As the weather gets cooler, for many families thoughts turn to booking the next big summer trip. To help you find a destination that’s fun for the grown ups as well as suitable for little ones we’ve put our expert travel heads together to collate a list of the top places to go with kids. No matter whether you want a relaxing break or something a little more adventurous, there’s somewhere for everyone in this list.
Slovenia is a small but brilliant country – especially for family travel. Rent a car and head north from the capital to Maribor, a compact city that’s just a stone’s throw from active entertainment appropriate for all ages. There’s canoeing on the river Drava in summer and skiing in the nearby resort of Pohorje in winter. In spring, try the resort’s single-track toboggan that hurtles down the ski slopes at up to 30mph.
Best for central location: Ibis Styles Maribor City Center
Best for location to activities: Hotel Milena Maribor
THE WEST MIDLANDS, ENGLAND
England‘s Midlands are perhaps not the obvious destination for a family holiday in the UK, but the region has tons of great places to go with kids. See big game in the West MidlandsSafari Park, or visit the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley to go back in time to the 1930s and taste the best chips – fried in beef dripping – you’ll ever have. Then there’s Birmingham, which has an excellent Sea Life Centre, and Derby, a pleasant gateway to the Peak District and the Severn Valley Steam Railway, which runs between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth.
Best for cosy style home: Old Croft Stables
Best for city living: Hotel du Vin Birmingham
Puglia, in the heel of Italy’s boot, is a great choice for a family holiday in the sun. With no end of pristine beaches, the Salento peninsula is a highlight; the seaside town of Otranto with its hulking castle makes an appealing family-friendly base. The countryside has its charms too, not least the fairytale trulli – kids will love spotting these pint-sized limestone dwellings with conical roofs, which are dotted throughout the region. Head to UNESCO-protected Alberobello for a town full of trulli – you can even spend a night in one for added fun.
Best for a fairytale: Puglia & Trulli Holidays
Best for a great location: Agriturismo La Palascia
RESERVA MONTEVERDE, COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is a world leader in eco- and adventure-tourism, with the Monteverde area a prime example. About half of the protected area is conserved as the Bosque Eternal de los Niños (“Children’s Eternal Rainforest”), a huge stretch of lush cloudforest, rainforest and montane evergreen forest threaded with trails and full of wildlife-spotting opportunities. As you’d expect, there are plenty of outdoor activities: hiking, camping, zip lines, canopy tours and horse riding. Nearby Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Reserve offers yet more pristine forests and adventure activities, while Reserva Santa Elena even has pushchair-friendly trails.
Best for a little luxury amongst the trees: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
Best on a budget: Monteverde Rustic Lodge
6. EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
The Scottish capital is small enough to stroll around and hosts a number of fun and educational attractions for the whole family. But what makes Edinburgh stand out is its festivals: there are twelve major festivals throughout the year, including the famous Fringe, from a storytelling celebration to a science fest. If you don’t go during festival season, the Camera Obscura makes for some ridiculous family photos, and of course there’s the Museum of Childhood where you can get nostalgic and the kids can get hands-on.
Best for a little luxury: Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh
Best on a budget: Novotel Edinburgh Centre
For a European bucket-and-spade holiday, it’s hard to better Brittany. France‘s ruggedly beautiful northwest offers everything from charming seaside resorts and family-friendly campsites to remote coves and rocky promontories. For a first visit, base yourself in St-Malo, where a strip of gorgeous beaches stretches east from the winding streets of the old walled town. Older kids can try windsurfing or catamaran sailing at the St-Malo surf school, while grown-ups will find fresh oysters to feast on and local ciders to sample.
Best for ocean views: Kyriad Saint Malo Plage
Best on a budget: Hotel Eden Saint-Malo