By Lauren Jarvis
As life slowly returns to normal across the UK, Brits are booking multi-generational staycations to reconnect with loved ones and avoid the complications of overseas travel.
It's a family affair
With many international destinations sadly still off-limits to UK travellers, and the Government’s traffic light system causing ongoing confusion, many of us have resigned ourselves to staying close to home for another year. And domestic operators, resorts and destinations across the British Isles are upping their game to meet – and exceed – our expectations.
The rediscovery of great British gems, a reconnection to nature across our isles, and the affirmation of just how much we need the company of family and friends are positive takeaways from a near two tumultuous years for travel. And with the country’s older generation now ‘double-jabbed’, spending quality time with loved ones is firmly on the agenda.
Self-catering in style
“We’ve found that lots of families are looking for a UK holiday destination where they can all get together safely after spending so long apart due to various covid travel restrictions,” says Dan Hutchinson, who owns Wellstone Cottages in Llanfyrnach, Pembrokeshire. “Our four-star self-catering cottages and traditional Mongolian yurts in West Wales – including The Coach House which accommodates up to 12 – are perfect for groups of up to 30.
“Summer has been busy, and we’re expecting healthy bookings for family gatherings over half-term and Christmas, too: we welcome enquiries from UK agents.”
Away Resorts have nine award-winning holiday parks in some of England’s most spectacular locations – including Sandy Balls in the beautiful New Forest – that tick plenty of multi-generational holiday boxes. With large, well-equipped self-catering lodges, hot tubs, nightly music and events, a variety of on-site restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, spas and play areas, there’s plenty to keep everyone in the holiday bubble entertained.
“With the uncertainty of international travel, we are welcoming many new guests to the Away Resorts parks this year,” says Laura Miller, Head of Marketing at Away Resorts. “Families are preferring a staycation break where their bookings can feel more secure. Our parks range from coastal to county locations with enough activities to keep the whole family happy.“
Meanwhile Oliver’s Travels offer a selection of large luxury properties across the UK, which are also proving popular with mixed family groups. Co-founder Ravi Sabharwal says: “Properties with private, secluded grounds are proving to be a popular choice for our customers travelling on a multi-generational escape. Popular searches on our site also include pet-friendly cottages, while pools, hot tubs and games rooms also remain a firm favourite. Fridge-stocking and access to a private chef/catering are our most popular concierge requests, allowing adults to fully relax during their stay.”
And high-end holiday provider Luxury Lodges offer self-catering properties including Whitbarrow in the northern Lake District, with lodges sleeping up to eight, hot tubs, a heated pool, splash pool and play area.
Boating holidays are also a great option for a multi-generational escape, and are a popular choice for a ‘skip-gen’ trip, where active grandparents take a break with the grandkids, leaving the parents at home.
Drifters Waterway Holidays represents nine self-drive canal boat hire operators, with 550 boats and 45 bases across England, Wales and Scotland.
“Narrow boats come in a variety of sizes and offer accommodation for up to 12 people, so they make great multi-generational floating holiday cottages,” says Director, Nigel Stevens.
“Everyone sets off together on an adventure afloat, working as a team to steer the boat, open and close locks and plan their stops. There’s also wildlife to look out for, canal-side pubs to enjoy and towpath walks. Many families rebook year after year, with the annual narrow boat holiday becoming a treasured opportunity to be together. And they’re pet-friendly, too.”
Le Boat, a provider of inland water boating holidays, has a fleet of large self-drive cruisers, allowing entire families to stay onboard. With no previous experience required, the river holidays combine adventure with the chance to slow down and unwind on some of the UK’s most beautiful waterways.
From city breaks boasting some of the world’s best museums and galleries to thrilling theme parks and British seaside destinations offering sun-kissed, sandy escapes, holidaying in the UK offers a flexibility that overseas escapes can’t beat.
The UK’s relatively small size means you’re never far from an exciting attraction, but with so many of us now holidaying closer to home, booking in advance is the best way to keep kids, and the rest of the multi-gen group, happy.
Tiqets is a mobile booking site and one-stop-shop for booking a broad range of UK experiences. “Families booking on Tiqets.com can enjoy hundreds of attractions including the British Music Experience in Liverpool or the new Terrible Thames in London,” says Alexis Peppis, the platform’s UK Regional Manager.
“We work closely with the travel trade and we’re currently sourcing new partners for the travel agency sector, so watch this space!”
Private tours are also a fantastic way to experience new destinations and are ideal for extended families travelling with their bubble. ToursByLocals offers customised half-, full- and multi-day excursions, like their A Tale of Ms Potter Tour in the Lake District, with adventures to suit a variety of ages, hosted by local experts.
Great British hotspots
Family favourites in the UK include Warwick Castle, which regularly unveils new attractions. Warwick’s Knight’s Village, with its large lodges and glamping bell tents, offers a medieval-themed sleepover that kids and grandparents alike will love.
Families are also looking to UK destinations rich in the natural wonders to satisfy younger cravings for fun and adventure, and older needs for beauty and tranquillity. Cornwall, Scotland, the Lake District, Scilly Isles, Channel Islands and Wales all have much to offer multi-generational groups.
“Destinations surrounded by nature and space are massively appealing to travellers in our post-covid world,” says Dan Hutchinson, who also runs Wellstone Yurts & Camping.
“Pembrokeshire offers broad, sandy beaches with safe swimming, beautiful coastal walks, adventure for younger members of the group like kayaking and rock climbing, and tranquil, pretty villages for the older generation.”
Escape to a two-bedroom Superior Lodge in the New Forest for the ultimate woodland getaway. Priced from £696 for dates in October.