7 of the best summer holiday things to do in Great Britain

1st July 2023

With summer well under way, it’s time to start planning your summer getaways. Whether you’re thinking about taking a week-long staycation, a weekend away or a day trip, there are tons of brilliant things to do during the summer holidays in Great Britain.


And don’t worry about travelling. With a Railcard, you can save up to 1/3 on your rail fares and keep costs low.


1. Discover a new city

Great Britain is brimming with exciting cities to explore this summer. But instead of the usual suspects, such as London, Manchester or Edinburgh, why not discover somewhere new instead?


Enjoy free live music at the Bristol Harbour Festival in July, catch some cricket in Leeds (the Ashes will be here in July) or cool off at the Cardiff Aqua Park.


Elsewhere, Aberdeen, on Scotland’s northeast coast, is a brilliant city for a beach break, Sheffield is great for live music and Exeter has incredible mediaeval architecture to check out.


2. Hike your way around Scotland

There are few better ways to spend your summer than hiking through Scotland’s stunning countryside.


The country is connected by thousands of miles of hiking trails, which are very well waymarked (signposted). Whether you’re a novice looking for a short walk or want to hike your way through the Scottish Highlands, there’s a route for you.


The Berwickshire Coastal Path takes in some of Great Britain’s most scenic coastline. Love mountains and lakes? Try the Three Lochs over 2 or 3 days.


3. Learn to surf in Devon

Fun for couples, families or groups, surfing is a great all-rounder activity.


North Devon has some of the best surfing in Great Britain, with epic beaches such as Saunton Sands, Woolacombe, Croyde and Westward Ho.


To really get to grips with the surf, spend a week at a surf camp. There are lots of great academies in the area, particularly in Woolacombe and Croyde. Other great surf spots in Great Britain include the Gower Peninsula in Wales and Cornwall.


4. Spend a day by the seaside


Don’t fancy a day in the waves? Take a beach day instead.


Great Britain’s extensive coastline is dotted with incredible beach towns, from classic seaside spots like Blackpool and Skegness to remote beaches in Scotland and Wales.


And the best bit? You can take the train to many of these places. Just off the top of our head, there’s Bournemouth, Great Yarmouth, North Berwick, Llandudno, St Ives, Blackpool, Margate, Aberdeen and Tenby.


5. Take a romantic break in a National Park

Cosy country pub dinners and peaceful walks await in Britain’s National parks, the perfect romantic summer getaway.


There are loads of things to do, no matter what you and your sweetheart are into. Try your hand at sailing in the Norfolk Broads, spend the night beneath the stars in a Highland bothy or walk along the rugged coast of Pembrokeshire.


When it comes to choosing a park, you’re spoiled for choice. Great Britain has a total of 15 National Parks, with 10 in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland.


6. Forage for your own fruit and veg


If you’re looking for a brilliant and educational family day out, take the kids fruit picking this summer.


There are fruit farms up and down Britain, which let you pick everything from strawberries and blackberries to rhubarb and carrots. You’ll find farms in York, London, Surrey, Cornwall and Devon, among many others.


If there are no farms close by, you can sometimes forage for certain things in the wild (be sure to know what you’re doing, mind). July is perfect for wild strawberries and bilberries, while August is elderberry and blackberry season.


7. Go wild with local fauna


You don’t have to head overseas for a safari – Britain is full of wonderful local wildlife to discover.


There are dolphin tours from Cardigan Bay in Wales, seal spotting opportunities in Norfolk or Northumberland and stag safaris in Exmoor – and that’s just for starters.


The New Forest with its wild ponies, deers, birds and bats is a great option for a longer stay, while the Cairngorms in Scotland is at the centre of Britain’s rewilding efforts.


Whatever your plans for the summer holidays, save up to 1/3 on your train fare when you book with a Railcard.