Dubai is a subtle mix of different districts, each with a distinct personality, and you can choose from deeply cultured to endlessly beachy, if you want. Or, with a little insider knowledge, you could just as easily experience everything in one family holiday. Here’s a handy district-by-district guide to help you make the most of every minute in incredible Dubai.

Dubai's spice souk

1/6  Deira - legendary souks and bazaars

Deira stretches east from the banks of Dubai Creek. This is one of the city’s oldest districts, and the place for traditional souks, views of graceful dhows on the water, and fine historic architecture. Because heritage and culture is still such a vibrant part of everyday life in Deira, it’s a fascinating district to explore, and effortlessly involves kids in Dubai’s rich and intriguing heritage.

District highlights

The Gold Souk in Deira is estimated to hold upwards of 10 tons of gold on any given day. It’s one of the most celebrated in the world, famous for skilled goldsmiths, exquisite jewellery, and lively trading. While you’re in the area, visit the Spice Souk and Perfume Souk too. They’re both very different experiences from the Gold Souk, but no less exciting, and of course, they smell amazing.

Deira’s Al Ahmadiya School & Heritage House is an oasis of calm, surprisingly close to the lively souks. The traditional museum building is charming and houses everything you’ll ever need to know about Dubai’s pearl fishing industry.

Where to stay

Deira’s good for five-star hotels along Dubai Creek. But, only a few streets east, you’ll also find excellent value, mid-range family hotels. Many have free shuttle services to the beach, and rooftop pools with panoramic city views.

Luxury: Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, 5-star. Family room from £103 per night.

Good value: Grand Excelsior Hotel, 4-star, rooftop pool. Junior suite from £75 per night.

Great value: Auris Aparthotel, 3-star, rooftop pool. One bedroom apartment from £47 per night.