From adventurous safaris and relaxing in the sun to fun in the snow and exciting city breaks, here are, in our opinion, the best family holidays.
Desert adventure in Oman
If you're looking for a family-friendly adventure holiday in the sun, look no further than Oman. Not only is the weather warm and sunny for most of the year, but there's also first-rate beach resorts and hotels, wonderful coastline, and a plethora of activities. Activities include dolphin and whale-watching trips, 4x4 safaris through desert, around mountains and medieval forts, camel rides, and spending the night at a Bedouin tented camp.
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Discover South Africa's game reserves
South Africa's numerous game reserves are home to some outstanding lodges ideal for family holidays. There are malaria-free areas such as the Waterberg plateau (between Johannesburg and the Limpopo River) is, for instance, has lodges offering childcare facilities with activities that introduce children to the African bush, its amazing animal and plant life. Activities range from one reserve to another, with pony rides, close-up meerkat watching, family picnics and cycle rides all possible. And don't forget the south coast there are sandy beaches with African penguins!
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Meet Father Christmas in Lapland
In the far north of Finland, well beyond the Arctic Circle, lies Finnish Lapland. The area is perhaps best known as being home to the man himself; Father Christmas. Well-behaved children are allowed to visit Father Christmas's residence, where he meets visitors while elves serve hot drinks and ginger biscuits. The magical winter wonderland is perfect for all kinds of fun in the snow including driving a reindeer-drawn sledge, husky and snowmobile safaris through snowy forests, snow-shoeing, ice carving and ice-fishing.
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Sun, sea and sand in Abu Dhabi
For some truly unusual child-friendly activities in the sun, Abu Dhabi does it in style. With consistently warm sunny weather, Abu Dhabi has a coastline with wonderful sandy beaches and sea swimming, and some seriously swanky hotels. Just some of the activities here include camel rides, Yas Waterworld; a whopping 40 acre waterpark with 43 slides and rides, and the Formula One Grand Prix circuit and Ferrari World theme park. There's also the Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara where families can go on safari to see rare Arabian Oryx and even hyenas, giraffes and cheetahs in a huge wildlife reserve and so much more.
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Great family hotels in Cyprus
Renowned for its gorgeous wide bay beaches and glorious 300 days of sunny weather every year, Cyprus is also a top spot for families thanks to its fairly short flight times from the UK. Cyprus has two fantastic family-friendly beach resorts; the Anassa and the Almyra. What makes these resorts stand out are their ability to cater to children and families so thoroughly whilst maintaining a stylish environment that's a treat to adults alike. Both resorts offer great childcare options and activities, giving grownups time to themselves to relax and unwind in the sun.
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Canopy walks and orang-utans in Borneo
For a wonderful combination of outdoorsy and exotic family holiday, Borneo ticks all the boxes and more. On land the jungle is teeming with wildlife and nature, perhaps the best way to take all of it in is on the canopy walkways high above the jungle floor. The turquoise sea coastline is spotted with beautiful white sandy beached islands, a haven for marine wildlife. On the island of Lankayan there's some fantastic dive sites for beginners, and children as young as eight can try diving with PADI's excellent Bubblemaker course here.
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Fun on the slopes in Austria
The Arlberg area of Austria is ideal for family ski holidays. With excellent ski schools, gentle nursery slopes building all the way from more challenging intermediate runs all the way up to advanced off-piste, whatever you and your children's abilities, there's a slope for you. If you're travelling with young kids in tow, the resort of Lech is ideal. Here there's a 'Miniclub' with on-slope kindergarten and junior ski school. Children spend their time building snowmen, playing with snowballs, having an introduction to skiing, and even participating in a weekly ski race.
Outdoor pursuits in Madeira
The fabulous sub-tropical climate ensures Madeira is a great family holiday destination year-round. Whilst there aren't sandy beaches, Madeira does have bucket loads of striking scenery and heaps to do. From mountain biking to paragliding, big-game fishing to hiking ancient irrigation channel trails. A truly one-off experience is the carro de cesto; an exhilarating ride from the small town of Monte (reached by cable-car) in a kind of wicker toboggan. Controlled by two 'drivers' who run alongside, this is effectively a three-mile joyride down some very steep streets!
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Active fun in the sun in Antigua
In the warm and sunny Caribbean, the island of Antigua is well set up for families. As well as good quality hotels, there are also beach activities galore, from sea kayaking to kite-surfing, fishing, snorkelling trips to the nearby reefs and even PADI-certified diving centres. Inland, on the other hand, are rainforest canopy tours on suspended bridges, trips to the historic Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour, day trips to other nearby islands and even helicopter tours to nearby Montserrat and its active volcano.
Discover the jungle in Costa Rica
A whopping 25% of Central America's Costa Rica is National Park; a hint at what's in store for you here. The truly diverse landscapes vary from spectacular Caribbean coastline and waterfalls to volcano and jungle and are home to a plethora of wildlife. From river safaris, white-water rafting, horse riding, mountain biking, wallowing in natural hot springs and boat trips or windsurfing, one thing's for sure; your family won't get bored in Costa Rica.
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