Brittany is right on the doorstep for British families. With fast-ferries in summer, you could even be there quicker than getting to the far reaches of Cornwall
With a whopping 1,750 miles of coastline compared to Cornwall’s 430 miles, Brittany has a wilder, slower pace than its British cousin, with so much to explore, including fairytale castles, standing stones and long-distance trails. But it’s in the coastal areas that Brittany really comes into its own. Kids can learn everything from sand-yachting to kayaking on a host of beautiful sandy beaches, and enjoy ‘France’s Land’s End’ at Pointe du Raz.
From Mont Saint-Michel – sometimes called the 8th Wonder of the World – to the walled town of Saint Malo, the Emerald Coast is a wonderland for kids. Take your time discovering the headlands of Pointe du Grouin and Cap Fréhel, with their rare bird colonies. You might even spot dolphins off the coast at Cancale as you try to get the kids to try a local oyster. For a family digital detox, stay at the new ‘kleds’ – luxury stone barns – at La Ferme du Vent, owned by the family of Olivier Roellinger, France’s answer to Rick Stein, and featuring splendid granite Celtic baths with sea views.
Glamping has really caught on in Brittany. Down south, nestled in the Baie de la Forêt in La Forêt-Fouesnant, the stylish safari and bell tents of Bot Conan Lodge, with real beds and gorgeous duvets, are surrounded by unspoilt countryside and a direct view of a secluded beach with crystal waters just metres away. The field has been fenced, so kids can play freely, and there are barbecue areas and picnic tables for alfresco feasts.
Brittany’s many islands are a revelation to Brits. Beloved of Parisians for their summer getaways, they are havens of slow living and gorgeous surroundings, reached by ferry from the mainland. On tiny Houat Island, off the southern Morbihan coast, there are no cars, beautiful sweeping beaches, a network of footpaths, streets lined with flower-draped houses and a lovely harbour filled with fishing boats. Families can enjoy wild camping here in five beautiful bell tents at La Boîte à Poissons, with Japanese beds. Breakfast is served on-site, too!
Canopy and Stars offers Bot Conan Lodge bell tents (sleeping 4) from £69 per night, safari tents (sleeping 5) from £100 per night.
Brittany Ferries operates routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to five destinations in Brittany and Normandy. The summer fast-ferry takes as little as three hours from Portsmouth to Cherbourg. Peak season (July and August) fares on the Portsmouth-Caen route start from £155 each way for a car and family of four.
Check out why you should be holidaying by ferry with all the family