Paddling in the sea. Eating pizza at your new favourite restaurant. Building dens deep in the forest. Amazing memories are made on family holidays.
But finding the right family holiday for you and your tribe isn’t always easy. How do you make sure every member of the family gets what they want from their time away — parents included?
What does your ideal family holiday look like?
Do the kids want to be constantly entertained with lots of activities? Are you all culture vultures at heart? Or are you dreaming of sun, sea and as much relaxation as you can get away with?
Your family holiday wish list has to factor in practicalities, too — the age of your kids, how much time you have and how much money you want to spend. There’s no getting away from the fact that travelling during the school holidays tends to be expensive.
The secret lies in proper planning...
Family holidays are precious. And forward thinking will help you tick as many of those wish list boxes as possible. Balancing wants, needs, costs and travel dates isn’t always easy, but the first step is narrowing down your options.
The great outdoors! On a family camping holiday you get to enjoy the countryside to the fullest.
A camping trip provides an adventurous escape from the day to day, as long as you’re prepared to brave the elements and wave goodbye to your creature comforts for a week or two.
Kids, both big and small, can explore nature and enjoy adventure activities. And with screen-time almost out of the question, the whole family can spend evenings toasting marshmallows, playing card games and looking up at the stars — weather permitting.
Price: £ - ££
Once you’ve bought your kit, family camping holidays are as cheap as they come. Pitch prices range from £15 to £40 per night for a family of 4, depending on the campsite location and the facilities it offers.
Camping is great for: Outdoorsy families who want to switch off from busy, modern life.
Glamping is the perfect way to enjoy nature while still having a mattress and a phone charger! Think of it as camping, with a few little luxuries thrown in. It’s also really exciting for kids — stay in a teepee, a safari tent, a yurt, a hut or a treehouse.
On a family glamping holiday the weather inevitably makes a difference. But as glamping accommodation is usually more spacious than the standard tent, it won’t be a complete washout if you experience the odd rain shower.
Price: ££ - £££
Glamping is more expensive than camping, but it’s still an affordable option for families who don’t mind cooking their own meals. Whether you’re staying in the UK or travelling abroad, glamping accommodation always works out less expensive than a hotel or apartment.
Glamping is great for: Families looking to combine luxury, nature and affordability.
When you stay at a family holiday park, you can guarantee that the kids are going to have the time of their lives.
Swimming pools, horse riding, craft workshops, discos — you name it, holiday parks have got it all. Plus all restaurants are child-friendly, so you can treat yourself to stress-free meals out, and parents may even be able to get some time alone, thanks to the creche or babysitting services.
Just bear in mind that some or all activities (depending on the holiday park you choose) incur an extra fee on top of your accommodation. And if you like getting away from it all — including other families! — holiday parks can sometimes feel a little crowded at peak holiday times.
Price: £££ - £££££
The price for a holiday park break will depend upon which holiday park and accommodation type you choose. A three bed lodge at Center Parcs can cost upwards of £2,000 for a week in August. An apartment at Butlin’s is generally cheaper. And EuroParcs static home accommodation can fall somewhere in between (even with flights or ferry travel factored in).
Holiday parks are great for: Active families — there’s always something to see or do on a family holiday park break.
Animal lovers will be in heaven on a family farm stay holiday. Kids can enjoy petting the animals, collecting eggs, going on pony treks and riding the tractor. Some farm stays also boast incredible facilities such as swimming pools, play areas, games rooms and homegrown food to die for!
You may be hard pressed persuading your teenagers to feed animals with the farmer but younger kids will have a ball. Both children and parents will love exploring nature, at the farm and in the surrounding countryside, too.
Price: £ - £££
There are family farm stays to suit all budgets — you can camp, glamp, stay at the farm B&B or book a self-catering cottage. Prices start from around £15 per night for camping and £50 per night for cottages.
Family stays are great for: Families with young kids, or city folk in need of cozy countryside retreat.
Exploring a new city with the family can be tons of fun. Seeing the sights, eating at world-renowned restaurants, and enjoying the cultural attractions of a new place means there’s never a dull moment.
Cities are trickier if you’ve got younger children, though. Navigating busy streets with a buggy is a sure-fire way to fast track parental stress.
But with so much on offer, a family city break can be adapted to suit almost any interest. If galleries and theatres won’t entertain the little ones, check out city zoos, parks, cycle trails and kid-friendly interactive museums.
As long as you don’t try to pack too much into your days, parents can still get their culture fix while the kids run around pretty squares and enjoy their fill of ice-cream.
Price: £££ - £££££
A city break usually means staying at an apartment or hotel, which can get pretty expensive depending on location. If you’re dreaming of a European city break, you may also have to factor in flights. On the plus side, many cities offer free activities and discounted travel cards for families — it all comes down to planning, again!
City breaks are great for: Families with older kids, who get a thrill from the hustle and bustle.
Popular regions for family glamping holidays
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