Our top 3 UK summer holiday destinations

Dreaming of a hot summer getaway this year but no plans (or budget) to go abroad? Don’t worry, there are plenty of places here in the UK you can escape to at a fraction of the cost of a foreign holiday. Whether you’re looking for a few days at the seaside or are after something a bit more adventurous, we’ve chosen three of the best UK destinations to tempt you with.

With all of these locations, we can promise something for everyone: a refreshing break from reality and fun for all the family. The only thing we can’t promise is sunshine (it is the UK, after all)…

South Cornwall

Warm sandy beaches, clear blue waters and mediterranean temperatures, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the South of France- not the farthermost southern reaches of the UK. With its breathtaking coastal views and rich maritime history, you’ll never forget a holiday in the south of Cornwall.

From the vibrant tourist towns of Falmouth and Truro to secluded beach spots such as Mullion and St Austell, you’re guaranteed to find a spot to suit you down there. Whether you want to simply find a beach and watch the local wildlife (if you’re lucky enough you might spot a dolphin frolicking by the coast), or you fancy trying your hand at something a little more white-knuckle like surfing, kayaking or scuba diving, Cornwall offers the perfect temperate summer weather and tropical waters. We don’t want to get your hopes up, but you might even need to take the suncream!

We Recommend: Venture a little further North and you can visit The Eden Project and it’s biomes which house plant species from rainforests all over the world. Alternatively, go further south to the Lizard and the most southerly point of the British Isles at Lizard Point, where you might spot a grey seal or two hauled out on the rocks.

The Yorkshire Dales

Known for its rugged landscape and distinctive limestone rock formations, the Yorkshire Dales make the perfect getaway for families looking to go camping, or spend a few days in a homely B&B whilst exploring rocky crags, shopping in picturesque villages and eating good grub in cosy local pubs.

There are miles and miles of open countryside in the Yorkshire Dales, and numerous ways for you to take them in. You might enjoy a strenuous walk, and the Dales offer plenty of routes such as the famous 3 Peaks or a more gentle option around Ribblehead or Ingleborough. But if speed is more your thing, you can enjoy mountain biking and horse riding up craggy summits and through open fields, all the time taking in the stunning views around you.

We Recommend: The Wensleydale Creamery makes for a great visit- especially on a rainy day. Find out the story of Wensleydale cheese from the original creamery in Hawes and see how it’s made- there are plenty of tasters on offer too! The Ingleton Waterfall walk is also worth a visit, and can be scaled for all abilities- whether you’re after a hiking challenge or just a leisurely stroll and picnic with the kids.

The Jurassic Coast

This is a serious winner for active kids. Spanning Dorset and East Devon, the Jurassic Coast is home to 185 million years of history, and is the UK’s first Natural World Heritage Site. The geology of the Jurassic Coast captures three key periods of the Mesozoic Era, from Triassic through to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

There’s plenty to see and do. Kids will love fossil hunting on the many rocky beaches, and there are plenty of museums displaying the more interesting and significant finds- such as the ones in the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.

Visit the picturesque resort of Lyme Regis and enjoy a guided fossil-walk or fishing trip. Lyme Regis is an ancient British town which is even featured in the Domesday book, and boasts a number of historical landmarks and educational attractions as a result.

Or, if it’s simply great food you’re after, the coastal villages around Dorset yield plenty of freshly caught seafood, traditional fish and chips, quaint tea rooms and – of course – plenty of locally made ice cream!

We recommend: The town of Axminster, where you can taste some of the fresh home-grown produce at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s famous River Cottage. Or – if it’s heritage and history you want – National Trust owned Corfe Castle is an interesting day out, and in summer offers plenty of activities for inquisitive kids!

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Jamie Bell is the managing director of Illuminated Mirrors. You can find Jamie on Google+; he also occasionally updates the Illuminated Mirrors Facebook page.

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