We have always loved big house parties with family and friends. There is the flexibility to run things on your own schedule rather than by hotel mealtimes and, usually lots more space to spread out. We have stayed in some incredible properties around the world too – castle, barns, forts and party houses that offer something special compared to home.
You couldn’t dream up a cast of creatures with more child appeal – from marine iguanas that snort water from their nostrils to frigatebirds shaking bright red, party-balloon throat pouches – and it’s all there, right at your feet. The magic continues underwater. The Galapagos are the ultimate wildlife-travel treat – and this cruise/hotel combo is perfect for families.
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.
Kids love Italy. It’s probably something to do with the staple diet of pizza, pasta and gelato, but there’s no denying the country’s huge family-holiday appeal. Whether you’re looking for a Tuscan villa with a pool, a farmhouse in Umbria, a cottage by the sea or even a Venetian palazzo, this collection of properties from Oliver’s Travels is simply irresistible.
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.
Are your teens starting to get a tiny bit bored with family holidays? Then now’s the time to inject some adrenalin on an exciting group tour exclusively for families with teenagers. Think white water rafting, hiking, safari adventures and mountain biking in some of the world’s most dramatic settings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This corner of Canada is crying out for a family adventure. It’s only a seven-hour flight to Toronto and this well-paced self-drive holiday combines excellent hotels with exciting activities. Top of most children’s wishlist will be the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, but no doubt the kayaking and mountain biking in Ontario’s backcountry will be just as memorable.
You can’t beat a family holiday in a gorgeous Mediterranean villa – or, at least, I didn’t think you could until we came across Scott Dunn’s luxury staffed villas. And I’m not just talking about someone popping in to do the housework occasionally. Each magnificent property has its own host, nanny and chef, guaranteeing ultimate freedom and relaxation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fabled as the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, Cyprus has holidaymakers smitten by its beaches, climate and scenery. Where better place to unwind in luxury than the island’s Hotel Almyra? As well as a wonderful range of children’s activities, it offers a good choice of family accommodation with bustling Paphos on your doorstep.
Perfect for nature-loving families, this Central American beauty has jungles, beaches, active volcanoes, plus loads of opportunities for adventure. Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was filmed here, but you won’t find any dinosaurs (sorry kids). Instead, there’s amazing wildlife, ranging from turtles and toucans to treefrogs – and you can see them all on these fabulous itineraries from Families Worldwide.