Horse-riding has often featured in our family holidays, whether that’s riding through rainforests or hacking on mountain trails. Horse safaris are a brilliant alternative to taking a 4×4, as it lets you get really close up to the wildlife. Cantering alongside the wildebeest during the annual migration is unforgettable.
Arranging a family skiing holiday can be a rigmarole. Travel with a company that knows the best family resorts, offers catered chalets and hotels that are spot-on for families, provides a full range of childcare, pre-books your equipment and throws in some great deals. Esprit’s been doing just that for more than 30 years.
Feather Down Farms lead the herd when it comes to luxury camping in the UK. Lift the flap or open the log cabin door and you step into a snug den complete with wood-fired stove, oil lanterns, three bedrooms (including a secret cubbyhole for kids) and everything you need for a back-to-nature holiday on any of 30 working farms.
Bring it on! We love Florida! Where else can you get face to face with Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, Cinderella and a real-life astronaut all within the space of a few days? Or swim with manatees one morning, and plunge down a mega waterslide the next? Whether your idea of fun is to paddle a kayak in the Keys or take a simulated mission to Mars, Florida delivers, big time.
The journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh is a classic adventure, and there’s no reason why the kids can’t come too. In fact, Vietnam makes a brilliant family destination, mixing activities like boat trips in Halong Bay and visits to turtle breeding centres with time out on some of South East Asia’s finest beaches.
Having fun together. That’s what family holidays should be all about – simple really. These action-packed trips from Activities Abroad guarantee there’s never a dull moment – whether it’s kayaking in Turkey or white-water rafting in the Alps. They’re ideal for families with teenagers looking for a challenge, or to share experiences with children of a similar age.
Taking your kids on holiday is one of life’s great pleasures, but it’s not something that every parent can afford. There are more than 2 million children in the UK whose families don’t have the money for even a day trip to the seaside. That’s why we proudly support the Family Holiday Association, which works to provide much-needed breaks for deprived kids.
Upping the adventure stakes on a beach holiday, a voyage onboard a crewed gulet is a magical way to experience the Mediterranean, dropping anchor in secluded bays, swimming, snorkelling or relaxing on deck. With Peter Sommer Travels you also get an insight into local culture, cuisine and archaeology thanks to their expert guides and tailor-made itineraries.
The Balearic Islands are firm family favourites, but if you’re looking for the best beaches, quiet resorts and beautiful, unspoilt scenery, you can’t go wrong with Menorca. Its coast is chiselled with secluded coves, lapped by shallow turquoise waters. And if you tire of the beach, there are enough activities – from boat trips to horse riding – to keep most families happy.
Year-round fun in the sun – that’s what Dubai is all about. From sleepy pearl-fishing villages to mesmerising metropolis, this outlandish city has grown into one of the world’s top family-holiday playgrounds. If spectacular luxury resorts, pristine beaches and mega-malls don’t leave you breathless then wacky water parks, desert adventures and fascinating souks surely will.
Esprit has mastered the art of family activity holidays, with 30 years’ experience in the Alps and some of the best children’s programmes in the business. Head to the mountains in France or the Italian Lakes, for a host of activities, free child care and family-friendly accommodation.
Each of these sensational Caribbean resorts sits on a dazzling stretch of powder-sand beach with unlimited water sports and accommodation that includes spacious family suites. A couple even have waterparks, complete with lazy river rides and surf simulators. But it’s the imaginative, action-packed Kids Camps that will prove the biggest hit for kids.
One of our favourite regions of Spain, Catalunya has family appeal stamped all over it – whether you’ve got toddlers in search of beaches, active kids looking for Pyrenean mountain adventure or teenagers keen to explore nearby Barcelona. This superb collection of villas covers all bases – and each one has a private pool.
Designer villas, rustic farmhouses, historic townhouses… if you’re after a holiday home in Spain with real ‘wow factor’ look no further than this stunning collection of luxury villas in and around Sitges on the sunny Spanish coast of Cataluña. Each one’s an architectural masterpiece, with a swimming pool to die for and a great location close to beautiful beaches and buzzing Barcelona.
The South of France is wonderfully diverse, from the long sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast and mountains of the Pyrenées to the stylish resorts of the Côte d’Azur. Rent a villa with private pool and you’ll have the perfect base for any family holiday. We reckon Vintage Travel has the pick of the properties.
From Paris to Prague, this stylish collection of family-friendly apartments makes a city break in Europe with the kids more fun, more flexible and more affordable. Not only have i-escape visited and reviewed each characterful property, but they’ve put together a great online search facility for planning a city break just how you like it.
Winter sun is not the only treat on offer at Lanzarote’s Princesa Yaiza Hotel Resort. Basking in luxury, you’ll also enjoy fabulous suites (some with PlayStation and free babysitting), a choice of restaurants and pools plus a golden-sand beach right on your doorstep. Children get all-singing, all-dancing kids’ clubs, while parents can relax at the Thalasso Spa.
People often ask ‘When can I take the kids on safari?’ Many reserves have restrictions on very young children while long, pre-dawn game drives can take their toll. For kids of six and older, South Africa offers some great, malaria-free options. I love Shamwari in the eastern Cape, with its family lodges and Born Free big cat rescue centres
I know what it’s like leaving the pooch behind when we go on holiday. Those mournful eyes and looks of recrimination – and that’s just the kids. Rural Retreats puts the woof and bounce back into UK holidays with its tail-wagging round-up of dog-friendly cottages. They could well become our second best friends…
Set on Portugal’s dramatic south-eastern tip, Martinhal is that rare combination of super family-friendly and genuinely chic. Genius touches include a trampoline in front of the beachside restaurant allowing mums and dads to relax with an aperitif whilst kids bounce. There are kids activities galore and a top-notch spa that even offers parent and child treatments.
An exotic choice of destination for the long summer holidays but so worth it. Don’t miss the giant caves of Mulu – one of them could swallow five St Paul’s cathedrals. You also have to spend a night in a communal Iban longhouse and see orang-utans in their natural habitat. Older kids will love the challenge of climbing Kinabalu
This is one of Europe’s best-kept family holiday secrets. Northern Spain has so much to offer, whether you’re a teenager in search of activities in the Picos de Europa, a ten-year-old on the hunt for dinosaur footprints along the Asturias coast or a toddler sampling golden-sand beaches in Cantabria. Mum and dad will enjoy the beautiful countryside, historic towns and regional cuisine.
This is so much more than just another family-friendly hotel. Located on Jersey’s south coast, The Merton has been refining the art of family-friendy for over sixty years. The result – thoughtful family accommodation, imaginative facilities (we particularly like the Aquadome), the right mix of dining options and spot-on child-care – and a beach close by.
Cornwall is special. It grabs you in a big sandy hug and won’t let go. If you went there on holiday as a child, you’ll want to take your own children there. A genuinely family-friendly hotel, Sands Resort rolls out the red carpet for its younger guests with everything from adventure play areas and Ofsted-registered children’s clubs to flexible mealtimes and visits from Newquay Zoo.