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.
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.
Year-round fun in the sun – that’s what Dubai is all about. From sleepy pearl-fishing villages to mesmerising metropolis, this outlandish city has grown into one of the world’s top family-holiday playgrounds. If spectacular luxury resorts, pristine beaches and mega-malls don’t leave you breathless then wacky water parks, desert adventures and fascinating souks surely will.
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.
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.
There was a time when cruising was considered old-fashioned – fine for granny, but anathema for parents contemplating days at sea with hyperactive children. Not any more. P&O has no fewer than five family-friendly ships, each packed to the gunwales with facilities and activities for parents and kids – and the grandparents. No chance of mutiny on one of these beauties.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
Sharing a large property with family or friends is not only great fun and good value, but you get to stay somewhere truly fabulous. We recently tried it with a couple of other families and we’re now completely sold on the idea. Big Domain has an excellent choice of destinations, from the UK and Europe to Morocco, South Africa and the USA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With its turquoise shallows and emerald isles, the Dalmation Coast of Croatia is ideal for kayaking – one of our favourite holiday activities. But you don’t have to look far to find other family-friendly adventures, from scaling the walls of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park to sailing in the Adriatic.
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 Turkey for well under £1000 per person, with loads included in the price.
You can’t beat a family holiday in a gorgeous Mediterranean villa – or, at least, we didn’t think you could until we came across Scott Dunn’s luxury staffed villas. And we’re 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.
One of our favourite regions of Spain, Catalunya has family appeal stamped all over it – whether you’ve got toddlers in search of beaches, active kids looking for Pyrenean mountain adventure or teenagers keen to explore nearby Barcelona. This superb collection of villas covers all bases – and each one has a private pool.
Somehow you just know you’re going to have a great time at a Club Med resort. They’ve had 40 years to perfect the art of the all-inclusive family holiday. But that hasn’t stopped them from innovating. Children’s clubs in 14 resorts are now designed around local themes and the environment. On the activity front, we love the sound of the Flying Trapeze Academies!
We’ve taken our kids to Iceland several times – self-drive touring in both the summer and winter… and we’ll be back for more. It’s such an exciting family destination. One day you could be whale watching, hiking to a waterfall or horse riding across a lava field, the next you could be gazing at the northern lights or lazing in a geothermal pool.
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.
Ever since we travelled through Borneo on our honeymoon we’ve been hooked. It’s an incredible family destination. 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 an Iban longhouse and visit an orang-utan sanctuary. Climbing Kinabalu and snorkelling on coral reefs would also top our wishlist.