I’m asked a lot about how we choose where to go on holiday and what makes me pick a particular location. Years ago I used to spend hours flicking through travel agents brochures and more recently websites and blog posts and Instagram. I follow and obscene amount of travel bloggers and my bucket list of where I want to go is longer than it’s ever been.
However I also love a good deal, and a recommendation, and if you’re not sure where to begin, a site like 101 Holidays which only features child-friendly breaks is a fabulous place to start. The website is really well designed and lets you filter your choices based on destination, budget and even the age of your kids.
For us one of the major issues is having three children, as three children very often means we have to book two rooms, or two suites meaning prices sky rocket. A website that allows me to filter choices based on the ages of my kids is a fantastic place to start and can cut out loads of options that aren’t appropriate for us.
4 million people use 101 Holidays every month to find their ideal holiday from trusted experts so they can’t all be wrong.
I spent a bit of time searching the site and came up with a few ideas from there of all different styles that I thought you might be interested in. Let me know what you think of them?
Budget – Stay on a working farm
If you’re looking for a budget friendly option, then you could always consider staying on a working farm. We’ve done this quite a few times over the years particularly when the kids were younger and it works really well. They love stomping around in the mud, collecting eggs and feeding all the animals and you get some on site entertainment which is about all they need. Holiday Cottages have a whole section of their website dedicated to staying on a working farm so that’s a great place to start
Luxury – Sands Resort
I haven’t heard anyone say a bad word about Sands Resort in Cornwall. It has baby listening and childcare, as well as a kids’ club and creche, not to mention spacious rooms. There is a huge amount of facilities for kids, including soft play and a toddler playground, plus a baby splash pool in the indoor pool. If that wasn’t enough then there is also a spa and an adults’ dining section in the restaurant so that you get a chance to indulge too. I have been desperate to visit for some time, and another member of the Mini Travellers team has been and reviewed it for us. You can check out our review.
Europe self-catering holidays
Budget – Holiday villages in France
Siblu have holiday villages in ten regions in France. They have fantastic holiday parks with huge pool complexes, slides you’ll want to go on time and time again, free kids clubs and evening entertainment for all ages. A good friend of mine Nell from Pigeon Pair & Me was lucky enough to stay at a Siblu campsite Domaine de Kerlann, in 2016. Domaine de Kerlann lies on the outskirts of the small commune of Névez, near the bustling artists’ town of Pont Aven.
You can read Nell’s full review of their trip to Siblu here, but she sums it up by saying “Domaine de Kerlann is great for families who enjoy lively, straightforward activities; for those who want to find a quiet spot (on the outskirts of the park) and dip occasionally into the action; and for people who want a base to explore the picturesque south-west edge of Brittany.” Definitely one to check out.
Luxury – Villas with private pool
If you can run to it. There isn’t much better than booking a Scott Dunn luxury family holiday in your own villa with a private pool. That in itself sounds pretty perfect to me, but with Scott Dunn you have the option of hiring a private villa that includes private staff and nannys too. It’s like having the service of a hotel but in your own space without other people around to get in your way.
You can spend hours looking round the Scott Dunn website but the properties in Majorca tick a lot of boxes!
Why not check out Alison’s post on a Scott Dunn holiday in Majorca.
Short-haul beach hotels
Budget – Bulgaria
At least 3 people mentioned Bulgaria to me in the school playground last week. After what has felt like a bit of a hiatus on travel to Bulgaria it seems to have popped back into public consciousness or at least into the consciousness of those around me. Balkan Holidays offer really great value for money combined with beautiful beach resorts. The images that I’ve seen of the south eastern Peninsula of the Balkans in Bulgaria are incredible.
Bulgaria was crowned the best value holiday destination for the first time in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Report published in January 2018, the popular Black Sea resort of Sunny Beach ranked number one overall by offering the cheapest kids beach items, drinks and family meal prices of the 42 destinations surveyed by Post Office Travel Money.
Luxury – Tenerife
The Ritz-Carlton, Abama is truly one of Europe’s premier retreats. I’ve spoken to friends and colleagues who return year on year. I suggest other places but when they weigh it all up they decide to go back. It just works they reply, we just love it.
Accommodation ranges from at the The Ritz-Carlton, Abama from a collection of rooms, suites and villas, suitable for both couples & families. All accommodation though is beautifully appointed and feature private terraces, whilst the villas offer seclusion too. Whilst probably not for anyone reading this blog – there are villas appointed just for ‘adults only ‘ which offer exclusive benefits and services plus a personalised check-in experience. The benefit to us family travellers of knowing this though is that the rest of the hotel is for families, and adults if they choose to take themselves away, have the option to do so.
Long-haul beach hotels
Budget – Antigua
I think calling this ‘Budget’ might be pushing it slightly. Although with Tropical Sky you can book this holiday to St James’s Club & Villas for 7 nights All Inclusive from £1,399 per Person Including Flights.
This beautiful property in a secluded location on a tranquil peninsula with two gorgeous white sand beaches really is a tropical paradise. There is a Kids Club, which is open from 9.15am until 11pm!! The kids club offer a whole host of fun for the kids, with fantastic nature trails, art classes and sports keeping them busy as mum and dad who may head off to swim in the adult-only tiered pool and indulge in a soothing spa treatment. Young explorers could even enjoy dinner and movie with their new friends at the Kids Club, leaving the grown ups to enjoy a romantic evening at the idyllic Piccolo Mondo Italian restaurant.
How does that sound?
If you’re still not convinced why not read these posts from A Modern Mother – 24 Things for families at St James’s Club, Antigua and Antigua: Elite Island’s St James’s Club family resort
Luxury – Maldives
Looking at this family friendly island in the Maldives has had me searching for the credit card. At Niyama, one island is for families and the other adults only, meaning that when you book this island for you and the kids you’ll know it truly is family friendly and you’re not going to ruin anyones honeymoon.
The new island is even called ‘Play’ and has four age specific programmes, where kids of all ages will have endless fun. Whilst the kids club sounds too much fun for just the kids with dolphin spotting, master chef cooking and crazy crab soccer, the rooms sound like my kids idea of heaven with high-tech toys such as an Ipad, the InnSpire TV system for kids and Niyama’s unique take on a minibar – ‘Deli-In’ – a fridge brimming with gourmet drinks and treats including complimentary ice cream. There are even popcorn-making machines in the rooms. I don’t think we would ever want to leave!
Budget – Group tour in India
Explore have been taking small groups on adventure holidays for almost 40 years. Their authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Their average group tour size is just 12. What you might not know though is that Explore do family trips too.
This India Family adventure tour takes in the desert landscapes of Rajasthan and the trio of cities that make up The Golden Triangle. It’s suitable for children of all ages although the average age over the last few years has been 11.
Jenny and her family spent a lot of time in India in 2017 and 2018 and you can read all about her experiences in this piece The truth about travelling in India with Kids .
Luxury – Tailor-made Thailand
Experience Travel Group was formed when the founders became disenchanted by the traditional packages on offer, feeling they were lacklustre, failed to get under the skin of a place and certainly missed that magical element of discovery. So you can imagine that this family adventure by bike and boat in Thailand is that little bit special. It’s particularly recommended for families with teenage children who wish to travel between late October and May (including Christmas and Easter holidays) and takes in the street food stalls of Bangkok on foot before leaving the city behind by bicycle and exploring rural Thailand. The River Kwai and the Ancient temples of Ayutthaya are enjoyed on bicycle at a gentle pace. The second part of the holiday takes you south to Phuket where you’ll board a 5 cabin teakwood sailing boat for 4 days exploring the nooks and crannies of Phang Nga Bay. Whilst there is some adventure on this tour it will be relatively light and there will also be time to relax in a hotel resort on either sleepy Koh Lanta or bustling Phuket before flying home.
Where do you sign me up!
Why not PIN this post with Ideas for Child-friendly Breaks