Family holidays at May half term

France holidays May half termFamily holidays in May

By Amanda Statham, Editor

The best family deals in May half term 2022

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

In 2022 the late May Bank Holiday has been moved to Thursday 2 June, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday is on Friday 3 June, giving the UK a four-day holiday weekend.

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UK holidaysEurope –  Activity holidays – Luxury – Adventure

May half term holidays in the UK

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

For self-catering, Classic Cottages has 350 family-friendly cottages in Cornwall, while Helpful Holidays has more than 400 rental properties in Devon. If you want to bring along your treasured pet, select from more than 200 dog-friendly cottages around the UK.

In Dorset, you can rent a family holiday cottage on the Jurassic Coast, one of the UK’s best regions for fossil hunting. Or escape the crowds in the Brecon Beacons National Park where you can stay in one of these holiday cottages.

The Isle of Wight has some beautiful cottages to rent, along with classic family attractions. Check out these places to stay. Book a ferry with Wightlink which has more than 100 daily crossings from Portsmouth and Lymington.

On the east coast, Northumberland and Norfolk are both superb regions for family holidays with great selections of rental cottages. Check out the self-catering options on the Northumberland coast and in the Norfolk Broads.

PGL runs family adventure holidays across England, Wales and Scotland with activities including raft-building, circus skills, zip-lining, quad-biking and abseiling. The company also offers half-term camps for children aged 8 – 16.

Another great way to enjoy the British countryside is to stay on a working farm with Holiday Cottages (see the latest special offers).

If you prefer a hotel, on Cornwall’s stunning north coast, the Sands Resort Hotel offers surfing, bodyboarding, rock-climbing and coasteering (see the latest offers).

Kids 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.

Sunshine 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.

In Portugal, few families look further than the Algarve, and who can blame them? Not only is it largely sheltered from cool Atlantic winds and ocean currents, but its coastline is notched with a glorious succession of sandy coves and beaches. Check out this chic rural hotel and this friendly eco retreat.

Away from the coast, this hideaway in unspoiled Alentejo is a perfect base for exploring the region’s whitewashed hill towns and sweeping savannahs, while these funky apartments in Lisbon are ideal for a family city break.

France has some great budget options. Siblu has a selection of villages in France with large swimming pools and free children’s clubs. If you want to escape the crowds, rent one of these good-value family hideaways in rural France. For an upmarket all-inclusive experience, check out Club Med.

Sardinia is a beautiful island with superb beaches and clear seas. Chia Laguna Resort is a good-value five-star.

If you want somewhere more rustic – and cheap – check out this fabulous collection of family accommodation in Sicily which includes stylish apartments and agriturismos such as this former farmhouse.

Or explore one of Europe’s great cities, staying in a stylish family apartment. You’ll have all the freedom, space and privacy that you rarely get in a hotel. How about a Parisian loft, a canal boat in Amsterdam, an apartment in Lisbon or an architect-designed home in Barcelona.

Activity holidays for May half-term

If you want an action-packed holiday, check out Activities Abroad which has options include surfing and orienteering in Portugal, whale-watching and jeep safaris in Madeira, and white-water rafting in Croatia.

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.

Or rent one of these motor cruisers to explore the canals and rivers of rural France. The pace is slow, no experience is required and the boats sleep between 3 and 12. You can choose a base in regions across France including Brittany, Burgundy and the Loire Valley. Learn more about a family boating holiday in France.

It’s an exciting time to visit Scandinavia where you can witness the midnight sun and get stuck into some outdoors adventures. Take a look at these amazing family trips in SwedenNorway and Lapland. This Adventure in Swedish Lapland includes a stay in a remote island log cabin, kayaking and wilderness skills.

Luxury villas, hotels, cruises

If you want a world-class beach and five-star family facilities, try one of the Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean. May is a great time to visit the region.

If you’re travelling with a large family or group of friends, you could rent a chateau in France – for example, Chateau Gombardy in the Loire Valley sleeps up to 16 and has a swimming pool and tennis court. It’s a lot less expensive than you might think.

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

If you’re looking for a more contemporary, cool vibe, try the stylish new Nobu Ibiza Bay Hotel on a lovely sandy beach near Ibiza Town. If you want somewhere more secluded, try the all-suite 7Pines Resort Ibiza built in the style of a traditional village.

You can see a lot of the Med on a family cruise. The latest ships are constantly improving their family friendliness. Royal Caribbean Cruises, for example, offers a Flowrider surf simulator, rock climbing wall, zip line and water slides. See the latest family cruise offers.

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. You can fly or take an overnight ferry to Santander. Check out this collection of family villas with private pool.

For a bit more opulence, Sir Richard Branson’s Son Bunyola estate in Mallorca has 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.

Croatia is becoming increasingly popular with families, with many people opting to stay in villas. There’s a good selection both on the coast and within walking distance of local villages. See the latest special offers.

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, luxury Villa Monchique is packed with toys and games for all the family.

Love Italy? So do we. One of the best family hotels we’ve found is 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.

On the Algarve, the five-star Pine Cliffs consistently gets rave reviews from families. May half-term is a great time for a tennis holiday at the hotel’s own Annabel Croft academy.

In Greece, the MarBella Corfu has been designed from the ground up for families. It is fast acquiring a great reputation for its child care, including a creche for ages 4 months and up, and fun classes for children aged 7 to 12 years and 13 years and over, including pottery, robotics and snorkelling.

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. You could join a luxury gulet cruise to explore secret coves, swim off the boat and gaze at stars after dark. Details here.

Simpson Travel has its own bespoke crèche and kids’ activities available to guests staying at selected villas and hotels in Lefkada, Crete and Corfu. Take a look at the fabulous family-run villa resort, Mousses, on Lefkada where each villa has its own fenced pool with shade for toddlers.

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 which has a great programme for children. This seven-night Cape Town and Eastern Cape holiday has been specifically designed for half-term week.

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 2022?

The May Bank Holidays in 2022: Monday 2 May and Thursday 2 June (Spring Bank Holiday).

Last updated: 26 May 2022

<< Visit our homepage for 101 family holiday ideas. Also see our picks for the best family holidays at Easter and in June.

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Travel guidelines and advice are still subject to change. Check the latest travel restrictions for UK residents.