There is a lot to consider when trying to execute a memorable week of quality family time free from boredom, tears and tantrums. Do you try to teach lessons in history, encourage tired legs around thrilling theme parks, build new memories brave adventure activities or create distractions by embracing wildlife?
Ticking everyone’s boxes is no mean feat. You can’t beat a villa holiday for comfort, relaxing beach days, and shallow sandy beaches. What’s not to love about daily ice cream breaks? Cruises offer the easy family fun, with contained entertainment and cultural stop-offs, but you can also get your money’s worth at an all-inclusive luxury resort. Use a laid-back kids’ club to schedule in some well-deserved alone time that is sure to please parents.
With such a versatile mix of incredible trips for the whole family, here’s The Independent’s selection of holiday destinations that toddlers, teens and the in-betweens will love to inspire your next family getaway.
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Vancouver is full of bustling markets, interactive museums and foodie hotspots. Tea canadian city’s dynamic landscape makes it the perfect holiday destination for all ages. Adventures for outdoor enthusiasts spotting black bears in the Rocky Mountains, relaxing on the beaches of Vancouver’s waterfront and taking a stroll around the unmissable Stanley Park are all accessible from the cosmopolitan city. Direct long-haul flights from the UK take around 9hours 30 minutes — that’s roughly six back-to-back viewings of Moana for those with toddlers — and teenage travelers are sure to appreciate the nap time. With plenty to do indoors and out in every season, be it skiing, hiking or enjoying a coffee with the locals, make the trip over the pond and get stuck into Canadian culture.
How to do it
Virgin Holidays offer a four-night package holiday to Vancouver for a family of four from £1,026pp. This includes flights and accommodation in a central boutique hotel.
Disneyland Paris, France
Experience the magic of the ultimate childhood dream at Disneyland Paris. Beat the height restrictions by taking your big kids so the whole family can ride — you’re never too old for a Mickey Mouse donut and headband ears. Fear not, there are lots of child-friendly rides for youngsters: go for a flight with Dumbo and float along the iconic It’s a Small World River for endless entertainment.
Make sure to take a day off from the rollercoasters to explore the culture and taste of the French capital from the Disneyland area hotels. Traveling to Paris on the Eurostar not only avoids the stress of taking unpredictable little ones on a plane but is more mindful of carbon emissions, has a generous baggage allowance for prams, and children under four can travel for free.
How to do it
Magic Breaks packages include accommodation in a Disney area hotel, Eurostar return tickets, park passes, shuttles and a three-month Disney+ subscription. Offers start at £2,670 for a family of four to spend three days in the Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios parks in peak season.
Iceland’s capital has a small-town feel and is super accessible via a great bus system, including hop-on hop-off journeys, to explore the famously safe and friendly nation with kids. There are endless activities in and around Reykjavik that cater to all ages. Nordic staples, including hunting the Northern Lights, whitewater rafting and a round trip to the Golden Circle, are bound to be a hit with everyone. Teenage Game of Thrones fans will love touring Thingvellir National Park and other filming locations from the hit series, while youngsters light up on whale and puffin-watching boat trips and memorable visits to Viking museums.
The milky waters of the Blue Lagoon are another perfect spot for all members of the family to make the trip their own. Parents, think about enjoying a relaxing spa day with the adults. Children, take the opportunity to put on a silica mud mask as you float around under Iceland’s breathtaking volcanic landscape.
How to do it
Trailfinders offer an Iceland’s Frozen Lands and Northern Lights package holiday from Reykjavík including four nights’ accommodation, a tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle, a visit to the Blue Lagoon and Northern Lights cruise from £2,505 per family. Separate international flights from the UK to Reykjavík Airport start from £269pp.
Tanzania’s vast reserves and savannahs are the best destination for wildlife-loving families looking to take on an adventure-style safari in the Serengeti. Mesmerize the kids during action-packed days and make the most of the ample opportunities to get up close and personal with the Big Five — lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo — to add a tick to your bucket list.
Post-safari visit the tropical haven of Zanzibar for blissful sandy beach days after a rewarding trip full of lessons and experiences in rich culture, cookery and spectacular natural beauty. Most safari providers tailor to the ages of your family so you are suitably comfortable in glamping accommodation, the truck on game drives and set out early to avoid the worst of the intense Tanzanian heat. Alternatively, explore taking it at your own pace and keeping the attention of little ones with self-drive safari options and canoe trips on Lake Manyara National Park.
How to do it
Intrepid Travel’s Tanzania Family Safari around the famous Serengeti National Park includes transport, most meals, accommodation in hotels and campsites, a cooking class and game drives. Prices start from £1,580pp.
From waterparks to dolphin-spotting trips and scenic orange train rides, Majorca is a dream for families looking to unwind—there’s a reason it’s a favorite with the Brits. The largest of the welcoming Balearic Islands is well equipped to accommodate everyone, with an abundance of family-friendly bars, restaurants and exceptional holiday resorts at your disposal.
Warm Spanish temperatures from June to September are just a short-haul flight from the UK, and trips to the Mediterranean climate can be surprisingly affordable. Put up the whole family in a spacious villa and – if you can bear to part from the pool – there’s something for all on Puerto Pollensa’s picturesque stretch of beach. Teenagers will love chilling out in the sun and toddlers can practice the art of the sandcastle before enjoying an ice cream.
How to do it
Villa Can Bachio in Pollensa, Mallorca sleeps two adults and two children with a tempting private pool. Book via Jet2Holidays from £509pp this summer for a seven-night self-catering holiday with flights, baggage and car hire included.
Consider a cruise with the kids to combine vibrant Thai culture with the security of on-deck accommodation. Travel to the remote waters of phuket via a multicultural medley of Asian destinations to guarantee an exceptional adventure each day. With plenty of secluded spots away from the hustle of city life, soak up the sun with views of Thailand’s lush mountain landscapes and see the sheer cliffs of the famous “James Bond Island” in Phang Nga Bay. Lively marine life, such as turtles, manta rays and vibrant coral, are best spotted from under the water when snorkelling and scuba diving.
Hop off the ship to sample local cuisine in Phuket town and pay a visit to the 45m-high Big Buddha and the temple of Wat Chalong’s Grand Pagoda. Onboard adventures include swimming, surfing and a skydiving simulator all kids will love. With so many fun activities on and off the land, we imagine it’ll be a unanimous yes from all your relatives.
How to do it
Royal Caribbean offer a four-night Penang and Phuket Cruise from just £285pp for an interior room. Set sail from Singapore onboard Spectrum of the Seas to visit the Pearl of Thailand from its crystal blue waters.
Carlisle Bay, Antigua
It’s hard to imagine anyone saying no to a holiday in the Caribbean, but long-haul travel to an unfamiliar destination with tots and teens can be daunting. Worry not: turquoise water, white sand and a rainforest backdrop await at the luxury resort of Carlisle Bay in Antigua. Make the most of the Cool Kids Club for children under 12, or cherish the thrills of a family day out at the unique experience of Stingray City and the Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tour for all ages.
With nothing overlooked, leaving the resort isn’t a necessity but there is much more to a stay in Antigua than beaches and all-inclusive Bacardi’s. Nearby, the Unesco World Heritage Site of English Harbor and Nelson’s Dockyard, a Georgian naval base since 1725, is the island’s historical hub for archaeological research. On Sunday nights, the famous viewpoint of Shirley Heights comes alive with spectacular sunsets, Caribbean music and barbeque food a huge hit with tourists.
How to do it
Package holidays to Carlisle Bay start from £1,839pp in peak season when booking through Expedia. stays at Carlisle Bay Hotel as part of an Expedia package include return flights, a balcony beach suite and breakfast for a family of four.
Isles of Scilly, England
Staycations to the Isles of Scilly are a great option for more low-key travellers, and the destination can be reached on ferries, small planes and helicopters departing from the Cornish coast. Families longing for a beach holiday can relax on the sheltered, clean bays of the remote British surroundings. With some of the best of the UK weather in the summer months, friendly locals and stunning scenery, embrace the slowed-down pace of life on the child-sized isles — ideal for roaming with little legs.
Bikes and golf buggies are available to hire, and boat trips run regularly from the capital of St Mary’s to each of the other islands. Make sure to visit Scilly’s Tresco Abbey Garden, a subtropical gem home to plants from every Mediterranean climate. The kids are bound to come home with sand and shells in tow — no, you will never be allowed to throw them away — as tokens from their home-from-home holiday.
How to do it
Isles of Scilly Inclusive Holidays can arrange all aspects of your family trip to the Isles including accommodation in B&Bs, self-catering cottages and inns for less than £50 per night. Ferry prices from Penzance on the mainland to St Mary’s start at £76.25 for a standard single and car parking, holiday insurance and airport transfers are all on offer in the tailor-made holiday packages.
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