Finding the perfect place for a family holiday can be quite a challenge: maybe some peace and quiet, or getting back to nature is on the cards, but destinations like these often have the kids saying they're bored within the first ten minutes! Thankfully, Leek holiday cottages may provide the solution. Parents can enjoy incredible scenic walks here, but there are also plenty of attractions to keep the kids entertained, including Alton Towers. Located on the banks of the River Churnet in Staffordshire, Leek is known as the Queen of the Moorlands. This historic town was granted a royal charter back in 1207 and became an important market town in the region. Later it became known for its textile mills and particularly for silk production. Today it’s a popular holiday destination with its gorgeous surrounding countryside and quaint town centre. Holiday cottages in Leek are perfect for a family getaway: all rentals are child friendly and, depending on the property, can sleep between 4 and 12 people.
-Shopping: As a market town, Leek is a great place for shopping. Instead of malls without character, here tourists will find little speciality shops that will have them browsing for hours. On Wednesdays there is an outdoor market, but if shopping indoors is preferred, visitors can also stock up on goodies for their Leek holiday apartments on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Saturday is also the day for a big outdoor antiques market and, every third Saturday of the month, a market where shoppers will find luxury foods.
-Nature: If a serene sunset sounds perfect, be sure to book holiday accommodation in Leek for the period around the summer solstice: this is when guests might be lucky enough to see the sun disappear behind the horizon twice in one day. Leek is one of just a few known places where such double sunsets are visible.
-Family attractions: About six miles south-east of town lies Blackbrook Zoological Park, a great place to introduce children to the wonders of nature. With more than 200 species, the park hosts the largest selection of birds in the UK and some of the feathered creatures to be spotted here are cranes, pelicans, storks and owls. Kids will love the Humboldt penguins and ostriches. There are also several interesting and exotic mammal species to be seen here, including lemurs, wallabies and meerkats.
-Outdoor pursuits: A holiday cottage in Leek is a wonderful base from which to explore the great outdoors. Leek lies within the Staffordshire Moorlands and near the borders of the Peak District National Park, so hiking, cycling and horse-riding trails are never in short supply. The more adventurous can try rock climbing or caving, or unleash their inner monkey with a trip to Cannock Chase, an unforgettable treetop obstacle course just a little over 30 miles to the north.
-Sporting activities: Rudyard Lake is about four miles north-west of Leek and a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Here, guests can go sailing, rowing or, if they fancy themselves as Top Gear presenters, travel across the lake in an amphibious car. The shores provide great walking and cycling, and the kids will definitely want to take a trip on the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway. Indeed, it's such a lovely place, it's little wonder Rudyard Kipling's parents decided to name him after it!
-Theme parks: No stay in a Leek holiday cottage will be complete without a visit to Alton Towers. Considered the biggest and best theme park in the UK, Alton Towers is only 12 miles to the south-east of Leek. With so many rides there’s more than enough to keep the most demanding holidaymaker happy.
Leek has quite a sunny climate for a British town. February sees the most rainy days, with 10 wet days in the month. In July and August, most days are sunny but these are also the months with the highest rainfall, so when it does rain, it rains hard. The area is pleasantly warm in summer, with July maximum averages of 20°C. In winter it is cold, with December maximum temperatures of 5°C.
For guests travelling from afar, the nearest airport to Leek is in Manchester, where it’s best to hire a car and drive the 25 miles or so. Another option is to travel by train to Stoke-on-Trent, a little under 12 miles south-west of Leek, and then travel in by bus or car. The M6 motorway also runs to the west of Leek.