Your kids won’t get a better Christmas present than this stunning two-week holiday Down Under. Packed with goodies, including Sydney, the Sunshine Coast, Queensland rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, it wraps up four of Australia’s most exciting and spectacular family destinations. You also get to stay in some great places, including a villa on Hamilton Island.
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.
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.
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.
Iceland is as exciting as it gets. A self-drive holiday is the way to explore this fascinating country and you’ll find geysers, waterfalls and lava fields around every corner. It’s great in both summer and winter and is a great spot for catching those elusive Northern Lights, particularly in autumn and spring.
British Columbia is one of the world’s great outdoor playgrounds. Right at its heart lies the wild and beautiful Cariboo region where the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa provides a comfortable base from which to explore the backcountry. Activities – many tailored for children – range from horse riding and 4WD safaris to fishing and gold-panning.
Antigua is the Caribbean without complications. World-class beaches, direct flights from the UK, short transfers and charming local people make it perfect for families. Tropical Sky has selected three great value all-inclusive hotels that boast fabulous beaches, spacious suites and free kids clubs. Your job: just relax and enjoy.
Family holidays are precious, hard-earned and over all too quickly. Getting them right is especially important for single parents, when time is at a premium. Single With Kids is a brilliantly simple concept – the holidays are in small friendly groups, exclusively for single parents, and range from cheap camping breaks and party weekends to five-star beach resorts.
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.
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.
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.
Few holidays tick more boxes than a safari/beach combo – explore the African bush, tracking down big game and staying in a tented camp, and then chill-out time, snorkelling and swimming on the Indian Ocean. Exsus have made it irresistible by combining Tanzania’s wild and wonderful Serengeti with a gorgeous hotel on the beach.
There’s so much to love about Gwel an Mor. The lodges are stylish, yet cosy, the restaurant serves superb local food, the clubhouse has an indoor pool and spa and the rockpools of Portreath and Gull Rock bay are a short walk away. Most of all, you’ll love resident wildlife ranger Gary Zammit, Cornwall’s very own Dr Doolittle.
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.
Most people think mountains are just for winter – they could not be more wrong. Europe’s lakes and mountains are perfect for family summer holidays: larking about in sparkling Alpine lakes in surprisingly warm temperatures, messing about on bikes and splashing down wild rivers on rafts.
You can rely on Greek Islands Club to find some of the most intimate villa retreats in the star-studded Aegean and Ionian, and on Kefalonia, I think they have hit the family jackpot. There’s a wide choice of supremely family-friendly properties on this fascinating island, many within an easy walk of a beach, tavernas and shops.
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.
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.
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.
California is a holiday destination with everything – from ski peaks to sunny beaches, national parks to theme parks and cool cities linked by some of America’s best road trips. Our family has loved hiking in Yosemite, exploring Lake Tahoe and Alcatraz and seeking the thrills of LA – and some of the best food and wine Stateside.
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.
Like most Greek islands, Crete has a couple of grotty resorts, but it also has beautiful countryside, mountains, historic harbours and miles of unspoilt beaches. It’s far enough south to enjoy a long season – ideal for Easter or October half term – and has some beautiful villas, many with private pools, and small hotels with bags of character.
Getting the bikes out for a family cycle is always a great way to spend time together. These self-guided cycling holidays from Inntravel combine fun, free-spirited adventure with a range of imaginative itineraries. It’s not all ‘puff and pedal’. Luggage is transported for you, and there’s a comfortable family hotel at the end of each day.
Great news for Greek island lovers – the sleek and shiny Daios Cove resort on Crete now has an outstanding Explorers children’s club, putting it among the most desirable luxury family boltholes in the Med. We’re weak at the knees just contemplating that infinity pool, while kids won’t waste time getting stuck into the organised activities.