Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives.
However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime.
Blast away the last of the winter blues with a spring walk amongst the daffodils. From late March into April, the landscape of Britain bursts into life with carpets of yellow flowers.
Wild daffodils are found scattered across the west of England and, of course, in Wales. They’re most commonly found in the woodland and meadows of these regions which makes for an invigorating family day out. Oyster’s Coppice Nature Reserve, Coed y Bwl in Glamorgan, Wales and Betty Daw’s Wood in Gloucestershire are all very popular during daffodil season.
Dunsford Nature Reserve in Devon is infamous for its wild daffodil displays. As well as this, the reserve offers riverside walks along its oak-lined valley and the potential to spot kingfishers, woodpeckers, otter and deer; plenty to keep the kids away from their phones (unless they’re taking pictures of the wildlife that is).
If you’re looking for less rugged terrain to catch a glimpse of these cheery flowers in, then private gardens and estates offer more relaxed opportunities to wander amongst the delightful daffodils. The Weir Garden in Herefordshire, Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland and Rowallane Garden in County Down, Northern Ireland are all certain to put a spring back into your family’s step.
You might think that you have to splash out on a holiday to the south of France to experience the provincial beauty of rolling fields filled with lavender plants, but thankfully the UK has a variety of lavender farms that make a great family day out.
The most impressive lavender blooms occur between June and August, making this a great day out to incorporate into the kid’s summer break. The majority of the farms can be found in the southern regions of England, but there are also farms located in the North of England, Scotland and Wales too.
Although strictly speaking the fields are cultivated for their botanical properties, they still offer the opportunity to spend the day outdoors amongst plenty of flora and fauna. Lavender farms are alive with insects, buzzing with colour and even offer other attractions to help kids engage with the rural lifestyle.
Mayfield Lavender Farm in Hampshire offers tractor rides around their site, Somerset Lavender near Bath has healing herb gardens and vegetable gardens to explore and Norfolk Lavender has its very own play park and animal centre (filled with curious creatures not normally found in East Anglia). Cafes, tea rooms and gift shops are also commonplace in each location, for that much needed pit stop!
Butterfly Hunting Expeditions
There’s no better way to bring the family together than by setting out on an adventure! Hunting for the many different species of butterfly that Britain has to offer is a great way to entertain every generation of your family. Still, summer days are the best for butterfly spotting as they avoid windy and rainy conditions – perfect weather for coaxing even the most reluctant teenager to join you on the mission.
There are a variety of species that can be spotted, depending on your location. Research which butterflies are most likely to be seen in your area and turn it into a hunt that everyone can get involved with. Countryfile have a guide to their top 10 species to spot in Britain (which is a great place to start).
Will your family members be able to tell the difference between the British blues: the Common Blue, the Large Blue, the Adonis Blue and the Chalk Hill Blue? If you really can’t tear the kids away from their smart phones, why not have them put those devices to good use and turn the expedition into a photography competition?
Days out in search of butterflies can take place anywhere from commons and private gardens to heaths, hills and downs. The Wildlife Trust, The National Trust and Butterfly Conservation all offer great locations and sometimes even events and guided walks to take part in.
Water-based excursions can range from a relaxing boating holiday on the miles of inland waterway that the UK has to offer, to an exhilarating expedition to spot marine life off the British coastline.
Whether you are looking for a day trip, an overnight stay or a half term break, the Norfolk Broads present the perfect opportunity to escape the hubbub of everyday life and reconnect with the family. Not only is commandeering a boat a great way to bring everyone together, the Broads have miles of easily navigable waterways that can play host to an exciting family adventure.
With official National Park status, the Norfolk Broads are also home to a unique range of wildlife just waiting to be discovered. Along with quaint villages and picturesque landscapes, there are plenty of birdwatching opportunities, nature trails and walking routes that can be enjoyed by all.
If your family has a sturdy set of sea legs, why not try a boat trip around Cardigan Bay, Wales in search of dolphins, seals, porpoises and even basking sharks. The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre operates a popular visitors centre where the whole family can learn about local conservation. As well as this, they offer spaces on dolphin survey boat trips where visitors can spot marine life whilst conservation data is being collected.
You don’t need to spend a week camping in the wilderness to reconnect with your loved ones and make the most of the British countryside. The UK is home to some spectacular outdoor experiences that every generation of your family can enjoy together.