6 Unique Family-Friendly Adventures
- Words by
- Bibby Sowray
- Edited By
- Polly Knight
It’s easy to assume that family-friendly holidays have to come with a lot of compromises – but they don’t. There’s a wealth of beautiful, luxurious hotels, home and away, that have great offerings for children as well as adults, from excellent kids’ clubs to on-site babysitters, epic family excursions to family-friendly dining that’s every bit as sophisticated as adults-only. These are the six best to book now.
Marbella Club offers a unique year-round holiday, ideal for families and set by the shore on the Golden Mile, directly between the Old Town and glitzy Puerto Banús. The historic resort is beloved by A-listers, and once you get there you’ll understand why. Kids can head to the 5,000-sq-metre kids’ club – one of the best in Europe – and dive into the hotel’s herb garden to collect herbs for a session of perfume and candle making, put their culinary skills to the test with the resident Wellness Chef, tend to the on-site vegetable garden, enjoy canoeing excursions, take dance lessons or hit the pottery wheel if they so wish, plus much more. If the little ones fancy heading off-site there are excursions to a safari park, zoo and aquarium, too. There’s also babysitting on offer and family-friendly movie nights to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a UK-based break that’s suitable for all the family, without compromising on luxury for the adults, book a stay at Gleneagles now. Situated in the breathtaking Perthshire countryside, it’s the perfect combination of activity and relaxation. For families, there are activities aplenty across the 850-acre estate, including tree climbing, junior golf, archery, fishing, horse riding and falconry, as well as more seasonal offerings, such as igloo-building in the winter. There’s also the Little Glen crèche for 2-to-9-year-olds and The Den, a hangout space for older children, filled with a wealth of interactive games. On-site Playground Planners will help you iron out every detail, creating a bespoke family itinerary for you and even booking babysitters so adults can have some much-needed solo time to explore the luxurious hotel and everything it has to offer, including a spa and numerous fine-dining options.
For a countryside staycation that caters for all the family, without the hassle of a long journey, Beaverbrook, in the Surrey Hills, can’t be beaten. With interiors by Susie Atkinson and Nicola Harding, it really is a luxurious home away from home (which also happens to have a restaurant run by an ex-Nobu chef). They’ve enlisted the UK’s premier kids’ creative event experts, Sharky & George, to run the kids’ club, which holds activities including bug-hunting and den-building within the grounds every weekend and daily during the school holidays, and also offers an array of extra activities, such as sweet-making and robot-building. All on-site restaurants have family-friendly hours, there’s a kids’ zone and pool, complimentary bike hire and, throughout the summer-holiday period, daily children’s cinema screenings, complete with freshly popped popcorn.
Ikos’s all-inclusive five-star resorts are notorious for being family-friendly (as are its Sani sister resorts), and Ikos Olivia in Hakidiki was the first in the collection to launch in 2015. This year sees the resort opening for the 2024 season having undergone several upgrades. Guests from 6 months to 17 can enjoy a programme of daily activities, all supervised by professionals following UK Ofsted guidelines. The whole resort is set up for families, with prams available to rent, kids’ pools, play areas and a playroom all within the grounds, as well as a football academy for budding players. It also has its very own 450m-long stretch of Blue Flag beach, making family beach days as stress-free as possible.
Puglia’s stunning Adriatic coastline is home to Borgo Egnazia, a five-star retreat built to resemble a traditional Italian village. With a crèche, kids’ club and teens’ club, it’s also the perfect place for a family trip. The clubs’ experiences include creative labs, cooking classes, face painting and treasure hunts, as well as dance contests and supervised watersports for older kids. The hotel will also provide everything you could need if travelling with an infant, from bottle warmers to their very own nursery. Plus, there’s even a special restaurant for children, da Puccetta, designed exclusively for young guests, where all manner of dishes are carefully created and prepared for children.
If 2024 is the year you’re planning to have a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday, look to Sandy Lane. Nestled within an ancient mahogany grove on Barbados’s Platinum Coast, overlooking a white coral sand beach and turquoise waters, it really is paradise. The Caribbean retreat boasts the complimentary Treehouse Club, which has a weekly activity programme for children aged 3 to 12 and, for teenagers, The Den, equipped with pool tables, foosball and electronic and board games. And there are afternoon movie screenings, themed dinners, island tours and coastal cruises for the whole family to enjoy, as well as sports camps for 7-to-16-year-olds.