My two eldest kids had a long summer off this year – one was back from uni and one finished their GCSEs. We decided to grab the opportunity and send them away together for the first time without us!
My son is never one to sit on a sun-lounger and wanted to 'do something', so after deliberation, we settled on Iceland. We used a low-cost airline to keep the price down, and rather than sending them on the normal escorted tour around the Golden Circle, we based them in Reykjavik.
"On the glacier hiking tour, they were armed with ice picks and helmets and had to really watch their steps throughout to check the ice was good to walk on."
Among other things, this gave them a wider variety of dining choices in the evenings – a big consideration as my daughter is very fussy. And it's not necessarily expensive, as many people think Iceland is – on their first day, they tried out the famous Reykjavik hot-dog stand, Baejarins beztu pylsur. They also went to familiar food chains such as the Hard Rock Café and Jamie’s Italian.
Their hotel was the Reykjavik Centrum with its brilliant location within walking distance of the bus stops for their excursions. The all-English-speaking reception staff were very helpful with them, reconfirming airport transfers and so on.
They loved the lava tube caves – the highlight of this trip being when all the lights were switched off and there was just darkness and silence. And my teenage daughter adored the famous Blue Lagoon, which for her was all about relaxing with the silica mud face mask on.
They also did a South Iceland glacier hiking tour, which is for the physically fit (apparently, I would have struggled!) and really tired them out. They were armed with ice picks and helmets and had to really watch their steps throughout to check the ice was good to walk on. The views were incredible.
But the overall high point of their trip was the coach trip around the Golden Circle – a must if you are going to Iceland – seeing the fantastic Gullfoss waterfall and the dramatic geysirs.
I'm happy they chose Iceland to go away to – I would have worried about them out on a clubbing/pubbing type of holiday. It wasn't cheap but they made memories that will last a lifetime.
Read our destination guide to family holidays in Iceland including things to do with kids in Reykjavik and the rest of the country.