The Mexican Riviera is a beach made in heaven for families: gently shelving sand slipping into the warm Caribbean, almost guaranteed sunshine and, best of all, some excellent all-inclusive resorts. We particularly like Dreams Resorts & Spas. The family rooms and suites are gorgeous – although kids will no doubt prefer the weekly campouts on the beach.
For blissful beach holidays, Mauritius is a no-brainer (great weather, warm seas and no jet lag), but choosing your resort is not so easy. Most boast excellent family accommodation; they’re bursting with activities and the all-inclusive options promise great value. Beachcomber has a dedicated family holiday section featuring some of the choicest properties.
There’s so much about Gwel an Mor that we love. 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, we love resident wildlife ranger Gary Zammit, Cornwall’s very own Dr Doolittle.
The Balearic Islands are firm family favourites, but if you’re looking for the best beaches, quiet resorts and beautiful, unspoilt scenery, you can’t go wrong with Menorca. Its coast is chiselled with secluded coves, lapped by shallow turquoise waters. And if you tire of the beach, there are enough activities – from boat trips to horse riding – to keep most families happy.
Bottle-feed the lambs, collect the chicken eggs, help the farmer milk the cows … it’s all go on a farm holiday and children love every minute of it. This rural round-up of working farms throughout the UK offers cosy accommodation in cottages, farmhouses and barn conversions – all in gorgeous countryside. Don’t forget your wellies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of our all-time favourite destinations. We took the children to South Africa when they were just five, and they loved it. Boredom is simply not an option – not in a country where, in one day, you can stand on top of Table Mountain, paddle with wild penguins and then tuck into good ol’ fish and chips.
Quite possibly our favourite bit of any Greek island, northeast Corfu still has the wild forests and unspoilt azure coast that inspired Gerald Durrell to pen My Family and other Animals. It’s a magical corner of the Ionian, best appreciated from a villa tucked into a hillside or snug against a beach. CV Villas has the pick of the bunch.
When we first took our kids to the Peloponnese their eyes lit up on discovering that the winged wonder horse Pegasus was born here. It’s a fascinating corner of Greece, rich in legends, and this resort is the perfect place to stay. The beach is truly epic and kids will love the nature centre and recreational park.
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.
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).
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.
Renting a cottage in the Lake District is the gateway to unforgettable family adventures – whether you’ve got teens hell-bent on conquering Helvellyn or tots dabbling their toes in Rydal Water. The choice of activities is boundless – from canoeing and sailing to riding steam trains and exploring slate mines.
We took our twins mule-trekking in the Atlas Mountains when they were just four – and it still ranks as one of our all-time favourite family holidays. 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!
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, we 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.
We think we’ve found the secret to whinge-free walking holidays with the kids. Inntravel’s footloose and fancy-free self-guided trips not only take you to some of Europe’s most beautiful walking spots (from Austria’s Tyrol to Spain’s Catalonia coast), but they also include detailed maps and notes, luggage transport, great family hotels and well-paced itineraries sprinkled with non-walking days.
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.
The Ritz-Carlton, Abama has a faithful family following, and it’s not hard to see why. Luxury accommodation, spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and 18-hole golf course aside, it takes childcare and kids’ facilities to new heights with everything from family pools and sports academies to kids’ clubs, free children’s dinners and cinema nights on the beach.
Feather Down Farms lead the herd when it comes to luxury camping in the UK. Lift the flap or open the log cabin door and you step into a snug den complete with wood-fired stove, oil lanterns, three bedrooms (including a secret cubbyhole for kids) and everything you need for a back-to-nature holiday on any of 30 working farms.
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.
Esprit has mastered the art of family activity holidays, with 30 years’ experience in the Alps and some of the best children’s programmes in the business. Head to the mountains in France or the Italian Lakes, for a host of activities, free child care and family-friendly accommodation.