The lake in summertime.
The lake in summertime.

A Summer Family Break in St Moritz, Switzerland

St Moritz is best known as a backdrop for James Bond films and as a winter resort for superstars, from Marlene Dietrich to Madonna. But outside the skiing season, when even your salopettes have to be Chanel, the Swiss Alps become surprisingly affordable. In fact, they're the ideal family destination, full of the possibility for gentle adventures in the mountains and on the lake. 

We rambled, mountain-biked, went boating and took cable-cars with no crowds. We sampled chestnut purée cakes and scoffed Swiss chocolate at the delightly Confiserie Hanselmann and we watched On Her Majesty's Secret Service to see all the stunts that were filmed in St Moritz. We may not have been the princesses from Monaco - St Moritz winter devotees - but we certainly felt like royalty.

St Moritz, which is now famed for break-a-leg sports, was actually founded as a place to recuperate in the healing months of spring. We stayed at the original hotel for these 19th-century health-seekers, the vast Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, where ski-obsessed celebrities would normally have been occupying the luscious suites. But in the summer, the clientele is primarily other families and the hotel gears up to welcome children.

St Moritz is also the home of one of the most famous of fictitious kids, Heidi. We walked up to her wooden hut and followed the Heidi Flower Trail, looking out for the elusive edelweiss mountain plant. And my family decreed fondue to be the most child-friendly food – not so much for its taste as for its theatrical elements. The five-year-old twins loved all the dipping and dripping.

For five days, we lived like movies stars in the mountains but at a fraction of the celebrities' cost. And think of all the money we saved on kitting out the kids with salopettes.

Find out more about Switzerland family holidays and breaks.

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