Fancy a family holiday by the seaside? How about a villa on stilts above a tropical lagoon in the Indian Ocean? Or a beach villa with private pool? The sumptuous One&Only Reethi Rah resort in the Maldives offers barefoot luxury with a family-friendly twist. Its children’s programme treats your mini castaways to their very own clubhouse, swimming pool and special activities. One of a kind. And one of the best.
For blissful beach holidays, Mauritius is a no-brainer (great weather, warm seas and no jet lag), but choosing your resort is not so easy. Most boast excellent family accommodation; they’re bursting with activities and the all-inclusive options promise great value. Beachcomber has a dedicated family holiday section featuring some of the choicest properties.
There is little wonder that Cornwall is the perfect family holiday destination – our kids love body-boarding and stunning beaches like Watergate and Whitsand bays are the perfect place to spend a summer’s day. Classic have the kind of cottages you hate to leave. Superb locations, beautifully furnished, child-friendly inside and out.
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.
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…
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
Rich, varied, plenty to get stuck into and always immensely satisfying, we think Andalucia is the paella of Spanish family holiday destinations – whether you want to get active on the beach or delve into the Alhambra. And with this enticing range of luxury hotels, resorts and haciendas from Kirker Holidays you can feel confident you’re experiencing the best of sunny southern Spain.
It might not have the classical clout of Rome or Florence, but Puglia offers rich pickings for culture vultures – from the Baroque splendour of Lecce to Alberobello’s fairytale streets lined with conical-roofed trulli houses. Natural highlights include unspoiled beaches, rolling hills and olive groves – best appreciated from the comfort of one of these stylish family-friendly resorts.
Imagine this: you and your family sailing a yacht in the sparkling Ionian sea, flitting between islands and weighing anchor in idyllic coves for a beach barbecue or dip in the sea. Flotilla sailing is the way to go. A lead boat provides all the support and back up you need. And if you’re new to sailing, start off with a week of instruction.
School leavers have long enjoyed the challenges and rewards of volunteering holidays. Now Hands up Holidays have devised a brilliant way of involving families. Their trips combine an educational volunteer experience with a fabulous adventure exploring a fascinating destination and staying in luxury accommodation – the ideal way to make your travels more fulfilling.
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.
Mark Warner is renowned for its comprehensive children’s facilities and this laid back beach resort in Corsica is no exception, offering non-stop sports action for kids – big and small. Grown-ups get free sailing, paddle boarding and windsurfing tuition, while children aged 3 to 17 can try their hand at a variety of watersports, tennis and other activities.
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.
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.
Enter the world of manga comics and Harajuku Girls, bullet trains and Hello Kitty. Children love Japan, a fascinating country both futuristic and colourful, yet steeped in tradition and mysticism. Away from the cities there are temples, castles, mountains and beaches, along with endless new food experiences.
The Ritz-Carlton, Abama has a faithful family following, and it’s not hard to see why. Luxury accommodation, spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and 18-hole golf course aside, it takes childcare and kids’ facilities to new heights with everything from family pools and sports academies to kids’ clubs, free children’s dinners and cinema nights on the beach.
One of Sir Rocco Forte’s newest hotels, Verdura Golf & Spa Resort is set on a gorgeous stretch of Sicilian beach. With rooms designed by Olga Polizzi, a spectacular spa, free kids club, teen activities and world-class golf courses, you may be tempted to stay put. However, even kids will love exploring this fascinating island.
Imagine sailing around coral-fringed islands aboard a 34m yacht, snorkelling on pristine reefs and venturing into the realm of the Komodo dragon. It’s just one of the exciting family holidays to Indonesia offered by Exsus. Another option combines luxury and adventure in Bali and Sumatra, while the Invigorating Indonesia itinerary fills an unforgettable fortnight with everything from elephant-back riding to white-water rafting.
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.
I am always amazed more families don’t look beyond Mickey Mouse when thinking about theme parks in Europe. We have had some amazing breaks at places like Efteling which are far less crowded than better known rivals and far less about the hard sell and more about giving visitors a fun and thrilling day out.
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.
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.
Most of us look no further than the Algarve when it comes to family holidays in Portugal. That irresistible coastline of sandy coves and cave-riddled cliffs has smugglers’ den written all over it. What we love about i-escape is that it reveals Portugal’s potential as a great all-round family destination – beach, countryside and city.
Our drive along the Garden Route rates as one of our favourite holidays ever, taking in reef-fringed beaches, waterfalls and, all against the backdrop of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Whale watching, wine tasting for the grown-ups and abseiling down Table Mountain make South Africa a great place to explore with the family.