Madagascar is surely one of the most exciting and unique family holiday destinations. Imagine setting out on foot for close encounters with wild lemurs or taking a night walk in search of chameleons. There are fabulous things to do on the coast too, from snorkelling and sea kayaking to whale watching and visiting a pirate graveyard.
The Halkidiki peninsula has some of the best sandy beaches in Greece. Stay at the Sani Resort and you also get a superb watersports centre. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to family facilities at this luxury resort. There are also children’s clubs for tots to teens, a crèche and a choice of four stylish family hotels.
We took our daughter to Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains with another family and we loved it: renting a riad with a cook worked brilliantly for us. Dip a toe outside the ‘comfort zone’ of Europe and Morocco rewards you with amazing scenery, some really exciting and unusual activities, plus beach resorts with great surf!
Renting a cottage in the Lake District is the gateway to unforgettable family adventures – whether you’ve got teens hell-bent on conquering Helvellyn or tots dabbling their toes in Rydal Water. The choice of activities is boundless – from canoeing and sailing to riding steam trains and exploring slate mines.
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.
We had a beautiful late summer visit to the Algarve recently – gloriously warm days on safe beaches followed by beautiful fish in local restaurants in the evening. The rugged coastline is perfect for walking and you’ll chance upon some great “smugglers’ cove” beaches on the way. There are also boat trips galore, old towns and castles, tennis and waterparks.
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.
With an irresistible blend of dazzling monuments, edge-of-seat wildlife encounters and palm-fringed beaches, Sri Lanka makes a fantastic family destination. Travel in style and comfort with your own private guide and chauffeur on a tailormade itinerary which can take in a multitude of sights and sounds from elephant back safaris to colourful temples.
It’s not all jungle. Brazil has iconic cities like Rio and Salvador; there’s the watery wilderness of the Pantanal, the ground-shaking Iguacu Falls, a spectacular coastline, carnival, samba, football… one trip isn’t enough to sample all the delights of this amazing country. But this family itinerary combining the Costa Verde with the Pantanal does nicely for starters.
Somehow you just know you’re going to have a great time at a Club Med resort. They’ve had 40 years to perfect the art of the all-inclusive family holiday. But that hasn’t stopped them from innovating. Children’s clubs in 14 resorts are now designed around local themes and the environment. On the activity front, you’ll love the Flying Trapeze Academies.
My family love the Caribbean – it’s that combination of gorgeous beaches, friendly people and adventurous things to do like exploring the rainforest that a European holiday cannot offer. We have had some amazing holidays out on boats, jumping off into the warm sea, swimming to private beaches and snorkelling in the reefs. Try it yourself in the British Virgin Islands.
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.
Boat trips and sandcastles, surfing and rockpooling, dangling crab lines off the harbour wall and riding ponies across the moors. It’s simple pleasures that make holidays in Devon such a guaranteed hit for families. These self-catering cottages cover all the best bits of the county, from the surf-swept north coast to rugged Dartmoor and the idyllic South Hams.
Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is renowned for its world class diving and snorkelling. But the arrival of this Six Senses resort, which stands on a mile of sandy beach sheltered by craggy mountains, nudges it into an almost irresistible class – complete with guaranteed sunshine. It’s under two hours from Dubai, which has a range of nonstop flights from the UK.
White-water rafting one day, mountain biking or rock climbing the next… a family adventure holiday is a great way for you and your children to try out new activities. The Family Adventure Company has some great value options to places like Croatia, Morocco and Iceland for well under £1000 per person, with loads included in the price.
Family holidays in Spain don’t have to mean crowded resorts on the Costas. These inspiring trips take you to some beautiful and unspoiled parts of the country, whether you’re looking for child-friendly walking in the Pyrenees or a cycle through rural Mallorca. Everything’s taken care of, from trip notes and luggage transport to family accommodation.
Have your kids ever wondered what Paddington Bear’s home was like? Marmalade sandwiches are pretty thin on the ground, but what you do get is a fantastic adventure destination for families, jam-packed with condor-spotting in Colca Canyon, a train ride to Machu Picchu and a boat trip to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.
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.
Fancy some serious pampering? You don’t even have to unpack your suitcases at The Residence where a butler attends to your every need. A 1920s style oasis of elegance and luxury on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, this stunning hotel offers gourmet cuisine, colonial suites, a Zen-inspired spa and indulgent kids’ club.
If you thought travelling to a city with the kids was a no no, check out these hugely imaginative short breaks in Paris, Rome and London as well as the Loire Valley. Tailor-made for individual families, everything is organised for you, from transport and accommodation to family activities ranging from treasure hunts and cookery lessons to gladiator school.
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.
Yet to be convinced about glamping? Book into Trevella Park, near to the glorious beach at Crantock, and the comfy beds, fluffy duvets and fridges that come with the geo domes and safari tents should help to convince you. The site itself is pleasingly free of ‘entertainment’ and instead offers ranger adventures, fishing lakes and a heated outdoor pool.
A match for anywhere in the Greek islands, northeast Corfu still has the wild forests and unspoilt azure coast that inspired Gerald Durrell to pen My Family and other Animals. It’s a magical corner of the Ionian, best appreciated from a villa tucked into a hillside or snug against a beach. CV Villas has the pick of the bunch.
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.