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City Breaks

Father and sons in Greenwich Park with view of Canary WharfFather and sons in Greenwich Park with view of Canary Wharf

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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 PortAventura, Paris 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.

Offers

LateRooms.com

Ideal for short breaks in the UK

Park Plaza

Enjoy a fun city break in London, Leeds, Cardiff and Nottingham


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Tips

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 before going – tourist board websites are a good start.
 
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.

Key:
Self-catering
Hotel
Editors favourite
Kids Club
  • Park Plaza County Hall London, London

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

  • Best of Wales family cottage holidays, Wales

    Best of Wales will help guide you to find the perfect self-catering family holiday or break in a large selection of cottages in Wales.

  • Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, Croatia

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

  • Four Seasons Marrakech, Marrakech

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

  • The Athenaeum Hotel, London

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

  • 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.

  • Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida

    An all-inclusive resort with a great family set up, including kids' clubs, family rooms and evening babysitting, in Florida.

  • 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.

  • 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 and each with a kitchenette.

  • Travelodge Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh

    You wont get a family-friendly hotel more central in Edinburgh, especially for such great value.

  • Travelodge Newcastle Central, Tyne and Wear

    Located in the centre of Newcastle, this is an ideal budget hotel, offering family rooms, for stop-overs and city breaks in the north-east.

  • Travelodge Liverpool Central The Strand Hotel, Liverpool

    Ideally located to explore the city of Liverpool, this budget hotel provides a comfortable base for all the family.

  • Travelodge Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester

    Centrally located in Manchester, this hotel offers comfortable family rooms and a great location from which to explore the city.

  • Travelodge Inverness Fairways, Highlands

    Located close to Loch Ness and Inverness, this hotel offers spacious family rooms and the perfect base for exploring the Scottish Highlands.

  • Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring, Birmingham

    A great value hotel ideal for families staying in central Birmingham - perfectly located for visiting all the nearby attractions.

  • Travelodge Dundee Central, Scotland

    Family rooms, en-suite facilities and free parking make for a great value family hotel in Dundee.

  • Meriton Serviced Apartments World Tower Sydney, Sydney

    Luxury city serviced apartments with large rooms and stunning views, in a prime location from which to explore Sydney.

  • P&O Cruises: Ventura

    A large cruise liner with so much to offer families, especially those with young children; including childcare day and night and lots of play areas.

  • P&O Cruises: Azura

    A purpose-designed family cruise-liner with childcare, family cabins, activities for children and adults, visiting the Med, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.

  • Staycity Serviced Apartments Manchester - Laystall St, Manchester

    Self-catering spacious apartments in the heart of Manchester, with sleeping space for up to 8 people, fitted kitchen and in a convenient location.

  • The Lawrance Luxury Aparthotel, Yorkshire

    Luxury self-catering serviced apartments in the historic, family-friendly city of York.

  • Holiday Inn York, Yorkshire

    Located just outside York city centre, this is a family-friendly hotel where kids eat free.

  • DestinationBCN, Barcelona

    Luxury stylish apartments in central Barcelona with all the family essentials when enjoying a self-catering family city break.

  • Fellah Hotel, Marrakech

    An eco-friendly family hotel in rural Morocco with a babysitting service and a complete child-friendly approach to luxury holidays.

  • The Surrey, New York

    Family-friendly hotel in New York, close to Central Park, with family suites including kitchenette and a very handy butler service.

  • Hilton Bristol, England

    Take the family on a short break to Bristol and the surrounding area, and enjoy a stay at Hilton Bristol, with a great family package offer available.

  • Hilton Warwick, Warwickshire

    Explore historic Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon whilst staying at a family-friendly hotel in a convenient location in the West Midlands.

  • Hilton Southampton, Hampshire

    Located on the south coast, amongst a woodland area in the city, Hilton Southampton is ideal for families, with Peppa Pig World nearby and packages available.

  • Hilton London Croydon, London

    Family-friendly hotel in south London, offering short break packages combined with family theme park tickets.

  • Reunion Resort, Orlando

    An exclusive villa complex in Orlando, with choice of private villas, on-site facilities and kids club, not far from Walt Disney Resort.

  • Villa Belfry Executive Plus, Orlando

    Family villa sleeping 12 people, with games room and pool, not far from the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando.

  • Villa Crystal Downs Executive, Orlando

    Villa near Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, sleeping up to 8 people and with outdoor heated pool.

  • 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, in Barcelona.

  • 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 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.

See more >

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Favourite City Break
DestinationBCN, Barcelona
Luxury stylish apartments in central Barcelona with all the family essentials when enjoying a self-catering family city break.

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