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City Breaks

City breaks, or even longer holidays in cities, can be great for the whole family if planned carefully – cities have lots of big attractions, from museums to malls, but also, since they’re home to many children, heaps of family-friendly amenities and facilities, whether it’s playgrounds or restaurants you’re looking for. But don’t overdo it – stick to a couple of attractions a day, and combine attractions judiciously (a morning in a museum with an afternoon in a park, for instance). 
Particularly successful family short breaks combine a couple of days in a city with a day or two at a themepark – good options are Barcelona and PortAventuraParis and Disneyland Paris, and Copenhagen and the Tivoli Gardens.
Before you choose, look carefully at the airport served by low-cost airlines – many require a long transfer to the city itself, so the saving can cause more trouble than it’s worth.  And consider taking the train, especially if visiting Paris or Brussels.


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Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour for an overview and to pick what you all want to see first/most.
Think before buying a sightseeing pass – you won’t save money if lots of sights are free for kids, or you end up visiting fewer than hoped. Find out if some attractions are free on given days of the month, and look at websites/in tourist offices for discount vouchers. See our tips on Visiting Museums with Kids.
Find out what's going on locally with Whatsonwhen.
Consider taking a lightweight stroller or a carrier even if your kid no longer uses one at home – younger one may still get tired, even in compact cities. If you will use public transport, ask about multi-day family passes.
Pack a picnic – your kids won’t want to sit down for proper meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many museums have indoor picnic spaces.
Research family-friendly eating options at or close to attractions on your itinerary to save heading for the nearest in desperation.
Consider an apartment for greater space and to save money on eating out, if only at breakfast. Accommodation close to the centre is best, but consult review sites for noise issues. 
If you want to sample local nightlife, check that your accommodation organises babysitting  (most require at least 24hrs’ notice).
Consider accommodation with a pool – a useful energy-burner after sightseeing.
At weekends, ask about special offers – many accommodation providers popular with business travellers during the week struggle to fill rooms Fri–Sun.

For more tips, check our our family city break tips page.

Editors favourite
Kids Club
  • Sun Gardens, Croatia

    A luxury property on the coast in Croatia, with self-catering and hotel options plus exceptional childcare.

  • Park Plaza County Hall London, London

    A hotel on London's Southbank where kids are treated like royalty and facilities include in-room kitchenettes.

  • The Athenaeum Hotel, London

    A 5-star hotel with luxury family apartments, just a 10-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus.

  • De Eemhof Center Parcs Europe, North Holland

    Holiday park in Holland that includes a fabulous water park and activity centre.

  • UK Cottages, United Kingdom

    Browse and book self-catering family cottages around the UK, ideal for small or large groups, if you are travelling with babies or want an outdoor pool.

  • Canvas Playa Bara , Costa Dorada

    First class camp just a short trip from Barcelona with great facilities.

  • La Croix du Vieux Pont campsite, Picardy

    A lovely family campsite and holiday park within easy reach of the capital and Calais, plus Disneyland Paris.

  • Union Lido, Venice

    A superb choice for an active family holiday, with fabulous lagoon style pools, a children's pool and an action packed animations programme.

  • Camping les Tournels, St Tropez , Saint Tropez

    A family run site with a wide range of activities, huge pool area and evening entertainment.

  • Camping Fabulous, Rome

    An excellent park for families, with outstanding pool complex including children's pool.

  • Citadines Apart'hotel Trafalgar, London

    Apartments in a great location near Trafalgar Square, London, perfect for large families adn each with a kitchenette.

  • Malmaison Oxford, South East England

    Luxury boutique hotel in the centre of Oxford, with quirky and unusual décor in this former Victorian prison.

  • Quinta Real Zacatecas, Mexico

    A luxury hotel set within a former bullring makes for a quirky and unusual family hotel in Mexico.

  • The Rookery, London

    A luxury hotel in London, full of unusual and quirky features, with 24-hour room service and close to the West End.

  • The Merchant Hotel, Belfast

    A luxurious 5-star hotel in Belfast city centre, with quirky features, luxury spa and babysitting service.

  • El Palauet Hotel, Barcelona

    Stunning boutique apartments in the heart of Barcelona, offering a very special personal service.

  • Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, Barcelona

    A luxurious central hotel with a roof-top pool and a warm welcome for kids.

  • Hotel Arts Barcelona, Barcelona

    Contemporary luxury hotel, with a self-catering option, located on the beachfront in Barcelona.

  • Aparthotel Nantes Centre, Pays de la Loire

    Family-friendly apartments in the centre of Nantes, each with kitchen and communal parking facilities.

  • Aparthotel Liverpool City Centre, Liverpool

    City centre apartments in Liverpool, sleeping 4 people and with a kitchenette, ideal for family breaks.

  • Four Seasons Marrakech, Marrakech

    Luxury city hotel with kids club, kids pool, tennis courts and spa, all in the heart of Marrakech.

  • Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver

    5-star hotel in Vancouver, perfectly located for the city sites. With pools, kids activity programmes and child-friendly facilities

  • Pentahotel Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommen

    Modern, stylish hotel in the historic centre of Rostock, Northern Germany, close to shops and attractions.

  • Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo

    Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo, Norway

    Modern, clean and centrally located hotel in Oslo, Norway, with a rooftop pool and gym.

  • Mas Des Arcades, Midi-Pyrénées

    A fairly small hotel in a quiet part of Perpignan, ideal for family holidays and breaks, or a stop-over on a long journey.

  • The Liberty Hotel, Massachusetts

    Luxury hotel in the centre of Boston, with large family rooms, friendly staff and perfectly located to enjoy the city on foot.

  • Citadines Apart'hotel Lyon Presqu'ile, Lyon

    Self-catering apartments in the centre of Lyon, offering plenty of space for families and each with a kitchen.

  • Fraser Suites Perth, Perth

    Luxury modern apartment complex in Perth, with kitchen, living room and spacious bedrooms, ideal for families.

  • Hotel Talisman, Azores

    Family-friendly great value hotel on the Azores, ideally located for exploring the island.

  • Home Hotel, Argentina

    An eco-design boutique hotel in the Argentinian capital; vintage decor and a stunning local menu.

  • Copacabana Palace Hotel, Brazil

    Luxury 5-star hotel on the world most famous beach, great food, top levels of service and ideal location to explore.

  • Hilton Colon Quito

    Hilton Colon Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos

    4-star modern hotel located in the capital of Ecuador, close to attractions and ideal for a base for exploring the region.

  • Hanoi Elegance Ruby

    Hanoi Elegance Ruby, Vietnam

    Boutique hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, with large family rooms, friendly staff and central location.

  • Hotel Okura Tokyo, Japan

    Luxurious and very modern hotel in Tokyo with spacious, comfortable rooms and well located for exploring the city.

  • Holiday Inn Central Plaza

    Holiday Inn Central Plaza, Beijing

    In a residential area with friendly, knowledgeable staff and easy transport links to the central attractions in Beijing.

  • Pullman Auckland, New Zealand

    Contemporary hotel in the centre of Auckland offering apartments with kitchens, ideal for families.

  • Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, Iceland

    Located just a little outside of Reykjavik city centre, providing comfortable rooms from where to base your Iceland family holiday.

  • Boscolo New York Palace, Budapest

    Luxury central hotel ideal for families in Budapest, with a cafe voted the 'best in the world!'.

  • Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Istanbul

    Luxurious 5-star hotel occupying a top location in the centre of Istanbul.

  • Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin

    Centrally located apartments in Berlin, each with kitchenette plus an indoor pool for everyone to use.

  • Renaissance Amsterdam, Amsterdam

    A centrally located 5-star hotel suitable for families in Amsterdam.

  • The Merrion Hotel, Dublin

    Luxury 5-star family-friendly hotel in a perfect central location in Dublin.

  • Kempinski Hotel Hybernska Prague, Prague

    Luxury hotel in the centre of Prague, catering especially well for families and young children.

  • Hotel Novotel Brussels off Grand'Place, Brussels

    Central location in Brussels offering a quiet nights sleep, with spacious family rooms and free internet access.

  • The Levante Laudon Apartments, Vienna

    Good value apartments in Vienna city centre, offering plenty of space for families and a handy kitchen area.

  • Hilton Gdansk, Poland

    In the centre of Gdansk, with stunning views, an indoor pool and spacious family rooms.

  • Hotel Copernicus, Krakov

    Luxury 5-star hotel in Krakow, well suited to families with young children and babies.

  • The Lowry Hotel, Manchester

    Family-friendly luxury in the heart of one of England's most exciting cities.

  • Cosy's Aparthotel

    Cosy's Aparthotel, Paris

    Brilliant location in Paris, close to Metro and walking distance to attractions, plus kitchenettes in rooms are an added bonus for families.

  • Crowne Plaza London Kensington, London

    Modern hotel in a quiet area of London, but with easy access to main sights on foot and by tube or bus.

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Editors favourite
Kids Club
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Favourite City Break
El Palauet Hotel, Barcelona
Stunning boutique apartments in the heart of Barcelona, offering a very special personal service.

Ring 08432 907480 and book your family holiday with our specialist travel consultant and receive a free Boden voucher. (ATOL T7480)
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