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Teen Hangout at TUI FAMILY LIFE Las Pitas, Gran Canaria.Teen Hangout at TUI FAMILY LIFE Las Pitas, Gran Canaria.

With gorgeous sandy beaches, off-the-beaten-track coves, fun-filled seaside resorts, tranquil natural parks, aqua-parks and compelling cultural sites to explore, Spain continues to excite and delight families looking for a classic Mediterranean holiday. We’ve looked at some of our favourite Spanish resorts for families in TUI’s Family Life, Magic Life and Platinum ranges.

As the name suggests, Family Life resorts all offer spacious rooms specially designed for those travelling with children, family-friendly buffets and sharing dishes in its restaurants, BabyLounges, BabyClubs, age-specific kids’ clubs and teen Hangouts, plus sports, games, fitness classes and evening entertainment. Magic Life resorts take all inclusive to the next level, with 24-hour service, beachfront locations and fantastic sports programmes including the likes of water sports, beach volleyball, mountain-biking, archery and Nordic walking. Platinum hotels all carry a minimum 4/5 TripAdvisor rating and offer kids’ clubs for ages 4-11 years and a lively programme of sports and activities. 

TUI FAMILY LIFE Las Pitas, Gran Canaria
The rural backdrop makes for a dramatic setting for this family-friendly package holiday resort on Gran Canaria. Set within the grounds of another TUI favourite complex, you are just a short walk from the pools, places to dine and sporting facilities. And with the kids' clubs for 3-11 year olds both during the day and evening, the little ones will never have an 'I'm bored' moment. Find out more.

TUI MAGIC LIFE Cala Pada, Ibiza
Stylish bohemian interiors combined with a vast array of sports faciltiies and family activities make this all-inclusive resort alongside Cala Pada’s pine- and juniper-backed beach perfect for funky family holidays in Ibiza. The MAGIC Mini Club hosts parties, pool games, football, shows, picnics and more, while the Wunderbar serves everything from coffee to cocktails right around the clock. Find out more.

Hotel Golden Bahia de Tossa & Spa, Costa Brava
The high level of repeat custom speaks for itself at this well-run Platinum resort with its own spa and a kids’ club for ages 4–11 years, located just a short stroll from Tossa de Mar’s medieval castle and some great cliffside pathways. Find out more.

Insotel Punta Prima, Menorca
Uninterrupted Med views from its prime hilltop location, pools reserved for little ones, kids’ clubs for ages 2–12 years, a spa and a great array of places to eat make this Platinum hotel a fantastic choice for families. Find out more.

Read more about Spain family holidays with TUI and bag your £100 short-haul discount now. See also TUI’s all-inclusive options to Spain.


Beach, mountain and lakeside retreats with Eurocamp in 2019.Beach, mountain and lakeside retreats with Eurocamp in 2019.

From beach breaks to mountain escapes and lakeside retreats, Europe is a continent full of possibilities. We’ve taken a look at some of our favourite family holiday types on the Continent and where best to experience them.

Beach Breaks 
Why: Holidays by the seaside are a family classic that will never go out of fashion, whether you want to relax and soak up the sunshine or take part in activities ranging from sandcastle-building to exciting water sports. Many of Eurocamp’s parcs have direct access to a beach, meaning you can be on the sand within minutes of finishing your breakfast… 
Recommended parc: Park Playa Bara, Costa Dorada

Mountain escapes 
Why: Breathtaking views, serene surroundings and crisp fresh air make the mountains an ever-more popular alternative to the beach in summer, with resorts across Europe offering increasing numbers of activities ranging from archery to mountain-biking. Eurocamp’s parcs in the foothills of several mountain ranges are ideal for those who want to make the most of the great outdoors while enjoying all the luxuries of home.
Recommended parc: La Ravoire, The Alps

Lakeside retreats
Why: Lake holidays are perfect for water-loving families and thrill-seekers, with access to beaches and activities ranging from gentle kayaking and dinghy sailing to the more challenging wind-surfing and water-skiing. Eurocamp’s lakeside parcs also offer facilities such as pools and even spas.
Recommended parc: Bella Italia, Lake Garda


Kid's activities at Holiday Village MallorcaKid's activities at Holiday Village Mallorca

With Brexit making some people nervous about booking a holiday in Europe in 2019, we strongly recommend looking at all-inclusive holidays such as those offered by First Choice. Not only are all-inclusive packages fully protected against any unforeseen circumstances surrounding Brexit, but they also proof you against the weakness of the pound against the euro because you’ve paid for just about everything in advance in sterling. Facilities including kids’ clubs, sports academies and even the likes of aerial adventure courses, which vary by resort, make all-inclusive resorts perfect for families who like to combine activities with relaxation. 

And Spain is as fabulous a destination for a family holidays as ever, with its seemingly endless sandy beaches, pretty coves, lively seaside resorts, nature reserves, water parks and world-class museums. The following are some of our favourite destinations in Spain for an all-inclusive family holiday in 2019.

Gran Canaria
Often described as a 'continent in miniature', the third largest of the Canary Islands combines beaches, lush greenery and lunar landscapes. The gorgeous year-round weather makes it perfect for outdoor activities ranging from wind-surfing to spectacular walking.
Recommended property: Servatur Puerto Azul with its tropical-style pools and gorgeous views.

Mallorca
Dozens of safe sandy beaches, lovely scenery, friendly locals and plenty of entertainment, from water parks to sandcastle-building displays, makes the largest of the four main Balearic Islands a brilliant destination for family holidays with all ages.
Recommended property: Holiday Village Majorca, including luxury swim-up rooms, a Balanceability cycling course and a great spa.

Costa del Sol
One of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations, this stretch of Andalucia’s coastline has a reputation for being hectic but actually caters to all tastes. There are sandy beaches and resorts with modern facilities including world-class golf courses and amusement parks, but also an ancient history, compelling architecture, white-washed villages and spectacular scenery if you venture slightly inland.
Recommended property: Riu Costa del Sol with its indoor and outdoor pools, splash playground and spa.

Costa Dorada
Within easy reach of Barcelona, this coast named for its 216km of golden beaches welcomes families with its lively resort Salou with its thrilling theme park PortAventura and with its UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Tarragona, combining Roman ruins with wonderful Blue Flag beaches.
Recommended property: SuneoClub Villa Dorada with its circular pool and Spanish language lessons.

Lanzarote
More than 90 glorious, child-friendly beaches – both traditional white-sand versions and ones with black volcanic sand – make this Canary island a firm family favourite. But the whole place has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and its out-of-this-world volcanic terrain inland is not to be missed either.
Recommended property: Los Zocos Club Resort, with its activity and quiet pools, plus two pools just for kids.

Read more about family holidays in Spain.

Save £100 per booking on short- and mid-haul holidays or £150 per booking on long-haul holidays with First Choice departing between 1 May and 31 October 2019 using our discount codes ... Find out more and book now


Spending time with a Forest Ranger.Spending time with a Forest Ranger.

The woodland cabins at Forest Holidays make for a delightful escape for the whole family. They’re perfect for reconnecting with nature and spending quality time together. With 10 locations UK wide, Forest Holidays can create unforgettable memories for you without your having to travel too far from home. 

The forest itself is full of endless possibilities, but we’ve gathered six activities that we think you’ll just love as a family. 

Spend time with a Forest Ranger
Spot rare wildlife and birds, build dens, light fires and learn how to make nettle tea – these are just some of the things you’ll do with the resident expert at each Forest Holidays location. The Forest Ranger adventures offer something for every member of the family, from arts and crafts for the youngest to the revival of childhood memories for parents and grandparents. Your Forest Ranger will bring the forest alive for you.

Discover the forest at night 
Venturing out beneath the night sky, you’ll go stalking through the woodland to try to catch a sound or glimpse of wildlife with your night-vision equipment. Patience is key After spying some nocturnal wildlife in its natural habitat, pick our expert Forest Ranger’s brains on the wild forest before heading back to your cosy cabin. The minimum age to enjoy this one is 12 years.

Carve a pumpkin this Halloween
Every Forest Holidays location has a central hub called the Forest Retreat. Head there to carve your own pumpkin this Halloween season, creating any design you like, from a simple smiling face to a forest creature or maybe something spookier. Forest Holidays will provide all the necessary tools you'll need to create your masterpiece. 

Make a Christmas wreath together
Create a wreath in the comfort of your Forest Holidays cabin or in wreath workshops. Crafted from beautiful flowers, feathers and ribbons, theyr'e perfect for adding an extra touch of welcoming warmth to your front door this festive season, or for adorning your home. 

Play a board game
As the nights draw in and the leaves begin to fall, you need no further excuse to make yourself cosy, put some logs on the fire and bring out the board games. Darker evenings and chilly autumn nights are a great time to bring your nearest and dearest together with a game or two. Create your own night-in by hiring out a special games crate at any Forest Holidays location.

Unwind in the hot tub as a family
All Forest Holidays cabins have their own hot tubs on the decking,  which are ready to hop into whatever the weather. After the day’s adventures, what bliss to return to your cabin and jump into the hot tub with nature all around you.  Children and teenagers love lounging in the hot tub and once the little ones are in bed or the teenagers are back indoors, enjoy a peaceful moment with the hot tub to yourselves.

Want to enjoy a Forest Holiday?
Forest Holidays are offering a 5% discount when you use code TAKETHEFAMILY. Simply book your break and holiday before 31st March 2019.

Terms:
Discount code applies to the cabin price only and not any extras.
Discount code may not be used in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be applied retrospectively. Forest Holidays reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.


France is great for family cycling.France is great for family cycling.

The summer family holidays are a great time to try out new sports, have adventures abroad and spend quality time together as a family while learning about other countries. France is a perfect holiday destination for get-up- and-go families; we’ve showcased 10 exciting family breaks in France featuring biking, kayaking, boating, swimming, climbing and/other horse-riding, among other activities.

The most convenient way to travel as a family to northern France or to get to France as a whole is via the cross-channel ferry. For easy access to Brittany, sail into the Brittany Ferries ports of Roscoff or St Malo.

1. Sail away in Brittany

Sailing is the best way to appreciate the rugged Breton coastline, especially on a sailing trip in the Gulf of Morbihan. A tour on a wooden sailboat will steer you around the unspoilt coastline, with kids acting as deckhands for the day, helping hoist sails and aiding navigation as you drift around the islands. On one of these trips you can visit Hoëdic, one of the tiny islands off the south coast of Brittany, with two Neolithic sites.

Alternatively, almost every seaside town in the region has its own sailing school, while the Finistère area – the most westerly part of France – offers good surfing conditions at La Torche, La Guidel and Spot de La Palue (surf lessons are available). Or opt for the sheltered coves on the Quiberon Peninsula, perfect for paddling.

2. Cycle through history in Normandy

A great way to appreciate Normandy’s scenery and history is by bike, on around 500km of cycle paths for all levels of ability. For smaller children, there are old railway tracks and car-free greenways to travel down at a gentle pace, or you can even ride down the old railway line on specially adapted railway carts ideal for families.

Normandy is rich in history. See the Bayeux Tapestry, which shows the story of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and learn about the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944 by visiting the D-Day landing beaches (Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah), battlefields, cemeteries and memorials.

3. Explore an island in Vendée

Cast aside 21 st -century life by crossing the cobbled causeway (Le Gois) from mainland France to the delightful Ile de Noirmoutier. This 19km island off the Atlantic coast is a deservedly popular spot among French tourists. The best way to travel around is on Dutch-style bikes along the flat cycle routes, exploring the salt marshes and beaches where children fish for clams, mussels and cockles.

You can also learn about Vendée’s turbulent history and its part in the French Revolution at the medieval Château de Noirmoutier. Other attractions include a waterpark and sailing. A great day-trip is a visit to the spectacular historical themepark Puy du Fou, just over 100km away, for history-themed shows.

Many of the Ile de Noirmoutier’s campsites are within walking distance of the beach and have swimming pools and children’s activities. Hôtel Saint Paul and L’Île Ô Château are other well-situated options.

4. Canoeing, castles and caves in the Dordogne

It’s pretty hard to beat the Dordogne’s fairytale landscape, with its turreted chateaux perched on hilltops, plus vineyards, forests, rivers and the prehistoric sites along the Vézère valley down below. One of the best ways to see it all is from a canoe: drift serenely down the Dordogne River past the picturesque fortified villages of Beynac and La Roque-Gageac. Canoeing along the Dordogne is safe for children, lifejackets are provided and hire prices are reasonable.

The Dordogne’s prehistoric sites will capture your children’s imagination. The cliff-side Les Eyzies has an entertaining museum, featuring recreated cavepeople and mammoths. The Grotte du Grand Roc, a vast cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and Lascaux, with its multimedia special effects and interactive iPad guides, are also great days out.

5. Pony-trekking in Aquitaine

Trot across golden sands or through pine forests on organised rides. Book a ride on a pony from the Centre Équestre Marina for trails in the Landes Forest and along beaches. There are Anglo-Arab steeds for adults, too.

Freshwater from the River Leyre merges with seawater from the Arcachon basin in the Landes de Gascogne Natural Regional Park to produce a unique marshland populated by eels, otters and terrapins – another splendid place to ride.

6. Easy cycling in the Loire

Enjoy leisurely bike rides along the flat terrain of the Loire Valley, using the Loire à Vélo trail from the outskirts of Nevers to the Atlantic Coast. You don’t have to worry about traffic – these are car-free paths along France's longest, loveliest river that pass heritage sites and other attractions. The trail passes through the Loire-Anjou- Touraine Regional Nature Park, vineyards and past countless châteaux. Look out for the Château de Cheverny (the model for Captain Haddock’s ancestral home in Tintin) and the walled garden at Château de Bourdaisière.

7. Saddle up in Provence

Away from the crowds and beaches of the Côte d'Azur, explore authentic Provence by riding through the blue and violet lavender fields on horseback. There are guided tours around the Camargue National Reserve – where you can see flamingos – or the Alpilles Natural Park. The Parc Naturel Régional des Baronnies Provençales also offers horseback or donkey-riding.

If you’re a more adventurous family, head for the medieval village of Orpierre and go climbing. There is something for all levels of ability: the testing cliff faces of Quiquillon, Belleric and Adrech, and for beginners the Quatre Heures cliff and the inflatable climbing tower and walls at Camping des Princes d’Orange.

8. Climb a volcano in the Auvergne

The Auvergne region, in the centre of France, is home to around 80 volcanic peaks and you can climb the highest, Puy de Dôme, or catch a train up. The 1,464m extinct volcano has a restaurant, a museum and spectacular views from its summit.

Themepark Vulcania in Auvergne makes volcanoes fun through its interactive exhibits and rollercoasters. Don’t miss the 28m-high cone covered in lava stone on the outside.

9. Wild swimming in the Côte d'Azur

Swim the Loup river and see some of the Côte d'Azur’s most captivating hilltop villages. Adrenaline junkies can try rafting and canyoning – run by local operators – along the gorge. Flowing from its source in the mountains at Andon, the Loup winds its way for 49km to the Mediterranean at Villeneuve-Loubet. Or the Clue d'Aiglun is a series of gorges north of Cannes that has rock passages in white limestone and stunning natural pools.

10. Get on your board in Bordeaux

The new five-star campsite Club Mayotte, south of Bordeaux, offers a range of watersports. Nestled amidst pine trees on the shores of Lake Biscarrosse, which leads to the Bay of Biscay, it’s a place where you’ll never get bored, with activities including paddle-boarding, water-skiing, wake-boarding, kite-surfing, dinghy and catamaran sailing. Hire of equipment is included.

The surrounding area is also great for mountain-biking and kayaking, while nearby is Europe's tallest sand dune, the Dune of Pilat, in La Teste-de- Buch in the Arcachon Bay area 60km from Bordeaux. Travelling by ferry allows you to bring your family car packed with everything you need, including the family bikes, so not only do you avoid lengthy airport queues and excess baggage charges, you also save money by not needing to need to hire a car or hire bikes for the family.

Brittany Ferries offer the widest choice of ferry crossings from the UK to France along with excellent holiday deals that include ferry travel and family accommodation.


Platja de Treumal.Platja de Treumal.

We’ve teamed up with family holiday provider Eurocamp to bring you five ever-so-slightly off-the-beaten-track destinations to try out this year. 

With its holiday parcs spread far and wide across the continent, Eurocamp isn’t just about enjoying the on-site facilities and comfy accommodation. Its parcs are perfectly placed to discover your new favourite European neighbourhood too. So why not try something different this summer, and experience one of these stunning destinations?

Northern Costa Brava

This glorious region of Spain is home to some of the finest beaches in Europe, so you certainly won’t be short of sun, sea and sand. Platja de Treumal (pictured) just outside the seaside resort of Blanes is one of our absolute favourites.

Away from the beach though, northern Costa Brava is full of surprises. Catalonia’s second-biggest city, Girona, is a gem. The ancient, walled ramparts have been conquered by Romans and Moors over the years – much, it has to be said, to the delight of the city’s tourist chiefs. Their influences are everywhere, from architecture to cuisine. The old town is a warren of narrow lanes, which is complemented by the river, and the overall impression is of a medieval city, with excellent (family-friendly) museums and, in The Rambla, lots of cafés and ice-cream parlours in which to refuel and rest weary little legs.

The busy tourist town of Roses stands on the ruins of Rhode, a Greek colony of the 9th century. It has a handsome natural harbour, 4km beach of fine sand and a beautiful promenade and marina. Great shopping and restaurants make this a real family favourite.

Figueres is known worldwide as the site of the Dalí Theatre Museum, one of Spain's most enjoyable museums, housing many of the Surrealist painter's works. There’s also a great, and slightly eccentric, Toy Museum here. Dalí fans should drive on to Portlligat, in Cadaqués, where his home is open to the public.

Stay at: Camping Riu. Close to a terrific beach, this parc enjoys a peaceful location that makes it great for younger families.

Zeeland

The islands and peninsulas of the Netherlands’ least populous province are made for relaxing, outdoorsy holidays. The island of Noord Beveland is where you’ll find the chic and sporty resort town of Kamperland, with neighbouring Walcheren (reached via a causeway) home to the largest town in the region: Middelburg. This trim and handsome Dutch town is full of cobbled streets, parks and museums. Kids love a barge trip along the canals that circle the core.

Cycling is, as you’d expect, fantastic here – for all ages. Quiet, flat lanes, dedicated cycle paths and woodland trails offer options for all levels of ability. Try Boswachterij Westerschouwen - a 6km route through the woods in the Kop van Schouwen, through the largest dune area of Zeeland. 

The Banjaard beach at Kamperland stretches for kilometres, with enough space to accommodate swimmers, sandcastle-builders, and kitesurfers and other watersports lovers. The water is clean and shallow, and warmer than you might think in summer! The next beach along, Neeltje Jans, is smaller but quieter. Watersports fans flock to the villages of Kamperland and Kortgene. Need a little more culture? The gorgeous Renaissance city of Ghent is only 90 minutes away. 

Stay at: Roompot Beach. This chic and sporty resort has everything you need right on site. But exploring this corner of the Netherlands is a must.

The Black Forest

The great thing about the Black Forest is that there are three easy routes to follow – the Black Forest High Road (Schwarzwaldhochstrasse), the Baden Wine Road (Badische Weinstrasse) and the German Clock Road (Deutsche Uhrenstrasse). Each takes you on a fascinating tour of the region, taking in the splendid spectacles of the natural landscape, familiarising yourself with the history and culture of the region, and sampling traditional food along the way. Perhaps the most scenic is the Black Forest High Road. 

En route, you’ll reach Triberg, famed for its glorious waterfalls. Seven cascades make up the highest falls in Germany as the Gutach river takes a headlong plunge into depths of 163m. 

Families looking for a real taste of outdoor adventure should head to Triberg’s High Ropes Course, where you can view the forest from a new and exhilarating perspective. Climb across swaying bridges and zip down the rope-slide – or test your skills on the spider’s web and rock formations at the nearby Adventure Park.

The Black Forest has a long tradition of clock-making. Deep in the forest, on a housefront in the village of Schonach, perches the world’s biggest cuckoo clock. Every hour, on the hour, the gigantic, 5m-long Eble cuckoo emerges from its six-ton ‘house’ to mark the passing of time. 

Stay at: Campingplatz Herbolzheim. This friendly little site in the heart of the Black Forest has a great pool and plenty of space to stretch out and relax. 

Northern Croatia

It’s not hard to see why Croatia’s island-studded coastline is a yacht-lover’s paradise. Thousands of rocky landfalls – some no bigger than a football field – make Kornati National Park the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. All of which means there are plenty of places to explore on dry land too. You can set off from Zadar – the oldest continually inhabited city in Croatia, well worth a day of your time, especially to hear its famous Sea Organ, a coastal sculpture ‘played’ by the incoming tide. Families who love exploring will adore this corner of the Adriatic. Want a beach to yourself for the day? Without too much trouble, you’ll find one. You can also head to the pretty island of Vir, one of the largest, connected to the mainland by a bridge. 

The settlements of Vir, Lozice and Torovi along the shore have bars, restaurants and numerous coves and beaches. The loveliest little beach is Duboka draga (‘deep cove’), far from any settlement, in the northwest of the island. It’s a beautiful set-piece of crystal-clear blue waters, red rocks and green pine trees.

Stay at: Zaton Holiday Resort. One of the best options on the Dalmatian coast, it has a fantastic pool complex.

The Loire 

The Loire Valley is famous for its gently rolling countryside and vineyards dotted with châteaux. The best? A tough call. But we’d go for the fantastical Château de Chambord, a stunning Renaissance building supposedly designed, in part, by Leonardo da Vinci. The château is enormous – encompassed by a moat, 35km of stone walls and more than 12,000 acres of countryside. You won’t have time to see everything, but do take a wonderful horse and carriage ride through the gardens. 

The Fantasy Forest in Mosnes offers a vast array of outdoor activities, from mini -golf to paintballing, canoeing to treetop walkways. It's just 13km from the château. 

Blois, in the heart of the Loire valley, is delightful. The Château Royal de Blois features a great sound-and-light show on summer evenings, telling the story of the lives and loves, dramas and mysteries, of its previous inhabitants. 

Elsewhere in the town, La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin facing the castle is the only public museum in Europe that combines interactive visits and shows by magicians. Kids and adults alike will be spellbound. 

Stay at: Le Château des Marais. Just 5km from the Château de Chambord, this parc is very toddler-friendly, but, with its spa and Turkish baths, you’ll love it too. 

Read more about family holidays with Eurocamp.


Christmas time in Avoriaz at self-catering Pierre & Vacances ski apartments.Christmas time in Avoriaz at self-catering Pierre & Vacances ski apartments.

Budget-conscious families have always been aware of the appeal of self-catering holidays with kids. As well as saving you money on eating out and/or hotel services, they offer the following benefits:

• Facilitating holidays with grandparents or extended family, or with another family or families. Residences with private kitchens permit groups to take advantage of more spacious living areas and better facilities than you might could afford individually.

• Offering you the flexibility to organize meal times at your convenience. Kids get bored sitting in restaurants for three meals a day, and eating out is not only expensive but can be stressful with fussy children.

• Providing you with the ability to prepare snacks and picnics, and heat baby-bottles and baby food, even when you don’t want to cook full meals.

• Allowing you the freedom to make use of local produce sourced from farmers’ markets and shops.

• Giving you the opportunity to enjoy holidays with the family dog.

Self-catering holidays are generally ‘DIY’ options – accommodations and travel are often booked separately. This is fine for those who don’t mind long drives – some of us love family road-trips and see them as good opportunities to discover new regions. Others adore train travel too. However, if you don’t like travelling by car or train, or are short on time, flights are sometimes the only option.

Packages that combine self-catering accommodations with flights are very advantageous. Not only do you benefit from the convenience of booking all or many aspects of your holiday at once, but you’re also covered by the holiday company in case of problems such as flight delays and cancellations. This consideration is often important in light of events ranging from ash clouds to airline closures.

Our partner Pierre & Vacances is now offering new, dynamic packages to destinations including the French Alps, Spain, Croatia and Andorra. Their self-catering residences available with flights are marked with a plane icon on their website. You can also add extras such as lift passes, ski equipment, transfers, meals and spa treatments to you package, depending on the property. Pierre & Vacances also offers flexible arrival dates and holiday durations to help families work their together time around their schedules and budgets.


Husky fun. Photography by Antti Pietikainen and Activities AbroadHusky fun. Photography by Antti Pietikainen and Activities Abroad

There’s nothing quite like snow to get the kids excited, and though the white stuff is generally in fairly short supply in the UK, head to Lapland and you can count on metres of deep fluffy powder and enjoy all the wonderful activities that come with a truly wintry landscape. These are our favourites.

• Seeing the Northern Lights
Thousands of travellers head to Lapland each year with one thing in mind – witnessing the Northern Lights flickering across the sky. But viewing them from a city or town is virtually impossible due to light pollution, even if you are within the Aurora Zone. More remote destinations, such as Saariselkä Northern Lights Village, offer you and your family the chance to witness the lights from your bed in a glass-roofed Aurora Cabin.
Tip: The Northern Lights tend to appear between 10 pm and 2 am, meaning a late night with the kids, so try to get some rest during the day.

• Husky-sledding
What could be better than meeting a friendly team of huskies and letting them drive you through miles of snow? In Harriniva in Finnish Lapland, husky safari adventures are available covering varying distances, including longer outings for families with teenagers.
Tip: Wait for cuddles and photo opportunities until after your safari. Beforehand, the furry little animals will be way too excited to get out on the trail to pause for selfies!

• Meeting reindeer
Santa’s most loyal and well-known friend features in most family winter getaways. You can visit them on farms and learn about the role they play in the lives of the herders, or head out on a sleigh-ride during the day or night and relax to the sound of them moving against the pristine snowy landscape.
Tip: Head to Menesjärvi in Finnish Lapland to travel out with a reindeer herder via snowmobile-pulled sled to feed his herd. He will call them and you watch as they gradually appear through the trees.

• Spotting Winter Wildlife
There’s plenty of other exciting Arctic wildlife to be seen while you’re out on your daytime adventures. Families who want to get up close to as much of the Arctic wildlife as they can should head to Ranua Wildlife Park in Finnish Lapland, with more than 50 species, including wolves, lynx, otters and the king of the Arctic: the mighty polar bear.
Tip: Where children are concerned, learning is easier when they are having fun. Picking up facts and information about wildlife is very easy when you are on a night-time adventure (lit by headlamp!) during a night safari at the park.

• Snowshoeing
Don’t fight the urge to explore your winter wonderland surroundings. The easiest way to do so is by snowshoe, available for hire in many destinations for the duration of your stay, so you can enjoy the plethora of trails at your own pace.
Tip: While out on your snowshoes, try walking across the deeper snow without them. The kids will find it hilarious to find themselves literally knee deep!

• Cross-country Skiing
This is an incredibly popular pastime in Lapland and a fun way to explore. Kids in Lapland learn to use cross-country skis from a very young age and you’ll see families with young children out on the trails together.
Tip: If you’re new to skiing, take some lessons first with a guide; then you can explore the natural surroundings at your own pace.

• Ice-fishing
Whether you enjoy fishing or not, experiencing it Arctic-style is a must. While little ones keep watch through the ice hole, waiting for the fish to bite, adults will appreciate the cultural significance of this age-old activity.
Tip: Though ice-fishing is available on most winter adventures, there is nothing quite as special as fishing for the delicious delicacy of king crab in Kirkenes, Northern Norway.

• Meeting Father Christmas
A visit to Santa is top of everyone’s list for a family winter adventure to Lapland, but the experience can vary dramatically from destination to destination, with some of the more touristy destinations only offering a quick visit, often in large groups.
Tip: For an authentic family experience, head to Kuusamo in Finnish Lapland, where you may even be able to become a helper and bake spiced gingerbread cookies by the twinkle of candlelight. No whirlwind visits here.

• Sleeping in a Log Cabin
Hotels are great, but what could be more idyllic than having a lovely little cabin to return home to after a day of winter family fun? Relax in front of the fire, discuss the best parts of your day and truly cherish your time together as a family.
Tip: Consider Jeris in the picture-perfect setting of Finnish Lapland, with cottages sleeping 2–7, all with private saunas and log-burners. We recommend taking supplies of your favourite hot drinks – the kitchenettes give you the flexibility to make your own drinks and snacks (which helps with the family budget!).

• Staying in Ice and Snow Hotels
There are plenty of places to experience the coolest hotels around - literally! – In Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian Lapland, all with their own unique flair.
Tip: Tuck your jumper into the bottom of your sleeping bag before you go to sleep and it will be nice and toasty in the morning!

All these experiences and more can be ticked off your bucket list on a family holiday with www.activitiesabroad.com or speak to one of their Travel Experts on 01670 789 991.


Al fresco dining area meets the kiddies splash park at TUI FAMILY LIFE Mallorca.Al fresco dining area meets the kiddies splash park at TUI FAMILY LIFE Mallorca.

With school-holiday getaways commanding premium prices, those with pre-school children are well placed to take advantage of the lower prices that are available to those who can travel during older children’s term times.

But there are other reasons to travel outside the school holidays, namely the fact that the weather is mild (young children can find high temperatures and strong sunshine hard to cope with) and resorts, beaches and other attractions are less busy.

TUI’s Family Life resorts in the Mediterranean are the perfect example of a good place to take babies and toddlers during other children’s term times. The weather in this part of the world is ideally suited to those travelling with younger children from May onwards, which essentially means you can travel in May (except in half term), June and much of July (the main school holidays tend to start in the third week of July but can vary by region and for other reasons).

Conversely, September is a brilliant time to take a late-summer break with pre-schoolers, with October still warm enough for a gorgeous getaway. At this time of year, we do recommend investing in light wetsuits for the kids because outdoor pools are not always heated. Alternatively, cover yourself by choosing a resort with both indoor and outdoor pools, such as the TUI FAMILY LIFE Tropical Resort near Dalaman on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey or the TUI FAMILY LIFE Flamingo Beach in Lanzarote. Other Family Life destinations include Croatia, Corfu, Menorca, Mallorca, Salou, Gran Canaria, Cyprus, Rhodes, Ibiza, Kos, Southern Spain (Costa de la Luz) and Halkidiki in Greece.

As the name suggests, TUI Family Life hotels and resorts have something to suit all generations, from tinies to grandparents. New mums and dads can count on dedicated feeding areas and all the baby and toddler equipment they need, while teens can carve out their own space and make new friends in funky hangout zones.

As our recent customer Lianne R summed it up: “I couldn't have asked for a better holiday for us and for our toddler. I was apprehensive about going all inclusive in Europe but my mind was quickly put at rest. The hotel catered very well in the buffet for adults and children. The food was varied and tasty. The facilities for children were fantastic - there was always something for them to do. Our little boy loved his three sessions in the Baby Club. The staff were brilliant and very caring. Another concern was that the hotel would be too child-orientated, but there was a quieter pool for adults and activities primarily for adults. We had a fabulous time at the TUI FAMILY LIFE Mallorca Mar and would not hesitate to return.” 

Find out more about TUI Family Life holidays and book your holiday now, whether it’s some last-minute summer sun before winter sets in or whether you’re thinking ahead to next summer.


Child-friendly all-inclusive holidays in Spain with First Choice.Child-friendly all-inclusive holidays in Spain with First Choice.

Many of us think we know Spain, but no matter how many times you’ve been, there’s also something new and surprising to discover, and some insider secrets to dig out. 

In this blog we’ve shone our spotlight on some of Spain’s most family-friendly islands and best all-inclusive resorts to find out what each offers to those travelling with kids of different ages.

Menorca

Good for: Gorgeous scenery free of high-rise developments, secluded coves, and gentle family activities including pony-trekking and cycling on traffic-free roads and tracks.
Recommended resort: Mestral and Llebeig Apartments, combining the privacy of self-catering facilities (including kids’ themed suites) with all-inclusive food and drink, two swimming pools and a kids' club in high season.

Ibiza

Good for: Safe sandy beaches with everything from banana boats, pedaloes and SUP paddleboarding to paragliding and scuba-diving, plus lots of family entertainment and fun galore for teens.
Recommended resort: Holiday Village Seaview Ibiza, with childcare for newborns through to 15-year-olds, plus academies, a waterpark and a high-ropes course.

Fuerteventura

Good for: Miles of white sandy beaches and a fairly constant wind that makes it a hotspot for surfing and windsurfing.
Recommended resort: Hotel Barcelo Fuerteventura Thalasso Spa, with a mini club, activities including archery, mini-golf, volleyball and water polo, and pampering treatments.

Gran Canaria

Good for: Beaches (with banana-boat rides, jet-ski hire, paragliding and more), but also both fertile green and barren lunar landscapes that are fun to explore.
Recommended resort: Hotel IFA Catarina, with a complimentary beach shuttle, a kids’ club, a mini disco and a dedicated children’s pool.

Tenerife

Good for: Year-round sunshine, great beaches, and cable-car rides to Spain’s highest peak – should this be peaks? – a great spot for star-gazing.
Recommended resort: Holiday Village Tenerife, with stage, football and swim academies, plus a high-ropes course. 

Book your Spanish getaway with First Choice.


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