Once children are at school, family holidays and uninterrupted time together become more important than ever. What you want is child-friendly accommodation and easy access to fun – whether this is organised activities or simply splashing about at the beach.
1. Child’s play in Sardinia
With a 11,960 sq yd Village Fantasia play area among the dunes, two kids-only pools, a tepee village and helter-skelter, your children probably won’t want to leave Le Dune. There’s also a garden where children can pick organic vegetables and gather freshly laid eggs to use in the kids’ club’s cookery workshops. This mid-market resort also features six pools, 10 restaurants and is opposite a five-mile long beach.
Le Dune (delphina.it) offers one-week half board from €2,975 in July and August with a 10 per cent discount available if booked before the end of February, 15 per cent before the end of January. Fly to Olbia or Alghero.
2. Samurai sword-fighting in Japan
Learn the art of sword-fighting as part of Audley Travel’s family-focused Japan trip. Other highlights include watching samurai and ninja perform at Edo Wonderland, a visit to the Gion geisha district in Kyoto, hot springs, seeing the snow monkeys of Yudanaka, a traditional taiko drumming lesson and two theme parks.
Audley Travel’s (audleytravel.com) 14-day Theme Parks and Family Fun in Japan trip costs from £5,800 per person in July and August based on a family of four including excursions, flights, transfers, accommodation and some meals.
3. Five-star kids in Lanzarote
Offering 19 spacious suites for families, complete with kids’ minibars, Princesa Yaiza in Playa Blanca is perhaps best known for its huge Kikoland Kids Club with pool, tennis courts, football school, amphitheatre and playhouses, which will help keep your little ones occupied all week. There’s also a dedicated family restaurant plus an impressive spa for parents.
4. Going Dutch
Set in the flatlands an hour-and-a-half south of Amsterdam is Efteling, Europe’s most charming theme park. Along with the prettiest landscaping and a nice balance between roller coasters and old-fashioned teacups, it also has top-notch accommodation. In the pretty wooded Bosrijk area around a lake, the self-catering cottages sleep six – there’s plenty of space and charm for grandparents, too – and there’s an on-site swimming pool. Combine this with a long weekend in Amsterdam, and this makes a wonderful alternative to seaside sun.
Four nights in a six-person self-catering house in July or August at Efteling Bosrijk (efteling.co.uk) starts from at €1,294 (£1,145)based on two adults and two children (aged four to 12). Includes five days access to the park. For a stay in Amsterdam, choose an Airbnb property.
5. Agriturismo in Italy
Casa San Gabriel offers three family-run self-catering cottages in Umbria, set in large grounds with large fenced pool, a playground and vegetable gardens where guests can pick their own produce and herbs and pat the friendly alpacas. Families can learn to make pizza in the on-site 16th-century bread oven and babysitting is available.
Casa San Gabriel Cottages (casasangabriel.com) sleep from two to six people and cost from £850 to £1,250 per week in July and August. Fly to Perugia.
6. Well-being in Puglia
Set in the bottom of Italy’s heel, Vivosa Apulia is an all-inclusive seaside hotel with an emphasis on health. From the adults-only spa to the many kids’ clubs, sensible eating and myriad activities await, all with a distinctly Italian flavour. There is even an anti-stress golf lesson, and the peaceful wooded stroll to the beach is guaranteed to calm visitors’ spirits.
Seven nights all-inclusive for a family of four with two children (aged two to 11) costs €4,788, but readers are eligible for a 20 per cent discount, to a total of £3,375, if they quote “Telegraph” when booking at vivosaresort.com by March 31.
7. Luxury on tap in Crete
Five-star hotel Daios Cove has recently started a “Minotaur Maze” activity in its kids’ club to help them learn about Crete’s most famous myth. There are several restaurants and bars, a water sports and diving centre, tennis courts and spa, plus suites that can sleep up to five people with verandas for outdoor dining.
Daios Cove Luxury Resort and Villas (read the full review) offers sea view suites for four, on a half-board basis from £1,349 per night between July 22 and Aug 28 2018. Fly to Heraklion.
8. Surf’s up in the Algarve
For parents keen to hit the waves, just 20 minutes from Faro airport the Conrad Algarve in Quinta do Lago features the “Little C” kids’ club designed by local schoolchildren, where kids can have fun while parents surf. There are also family surfing lessons, cookery lessons, three pools and a beach serviced by the hotel, fishing trips with rods and bait provided, and the hotel also offers, one, three and five-hour itineraries to help families explore the area on land or at sea.
Conrad Algarve (read the full review) offers a deluxe suite from £684 per night B&B in July and August based on four sharing.
9. Princesses and pirates in Cyprus
Opening this spring in 25 acres of landscaped gardens beside the beach, Parklane, a Marriott Luxury Collection hotel, will include a large The Princess and The Pirate Kids’ Park boasting a pirate ship with waterslides and a mini-football pitch. The resort will also feature a football academy, three pools, eight restaurants, a large spa, tennis courts and a dive centre.
Seven nights’ B&B starts from £3,535 for a family of four in July, with flights from Gatwick, if booked by Jan 31; parklanecyprus.com.
10. Alps adventure in Tignes le Lac
This flexible holiday allows you to do as much or as little as you like – you can hike on a glacier, go white water rafting, learn survival skills, swing through the trees at an adventure rope park – or simply relax by the pool. It is ideal for single parents or only children looking to make friends. A tour leader is on hand to help you plan your activities.
Explore (explore.co.uk) offers departures in July and August from £785 per adult and £709 per child including flights, seven nights’ accommodation, most meals and transfers. Optional activities payable locally.
Set in landscaped gardens, the incredibly light and spacious seven-bedroomed Casa Cahombo in the Algarve, near the village of Boliqueime, has plenty to keep everyone happy with two pools (including a solar-heated children’s pool), a games room with table football, a pool table, a PlayStation and table tennis. The dramatic cliff-backed sandy beaches of Praia de Falesia and Olhos de Agua are around 15 minutes’ drive away, as are plenty of resorts for golf and fine dining.
Vintage Travel (vintagetravel.co.uk) offers Casa Cahombo from £2,878 to £5,424 per week. Fly to Faro.
12. Pod life in Dorset
Relive your geography field trips with a stay at Lulworth Estate near Durdle Door. There are various accommodation options but kids will love these simple wooden pods, each of which sleeps four and is dog-friendly. The beach is only 220yd away and there’s an on-site café, as well as the magnificent rangers running activities for children in the holidays.
Lulworth Estate (lulworth.com) offers pods for £95 per night in August and cottages from £900 per week. Quote “Telegraph” for a 10 per cent discount for bookings made in January for 2018.
13. Get active in Sweden
Enjoy the great outdoors on a seven-day trip to the Varmland region of Sweden, which includes river rafting, canoeing, hiking along old bear hunter trails and lakeside cycling. You’ll also get to cook dinner over a campfire before spending the night in a tepee.
Discover the World (discover-the-world.co.uk) offers a seven-night trip in July or August from £1,009 per adult and £725 per child aged 6 to 15. Flights from Gatwick, meals and transfers are included.
14. Marvel at Marbella
The ultra-luxe Marbella Club beachside hotel has an excellent, chic, Scandi-style, Minimec-designed kids’ club with its own lagoon pool, enchanted forest play area and yoga studio, plus an impressive array of activities including flamenco dancing and cookery classes. Retro-style rooms feature pastel colours and whitewashed ceiling beams – there’s also a two-bedroomed villa with pool. Green fees at the golf club are included in most room rates.
Smith and Family (smithandfamily.co.uk) offers double rooms which can fit an extra bed or cot from £774 per night in July and August, not including breakfast. Fly to Malaga.
15. Weather-proof in Wales
With British summer sun being far from guaranteed, it’s good to have a back-up plan. Clydey Cottages have one to four bedrooms and offer contemporary furnishings in an 18th-century farm building set on 20 acres with animals to feed but best of all, an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna. And if the sun does come out, the nearest beach at Cardigan Bay is just 10 miles away.
Clydey Cottages (clydeycottages.co.uk) cost from £2,660 per week in August for a two-bedroom cottage sleeping four people.