UK & Ireland

New Year's Eve: 7 great places to go with the family in the UK

New Year is the perfect time for a family getaway that allows kids to blow away the cobwebs while their parents enjoy some well-deserved relaxation

Once the December holidays are over, there’s nothing less appealing than spending more time at home. With the turkey, mince pies, chocolates et al safely consumed, most British families are only too keen to get away for a bit, breath some fresh air and prepare for the New Year.

In terms of places to go for families on New Year’s Eve, there are some key requirements. You need somewhere where there’s plenty for the kids to do – from swimming and playgrounds to theme parks and historic castles – but where parents can enjoy themselves, too. At a time of year when the weather is even less reliable than normal, there has to be some decent indoor options – while a family-friendly approach is non-negotiable.

Luckily, there are many places in the UK that fit the bill, where kids are not just welcome but cherished. Find here our picks:

1. Savour the Great Outdoors, Scandi-style, in the rugged North

Families that like to get the blood pumping before retreating to a cosy lodge will love Pine Lakes by Diamond Resorts, Carnforth. There’s so much here to appeal to kids: water sports, countryside walks and an impressive variety of animal-based activities, from the Leighton Moss RSPB Nature Reserve to Greenlands Farm Village, with its donkey rides and lamb feeding.

Parents will enjoy Carnforth – famous as the location of the classic British film “Brief Encounter” – with its brewery and bookshop, plus walks along the canal. Blackpool, home to a world-famous pleasure beach and multitudinous ice creams, is not too far away, either. On-site facilities, meanwhile, include an indoor pool, a playground and kids’ meals at the restaurant.

Pine Lake By Diamond Resorts

Top rated
Carnforth
9.0 Excellent (2367 reviews)

2. Ride, slide and glide in the heart of Scotland

After 150 years, you might think that Crieff Hydro would be resting on its laurels a little bit – not a bit of it. This four-star spa hotel in the heart of Scotland offers a genuinely remarkable variety of activities – indoor and out – for children and adults alike.

There’s a horse-riding centre, for beginners and experts. There’s a kids’ adventure park, taking in pedal cars, swings, ziplines and much more besides. There’s a host of outdoor activities, from quad-biking to archery. There’s a golf course, tennis, two indoor swimming pools, a leisure club…it’s more than enough for one family to do.

Crieff Hydro also offers two hours’ free childcare per day and kids’ menus full of variety and local ingredients, plus self-catering cottages for those who prefer to do it their way. With all this on offer, one thing seems certain: You’re going to sleep very, very well.

Crieff Hydro

Crieff
8.2 Very good (1252 reviews)

3. Enjoy family-sized rooms in Southern England's most vibrant small city

You’ll find family-sized rooms at Ibis Brighton City Centre, the perfect option for exploring this vibrant seaside city. For families with older kids that like thrills and culture, you can’t beat Brighton. There are the acclaimed Sea Life Centre, more shops than you can shake a stick at, and of course the beach –the perfect place, weather allowing, to enjoy some of Brighton’s famous fish and chips.

There’s plenty more than fish and chips in Brighton, though. This friendly, open-minded place has one of the most interesting food scenes in the UK, with vegans and vegetarians well catered for. Once you’ve eaten, head for Brighton Palace Pier, with its abundance of options, including dodgems, a helter skelter, VR gaming and more.

ibis Brighton City Centre - Station

Brighton
8.2 Very good (1812 reviews)

4. Rent a luxury lodge amid rolling National Trust parkland

Here’s how to do New Year’s Eve in style. At The Ickworth, a luxury family hotel in Suffolk, you’ll find The Lodge, where spacious apartments provide a perfect base for families young and old to explore this bucolic spot. Inside, there are Wifi, DVDs and games to keep everyone entertained; outside, there’s a huge variety of options.

You’ll find an adventure playground, woodland trails, garden games, tennis and a large trampoline. Indoors there are a heated pool, kids’ films at 6 p.m. daily, and Club Blu – complete with computer games, table tennis and more. Any child would struggle to get bored here.

The same is true for adults. With childcare and a games room for older children, it’s easy for parents to have a break while the kids enjoy themselves. There’s even a children’s breakfast club on Wednesday and Sunday, so Mum and Dad can have a well-deserved lie-in.

Hotel The Ickworth

Top rated
Bury St Edmunds
8.6 Excellent (427 reviews)

5. Discover with the family the treasures of Northeast England

For little ones who want to be pampered, Rockcliffe Hall in County Durham has got the lot: small robes and slippers for younger guests, children’s toiletries, children’s menus at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and special children-only times at the pool.

There’s also plenty for those kids who prefer a bit more rough and tumble, from cycling to tennis to falconry displays. There’s also a 365-acre estate to explore – and beyond that the rugged wonder of England’s wide-open north-east, with its delightful coastline, beautiful countryside and towns full of local charm and character.

Rockliffe Hall

Top rated
Darlington
8.7 Excellent (48 reviews)

6. Savour the family feel at an iconic golf venue

The Belfry is famous as a Ryder Cup host venue, but it’s also a wonderful spot for families. As a base for visiting attractions like Cadbury World in nearby Birmingham or Thomas Land, indeed, it can’t be beaten.

Not that you have to leave The Belfry to enjoy yourself. There’s a huge host of activities and attractions here, from a woodland walk to the Ryder Legends mini-golf course that will turn your tykes into budding Tiger Woods. There are playing fields and a woodland adventure zone, too.

The hotel’s signature family rooms are based in the hotel’s parkland lodges, making for a calm and comfortable stay.

Hotel The Belfry

Sutton Coldfield
8.0 Very good (1436 reviews)

7. Stay in a castle overlooking the sea

St. Ives is known for surfing and art, but it’s also a great bolthole for fun- loving families. This town on the north coast of Cornwall is home to Tregenna Castle, an 18th-century structure whose romantic battlements will entrance children and parents alike.

With its family rooms and self-catering properties, it’s the perfect base from which to explore this charismatic town and its surrounding countryside. On site, kids can take a dip in the indoor pool, or play in the outdoor play area, for example.

Tregenna Castle

St Ives
7.9 Good (1144 reviews)