Budget-Friendly Family Vacation to Southwest UK

Going on a holiday with children requires lots of advance planning. To ensure an enjoyable vacation for everyone, it’s important to strike a balance in visiting attractions that both adults and kids will appreciate. If you have read one of my previous posts on deciding where to go this year, we settled on going to the UK (again, for the second time!).

The anticipated 8 days/7 nights vacation to the Southwest UK finally came and went. Albeit with several hiccups where the kids bickered, the trip was fun and rejuvenating. We didn’t pack too many activities for each day, but rather focusing on spending quality time together exploring new places.

Here’s sharing our one-week itinerary:

Day 1: Dubai to London to Southampton
Upon our arrival at London Gatwick, we took a shuttle bus to the Thrifty office in Marriott Courtyard Gatwick to get our pre-booked rental car. We slowly made our journey to Southampton by road, which took us around 1.5 hours.

Our accommodation for the night was Holiday Inn Express Southampton West {£62 p/night inclusive of breakfast}. Read my hotel review here.

Southampton town

Day 2: Peppa Pig World – Bristol
We woke up early and roamed around the Southampton town. At 10.30am, we made our way to Peppa Pig World {£70.25 for family of 3, free admission for under 100cm}, which was around 10 minutes’ drive away. We were there until around 4pm, making our way to Bristol after that and reaching there around two hours’ later. After dinner and a free walking tour, we spent the night at my cousin’s.

Peppa Pig World

Day 3: Bristol – Devon
After breakfast with my cousin at Bristol city, we walked to the SS Great Britain Museum {£14 for adult; £8 for child 5-17 years}. It was a very beneficial visit, entailing the historical details of the world’s first ocean liner and how people last time travelled. Unfortunately, the kids got restless after 2 hours and as much as we wanted to stay on and continue reading, we had to make our way to lunch. That’s the thing about travelling with kids; being flexible is required. After that, we drove to our farmstay place named Puddleduck Valley in Cookbury, Devon {approx. £59 per night, self catering}. We stayed in a Mongolian yurt, erected in the woods, for the next three nights. There were no lights, no electricity and no heating at night – just us, the nature and sounds of insects in the woods. It was a wonderful, back-to-basics experience, having to build our own fire for heating, running in the wild, feeding the farm animals, boating, and barbecuing marshmallows and sausages in the great outdoors. The stars at night were amazingly clear and beautiful here too. The kids had a blast and didn’t want to leave.

SS Great Britain Museum, Bristol
Puddleduck Valley


Day 4: Sandymouth Beach – Bude town
We drove 30 minutes to Sandymouth Beach in Bude and spent a couple of hours there, just enjoying the beach and the heartwarming food from the beachside hut. Then, we went to Bude town for Cornish ice-cream and just a stroll around the area. We were back to Puddleduck Valley for boating in the lake after that, and later that evening, we had a BBQ of marshmallows and sausages with tree twigs! The kids slept like babies that day.

Puddleduck Valley
Farmer 101
Sandymouth Beach, Bude
Boating at Puddleduck Valley


Barbecuing in the great outdoors


Day 5: Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre – Launceston town
We visited the Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre {Adult £8, Child £5), just 30 minutes from our farmstay area. After lunch at the little cafe in the wildlife centre where we had a very delicious scone and Cornish cream, we proceeded to Launceston town and took a  stroll around the area as well as Launceston Castle. We bought some simple ingredients from Waitrose and made our own dinner that day.

Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre


Upclose and personal with the animals at Puddleduck Valley


Majestic view from Launceston Castle


Day 6: Devon – Bath
It was time to leave the woods and head for Bath city. The children, especially E, was disheartened as he has had so much fun there. I quote him “I wish we can stay here forever!” He’s a farm person, just like me 🙂 Read my full review of Puddleduck Valley here.

We arrived at Bath city around noon, after a hours’ drive. Since it was still early, we explored the city’s main attractions by foot. Bath is a small, bustling historical city. We went to the Roman Baths, The Crescent, The Circus and the Pulteney Bridge – all within walking distance. We spent the night at Premier Inn Bath City Centre {£57 p/night}.  Read my hotel review here.

The Circus, Bath


Day 7: Bath – Oxford – Gatwick
Stopping by in Oxford on our way to London Gatwick was a very last-minute decision. Since we had some free time in our hands and need not check in the airport hotel so soon, we made a stop in Oxford. We were glad we did! It’s such a gorgeous city buzzing with life, with a majority of people there are students. We checked out the famous University of Oxford, also where a scene from Harry Potter was filmed. We went to The Covered Market for a traditional British pie, before making our way to London Gatwick.

Entrance to University of Oxford


At Gatwick, we stopped at Tesco Extra to get some British goodies. Among those in my shopping list were strawberries and blueberries (very sweet, big and juicy. We hand-carried them back!), McVites dark chocolate digestive biscuits (much cheaper compared to those in Dubai) and some cute Peppa Pig themed snacks. That’s what having a daughter can change you.

We spent the night at our last hotel of the vacation – Premier Inn A23 Airport Way {£39 p/night}. It’s just less than 8 minutes from the airport. A very busy hotel but well, we were just there for a night’s rest.

By now, you should already get the inkling that I’m a big fan of Premier Inn. From our experience, this hotel chain has so far been consistently good, clean, comfortable and value for money. Great location too. It’s hard not to like them. For convenience sake, we ordered pre-booked dinner and breakfast in the hotel too.

The next morning, we took a flight back to Dubai.

Itinerary Summary
Dubai – London Gatwick – Southampton – Bristol – Devon – Cornwall – Bath – Oxford – London Gatwick – Dubai


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