The Ultimate School Holiday Guide - OutdoorToys

With the summer holidays fast approaching, we want to reveal the best locations across the UK for families to visit this summer. Whether you are an active family who enjoys watersports or prefers to try local restaurants, there is a staycation for everyone, regardless of your budget.

We will examine various factors, including the number of amusement and water parks, zoos and aquariums, fun activities, and family restaurants. Pairing this data with the average hotel cost in each area, we will identify the ultimate family hotspots for summer break.

If your kids enjoy a dip in the paddling pool at home, you may want to try out a new water park and let them enjoy the water slides on offer! Some families might prefer going out to new eateries or visiting popular attractions. Wherever you plan to travel this summer, we can help ease the boredom of a long car journey by revealing the best places to explore this summer season.

The best summer staycations in the UK

The West Midlands is the best county to spend your summer this year!

1. West Midlands

Summer staycation score: 8.07 out of 10

The West Midlands scored highest for the best spots to visit this summer holiday, scoring 8.07 out of 10. The West Midlands is the county home to the most water and amusement parks, with 25 across the area, which is good news for the water babies out there. It's also home to some of the most popular attractions for kids, including the National SEA LIFE Centre, Cadbury World, and Dudley Zoo and Castle. There are also plenty of family hotels in the area (233.91 per 100 km2), and the average hotel price is affordable, at £95 per night on a weekend.

2. Kent

Summer staycation score: 7.85 out of 10

Kent is next on our summer staycation bucket list, scoring 7.85 out of 10. Known as the Garden of England, Kent has plenty of beautiful attractions to enjoy with kids (33.82 per 100 km2), including Dover Castle, Hever Castle & Gardens, and The Historic Dockyard. There were over 7,100 searches for holidays in Kent, and hotel prices are cheap, costing on average £88 per night on a weekend. Some of the fun and games activities in Kent include escape rooms, axe throwing, and watersports centres.

3. Cornwall

Summer staycation score: 7.35 out of 10

The beautiful beach county of Cornwall placed third, scoring 7.35 out of 10. There are plenty of things in Cornwall to keep the whole family entertained, from kid-friendly activities (40.95 things to do per 100 km2) to idyllic beaches; there’s no denying it’s one of the most perfect spots for a summer staycation. The UK public seems to think so too, with over 483,000 searches for holidays in the county over the last year. There are also plenty of family restaurants to try out, from pastry cafes to restaurants serving fresh seafood (169.99 restaurants per 100 km2).

The county with the most things to do with kids


Things to do with kids: 193 per 100 km2

Bristol recorded the highest number of activities with kids, with 81 attractions (averaging  193 things to do per 100 km2). Some of the most popular sights include the Brunel’s SS Great Britain ship, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the Bristol Ferry Boats. Bristol is jam-packed with fun for all ages.

The county with the most fun activities and games


Fun activities & games: 257 per 100 km2

Bristol takes the top spot for the most fun activities and games, with 108 attractions in the area (257 per 100 km2). There are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, including escape rooms, laser centres, and virtual reality gaming centres.

The counties with the most zoos & aquariums


Zoos & aquariums: 14

Devon offers the most zoos and aquariums, with 14 across the county. If you are in Devon this summer, Paignton Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the UK. Started as a private collection by avid animal collector and breeder Herbert Whitley, the zoo boasts over 2,000 animals and 80 acres of beautiful grounds.

The county with the most water and amusement parks

West Midlands

Water & amusement parks: 25

The West Midlands is home to the most water and amusement parks, with 25 across the county. Cliff Lakes, based in Tamworth, is an outdoor waterpark that offers waterskiing, wakeboarding, and inflatables. There’s even a log cabin bar and deck for the adults, which overlooks the stunning lakeside views.

The county with the most child-friendly restaurants


Child-friendly restaurants: 2,290 per 100 km2

Bristol has by far the highest number of child-friendly restaurants, with 962 places to eat (2,290 per 100km2) catering to families. There are plenty of cuisine choices to pick from, with options for various dietary requirements and budgets.

The county with the most family hotels


Family hotels: 500 per 100 km2

Bristol scores first place once again, this time for its family hotels. There are 210 hotels across the county (500 per 100km2) suitable for families. The average hotel weeknight price in Bristol is £144 per night.

The county with the cheapest average hotel price


Average hotel price (weekend night): £80

Leicestershire offers the most affordable hotel stay, with an average price of £80 per night on a weekend. Some KAYAK users have even found double rooms in Leicestershire for as cheap as £17 per night.



A list of the UK counties and area size was taken from UK Population Data. The City of London was removed due to its small area size. This data is accurate as of 24/04/2024.

Google Keyword Planner was used to find the number of searches for "[county] holiday" for the last 12 months.

Tripadvisor was used to find the total number of things to do with kids, fun and game activities, zoos and aquariums, water and amusement parks, child-friendly restaurants, and family hotels.

Kayak was used to find the average hotel price on a weekend night.

The Summer Staycation Score was created using the PERCENTRANK formula in Google Sheets.