The UK is renowned for its disappointing weather, and come the winter many of us are dreaming of escaping to that perfect winter sun spot. Abu Dhabi is this year’s hot contender, with only a seven hour flight separating the UK from the capital of the United Arab Emirates capital. Temperatures reach peaks of 31°C and lows of 15°C during the months of November and December, offering visitors 10 hours of sunshine a day.
Keeping every family member happy is sometimes the hardest part of any holiday. In Abu Dhabi, glorious beaches, astounding architecture, desert adventures and thrilling theme park should tick most, if not all of your brood’s boxes.
If you want to see the beautiful sites that await in Abu Dhabi, head to the Instagram page @visitabudhabi. Don’t forget to tag your own magic moments #InAbuDhabi for a chance to be featured on the page.
1/6 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This breathtaking white marbled mosque stretches over an expanse of 30 acres which rewards you with jaw-dropping views at every angle. The building was initiated by his Highness, at the time, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Extravagance oozes out of every part of this mosque, hardly surprising when construction started in 1996 and finally completed in 2007. As you stroll through the grounds you can lose yourself within the 82 domes. Ask your little ones if they can spot the biggest of them all, as the domes are made up of seven different sizes. It’s one of our top picks for cultural sightseeing, and definitely exceeds the purpose of uniting religion, culture, history and modern architecture.
Find out more: The mosque is free to enter, and you’re able to walk around at your own pace or take a enlightening guided tour. Click here, to find out opening times.
2/6 Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island
This is the perfect attraction to get those hearts racing. You will explore the world’s first Ferrari theme park and largest indoor theme park. Not only is the story of Ferrari brought to life, but with over 20 thrilling and educational rides and attractions, you’ll all get a chance to experience life in the driving seat. The theme park is home to the fastest rollercoaster in the world, Formula Rossa, which reaches speeds of up to 240km – enough to thrill even the most advanced adrenaline seekers. Youngsters need not miss out with attractions such as Speed of Magic which transports you on a fantastical 4-D adventure through deep green jungles and icy caves and even into the mouth of a fiery volcano. See if they can rise to the occasion, as they take to the karting track to try and beat the Ferrari’s pro drivers’ lap record. Get out of the fast lane for a while with the new play area for children, where they’ll find climbing walls, slides, trapezes, gymnastic rings and soft play structures they can clamber on until you manage to drag them away.
For more info: Tickets range in price depending on packages, but the silver ticket (unlimited 1-day access, 10 AED towards merchandise, and 3 fast passes) cost £61.60 per adult and £53.68 for juniors. Juniors have to be below 1.3m. Children under the age of three go free. ferrariworldabudhabi.com
Discover Yas Island from only £629 per person.
Price includes flights with Etihad Airways and 7 nights at the 4* Rotana Yas Island, with airport transfers. Price based on booking for two adults and two children.
Visit www.etihadholidays.co.uk or call 0844 557 0646 to book
For more information, visit www.visitabudhabi.ae
3/6 Abu Dhabi Corniche, Abu Dhabi City
The impressive Corniche Road stretches across eight kilometres, with both relaxation and exploration at the heart of this area. This manicured waterfront includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways and an abundance of cafés and restaurants. You can hire various bikes, including ones that can fit the whole family, to explore the Corniche in a healthier way. It’s great to admire the sweeping view across the waters. If you wanted to cool off post-exploration, why not take a dip in Corniche Beach, which is actually perfect for kids as it is manned by lifeguards?
For more info: FunRideSports is recommended for hiring out bikes and prices for hiring bikes start from £5.30 for adults and just over £3.50 for children, per hour – there are also special rates for hiring out bikes for 12 hours. visitabudhabi.ae/en
4/6 Arabian Wildlife Park, Sir Bani Yas Island
Fancy walking in the footsteps of a president? Take a day trip to the former retreat of Abu Dhabi’s first president, which is now site to the 1,400 hectares of protected wilderness. With over 13,000 free-roaming animals, the kids will be pointing left, right and centre to point out their wild finds. While you take an open-jeep safari, you may be lucky enough to see endangered Arabian oryx, giraffes, hyenas and even cheetahs. Being only a 40-minute flight away from Abu Dhabi, this island is the perfect wildlife retreat away from the city. If you wanted to continue the adventure, why not stay in one of Anantara’s three luxury hotels on the island – add kayaking, archery, horse riding and even diving to the itinerary?
For more info: Fly with Rotana Jet with two adults and children for just under £36 each way. sirbaniyasisland.com
5/6 Wadi Adventure, Al Ain
Appropriately located in the ‘Oasis City’ of Al Ain, Wadi Adventure is Arabia’s first man-made water rafting, kayaking and surfing facility. Wadi adventure also holds several other honours, as it also houses the world’s longest kayaking and white-water rafting network and surf pool. Your adventurous teens may enjoy the go-karting track, waterski and wakeboard park. Your young ones may enjoy making a big splash in the family swimming pool and kids’ area. You’ll be glad to know the kids’ area is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Once you’ve cooled down enough, why don’t you see which family member is the most agile? With a family-friendly low ropes obstacle course, your little ones can monkey around through ladders and steps and even zip lines.
For more info: Access to the park for a family of four, where the children are under 1.2 m, comes to just under £18. Certain activities are at an additional cost – air park and zip line, just under £9 for an hour session. To kayak all day it’s a one off fee of £26.50. Why not join in on a surfing lesson, for an hour, for £26.50. wadiadventure.ae
6/6 Adventures in the Empty Quarter, Rub Al Khali Desert
Take an Arabian adventure within the aptly named Empty Quarter, a desert adventure within the famous Rub Al Khali, the largest sand desert in the world. The larger the desert, the bigger the adventure. If your little ones are after a spot of thrill seeking, why not go dune bashing or sand surfing? This desert was made famous by British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, in his book Arabian Sands. Make like an explorer and take a day tour, one of the most popular, where you’ll be picked up from your hotel and treated to the sandy delights of camel trekking, among other treats, and dining beneath the stars before being dropped back at the hotel.If you want to enjoy your Arabian adventure for a little longer, you can stay overnight at either Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara or Arabian Nights Village.
For more info: If you’re looking for an oasis, on the edge of the desert is Tilal Al Liwa, a hideaway packed full of restaurants, an outdoor pool and a full range of desert activities. It’s worth knowing that every winter the region’s four-wheel drivers and quad bikers compete in the Moreeb Hill Climb. As part of the Liwa International Festival, competitors try to scale the world’s tallest sand dune, standing at over 300 metres high with an intimidating 50 degree incline to the top.
See more photos: instagram.com
For more information, visit www.visitabudhabi.ae