1/10 Cosy Finca in Ibiza
Finca 15, a magical, whitewashed holiday home, is nestled in 10 acres of garden in a peaceful, rural valley near the sandy north coast beaches of Cala d’en Serra and Xuclar. About 300 years old, it accommodates up to five guests within its old, limed walls. Ancient wooden beams, terracotta-tiled floors, masses of toys, an outsize pool and funky furniture offset with brightly coloured cushions and quirky knick-knacks give this place plenty of character. You won’t want to leave.
Best for: Babies to tweens; older teenagers might find the location too remote.
Top feature: A large, canvas tepee in the garden is equipped with a double bed, electricity and washstand. Ideal for an adventurous, adult-free sleepover, as well as a fun, daytime den.
Price: £1,500 to £4,000 per week;
2/10 Boho Hideaway in Bahia
Everyone’s talking about Brazil this summer and it’s not just because of the football – it’s the stunning beach resorts, too. Top spot is the former fishing village of Trancoso, in Bahia on the east coast, a great choice for a laid-back, family stay. Book Casa Quadrado, a divine hideaway with an infinity pool, that sleeps up to eight in lofty rooms that are kept cool by slatted shutters and ceiling fans. The wooden furniture was specially commissioned from local artists. Your teenagers will love mixing with the in-crowd on the resort’s grassy main square, lolling about on the fabulous white-sand beaches and exploring shops that are packed with quirky handmade crafts. Activities close by include tennis, riding, biking and canoeing.
Best for: Older children, especially sociable teenagers who want a taste of South American cool.
Top feature: Daily maid service and an optional in-house cook.
Price: £3,248 to £3,605 per week;
3/10 Rural Farmhouse in Provence
If you close your eyes and imagine your ideal French villa, it probably looks like La Bastide Maskee. Situated on the outskirts of Roquefort-les- Pins (10 miles inland from Cannes and the Côte d’Azur), this 400-year-old stone-built and pantiled farmhouse is surrounded by lawns, olive groves and orchards. It sleeps up to six in three sizeable bedrooms (plus two children in a smaller room). Lazy days will centre around the designer pool house with its shady snoozing area, long dining table, barbecue, pizza oven,
steam room and Jacuzzi.
Best for: One large family, or two families of four travelling together.
Top feature: The spacious, child-friendly garden contains a play area with a sandpit and trampoline.
Price: £4,295 to £6,242 per week;
4/10 Villa Tuscany
A week will pass in a flash at Villa Tramonto. This dreamy, pantiled villa overlooks a classic Tuscan landscape of rolling hills, neat vineyards, tall cypress trees and sleepy hill towns, and accommodates six. Siena, a couple of miles away, makes a good half- or whole-day excursion and there’s riding, tennis or golf available nearby. But this place is mainly about long, lazy lunches, accompanied by a bottle of chianti, before curling up with a book or taking an afternoon nap in the shade (bribe the children to leave you in peace with the promise of gelato later).
Best for: A stay-put, poolside holiday for families with children aged six to 14 years.
Top feature: The gated pool makes this villa a great option for families.
Price: £3,435 to £3,850 per week;
5/10 Beach cotage on the Cape
Flip-flops, sunhats and kikois are all you need to pack for a stay at Seagull Cottage in Churchhaven on the Cape’s west coast. Sleeping up to 11 in four bedrooms, this place is only an hour from Cape Town, but it feels far more remote. One reason is the lack of electricity; expect candlelit evenings and gas-based or barbecue cooking (the fridge runs on solar power). You have to bring your drinking water, too. Oozing shabby chic charm and full of vintage knick-knacks, you couldn’t imagine a cosier retreat after a day of fishing, walking and building sandcastles.
Best for: An extended group of family and friends with children up to 14 years.
Top feature: Its unbeatable location next to a beautiful beach and blue lagoon.
Price: £1,750 to £3,115 per week;
6/10 Lakeside boathouse in Cumbria
For messing about on the water, Swallows And Amazons
style, nothing beats a stay at The Osprey. Located on the shores of Lake Windermere, the views from this idyllic wood- and stonebuilt house, which sleeps up to four, are also hard to beat (think bird life, fishing boats, yachts and lake cruisers against a hazy backdrop of wooded fells). Stylish, whitewashed and wood-floor interiors include two coolly furnished, en suite bedrooms while the sitting room has French windows that open onto a balcony – ideal for outside eating.
Best for: Families with children aged six and over. Younger ones are not permitted here.
Top feature: Access to a private jetty and boat mooring is included in the rental price – a big plus point for nautical families.
Price: £1,840 to £3,250 per week;
7/10 Luxury villa in St. Lucia
Residence du Cap, which sleeps eight, sits on the Cap Maison Estate, an exclusive enclave on the north-western tip of this exotically lush Caribbean island. You can be as busy as you want with local beaches to explore, golf and tennis on the doorstep, a trip to Pigeon Island National Park or a catamaran cruise along the coast. But reserve some time for flopping on the pool terrace and enjoying the fabulous sea views from the garden.
Best for: Families with children aged up to 14, accompanied by a nanny, friends or grandparents.
Top feature: An en suite bedroom in a separate cottage within the villa grounds makes ideal add-on accommodation
and a housekeeper/cook comes in six days per week.
Price: £939 to £1,069 per person, per week, including flights and airport transfers;
8/10 Beach House in Queensland
If you’re considering a family trip Down Under, bear this corner of paradise in mind. Bedarra Island Villa sleeps up to four, and is accessible by water taxi from Mission Beach,
a two-hour drive from Cairns. On a sheltered, sandy cove within a private two-acre estate, there’s nothing to do but swim, fish, kayak or snorkel in the warm waters before
firing up the barbecue. Modern interiors are full of designer wow factor, but are child-friendly.
Best for: Children aged two and over. This villa can’t fail to win over even the sulkiest teenager.
Top feature: A self-catering studio next to the villa accommodates an extra four.
Price: £3,499 to £3,828 per week;
9/10 Seaside surf pad in Cornwall
Forget the car at this super-cool, hillside hideaway. Arhans House sleeps six and is close to the north coast village of St Agnes, with large, picture windows overlooking the sea. Spend time surfing, walking the coastal path, lounging on the wide, wraparound sun deck or enjoying the airily modern, open-plan living space. A bakery, pub and fish-and-chip takeaway are within walking distance. Book up a beach foraging trip with a local chef who’ll miraculously turn your flotsam and jetsam into a barbecue feast.
Best for: Children of all ages; the family dog is welcome, too.
Top feature: A separate entertainment ‘pod’ next to the house, furnished with a comfy sofa, wood burner, Blu-ray DVD player and mini-kitchen, makes a perfect teenage chill-out zone.
Price: £1,200 to £2,502 per week;
10/10 Chic in Lanzarote
Vila Carlota in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, feels wonderfully private yet offers superb sea views from its huge picture windows and shady veranda. Kids will adore the heated pool and Jacuzzi. An outdoor kitchen and dining area, shaded from the hot sun by a wooden canopy, has a barbecue for chilled-out al fresco meals.
Best for: Families with children aged eight to 18.
Top feature: A games room complete with pool table, air hockey and home cinema system.
Price: £2,314 to £5,715 per week.