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Unique British Experiences – 6 Cool Things to Do in the UK

Explore on your doorstep with these incredible experiences…

Let’s be honest – 2020 wasn’t a fun year which means there’s a lot of pressure on 2021 to be good. Thankfully, things are starting to look up as the world is collectively trying to look past the gloom and doom and get back to normality.

With Great Britain being as diverse as it is, and holidaying closer to home being the new fashion, why not take the kids on day trips or weekend breaks this summer? From hiking through enchanted forests to stargazing in vibrant national parks, you will find plenty of incredibly cool things to do in the UK both with kids and without.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and explore!

Paddle boarding

A brilliant way to combine exercise and the great outdoors, paddle boarding has gained a lot of popularity over the last decade. Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, is a novel to get fit and see new places whilst enjoying the beauty of nature. It’s the new quad biking, except it’s on water and you have to be standing up while cruising the waves. As one of the fastest growing water sports in the UK, SUP experiences can now be found across cities in the UK as visitors drink in the panoramic views from the UK’s pretty waterways. Whether it’s a meandering forested river in the Wye Valley, a circumnavigation of Burgh island off the Devon coast, or riding the rapids of the River Tay in Scotland, you can find paddle boarding destinations all across the UK.

Stargazing

Night skies in the UK are a view to behold and a really cool thing to do with the kids when they are old enough to stay up a bit. Teaching your kids about astronomy and looking for constellations in the sky is a fun and exciting experience.

Did you know that the South Downs National Park has been awarded Dark Sky Reserve status? It is one of only 16 places in the world that’s considered perfect for stargazing, making it both rare and exceptionally beautiful. But stargazing festivals can also be found elsewhere in the UK: There is an annual festival in Exmoor and the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales Fringe Festival, both scheduled for the end of October 2021.

Stargazing is a unique experience that you and the kids will reminisce about for years to come. So, if you’ve never been, expect a panoramic adventure of a lifetime – no less!

stargazing in england
Picture: Stargazing

Wine tours

The popularity of English wines has been growing steadily over the last few decades as growers and producers have built on their understanding of the UK’s unique and at times challenging climate to get the best out of British vineyards. Today, English wines are well-known for picking up accolades at world wine awards and festivals. So, if you love your wine, and want to explore some homegrown grapes, why not visit some of the UK’s famous vineyards on one of your next days out with friends? You can book fabulous wine tasting tours all over the country, from Chapel Down Vineyard in Kent to Holmfirth Vineyard in Yorkshire.

Visit Nottingham Castle

Nottingham is surrounded by the Sherwood Forest in the north, best known for the legend of Robin Hood, which mentions the Nottingham Castle. One of the UK’s largest and most coveted regeneration projects, Nottingham Castle, is reopening to tourists on 21 June. Having undergone a £30 million redevelopment, the castle has undergone renovations allowing visitors to live and see a thousand years of history unfolding right in front of them. Plus, they can also experience the legend of Robin Hood. The brand-new transformations include exhibitions and games educating you about the history of Nottingham, including a Robin Hood Adventure complete with interactive gaming spaces, where you can fire digital longbows as you outwit the tyrannical Sheriff in a Golden Arrow archery competition. It is expected to be the most popular castle and museum to be visited in 2021.

Nottingham castle is situated right in the city centre, and there is plenty more to do in this beautiful city the River Trent. Underneath the city centre, you will find caves dating back to Anglo Saxon times. Nottingham thrived on the lace industry in the 19th century leading to the historic quarter-mile area called the Lace Market, which is still a popular and stylish part of the city. The Old Market Square is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and a focal point of Nottingham. If your kids are getting a little bored of history and all things Robin Hood, you could book a VR Escape Room experience, such as Alice in Wonderland, Jungle Quest or Escape the Lost Pyramid.

Renowned Roman Baths

The historic city of Bath, some two hours west of London, is widely considered one of the best places to visit in England for its rich history and heritage as much as its contemporary culture. It is possibly best known for its famous Roman baths, which have some exceptionally well-preserved features. You can take a tour of the historic site and discover 2000 years of history, including how the Romans kept clean and socialised in the baths. History comes alive here, so kids will be equally fascinated by this beautiful site.

Today bathing is no longer possible at the site, but you can experience Bath’s natural hot springs at the Thermae Bath Spa instead.

Roman Baths in Bath, UK
Picture: Roman Baths in Bath, UK

(Almost) tropical islands

The UK isn’t exactly known for its warm climate, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, which brings warm water from the Caribbean to North West Europe, the UK has comparably warm weather and mild winters, especially in the South. So, if you fancy a staycation and are after a beach holiday, much of the coast of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall with their many golden sandy beaches and palm trees will fit the bill.

If it’s tropical vibes you long for, then the Scilly Isles, a unique and remarkable archipelago just 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall will be right up your street. These wonderful islands will give you that holiday feeling – from the sunny weather to the warm water, to the relaxing pace of life.

If you stay on Tresco island, you should visit the subtropical Abbey Gardens, a lush oasis of exotic flowers and plants, including Echiums to giant palm trees. From the moment you step foot on the little island, you’ll realise that it’s one of the most beautiful and tranquil places you will ever visit.

Scilly Isles, UK
Picture: The Scilly Isles

To sum things up…

There are so many fun things to do in the UK that are truly unique, one short blog really can never do it justice, but it’s a good starting point, nevertheless. Let us know if you have been or are going to one of these unique places we mentioned – we would love to hear about your adventure!

About the author:

Single Parents on Holiday is a niche tour operator specialising in single parent holidays. We also offer trips for single parents and solo travellers who want to get away without kids, as well as single parent dating and life coaching for single parents.

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