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.
Family holidays are precious, hard-earned and over all too quickly. Getting them right is especially important for single parents, when time is at a premium. Single With Kids is a brilliantly simple concept – the holidays are in small friendly groups, exclusively for single parents, and range from cheap camping breaks and party weekends to five-star beach resorts.
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.
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 you thought travelling to a city with the kids was a no no, check out these hugely imaginative short breaks in Paris, Rome and London as well as the Loire Valley. Tailor-made for individual families, everything is organised for you, from transport and accommodation to family activities ranging from treasure hunts and cookery lessons to gladiator school.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jamaica has beautiful beaches, vibrant towns, spectacular mountain scenery and, of course, a legendary reggae beat. You’ve got to visit the Bob Marley Museum in Port Royal and try jerk chicken at Boston Bay. And for stylish, laidback luxury, stay at the family-friendly plantation-style villas or interconnecting beachfront rooms at Round Hill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Madagascar is surely one of the most exciting and unique family holiday destinations. Imagine setting out on foot for close encounters with wild lemurs or taking a night walk in search of chameleons. There are fabulous things to do on the coast too, from snorkelling and sea kayaking to whale watching and visiting a pirate graveyard.
Yet to be convinced about glamping? Book into Trevella Park, near to the glorious beach at Crantock, and the comfy beds, fluffy duvets and fridges that come with the geo domes and safari tents should help to convince you. The site itself is pleasingly free of ‘entertainment’ and instead offers ranger adventures, fishing lakes and a heated outdoor pool.
The South of France is wonderfully diverse, from the long sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast and mountains of the Pyrenées to the stylish resorts of the Côte d’Azur. Rent a villa with private pool and you’ll have the perfect base for any family holiday. We reckon Vintage Travel has the pick of the properties.
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.
I am always amazed more families don’t look beyond Mickey Mouse when thinking about theme parks in Europe. We have had some amazing breaks at places like Efteling which are far less crowded than better known rivals and far less about the hard sell and more about giving visitors a fun and thrilling day out.
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.