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Family holidays at May half term

Family holidays TurkeyFamily holidays in May half term

By Mark Frary, Editor of 101 Family Holidays

The best family deals in May half term 2017

Looking for family holidays in May half term? I have compiled some exciting ideas for you and your family both at home and abroad, whatever your budget. You’ll find personal recommendations for families with children of all ages through to teenagers.


May half term holidays in Europe

May is a fantastic time to travel to Europe, especially the Mediterranean. It’s near the start of the season so resorts are uncrowded, temperatures are manageable for children and you can be confident of enjoying long days of sunshine, even if the sea may still feel a bit cool.

France has some great budget options. Siblu has a selection of villages in France with large swimming pools and free children’s clubs. See the latest offers. Also check out Le Mas de St Hilaire, a holiday village on the west coast of France with a great beach for young children.

Another way to save is to book an all-inclusive stay with First Choice SplashWorld which has 24 family hotels in sunny locations, each with a water park on site or next door and free supervised children’s club.

If you like your own space, but also enjoy some gentle family activities, check out these active villa holidays in France and Spain, which combine all the advantages of self-catering with all the equipment and advice you need for cycling and walking.

If you’re travelling with a large family or group of friends, you could rent a chateau in France – for example, Chateau de Tille in the Loire Valley sleeps up to 16 and has a swimming pool and tennis court.

These villas in the Dordogne are firm favourites with families, and would be the ideal base to explore this picturesque region of forests, gorges, historic towns and vineyards. See the latest special offers.

For a perfect small family hotel in France, I recommend Hotel l’Arena in Fréjus midway between Cannes and St Tropez.

Young children love these private tours of Paris that might include a drive around the French capital in a chauffeur-driven Citroen 2CV and a lesson in making baguettes. Other destinations include Rome and Florence. Details from Family Twist.

Or how about a short break at Efteling in Holland: it has rides and attractions themed around fairytales, dragons and elves, and the world’s only talking tree.

If you want an action-packed holiday, check out Activities Abroad which has options include surfing in Portugal, white-water rafting in Slovenia and canyoning in The Ardeche in France.

Or you could take to the ocean waves on a flotilla sailing holiday in the Mediterranean. Check out the latest special offers.

Or explore one of Europe’s great cities, staying in a stylish family apartment. You could check into a Parisian loft, a canal boat in Amsterdam, an apartment in Lisbon or an architect-designed home in Barcelona.

Take an independent family cycling holiday in one of Europe’s most beautiful regions. You get bikes, maps and an itinerary, and your luggage is each day transported to a new hotel where dinner awaits. My top recommended destinations are Mallorca and Catalonia.

Many people ignore Northern Spain which is crazy, because this is a beautiful part of Europe with lots to do, beautiful places to stay and miles of unspoilt beaches.

Sir Richard Branson has recently unveiled his new Son Bunyola estate in Mallorca with just three stunning villas set in 680 acres of protected countryside. On the Spanish mainland you could head to the chic town of Sitges near Barcelona where you’ll find these stylish villas for families.

Inntravel has some interesting activity holidays in Spain including walking in Catalonia and cycling in Mallorca.

Portugal is a firm favourite with many families. I love this selection of boutique hotels, B&Bs and stylish villas from i-escape. On the Algarve, the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel is chic and toddler-friendly, while luxury villa Quinta do Esperanca even has a private tennis court.

Love Italy? So do we. Two of the best family hotels we’ve found are the Borgo Scopeta Relais in Siena, and the award-winning Borgo Egnazia in the sun-baked south.

Another luxury hotel that works really well for families is the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily. It’s part of the exclusive Rocco Forte collection with interiors designed by Olga Polizzi. Facilities a two-tier swimming pool, tennis academy, Juventus Camp football academy, bike hire and 18-hole golf course.

There are some great options in Greece. I recommend Sani Resort, a large resort set amid pine forests on beautiful Blue Flag beaches. It’s enclosed, safe and friendly with lots of facilities for children of all ages. The Sani Beach Club is the best hotel within the complex for families.

Other Greek options include the Westin Resort Costa Navarino – which has fantastic facilities for kids including water slides, bowling alley, adventure playground, two golf courses, racket ball, mountain biking, open air cinema and plenty of water sports from paddle boarding to scuba-diving. If you prefer simple self-catering, try the villas with pools on the charming island of Kefalonia which has direct flights from across the UK (see the latest offers).

Turkey’s Aegean coast sparkles in May. Join a luxury gulet cruise along the coast, where you can explore secret coves, swim off the boat and gaze at stars after dark. Details here.

Scott Dunn, has its own Explorers kids clubs at selected luxury hotels including Pine Cliffs in the Algarve and Daios Cove in Crete – both great destinations in May. The clubs are for children from 4 months to 13 years and offer everything from cookery to sports and outdoor adventures.

May half term holidays in the UK

May half term is only a few weeks away from Midsummer so you are guaranteed long days – hopefully filled with warm sunshine. In recent years, the end of May has brought good weather to the UK, better than August.

Enjoy the British countryside on a working farm with Holiday Cottages (see the latest special offers). Or if you want more luxury, stay in a beautiful wooden-floored canvas tent at Feather Down Farms. It operates on farms across the country.

Devon is a great destination for May half term holidays. Helpful Holidays has a nice range of cottages, allowing you to enjoy the magnificent countryside of Dartmoor or Exmoor – or relax on the beaches of the beautiful South Hams.

In Cornwall, I love Gwel an Mor which has comfortable Scandinavian-style wooden lodges and its own wildlife centre (see the special offers). The Sands Resort Hotel on the north coast of Cornwall has great facilities including surfing (see the latest offers).

If you prefer self-catering, Classic Cottages has 350 family-friendly cottages in Cornwall. If you want to bring a pet, select from these dog-friendly cottages.

Also consider the New Forest which has a great collection of cycle paths, walking trails and other attractions and places to eat out. Rent one of these houses and cottages.

PGL runs family adventure holidays across England, Wales and Scotland from just £145 (adults) and £125 (children) including all meals and activities including raft-building, circus skills, zip-lining, quad-biking and abseiling. The company also offers half-term camps for children aged 7 – 17.

At Crantock Beach in Cornwall, Trevella Park has lovely posh tents with beds and duvets plus a heated outdoor pool, adventure playground and nature trails.

Don’t fancy camping? Book a family room at the Youth Hostel Association which has hostels in many stunning locations across Britain.

Kids will love the Merton Hotel in Jersey which has an Aquadome complete with swimming pools, slides, fountains, sauna and steam room, PLUS a huge outdoor pool complex that boasts a Flowrider where children and adults can learn to surf.

Malaria-free safari in South AfricaKwandwe Game Reserve, Eastern Cape

Adventure holidays at May half term

May is not a great time of year for a long haul beach holiday, partly because Europe is just so good at this time of year, but it is a good time for an adventure tour or safari.

Head to South Africa where you and the kids can see the Big Five in malaria-free game reserves such as Madikwe and Pilanesberg, both of which have great programmes for children.

It’s a great time of year to visit California where you can binge on beaches, national parks, thrilling cities and theme parks. I particularly like this 11-night America’s West road trip along Route 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Yosemite National Park.

If you want more than swimming pools and kids clubs, check out The Family Adventure Company which has exciting group tours to good-value destinations. Its Pyrenees adventure in Andorra includes white-water rafting and mountain biking while in Croatia you can all try canoeing, sea-kayaking, rafting and cycling.

I also recommend Families Worldwide which has half-term trips to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco (2-10 yrs), the Himalayas (5-16 yrs) and Vesuvius & Pompeii (5-15 yrs).

Fleewinter is a specialist tour operator to Morocco: its family itineraries include this holiday to Marrakech, the Essaouira coast and the Atlas Mountains. For added adventure Moroccan Circle also includes a trip into the Sahara Desert.

When are the May bank holidays in 2017?

The May Bank Holidays in 2017 are: Monday 1 May and Monday 29 May (Spring Bank Holiday).

Last updated: 18 January 2017

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