Discover the ingredients for enjoying quality time together
Family holiday. Two words that some people might think are a bit of an oxymoron. But there are, in fact, lots of ways to relax and enjoy quality time together. Whether action-packed jaunts, cultural excursions, or lie-on-a-beach breaks are your thing, it’s easy to turn a fortnight away into treasured memories. Add some luxury family hotels to the mix, and you have the ideal base from which to relax and explore the world. Here’s a taste of what could make the ultimate family bonding experience…
Babies and toddlers are still too little to take part in a full-on adventure holiday. But for older kids, packing each day with epic landscapes and exhilarating activities should break through even the lowest teenage boredom threshold.
Animal fans (and what child isn’t?) should head for the African savannahs. Take a game drive across Nairobi National Park for film-worthy spectacles of lions, leopards and herds of zebra and buffalo. And as long as you haven’t got anyone under three years old with you, book a balloon safari for a spectacular birds-eye view of the plains below.
If you love hiking, the forest wilderness of Nova Scotia, Canada is home to black bear, beavers, flying squirrels and the majestic moose – with plenty of trails to follow from your hotel. While any budding biologists in your family could follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands. Here, you’ll be treated to the endemic flora and fauna that time forgot, including giant tortoises.
It’s claimed that experiencing something physically challenging, or a bit scary, brings you closer together. So, you might want to add the sheer thrills and spills factor of extreme sports to your itinerary. Abseil down sea caves into the water below in Thailand. Whizz over Costa Rica’s jungle canopy on zip wires. Charter a private yacht for some wave-pounding adventure sailing in Greece. Or, if planning a winter skiing holiday, stay in a luxurious open-plan lodge in the French Alps. Then, as well as hitting the snowy slopes, you could brave a spot of ice diving or frozen waterfall climbing.
Banish any thoughts of boring school trips from your mind. When it comes to enjoying culture with kids, there’s plenty of fascinating, mind-expanding fun to be had, especially in Europe’s cities. The classic trio: London, Paris and Rome take centre stage for their child-friendly museums, palaces, parks and galleries. Whether it’s walking among dinosaurs at London’s Natural History Museum. Or watching re-enactments of Britain’s grizzly past at the Tower of London. England’s capital knows how to bring history alive for younger visitors.
In France’s City of Lights, you have the dizzying heights of the Eiffel Tower and rollercoaster rides at Disneyland Paris. Even a long day spent among works of art in the Louvre is made entertaining for children, thanks to Nintendo 3DS™ XL audio guides. This handy gadget ‘walks’ them through the galleries and describes a particular masterpiece when they reach it.
When in Rome, make regular stops for cooling gelato. That way no-one will get tired of pretending to be a Roman centurion as you visit the famous sites. You could even book them in for a fun (and safe) 2-hour course in swordplay at a gladiator school on the ancient Via Appia.
The Czech Republic is another European destination that appeals to everyone’s inner-child. When the hour strikes, gaze up at the Astronomical Clock in Prague’s Old Town Square. This magical engineering marvel depicts legendary tales using mechanical figures that are still moving after 600 years.
Family holidays can feel slightly relentless, for the parents at least. So, it’s good to know that there are plenty of luxury family hotels that cater brilliantly for families looking for some quality time apart on holiday. You could choose a coastal resort, with a professionally run kids’ club to keep little ones busy with games on the beach. Or a family friendly boutique hideaway with evening shows to enjoy – not to mention babysitting services for when you’d like a peaceful evening with just you, your partner and a cocktail or two.