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.
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.
For some families, India is not an obvious choice but those who make the trip find it so rewarding. Whether you are exploring the fairytale palaces of Rajasthan or meeting an elephant, this is the stuff of long-lasting memories. Kerala is a good starting point – it has low malaria risk and a homestay is a great eye-opener for the kids.
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…
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.
Barbados oozes family appeal. There are daily, non-stop flights, short transfers and some exciting island escapades. Don’t miss the train ride into Harrisons Caves, surfing on the east coast or ziplining over Jack-in-the-Box Gully. Pick an all-inclusive hotel for the best value and peace of mind.
Away from the busy resorts there’s a quieter side to Mallorca, rich in local character and blessed with stunning countryside and exquisite sandy coves. You just need to know where to look. Fortunately, Vintage Travel have been doing just that for nearly two decades, picking and choosing the island’s most idyllic family-friendly villas.
If your kids are kicking their heels during the school holidays, send them off to camp. Sounds harsh? In fact, it’s a real treat with exciting activities from mountain karting to quad-biking, sports and performing arts. There are locations throughout the UK, including one for older teenagers only.
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.
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.
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.
Powder Byrne’s focus on all members of the family, no matter how young, makes everyone feel special on one of their holidays. Polo holidays are a fantastic addition to their already excellent summer portfolio. Shared activity holidays are my favourite of all family breaks, particularly when you are learning something fresh and exciting too.
Jamaica has beautiful beaches, vibrant towns, spectacular mountain scenery and, of course, a legendary reggae beat. You’ve got to visit the Bob Marley Museum in Port Royal and try jerk chicken at Boston Bay. And for stylish, laidback luxury, stay at the family-friendly plantation-style villas or interconnecting beachfront rooms at Round Hill.
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.
It’s not only fans of Merlin or Cinderella that will have a ball at one of these amazing French chateaux. Childhood dreams aside, each one of the 200-plus properties makes a superb base for a unique self-catering family holiday. Many have swimming pools and sleep between 6 and 60 people – great value if you want to take the whole family or travel with friends.
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.
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.
It may be the closest Mediterranean island to the UK, but Corsica remains one of the region’s wild and unspoiled gems. It’s perfect for families who want to combine seaside fun with a splash of adventure – whether it’s horse riding in the mountains or trying out a new watersport. Corsican Places has the island covered – its villas and apartments are great value for families.
For kids the world is one great big classroom, but the best way to learn something new is on a small group trip with an expert guide. Gaze at the stars with an astrologer, learn about the animal kingdom in the wild or uncover the secrets of ancient civilisations. They’ll come home brimming with new skills as well as great memories.
Scott Dunn have taken children’s clubs to new and exciting heights with their inspiring range of Explorers Clubs, now available at five stunning resorts in the Med, Maldives and Thailand. A lot of thought has been put into the childcare, healthy eating and superb facilities at each one. And we love the choice of activities – from pottery making classes in Crete to bike rides in Sicily.
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.
Good ol’ Santa – he’s a busy man, especially in December, but he’ll always find time to welcome you to his wintry Lapland home. The most intimate and magical of the Santa pilgrimages, Esprit’s festive family holidays are sprinkled with adventure – take your pick from reindeer sleigh rides to riding a snowmobile. PS: Before you go, don’t forget to write to Mr Claus to tell him how good you’ve been…
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.
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.