Top 10 family holiday destinations in 2014
Still stuck for ideas for your family holiday? With the six-week break just around the corner, Family Traveller’s Kirsty Nutkins rounds up this summer’s top 10 trips for Adelto. From river-rafting in Norway to horseback riding in Mexico, there’s something to keep even the most boredom-prone kids happy…
Think your festival-going days are over now that you’re a parent? Think again. There are plenty of family-oriented music events taking place across the UK this summer – from Lollibop in Hertfordshire (August 15-17) to Camp Bestival in Dorset (September 4-7).
But if you can’t think of anything worse that wading through mud with kids in tow, combine a festival with a sunshine break and jet off to this year’s Benicassim. Taking place from July 17 to 24 on Spain’s east coast, it promises a stellar line up that includes Kasabian, Paulo Nutini and Manic Street Preachers.
Don’t fancy bedding down on a blow-up matress either? Then check into the luxurious Hotel Intur Bonaire, just a five minute walk from white-sand Heliopolis beach and a 15 min walk to the festival site. It also has a huge swimming pool and mini club for kids during the summer season.
Disney’s latest film, Oscar-winning animation Frozen, captures some of Norway’s best assets. And now parents and kids can experience the country’s beauty and majesty first hand on new eight-day tour Norway: Fjords, Bergen & Oslo by tour operator ‘Adventures by Disney’.
Taking in all the quaint villages and dramatic landscapes that served as inspiration for the film, the itinerary includes trout fishing, river rafting, Norwegian folk dance lessons and lots lots more.
Okay, okay, so we’re sure Glasgow isn’t at the top of your list for your family holiday. But there’re plenty of reasons why Scotland’s largest city should be.
Firstly, it’s the home of this year’s Commonwealth Games (July 23-August 3), where you can see some of this country’s biggest sporting names in action. But if you don’t manage to secure seats in the stadium, you can always pop along to one of the free events taking place, such as the marathon on July 27 or the Road Race cycling on August 3.
Aside from the Games, Glasgow has plenty more to offer families. The Glasgow Science Centre hosts free interactive science shows and fun workshops for kids, and there’s hours of fascinating fun for little ones at the Hunterian Museum, with its collection of Egyptian mummies and more. And don’t forget Glasgow’s green spaces either – the beautiful Botanic Gardens and 360-acre Pollok Country Park are both worth a visit. But make sure you pack the brolly, just in case!
Voted by Lonely Planet as a must visit for 2014, Malaysia’s tropical rainforests, unique wildlife and pristine beaches more than make up for that long, 12-hour flight.
We suggest heading straight to the Langkawi islands, an archipelago 20 miles off the north-west coast of the mainland, fringed by golden sand beaches and azure waters, for some much needed R&R. The Andaman has a fantastic kids’ club for little ones aged four to 12 years, a pool with waterslide and a games room, as well as guided nature walks and watersports for teenagers – leaving you plenty of time to kick back and soak up some serious rays.
Then, once you’re feeling refreshed, head for Malacca on the mainland, where you’ll find the largest bird park in South-East Asia, and Nusajaya for its Legoland and Hello Kitty Land attractions.
An up and coming family holiday destination, Qatar has a glittering new resort to entice families: the swanky Anantara Doha Island Resort (currently under construction). Just 11 kilometres from downtown Doha and 20 minutes by boat, the resort, which occupies its own 13-hectare island, boasts a kids club and dedicated family beach. There’s also beach volleyball and water sports, a nine-hole golf putting course, a ten-pin bowling alley and a cinema.
Outside of resort, kids will love Doha Zoo and Palm Tree Island – a 10-minute ride in a dhow, from the Corniche marina – which has swimming pools, a children’s play area, gardens, restaurants, cafés and beach access to both shallow and deeper swimming areas.
It’s known for its thriving music scene and nightlife, but Austin – America’s fastest growing city – offers a host of family-friendly attractions and activities, too.
Get a flavour for the city’s history with a walking tour, or take in the surrounding countryside on a steam train passing through the Texas Hill Country. And if you’re hiring a car, why not hit the road to Enchanted Springs, an 86-acre working ranch in Boerne, where children can learn about the culture of early Texas, before enjoying their old west theme park?
If you’ve been promising the kids that dream trip to Disneyland for god knows how long, make 2014 the year you actually do it.
This summer, Universal Orlando will be unveiling its new Harry Potter space with the addition of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express, while Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has undergone its largest ever expansion to include the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Best of all, luxury-loving parents can wind down after the day’s excitements in the new 444-room Four Seasons Resort Orlando. The hotel, which is taking bookings from August 3 onwards, also has a five-acre ‘Explorer Island’ with a pool, climbing wall and water park. Everyone’s a winner.
As the host of this year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, this vibrant South American destination, and the world’s fifth largest country, Brazil is definitely enjoying a moment in the spotlight. But with so much to explore – from dense jungles and white sand beaches to the hubbub of bustling Rio de Janeiro – it’s hard to know where to start.
Audley Travel’s family friendly ‘Brazil In A Nutshell’ itinerary has luckily sorted all the main bucket-list must-dos into one 12-day trip, giving you a whistle-stop tour of Rio, the Iguacu Falls and the Amazon Rainforest.
As dream family holidays go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Mexico’s Pacific Coast
When you think of Mexico, it’s the white sand beaches and high-rise hotels of Cancun that often spring to mind. But this year, savvy UK travellers are skipping the crowds and heading for the Pacific Coast instead.
Now within easier reach thanks to direct weekly flights from London and Manchester to Puerto Vallarta International Airport with Thomson, it’s opened up two beautiful Mexican destinations – Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. And for families looking for a little bit of everything, these two tick all the boxes.
White sand beaches galore? Check. Rainforests and diverse wildlife? Check. Activities, such as snorkelling, zip lining and horseback riding? Check, check and check.
China’s Chendu province, world famous as the home of giant pandas, has just become that bit more accessible, thanks to a new direct British Airways route from London Heathrow.
Kids will love visiting The Chengdu Panda Base, which currently houses about 50 giant pandas and actively promotes the breeding and research for this endangered species.
Wendy Wu Tours offers a number of family-friendly itineraries, which also take in some of China’s other highlights, including the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors. Visit wendywutours.co.uk for details.
Kirsty Nutkins is a senior features writer for various publications including Family Traveller. For more family travel advice and inspiration, visit FamilyTraveller.com.
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