10 Best May Half-Term Family Breaks in the UK

March 22, 2024 in Destinations, Tips for Travellers, Family-friendly travel, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales & United Kingdom

The school half-term is coming up, so why not grab the opportunity to go on one of these best May half-term breaks for the whole family in the UK! Whether you’re looking for the bustle of a city trip, the peace of a national park, or that first frolic on the beach after a long winter, no more wondering where to go on a May half-term holiday with the kids.  
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kids

1.  Isle of Wight, England 

There’s a reason why so many travellers flock to the Isle of Wight each year, and this May half-term, you’ll get to see exactly why that is. The Isle of Wight has something for the whole family, with sandy beaches, historic sights, magical caves and more. To get the most out of your trip, tackle our Isle of Wight road trip itinerary.

We highly recommend hitting the water, it might still be a little chilly, but with the right wetsuit, you’ll definitely manage. A trip to the Isle of Wight isn’t complete without a few hours spent in the turquoise waters. You could rent a kayak, take surf lessons, or simply take a boat trip through the caves.

A fact the kids will love is that the Isle of Wight is known as the ‘Dinosaur Capital of Britain’. It featured the perfect habitat for dinosaurs, and they’ve found almost every type of dinosaur fossil there. You can see all of these at the Dinosaur Isle Museum. Don’t forget to go digging yourself, as new fossils are still being found each year. 

2. Sherwood Forest, England 

What better way to lure the little ones out into nature for the May half-term break than with the promise of an enchanting forest! Who knows, they might even spot an orange bushy-tailed hero. Yes, we all know that the legend that is Robin Hood wasn’t actually a fox, but the Disney character of this iconic outlaw is likely to be a bigger hit — and one they’ll have a bigger chance of spotting in the wild. So grab the opportunity to teach a little lesson in history and morality, while on a fun May half-term holiday with the family.

While you’re in this famous spot, really take the time to wow your kids by making the legendary story come alive. Find a good spot to sit down, and tell a bedtime story like no other, inspired by their surroundings. You can even challenge the kids to use their imagination and tell a story of their own.

Or check out some more unmissable things to do in Sherwood Forest. 
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kids

3. Cardiff, Wales 

If you haven’t got the time to go for a full week away this May half-term, why not settle for a long weekend in Cardiff? Perfectly located for a short getaway, Cardiff is a lovely city to visit with the whole family. The famous children’s author, Roald Dahl, was actually born and raised in Cardiff. While here, you can visit Roald Dahl Plass, which was named after him.

Cardiff was voted one of the ‘World’s Top 10 Must-Visit Countries’ by Lonely Planet, and is considered Europe’s third-best capital city to live in. You’ll get to experience history, arts, science and a surprising amount of nature in this bustling city.

Become immensely popular with your kids by suggesting a trip to Cardiff International White Water, a rafting centre based in Cardiff Bay. You’ll spend an exhilarating afternoon of white water rafting, which might even include a bit of team-building for the family. This is a great way to get quality time together that everyone will enjoy. 

4.  The Cairngorms, Scotland 

There is no better time to visit one of the UK’s largest national parks than in the May half-term. Why is that? Well, you get to profit from the incoming daylight and warmth of spring, while skipping the crowds and queues!

The Cairngorms were named one of the ‘Top 20 Places to Visit in the World’ by National Geographic and we couldn’t agree more. There are endless things to do in this stunning national park, including hiking, biking and bird watching to name a few.

Dust off your walking boots and embark on a hike! You’ll find plenty of hiking routes across the Cairngorms, ranging from easy to difficult. If you’re hoping to spot some elusive red squirrels, try the two-and-a-half-mile walk along Uath Lochans and Inshriach Forest. A particular favourite of ours is the five-mile circular walk through Black Wood to Dun da-Lamh hillfort, which can include a dip in the waterfalls if you dare.

You could even challenge yourself to complete the entire Snow Roads Scenic Route road trip! This 90-mile journey is the perfect length for the May half-term break and takes you through the best of the Cairngorms National Park, and along picturesque villages and woods. 
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kids

5. Anglesey, Wales 

Anglesey is quickly becoming one of our favourite destinations in Wales, and it’s earned a spot on the list of the best UK holidays for families. This island is beloved by motorhome travellers, situated up in North Wales and surrounded by the sparkling Irish Sea. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Ireland. And on less clear days, you can focus on all of the beauty surrounding you right here in Anglesey.

This is one of the best places to take kids who love history lessons at school. Anglesey has a rich history and plenty of landmarks to prove it. You can head to Partys Mountain to see rocks that span four eras and 12 geological periods, covering over 1,800 million years. Another great landmark is Bryn Celli Ddu, an ancient burial mound and Neolithic passage tomb. It’s believed to be over 5,000 years old, and you can still see the extensive rock art covering it.

Don’t forget to head to the beach! It might not quite be swimsuit weather yet, but a sandcastle-building competition or beach combing treasure hunt never hurt anyone. Anglesey is home to six Blue Flag Beaches: Benllech, Llanddwyn, Church Bay, Trearddur Bay, Llanddona and Porth Dafarch.

Visit the village with the longest place name in Europe! Start practising so that you can say ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’ by the time you get there. This translates to ‘St.Mary’s Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the red cave’. Or you can stick to the shortened version of ‘Llanfairpwll’.

Check out the best campsites in Anglesey for your trip. 
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kids

6. Deal, England 

Tucked away in Kent, you’ll find this under-the-radar beach town. Deal is often compared to Whitstable and Margate, only it’s far less crowded and expensive. It’s a magical little place, filled with pastel-hued cottages, sandy beaches and clear waters. This is the perfect school half-term holiday destination to toast to the beginning of summer and soak up an endless array of daylight.

Spend an educational afternoon at Deal Castle. This artillery fort was constructed between 1539 and 1540 by Henry VIII — your kids will likely know him as the one with all the wives! You can roam the underground tunnels and climb the walls for an impeccable view of the seaside.

If you’re here for the weekend, be sure to visit the Deal Saturday Market. You can get plenty of delicious local delicacies, and perhaps even a souvenir for loved ones back home. 

7. Jurassic Coast, Dorset 

Next on our carefully curated list of best May half-term breaks, is a spot that’s very popular among parents who like entertaining their kids with tales of history. The monumental rock formations like Old Harry Rocks and Durdle Door stand proud in the seascape of the Jurassic Coast and make for an exciting coastal walk that’ll hopefully drop even the littlest of jaws to the floor.

Get the kids a little archaeology kit and let them loose on a fossil hunt! Hype them up with stories about dinosaur footprints and turn their adventure into a quest like no other.

Check out the best campsites on the Jurassic Coast if you’d like to spend more time roaming the cliffs. 
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kids

8. Belfast, Northern Ireland 

Spring is the perfect time to visit the capital of Northern Ireland for a city break. Belfast is known for having a grungy atmosphere that people either love or hate, but we think that if you give this vibrant city a chance, you’ll love it as much as we do!

This is one of our favourite places to take the kids for a holiday that combines education with entertainment, like heading to the Titanic Quarter to experience a large-scale waterfront regeneration, consisting of historic maritime landmarks, film studios, entertainment services and more. You can also visit the Titanic Experience to learn more about the famous, doomed journey.

You could combine Belfast with a motorhome road trip through the rest of Northern Ireland, to see the beauty of the coast as well. With stops at the Giant’s Causeway, the Gobbins and the Glens of Antrim, you’ll get to experience all the best Northern Ireland has to offer. 

9. Dartmoor National Park, England 

At Goboony, it’s safe to say we’re all in love with camping. Funnily enough, for most of the team, this uncontrollable urge to pitch up in the middle of nature beneath a blanket of stars was created and conditioned at a very young age. This is why we couldn’t possibly list our recommended May half-term family breaks without taking a stand for the experience of a wild camping adventure. 

The only place in England that officially allows wild camping is Dartmoor National Park. Wild camping in Dartmoor has always been a key driver for lovers of the outdoors to visit the area, until last year, when a wealthy local landowner won a court case on the quest to ban it. Luckily the national park authority won a widely supported court appeal which allowed wild camping in Dartmoor once again. 

Now, we’re fully aware that a wild camping adventure might not be for everyone, especially when trying to keep the whole family happy. We’re also not going to pretend like Spring will already be warm enough for you and the kids to actually spend the night camping beneath the stars. But what you can do, is set the scene! Pitch a little tent, bring a picnic blanket, enjoy the day in nature and get the kids excited for camping adventures ahead, then round them up for a rosy car ride home.

Or spend the night in a campervan, pitched up on these best motorhome campsites in Dartmoor
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kids

10. Edinburgh, Scotland 

Visiting Edinburgh is different to your typical city trip, as the Scottish capital is actually one of the UK’s most picturesque cities. It’s filled with cobbled streets, colourful shops and a historic old town. It’s easy to spend the school half-term holiday in Edinburgh, as you’ll never run out of things to do.

Visiting Edinburgh for the May half-term holiday will also ensure that it’s less busy than during the summer. And if you’re hit with some classic British rain, you can simply seek shelter in one of Edinburgh’s incredible museums or art galleries.

If you’re travelling with older kids, a trip to the National Museum of Modern Art is the perfect way to get their creativity flowing. It features work by both Picasso and Matisse. If this isn’t quite the right fit, they might enjoy a trip to the Edinburgh Dungeons, but be warned, it’s spookier than you’d expect…

Any Potterheads in the family? Take the Potter Trail, a free tour of several locations that inspired the famous magical book series. For example, Diagon Alley was inspired by Candlemaker Row, and you’ll quickly see the similarities.

If the weather allows it, hike up to Arthur’s Seat. From here, you’ll get an unparalleled view of the city. The walk isn’t too tricky, so even the little ones should be able to manage it. You can enjoy a picnic at the top before heading back to the city.
best may half term breaks family destinations holiday with kidsAnd just like that, your May half-term break in the UK is planned! Seize this opportunity to escape daily life with the whole family for some quality time together.