Yes. It is so important to get away two times a year, which I am lucky enough to be able to do. It defines my year!
I did not travel that much as a child as I had so many commitments (ponies and cricket, above all). My first memory was a skiing holiday which I did not enjoy that much. I found all the kit a nightmare and I was always being told off by someone.
I have three daughters; Anna, 19; Katie, 17; and Stella, 14. We try to have a family skiing holiday and a hot Mediterranean holiday each year, but when the children were younger this did not seem right - nor could we afford it. So it was just Cornwall or Dorset!
Two stick out and both were on boats (although I am not a sailor). One on the Oxford canal and another on a gulet around Turkey.
Touch wood we have never had a total disaster but I have found wet holidays with very small children can be quite trying.
My old fashioned alarm clock, a great book (a Victorian novel ideally), my laptop (sorry darling), amazing wine, walking boots and Alka Seltzer (a painkiller for heartburn and indigestion).
Do you have a favourite family-friendly hotel or destination and a favourite hotel or destination for non- family trips?
I have to say that I’m not a big fan of hotels. But my favourite family destination would have to be Turkey, travelling on a gulet, or a trip to Corsica. My family-free favourite is either Positano in Italy, or a walking holiday somewhere.
1. Making sure that the children have plenty to do, even if it’s just jumping off a boat all day.
2. Making sure they also have enough friends their age to play with.
3. If you go with another family, make sure they have the same attitude to key things as you do, such as: children’s table manners; the level of activity/inactivity on a holiday; the type of food you want to eat; and how you split the bills.
4. Try not to overstretch yourself financially - the extras are always double what you think, and your relaxed mood is more important than the location.
I do not believe money guarantees happiness (as in most areas of life), and I would hate to go to a swanky beach holiday on some far flung island (in my opinion it’s too dull and there’s too much jet lag). We once treated ourselves to an amazing riding safari in Kenya which I loved, but some of my family did not as they don’t love riding as much as I do. And other safaris are not for me either as I hate watching things from a vehicle.
I would love it if I could persuade the children to enjoy a walking holiday but unfortunately they find exercise and views dull.