How to enjoy the ultimate storybook family holiday

For a young family, there’s no better holiday than one that allows adults’ and kids’ imaginations to run wild. Heading out into the country where little ones can spot animals that look just like their favourite fairytale characters, explore magical-looking woods and gaze at the stars is, in my opinion, just the thing.

And as an added bonus, the UK is the perfect destination for this, so doing so needn’t cost the earth. If you can, pick a beautiful countryside cottage to stay in (you canĀ see some examples here) – this will give you plenty of space and help get the kids into countryside mode. The more scenic the location with plenty of woodland, parks or other green spaces nearby, the better. It’s also worth remembering you can find pet-friendly cottages too, which means you really can bring the whole family.

To give you an idea of how to create the ideal family break, I’ve put together some examples based on a trip to Devon. Obviously there’s a huge amount of other options in the UK, so remember to be open to possibilities when booking your holiday.

Roam in the great outdoors

If there’s one thing all kids love to do, it’s explore. Devon has some wonderful woodland areas where your little ones can play at having adventures like the children and animals from their favourite stories. Lovers of classic kids’ books can pretend they’re following in the footsteps of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, while little film fans will no doubt relish feeling like entering the world of animated screen stars like Shrek and Donkey.

The stunning Exmoor National Park is the perfect place to pick, because there is just so much to explore here. Plus, there are plenty of trails to follow, while you can also amp up the level of adventure by organising horse riding trips or bike rides for you and your family. Remember, anything you do that’s that little bit different is bound to stick in your children’s memories all the more.

Stargazing

Few children don’t find staying up late exciting – just think of all those Christmases and New Year’s Eves where you were allowed to miss your bedtime by a mile. While you might not want to do this all the time while you’re on holiday, spending an evening stargazing together is definitely worthwhile – especially if you’re on holiday in Devon.

You see, the aforementioned Exmoor National Park is home to some of the darkest skies in the UK. In fact, it’s actually an International Dark Sky Reserve – the first place in Europe to achieve this status. Places like the charmingly named Wimbleball Lake, Holdstone Hill and Webbers Post are among the best spots for stargazing. Just remember to pack lots of blankets and a thermos full of hot chocolate!

Wildlife attractions

No family holiday is really complete without seeing fun animals and natural wonders. Perhaps one of the best places to do so in Devon is Becky Falls, an attraction that’s nestled in a spectacular ancient valley.

It is, in fact, one of the region’s top beauty spots, and has the added bonus of offering a huge array of children’s attractions at weekends and during school holidays. For instance, you can see cuddly creatures like rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, while daring little ones can have close-up encounters with leathery lizards, slithering snakes and even hairy tarantulas!

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