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.
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.
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…
The journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh is a classic adventure, and there’s no reason why the kids can’t come too. In fact, Vietnam makes a brilliant family destination, mixing activities like boat trips in Halong Bay and visits to turtle breeding centres with time out on some of South East Asia’s finest beaches.
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.
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.
Get them wrong and a city break with the kids can feel more like urban warfare. Not with Kirker Holidays though. They’ve checked out some great-value, family-friendly hotels close to top sights in some of our favourite cities. Trip Notes make sightseeing a pleasure, while the Kirker Concierge is pure genius, arranging everything from museum passes to restaurant bookings.
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.
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.
If your kids are like mine and love the Percy Jackson novels, they will love visiting the Greek mainland and seeing all of that mythology made real. This is a fascinating corner of Greece, rich in legends, and there is much to appeal to the kids, from long stretches of golden beach to family climbing on the island of Proti.
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.
PGL has been part of our family life since both our older kids went with their school. These adventure holidays and summer camps are all smiles from start to finish. Kids try out new activities, while parents get peace of mind knowing that everything is taken care of by professionals. Safety is first and foremost, with fun a close second.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.