The Best Places For Memorable Family Holidays

The Best Places For Memorable Family Holidays

The pandemic has forced families apart for months on end, meaning quality time with relatives of all ages is much needed. As a result, multi-generational breaks are set to be a top travel trend for next year. To help you get ahead of the crowds, here are some of our top recommendations for fun times en famille – from UK destinations to far-flung adventure trips, lazy beach holidays and city breaks…

UNITED KINGDOM

Affordable Luxe

Where: The Ickworth Hotel, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
 
The Lowdown: Just two hours from London, The Ickworth Hotel is set in 1,800 acres of rolling Suffolk parkland designed by Capability Brown. Once the home to the Marquess of Bristol and now jointly owned by the National Trust, this Georgian Italianate palace is the last place you’d expect to see children (and dogs) running around, but everything is set up to make little ones welcome both indoors and out. Explore the grounds by bike and the children will love clambering up the ancient trees and discovering the secret gardens, before playing in the indoor pool. Everything is geared to make adults and children enjoy their break in equal measures: there’s a crèche, a games room for older children and teens, as well as listening devices in the rooms so you can enjoy a drink and dinner while the children sleep. This hotel is great value in low season, but prices rise quite steeply at popular times of the year. 
 
The Details: Room rates start from £130 per night and under-16s can share your room free of charge. Visit The Ickworth for further information.

Three Mile Beach

Luxe

Where: Three Mile Beach, St Ives Bay, Cornwall
 
The Lowdown: Opening this month, this collection of 15 stylish self-catering beach houses is designed to evoke the carefree fun and nostalgia of childhood seaside holidays. Hidden among sand dunes, coastal grasses and palms, each of the three and four-bedroom cabins has an open-plan kitchen-lounge-diner, a log burner and wraparound terrace with sunken cedar hot tub, sauna and barbecue. The interiors see Cornish craftmanship sit happily alongside eclectic artworks sourced from the owners’ travels around the globe. The kitchens are very well equipped, but if you don’t fancy cooking, you can book a private chef or nip to the street food truck which comes round every lunch and supper time – think Indian curries, Tex-Mex burritos and pizzas. Older children will love learning to surf (all equipment can be hired) or you can walk or cycle (e-bikes are available) for miles to some of the region’s most beautiful spots. Just a short drive away is St Ives, with its colourful boutiques, galleries, restaurant, cafés and stunning sandy beaches.
 
The Details: Rates for a three-bedroom house start from £1,200 a week in low season and £3,100 for a week in high season, including a welcome hamper. Visit Three Mile Beach for further information.

Brook House
Brook House

Uber Luxe 

Where: Brook House, Avening, Oxfordshire
 
The Lowdown: This wonderful, light and art-filled honey-hued stone house is the perfect home to enjoy family time together in the heart of the Cotswolds, with ample space for entertaining across four receptions rooms, plus a very large kitchen breakfast room that opens out onto a southeast-facing terrace. There are six bedrooms: three are more suited as adult bedrooms and three are more children’s bedrooms – although the house can sleep 12, it is perhaps more suited for ten if the children are older. The garden is large with a shallow brook running past, a trampoline, boules and croquet, as well as a summer house. For those keen to explore, Brook House sits in the centre of Avening village, with two pubs just a short walk away, and the market towns of Tetbury and Stroud close by. Stroud offers a farmer’s market every Saturday and its own brewery serving local beers and ales. There’s plenty to keep children entertained, from classic cars at the Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water to castles, a water park in South Cerney and lots of wildlife. You can also relax in the knowledge that every booking comes with the Cotswold Concierge, a service to answer every need before and during a stay. Delve into its Little Black Book to be introduced to a chef, find a masseuse or a florist, or even plan a party.
 
The Details: Sleeps 12. Available for summer rentals and Christmas, rates start from £7,000 per week. Visit Luxury Cotswold Rentals for further information and for other cottages, country houses, manors and mansions to rent in its portfolio.
   

VILLAS

Affordable Luxe

Where: Villa Le Fauci, Tuscany, Italy
 
The Lowdown: Away from the crowds in a lesser-known part of the Tuscan countryside, Villa Le Fauci is a traditional 19th-century farmhouse converted to sleep 11 in four en-suite double bedrooms. The restoration has stayed loyal to the villa’s past, maintaining the original terracotta tiles, chestnut wood beams and interior stone walls. Outside, there are some beautiful spots for alfresco eating and the large infinity swimming pool includes a children’s area for youngsters to splash around in. A short drive away, you’ll find a lovely restaurant (highly recommended by the villa’s owner) as well as some typical local shops. You can also explore the enchanting historical towns of Volterra and San Gimignano, and the idyllic village of San Miniato, or head to Pisa, Florence and Siena for longer days out. 
 
The Details: Sleeps 11, rates start from £3,925 for a seven-night stay. Visit Oliver Travels for further information.

São Lourenço Do Barrocal
Ash James

Luxe

Where: São Lourenço do Barrocal, Alentejo, Portugal
 
The Lowdown: For a villa-type holiday with hotel facilities on site, this recently restored farmstead fits the bill. Sitting in several acres of wildflower-strewn meadows, olive groves and vineyards in Portugal’s wild Alentejo region, the estate has 16 one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages, housed within original farm buildings along a central cobbled street. Each of the cottages features local craftsmanship and has soaring vaulted ceilings, traditional terracotta floors and handcrafted furnishings. Open-plan kitchens and living areas offer ample space for communal living, and there are large open-air terraces and dining tables where you can make the most of the tranquil surroundings. Embracing the estate’s farm-to-fork ethos, you’ll get fresh bread delivered to your cottage each morning. You can also choose to get a hamper of Barrocal’s own olive oil, fruit jams and sweet treats, alongside other locally sourced produce, in order to cook your own meals. If you don’t fancy cooking, get a chef to host a cooking demonstration in your cottage, or order from the two farm-to-table restaurants. Days can be spent discovering the spacious estate on foot, bicycle or horseback, or by joining a local expert for archaeological or ethnobotanical explorations. There are also pottery classes led by artisans and night-time stargazing with astronomers from a nearby observatory, with special learning experiences available for children.
 
The Details: Two-bedroom cottages start from €473 per night on a bed and breakfast basis. Visit Barrocal for further information.

Villa Tatler
São Lourenço Do Barrocal
Ash James

Uber Luxe 

Where: Villa Tatler, Porto Heli, Peloponnese, Greece
 
The Lowdown: Knowns as the ‘Hamptons of Greece’, ultra-private Porto Heli attracts royals, tycoons and A-listers. And where better to holiday like a celeb than a contemporary waterfront retreat that offers total privacy and direct access to the beach? This seven-bedroom villa is surrounded by manicured gardens and terraces, with plenty of dining spots as well a large swimming pool. The dazzling white interiors are decorated with contemporary furnishings and vibrant artworks. The landscape plays a leading role everywhere: from the living room and the kitchen to the bedrooms, large glass doors offer spectacular views. Tatler also includes two guest houses, each with a double bedroom and access to the terrace – perfect for grandparents looking for some time away from the younger generations.
 
The Details: Sleeps up to 14, rates start from €2,750 per night. Visit The Greek Villas for further information.

Villa Le Fauci
With 2022 looking like the year of rebirth for most travel after the tragic pandemic, some of the money saved by older generations will turbocharge the family sector next year. Villas especially will rent like hot cakes.
Paul Charles

RESORTS

Affordable Luxe

Where: Sani Resort, Halkidiki, Greece
 
The Lowdown: The Sani Resort is on the Kasandra peninsula in Halkidiki, about 50 miles from Thessaloniki airport. It is vast, set in 1,000 acres, with several beaches, five hotels (with a range of room rates) and 40-odd restaurants and bars. You can make your way between hotels by golf buggy – ideal if some choose to stay in a suite in the more luxe Porto Sani, which has just undergone an impressive refurb. There are loads of activities for kids of all ages, including the Rafael Nadal tennis centre, Chelsea FC Foundation football coaching, a zip-line adventure park, a water park, biking, diving, sailing and water-skiing. The best bit? Their Babewatch Service sees staff look after little ones for up to half an hour free of charge on the beach. 
 
The Details: Rates at Sani Beach start from €129 per night; at Sani Club from €156; at Sani Dunes from €166; at Sani Asterias from €212; and at Porto Sani from €256 – all on a half-board basis. Visit Sani Resort for further information. 

Sani Resort

Luxe

Where: Évian Resort, Évian-les-Bains, France
 
The Lowdown: There is something for all ages at this resort on the French side of Lake Geneva. The programme for children includes tennis and golf camps, treasure hunts and various learning experiences. Older generations can try outdoor wellness activities, book into wine tastings or play a round of golf on the championship course. Évian is also the perfect base for forest bathing, canoeing, horse‐riding and hiking – one particularly stunning walk takes you through the Chablais region with its breathtaking scenery. The culture team can also arrange luxury picnics, a private visit to the terraced vineyards in Lavaux (a Unesco world heritage site across the lake in Switzerland) or electric bike trips along the mountain paths. And, of course, come winter you are only a short hop from some of France’s best ski resorts in the Portes du Soleil area. You can opt to stay in the four-star Hotel Ermitage or the five-star Hotel Royal which provides free accommodation for under-13s. Parents of little ones should book into the ‘Le Fabuleux Jardin’ rooms, which are being revamped by a Swiss children’s design specialist and will open this autumn – expect lots of toys, cosy tents and stylish decor themed on the flora and fauna of the surrounding Alpine wilderness. 
 
The Details: Rooms rates at Hotel Royal start from €264 per night. Visit The Evian Resort for further details.  

Évian Resort
Vila Vita Parc

Uber Luxe

Where: Vila Vita Parc, Algarve, Portugal
 
The Lowdown: Built in traditional Portuguese style and set around lakes and fountains in lush gardens, this cliff-top resort in the Algarve is family friendly without compromising on style, space or quality. It offers something for everyone: from an outstanding spa (the only Sisley spa in Portugal) several very good restaurants, including the two-Michelin-starred Ocean, and wine tasting in Cave de Vinhos, which boasts Portugal’s largest private wine collection. Children from six months to teenagers are catered for, with a range of activities including tennis, football, golf, arts and crafts, and baking, as well as water sports. Older teens can join in activities and workshops that focus on supporting their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as equipping them with some essential life skills – look out for yoga and mindfulness, culinary workshops on healthy eating, and strength training classes such as HIIT. 
 
The Details: Tour operator Carrier offers 7-night packages from £970 per person, including return flights and airport transfers. Alternatively, room rates start from €365 per night. Visit Vila Vita Parc for further information.
   

LONG-HAUL 

Luxe

Where: Costa Rica 
 
The Lowdown: Costa Rica is one of the most stable countries in Latin America and its people are among the friendliest. It is bursting with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna, and on this family journey you’ll explore its national parks and wildlife, enjoy canoe trips, suspended bridges, watch turtles nest on Tortuguero beach, and experience living in a beachside camp where monkeys roam free. Your last few days will be spent relaxing on a sunny beach at the popular resort at Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast.
 
The Details: This 14-day holiday costs £2,900 per person, including transfers, premium accommodation, excursions, domestic flights and most meals. Visit Journey Latin America for further information. 

Costa Rica
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Uber Luxe 

Where: Kenya
 
The Lowdown: For 2022, The Safari Collection has launched a ‘Lucky Dip’ trip – a unique itinerary that incorporates some of its epic camps and lodges in Kenya. While the exact properties included in each itinerary will remain a surprise until seven days prior to departure, you will be staying in at least two of Giraffe ManorSala’s CampSolio Lodge and Sasaab. Each safari is unique, and once-in-a-lifetime surprises are definitely in the mix, from starlit bush dinners to sundowners with rhinos and indulgent spa treatments. You will also be making a difference to local people and the planet through The Safari Collection’s dedicated Footprint Foundation, which unites high-end, sustainable tourism with wildlife conservation and communities. From the herd of Rothschild’s giraffe that shares breakfast with guests at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, the Maasai culture and density of wildlife at Sala’s Camp in the Masai Mara, the rugged landscape and stunning views of Mount Kenya at Solio Lodge, to the breath-taking views across the arid land at Sasaab in the Samburu, each lodge has its own special environment and distinct features that will appeal to all ages.
 
The Details: Rates for the 7-night ‘Lucky Dip’ safari start from £3,715 per person on an all-inclusive basis, staying at a minimum of two properties. Visit The Safari Collection for further information.

Blow The Budget Luxe

Where: Vancouver Wilderness, Canada
 
The Lowdown: If you’re up for a full-on blow-the-budget family holiday with lots of adventure thrown in, this eight-day trip to Canada should be at the top of your bucket list. You'll spend a couple of days soaking up the sights and sounds of Vancouver, including a bicycle tour of Stanley Park. Next up, you’ll travel by seaplane to the five-star Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on the edge of pine-forested hills overlooking the Pacific. Here, you’ll say farewell to your electronic devices for three action-packed days, featuring horse riding, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, surfing, fishing, canoeing and kayaking with expert guides, or looking for whales and bears. At night, you’ll sleep under canvas in luxury en-suite family tents. This is camping with all the bells and whistles: expect elegant furniture and soft linens, as well as cedar hot tubs and saunas.
 
The Details: Abercrombie & Kent’s 8-night Vancouver Wilderness Family Explorer costs from £5,425 per person. Visit A&K for further information. 
   

CITY BREAKS

LISBON

The great thing about Portugal’s capital is that you can have a city break and a beach holiday at the same time. There are lots of things to keep children of every age entertained – think castles and palaces, walks, bike rides, vintage trams and funiculars that take you up and down the steep and winding streets, a zoo and an oceanarium. The creamy custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém are world famous and worth queuing for, and the Time Out Food Hall is a good spot for lunch, with its vast choice of food outlets. If time allows, Cascais and Sintra are two fascinating historic towns, and both are an easy train ride from central Lisbon. Cascais, with its white sandy beaches, is linked to Lisbon by the urban coastal railway which stops at other beaches along the route, and is perfect for a day by the sea. Sintra, up in the hills of Serra de Sintra, is famous for its fairytale palace and castle, and is about a 40-minute journey from the centre of Lisbon.

Where To Stay In Lisbon

Affordable Luxe: Casa Chafariz works well for families, as it’s centrally located in Lisbon’s flourishing Santos design district, and has a range of apartments that can sleep up to six. Expect minimalist décor – a blend of Scandi sleek, Parisian chic and Portuguese flair – and colourful artworks and photographs.
  
Luxe: The Lumiares Hotel, a renovated 18th-century palace in the heart of the lively, trendy Bairro Alto district, offers an apartment-style stay but with all the perks of a luxury hotel, including impeccable service. The accommodation is ultra-modern yet super comfortable, tastefully decorated in monochrome tones with splashes of colour. If you don’t fancy cooking in your Smeg-equipped kitchen, the rooftop restaurant boasts excellent rooftop views over the Tagus river and the famous Castelo de São Jorge. Or you can head out into the cobbled lanes where you’ll find plenty of family-friendly restaurants and cafés.

Lisbon
UNSPLASH/LIAM McCKAY

AMSTERDAM

Easy-going Amsterdam is a great choice for a multi-generation family trip, as it’s just a short hop from London, and there’s plenty to see and do in a relatively small area, with easy, flat walking or biking. Must-sees include the Anne Frank Museum (though it can get a bit crowded) and, of course, the Van Gogh Museum, but you should also visit a traditional Dutch canal house – the Museum Van Loon is a grand private house built in 1691 and was once owned by a founder of the Dutch East India Company. A canal boat cruise is a great way to see the sights – don’t miss the ‘bridge of 15 bridges’, a point on the canals where you can see 15 arched bridges by looking in different directions. You can also book a guided walking tour of the city, which is not too strenuous.

Where To Stay In Amsterdam

Affordable Luxe: The renovated 17th-century warehouse Yay’s Zoutkeetsgracht houses 31 well-equipped boutique apartments, some of which have two bedrooms accommodating up to four adults and two children. The joy of staying here is that you can really live like a local in a residential area of the city. While there is no restaurant on site, the kitchen is well-equipped and there are plenty of supermarkets, cafés and restaurants nearby. There are bikes for hire and a free bike tour every Saturday.
 
Uber Luxe: In the city’s famous Museum Quarter, you’ll find all-out luxury at the Conservatorium (a Set hotel and sister to the Café Royal in London). A bank in the 19th century and a music conservatory in the 20th century, it was transformed into a super sleek hotel by Milan-based architect and designer Piero Lissoni about ten years ago. Rooms are the epitome of contemporary luxury, combining the best in modern comforts and technology. Families can opt for a two-bedroom suite or connecting rooms. Young guests are well catered for – count on unlimited in-room movies, swimming pool access, highchairs and a children’s menu in the brasserie, babysitting and tickets to children's paradise, the NEMO Science Museum.

ROME

The Eternal City has so much to delight little ones as well as older generations. World-famous historic sites, classical ruins, palazzos, fountains, as well as pizza and ice cream – it is one of those cities you never tire of, however many times you visit. The best way to see the sights is with a driver-guide, who will give you a good overview of the city. Be sure not to overdo it in one day – places like the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Vatican and Sistine Chapel are vast and you need to spend a few hours in each, and young ones will tire easily. At the top of your list, add the Trevi Fountain with its spectacular Baroque sculptures (it’s traditional to toss a coin into the water to ensure you’ll return to Rome) and the Spanish Steps.

Where To Stay In Rome

Affordable Luxe: Suites Trastevere is a guest house with just five rooms, located near the historic centre in the Trastevere district, which is known for its pretty alleys, and local and street artists. The rooms are spacious and can sleep three or four. Children will love the painted murals, as well as the choice of kids’ books and movies available in the rooms. Breakfast is included, with pastries and cold cuts, and the kitchen is stocked with free snacks like yogurt plus coffee and tea – useful when you have young ones in tow. The host will be happy to organise many things for you, from bike and walking tours, and cookery classes to no-queue tickets to some of the museums.  
 
Luxe: Back in 1850 Mr Singer, a famous American entrepreneur and inventor of the sewing machine, opened this palazzo as his Roman headquarters. It was converted into a chic boutique hotel three years ago. The Singer Palace Hotel is centrally located and within walking distance from all the major historica sites as well as the best shopping streets. Some of the deluxe rooms and suites can sleep three or four, and the suites can be connected to create a large apartment for six. Children get their own slippers, bathrobes and soaps, as well as a turndown service with a goodnight fairytale book. 
  
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.

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