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Self-catering Family Holidays and Breaks

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One of the luxury villas at Aphrodite Hills Holiday Residence, Cyprus.One of the luxury villas at Aphrodite Hills Holiday Residence, Cyprus.

Self catering is usually cheaper than staying in a hotel and offers more flexibility and freedom. It’s also a great option for those wishing to holiday with grandparents, extended family, or another family or families – you can club together for more space and better facilities than you might afford individually, take turns giving one another a break, and be sure the kids will have playmates. Many self-catering properties are dog-friendly, too. In the UK or Europe, you’ll often go on a self-catering holiday or break by car, which means you can take any equipment you need (although many properties provide baby paraphernalia by request) and avoid the hassle of airports (and baggage restrictions).

Classic family-friendly self-catering options are villas, cottages, gîtes and apartments (particularly for ski holidays). Some are in small complexes or at larger hotels and resorts, so you can enjoy communal amenities. Similarly, apart-hotels combine self catering with hotel facilities. 

Other self-catering options are farm-stays (whether in cottages in converted farm buildings or in pre-erected glamping tents) and camping, holiday parks and holiday villages (in your own tent, in ready set-up yurts, safari tents or the like, or in mobile homes) and home-swaps, where you get to live in someone’s home. 

Find inspiration for self-catering family holidays in the UK, Europe, North America and the Caribbean or see our special offers and latest deals with self-catering partners:
• Pierre & Vacances: Self-catering holiday villages and residences, including the French Alps, Europe as a whole, and the Caribbean.
• Family-friendly rental properties in the UK, France and Italy, with an exclusive discount for our newsletter subscribers.
• Canvas: Long-established camping and holiday park operator with properties around Europe.
• James Villas: Hand-picked family-friendly properties around Europe, the USA and the Caribbean.
• Simpson Holidays: Child-friendly villas in the Mediterranean, some in boutique complexes.
• Center Parcs Europe: Holiday villages in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Scroll down for our tips for self-catering family holidays.


Forest Holidays family breaks
Forest Holidays

Exclusive Offer: Save 5% at Forest Holidays throughout 2018

Book and stay before 31 Dec 2018

The Ellingham Cottages, Guernsey

Exclusive Offer: 10% off Guernsey holiday cottages

Use our discount code when you book direct

Sandy Balls Holiday Village

Last-minute breaks from £366

At Sandy Balls Holiday Village

Recommended Partners

Big savings with and Take the Family.


Self-catering holiday parks and campsites around Europe.

James Villa Holidays

Villa holidays to suit all families and budgets.


• Do your research, especially if dealing with independent properties. How far is the property from local shops and restaurants, the beach or the ski slopes, for instance? Check for what websites might not be telling you, and ask the right questions before signing on the dotted line. Google Streetview is your friend when it comes to checking out local surroundings in advance and making sure a neighbourhood is well suited to you.

• Find out if a property can provide all the equipment you need – these days, highchairs, travelcots and other equipment come as pretty standard, but do check. Similarly, some budget accommodation will expect you to bring your own towels and perhaps also your own bedlinen, although some will offer it for hire at extra charge.

• If you’re self-catering in the UK or driving to the Continent, bear in mind that some properties, particularly those at the budget end of the spectrum, may not have some of the kit you take for granted at home, such as cafetières and corkscrews. Make room in your car for a small box of such ‘essentials’, as well as items you will need but might not have chance to get hold of before arriving – matches, loo roll, real coffee, and so on.

• Find out if the owner can offer babysitting or can recommend a local firm or person who will, if this is something you’ll require.

• Check whether any swimming pools on-site meet safety requirements in terms of self-locking gates and so on, should this be an issue (i.e. if you're travelling with young kids).

• If you opt for a larger property with family or friends, make sure all families will get privacy in the form of their own bathroom and preferably even a separate wing.

• With larger groups, organize a rota for cooking, cleaning, shopping and perhaps even babysitting/childcare, so  everybody gets some time off.

• If holidaying without family or friends, think about finding a gite in a complex with communal amenities, so kids have others to play with.

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