The six best family holidays
Child-friendly family holiday destinations you’ll all remember
Travelling with children can be challenging – it doesn’t matter if you are journeying by plane, train or automobile, at some point your trip will invariably descend into the sort of high level negotiations usually seen at the UN, just to secure five minutes’ peace from fractious kids. So you need to be sure that the destination justifies the drama – here are six family holidays that are well worth the trip.
La Rochelle, France
This pretty port town has everything you need for the perfect family getaway. The harbour is picturesque with enough great bars and restaurants to please parents, plus there’s a playground, ferris wheel and charming merry-go-round to distract younger kids. Should the sun shine there are two picturesque islands – Île de Ré and the car-free Île-d’Aix – just waiting to be explored, but should the rain come, the aquarium and puppet and model museums are on hand to keep everyone happy.
Having shrugged off its reputation for lairy hedonism, Majorca has emerged as a family magnet that draws back converts year after year. There are beautiful beaches for the loungers, mountains for the hikers and some of the classiest hotels in Europe for you to rest your head in.
Port Lympne Wildlife Park, Kent
Tigers peeking through your window, giraffes lolloping to the watering hole and herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain: welcome to… Kent. One of two Aspinall Foundation properties bringing the big five (safari animals) to the commuter belt, Port Lympne is a conservation-minded safari park with swish rooms available inside the enclosures. Whether you’re after bears, big cats or rhinos, you can spend the night where the wild things are.
Saguaro National Park, Arizona, USA
For an enforced screen break they’ll thank you for, head for the US/Mexican border and the Tanque Verde ranch in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park. There are spectacular riding trails that wind their way through desert and mountain scenery and a spa for the saddle sore. The all-inclusive packages include access to nigh-on 20 activities a day ensuring you’ll have plenty to discuss around the campfire come the evening.
Looking for a happy holiday with the moody teenager in your life? Then consider a surf school break to Lagos. Just about as south as you can get in Portugal – and mainland Europe for that matter – the summers here are hazy and the gentle waves perfect for beginners. If parents don’t fancy embarrassing their children by enrolling themselves, the old town’s pretty cobbled lanes and picturesque squares are the ideal place to while away the hours until you reconvene with your newly gnarly offspring.
The Gothenberg Archipelago, Sweden
If your idea of relaxation involves more forests and lakes than sand and surf, west Sweden is for you. The Gothenburg Archipelago is made up of twenty islands within easy reach of the city where outdoors types can hire a traditional cabin from which to explore the woods or kayak the gin-clear waters. Should the great outdoors prove overwhelming, Gothenburg itself boasts Liseberg, Scandinavia's largest amusement park, and the excellent Universeum science museum.
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