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.
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.
Having fun together. That’s what family holidays should be all about – simple really. These action-packed trips from Activities Abroad guarantee there’s never a dull moment – whether it’s kayaking in Turkey or white-water rafting in the Alps. They’re ideal for families with teenagers looking for a challenge, or to share experiences with children of a similar age.
Upping the adventure stakes on a beach holiday, a voyage onboard a crewed gulet is a magical way to experience the Mediterranean, dropping anchor in secluded bays, swimming, snorkelling or relaxing on deck. With Peter Sommer Travels you also get an insight into local culture, cuisine and archaeology thanks to their expert guides and tailor-made itineraries.
This fantastic collection of family villas is a real eye-opener, dispelling the myth that Ibiza is just for partygoers. Tucked away in quiet parts of the island, properties range from stylish villas to rural fincas, all with gorgeous swimming pools. Oliver’s Travels also have some great ideas for child-friendly activities on Ibiza.
Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is renowned for its world class diving and snorkelling. But the arrival of this Six Senses resort, which stands on a mile of sandy beach sheltered by craggy mountains, nudges it into an almost irresistible class – complete with guaranteed sunshine. It’s under two hours from Dubai, which has a range of nonstop flights from the UK.
Superb value and guaranteed fun, Siblu’s holiday villages in France are a sure-fire hit with families. Each one has an amazing pool complex, free kids’ clubs and loads of activities for tots to teens. Parents, meanwhile, will appreciate the excellent self-catering facilities and comfortable mobile home accommodation (yes, they really do have en-suite bathrooms).
A family safari is the ultimate I-Spy and there’s no better place to get spotting than Kenya’s wildlife reserves. Pride of place on your itinerary, the Masai Mara not only offers your cubs the chance to tick off the entire cast of The Lion King, but also to take part in other exciting activities like night drives and walking safaris. Wash the dust off afterwards with a few days at the coast.
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.
Boasting Britain’s best sandy beach (not counting those at the coast), the Cotswold Water Park is awash with activities, from sailing, canoeing and cycling to angling and water skiing. It makes a great day out, but you really need to stay the night to fully appreciate all that this water wonderland offers. The Four Pillars Hotel has some of the best options for families.
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…
Have your kids ever wondered what Paddington Bear’s home was like? Marmalade sandwiches are pretty thin on the ground, but what you do get is a fantastic adventure destination for families, jam-packed with condor-spotting in Colca Canyon, a train ride to Machu Picchu and a boat trip to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.
It’s never too soon to start travelling with your kids as this inspired collection of young family holidays shows. We started early with ours, hopping between fun and educational locations around the world – dog-sledding in Finnish Lapland, sailing catamarans in Catalonia and experiencing culture and adventure in Turkey. Don’t wait until they’re older!
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.
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.
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.
Family holidays in Spain don’t have to mean crowded resorts on the Costas. These inspiring trips take you to some beautiful and unspoiled parts of the country, whether you’re looking for child-friendly walking in the Pyrenees or a cycle through rural Mallorca. Everything’s taken care of, from trip notes and luggage transport to family accommodation.
Bored, sulky teenagers on holiday? Not a chance with Powder Byrne’s inspirational Sports Academies. Many teens want to be active, challenged and independent on holiday, and these specialised summer programmes (covering tennis, football, surfing and scuba-diving) deliver just that with top instructors in some of the coolest resorts in the Med.
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.
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.
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.
What an inspired collection of family friendly cottages! The moment you snuggle up with Sheepskin’s small-but-perfectly-formed portfolio of properties you’ll just want to pack up and go. There are cottages in Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire, pet-friendly boltholes in the Brecon Beacons, luxury retreats in Shropshire and seaside escapes in Cornwall to name a few.
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.