Holidays are the ideal time to relax, recuperate and bond as a family. With parents often working long hours and children dealing with the increasing pressures of school life, time away together is becoming even more precious. We’ve found some holidays that will not only give you time to make memories together but will make your children healthier and happier to boot!
Prices based on a family of four.
9. 7 night Narrowboat sailing adventure, Warwickshire, £601
“There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”, muses Ratty in The Wind in The Willows. There is something brilliant about gently cruising along a river, waving at passers-by and letting the kids dangle their legs off the side of a boat, carefree and enjoying being out in the fresh air. On a Napton Narrowboat you can have all the fun and adventure of a sailing holiday and still nestle down in comfy beds at the end of the day. Charter the two-bedroom Duchess with free tuition and all the home comforts you could want; there’s even free wifi on board! Kids will increase their confidence and skills as they help parents steer the boat, learn about water safety and enjoy sailing to a new and exciting destination each day.
What: 7 nights’ self-catering accommodation on The Duchess narrowboat; safety equipment, fuel and tuition is included
Where: Various routes starting in Napton, Warwickshire
Price: £601 (1-8 August)
8. 7 night camping holiday in the Black Forest, Germany, £889
‘Forest bathing’ is becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce stress and increase happiness for both children and adults alike. Walking in the woods has been found to reduce blood pressure and improve concentration levels, as well as of course being a lot of fun! Campingplatz Kinzigtal in the Black Forest offers abundant green space for kids to play as well as being adjacent to a fantastic swimming pool with waterslide. There are nature and cycling trails in the nearby area as well as a playground and stables for horse-riding lessons. Parents will love the restaurant serving traditional German food and can look forward to a relaxing drink at the bar with new friends.
What: 7 nights’ self-catering tent accommodation with access to site facilities
Where: The Black Forest, Germany
Price: £889 (3-10 August 2019)
7. Two-stop ‘Bush and Beach’ safari, South Africa, £2,217 pp
If you need to strike a balance between the animal-mad kids and the sun worshippers in the family, this dual-centre African holiday may be the perfect option. Begin your adventure with four nights at the Rhino River lodge where you will enjoy plenty of game drives to spot the Big Five. Why not play animal bingo and see who can find all of their animals the fastest? After a luxurious stay at the lodge head to the coast, where you will unwind at the five star Oyster Box hotel. Either relax with a sweet coconut on the beach or take up one of the many activities on offer, including snorkelling and deep sea fishing.
What: 4 nights’ all inclusive accommodation at Rhino River Lodge with game drives; 3 nights’ B&B accommodation at The Oyster Box.
Where: South Africa
Price: From £1,337 pp for ground arrangements + £880 pp for flights (various dates)
6. 4-night country break with cookery school, Devon, England, £760 + classes
A stay at Manna from Devon may be just what your family needs to reconnect and enjoy some quality time together. Located in leafy South Devon, the B&B is the ideal base from which to explore all that the county has to offer. Spend the day at the beach enjoying the sea breeze; take a hike to spot ponies in Dartmoor National Park or go and watch the pro surfers do their thing in Torquay. When you’ve had your fill of nature, unleash your inner chef with a day of family cookery school. From starters to desserts, the chefs at Manna From Heaven will show your little ones all they need to know to create their own delicious meals.
What: B&B in a family room plus cookery school sessions for the whole family
Where: South Devon, England
Price: Double/twin rooms from £95 (free cots) for cookery school students. One-day cookery classes approx £175 pp
5. 7 night Alpine activity break in Austria, £3,060
This mountain-based adventure holiday is a great way to get fit and healthy together as a family. Each person receives ‘20 activity points’ which can be traded in for sports such as rafting, canyoning and climbing, with all the activities supervised by qualified instructors. There are plenty of other opportunities for nature-based fun such as swimming in the local lakes and hiking through the beautiful countryside. One of the most fun parts of the holiday is that you can choose from two delightful accommodation options; either a room in the idyllic resort chalet or a charming family-run hotel.
What: 7 nights’ B&B accommodation for a family of four, plus 20 ‘activity points’ to trade for sports at the resort
Where: Oetz, Austria
Price: £3,060 (3-10 August)
4. 7 night swim with dolphins adventure, Azores, Portugal, £2,700
Swimming with dolphins is rated as one of the most popular activities for people to put on their ‘bucket list’. Extensive research has been done into the soothing and developmental effects that swimming with dolphins can have on children; it is also a breathtaking experience! Travel to the Azores on this seven-night marine adventure and learn all about the way that whales and dolphins communicate, before heading into the ocean. Stay in a four-star hotel where you can relax in between your three trips to swim with the magical creatures.
What: For a family of four: 7 nights’ self-catering accommodation; transfers to and from the airport; 3 half-day dolphin trips plus instruction; excludes flights
Where: Azores, Portugal
Price: £2,700 (departing 10 August 2019)
3. 7 nights’ traditional Tipi camping, Sussex, UK, £500
For those families looking for a staycation with a twist, the Big Sky Tipi site in Sussex is a perfect fit. Set in a quiet field in the heart of the countryside, it is a great place for kids to run barefoot and wild for a week of nature exploration. There are only six tipis on the site so it is never crowded or too noisy, although in the holidays there are often other children for little ones to make friends and share a campfire with. The field backs onto a forest with plenty of woodland walks and even a couple of resident pigs who appreciate leftovers for dinner! In the local area are plenty of attractions such as Herstmonceux Castle, an Observatory and Eastbourne beach.
What: 7 nights’ self-catering accommodation in a luxury tipi (sleeps 4, includes beds, bedding and cooking equipment)
Where: Sussex, England
Price: £500 (July and August 2019)
2. 7 nights at DisneyWorld, Orlando, Florida, £3,423
A trip to the ‘happiest place on Earth’ is sure to be high in the charts when it comes to great holidays for kids. Stay at the famous Disney All-Star Sports Resort and enjoy unlimited access to the Disney parks for the duration of your stay. Capture the holiday with the included Memory Maker photo package that allows you unlimited pictures of your family with the Disney characters, captured by a professional photographer. Disney Dine options and other add-ons are available.
DisneyWorld might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a healthy holiday, but there are healthy options available in the park’s foodcourts, including salads and plenty of fresh fruit. Disney have made huge strides to improve the availability of nutritious food in their parks and if you go armed with plenty of will power, you can have a healthy family break!
What: For a family of four: Return flights from London Gatwick to Orlando with BA; Magical Express transfers; 7 nights’ self-catering accommodation at the Disney All-Star Sports Resort; family park entry tickets
Where: Orlando, Florida
Price: £3,423 (5-12 August 2019)
1. 7 day volunteering with sea turtles, Costa Rica, £969 pp
They often say not to work with children or animals, but we believe some of the best experiences include both. Kids benefit greatly from respectful interaction with animals and will learn enough to fill a textbook (and a scrapbook!) on this turtle conservation holiday. Visitors will patrol beaches in search of nesting turtles, monitor nest and record observations for the charity’s research project. There is nothing like seeing a newly hatched baby turtle make his way to the sea for his first swim! As well as protecting precious hatchlings, you’ll enjoy the glorious beaches of Costa Rica’s unspoilt coastline.
What: 7 nights cabin accommodation in the local community; volunteering with sea turtle conservation charity
Where: Costa Rica Pacific Coast
Price: From £969 pp (excluding flights)