regional, healthy dishes.  Doubles start from £220 per night, B&B.  They also have family suites, kid’s menus, a lovely pool and plenty of beachside activities.
View from Trevalsa Court HotelOr you might like the elegant, Arts and Crafts era Trevalsa Court Hotel on Cornwall’s quieter south coast on the cliffs above pretty Mevagissey. There are 15 rooms – most with beautiful views, and all with log fires and individually chosen decor.  Doubles start from £130 per night including breakfast. Relaxed and friendly.
Bedroom in Tresanton hotelOr the Hotel Tresanton in charming, and rather glamorous these days, St Mawes. There’s a marine theme throughout this 30 room hotel, to complement the wonderful sea views and fantastic and innovative seafood restaurant.  Double rooms start from £285 per night, B&B.
Practical Details:  There’s a high speed rail service between London Paddington and Penzance or you can fly into Newquay. Summer days in Cornwall offer about seven hours of sunshine and average daily maximums of around 19°C.

Ah! charming green Devon!  Driving into you is like a breath of fresh air, be it seaside air or the air whipping around the moors.  There’s so much to do here, whatever age you are, and so many fantastic places to explore, some of them wild and some of them beautifully tamed.  Devon’s countryside is as impressive as its two very different coasts, with Dartmoor and Exmoor rising from a landscape of patchwork fields, thatched whitewashed cottages and traditional stone longhouses. When it comes to the coastline, South Devon hosts music festivals and some of its hotels have wellness centres, while North Devon is where you’ll find the grand stately homes set in glorious grounds and the long stretches of sand favoured by surfers.  

Devon coast

luxurious bedroom Lympstone ManorWhere to Stay?
Lympstone Manor is a Grade II listed Georgian Country House hotel, perched on a hill overlooking the coast of Exmouth.
The Manor grounds spread for 28 acres, right down to the waters edge, the food is excellent – by acclaimed chef, Michael Caines.  And there’s plenty to do.

Practical Details:  Devon is well served by the rail network if you don’t want to drive.  If you wanted to fly in it would probably be into Exeter Airport.  Devon isn’t known for its soaring temperatures, but the summers here are sunny, with average maximums of around 20.

The bright colours of the Isle of Scilly are glorious in the summer sunshine, and a summer spent here, amongst the tropical plants, beaches-as-good-as-any-in-the-UK, and wonderful island-hopping opportunities, will be a memorable one.  The atmosphere is traditional and the food good, and people know each other and are friendly about it.  Spend your days spying puffins, exploring the famous gardens, discovering deserted beaches and walking or cycling around this island paradise.

Ariel view of Star Castle Hotel Isles of ScillyWhere to Stay?
On St. Mary’s Island, the Star Castle Hotel is a delightful, family run hotel in a star-shaped castle built in the 16th century.
There are 38 rooms, newly refurbished, and two excellent restaurants.  The owner has two passions – lobster fishing and wine -and guests enjoy the fruits of both.  Doubles this summer start from around £190 per night B&B.

Practical Details: Fixed wing planes operated by Skybus fly from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter to St. Mary’s Airport. Alternatively a passenger ferry runs from Penzance to Hugh Town on St Mary’s, and the crossing takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes.  The Isles of Scilly are amongst the mildest places in the UK, but the average daily maximum for summer still hovers around 18°C.  

So physically close to France, and yet so terribly British, the Channel Islands offer the best of both countries. The climate feels almost tropical compared to the rest of the UK, but you know you’re still in Britain because the fog and tides have a profound, yet charming, affect on travel. This step-back-in-time destination makes for wonderful family holidays – with Enid Blyton type appeal. Walk stunningly varied coastlines, gorge yourself on fresh seafood and take your time exploring. Eating’s not just for pleasure here, it’s in the cuisine of the islands that the French-English cultural blend is possibly at its most interesting.

View of beach from L'Horizon Hotel & SpaWhere to Stay?
For a traditional seaside holiday in the Channel Islands consider L’Horizon Hotel & Spa. Right on the beach of Jersey’s St. Brelade’s Bay, this hotel has been booking families into its sea-view rooms since 1850.
The hotel has 105 spacious rooms and a great dining room with a terrace facing the ocean.  It also has a health club and a spa, plus a large, heated indoor saltwater pool – perfect if the weather’s not playing ball.  Rooms start from around £130 per night.
Practical Details: Jersey Airport is just outside St. Helier and has numerous direct UK connections during the summer months. The ferry is popular too.  During the summer months Jersey’s maximum daily average is around the 19°C mark, with eight good hours of sunshine.  
If you visit any of these UK Summer Holiday Family Favourites, do let us know how you got on. Thanks.
Have you Hotel Guru’s other holiday destination suggestions? Click here

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