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Best Family Staycations | Coastal Trips & Cliff Walks

With the summer holidays approaching, finding fun and engaging activities that the whole family will enjoy can seem like a tall order. But there is no need to leave the country to visit beautiful beaches and go on rambling walks along the coast — we have plenty of choices right on our doorstep.

The UK is home to many exciting cliff walks and coastal trails, and a lot of them are well placed for a day out with the family, with tearooms, visitor centres, and stunning beaches nearby. From charming country parks in Scotland, magical freshwater ponds in Wales to coastal ambles in England, the UK is not short of possibilities for delightful days out along the coastline. ​

8 Jul 2021

1. Culzean Castle & Country Park, Ayrshire, Scotland

Though this isn't a specific trail, the opulent grounds of Culzean Castle are home to a vast amount of family-friendly activities. There are 17 miles of pathways through the 120-hectare country park that will take you through woodland, past ponds, and deer parks. There is a wealth of wildlife to see, an enormous play area, a beautiful walled garden, and 3 miles of cliffs, rocky shore and sandy beaches to explore. 

2. Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk, England

During the summer months, Dunwich Heath is bursting with colour. This entire walk only takes an hour and a half, and there are also a couple of trails specifically created with children in mind, complete with aDunwich Bingo card that you can print at home. The Dunwich Discovery Trail is ideal for animal lovers, where you can spot all kinds of wildlife, from otters to insects. Then for the adventurous explorers, there is the Smugglers Trail, where children need to find the clues to crack the code. 

Make a day of it! Dunwich Heath and Beach is also only a 25-minute drive from Walberswick Beach, Suffolk, which we featured in ourBest Beaches in the UK post. 

3. The Souter Saunter, Tyne & Wear, England

A trip to the Souter Lighthouse is, in itself, a lovely day out, but there is also a family-friendly trail to further explore the area. This trail will take you along the cliffs, through the Whitburn Nature Reserve (also known as the coastal path) past rock stacks. You can spot nesting birds like herring gulls and kittiwakes, search for shells on the beach and in the rock pools, and Lizard Point managed by the National Trust provides beautiful views of impressive rock formations. 

Good to know: The trails are free to enter and there is no need to book, but if you want to visit the Lighthouse, you need to purchase a ticket.

4. Bosherston Lily Ponds, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Just set back from the coast, the magical lily ponds of Bosherston are well worth a visit. Early summer sees the surface of the ponds explode with hundreds of lily flowers, and wildlife is abundant in the lakes and surrounding areas all year round. You can spot dragonflies and swallows, and sometimes even a family of otters!

Make a day of it! The beautiful Barafundle Bay is a short 15-minute drive away.

5. Cemlyn Shingle Ridge Walk, Anglesey, Wales

This trail is an easy 2-miles and should take about an hour. A stroll along the ridge offers impressive views, with Cemlyn Bay on one side and Cemlyn National Nature Reserve on the other. In summer, seabirds flock to the nature reserve to breed. A couple of viewing areas dotted along the trail make it an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife - particularly the Sandwich tern, who have chosen the area as home to one of their largest nesting colonies. 

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