Thursday, 22 January 2009

10 classic quiet family holidays

It suits everybody: no crowds, easy to get to, away from the beach and kids able to spend time with parents

1. A family retreat to Scotland - Scotland and sunshine: the Burke and McEwan families discover holiday cottages on Pitmilly Farm in Fife that tick all the boxes. "Plenty of rock pools, crystal clear water and of course no crowds in this quiet neck of the woods."

2. Mule trekking in the Alps - Caitlin Moran on an unexpected delight in Switzerland. "There are no two ways about it - this was the best holiday that we've had, even though we are a bunch of picky, greedy, foodie buggers. I can't recommend mule-trekking with small children enough."

3. Holiday home swap in Sweden - Homeswap novice Helen Rumbelow, her boyfriend and daughter find it home from home in Stockholm. "The holiday was convenient. And just as importantly, it was fascinating. Needless to say, we are addicted, and have set up our next match."

4. Yoga for the family in Italy - Rear like a cobra, roar like a lion... Emma Mahony and her twins were at full stretch on a family yoga retreat in Le Marche. "The most relaxing aspect of the holiday was the sense of community that quickly evolved, with everyone offering to watch over each other’s children..."

5. A family ramble in Wales - Forget hot, overcrowded beaches. A Welsh ramble among the puddles promises fun for all the family says Bettany Hughes. "A Welsh ramble, with the possibility of puddles, is, in my view, preferable to picking up melanomas on a crowded beach."

6. Troll trouble in Norway - Viking raiders, explorers, folk tales; Norway is ideal for a family adventure says Erica Wagner. "Me, my husband Francis and our six-year-old, Theo – had begun in Oslo. What six-year-old could argue with the simple, yet awesome, spectacle of Oslo’s Viking Ships Museum?"

7. Austria for family holidays - Why grill your kids on the Med beaches? The Austrian Alps are far more family-friendly with its Kinderhotels says Mark Hodson. "The Austrians aren’t flashy by nature – but what it (the hotel) does deliver is friendly service, outstanding food and attention to detail."

8. Life on the farm in France - A gîte on a farm in Mayenne, complete with donkey, is perfect for Chloe Bryan-Brown's young family. "Leaving our gîte was a wrench, made all the worse by Peggy’s bitter tears when we told her that her favourite farm kitten could not come with us."

9. Lazy sunny afternoons in the Alps - "We rounded the week off with another burst of fresh air. The alpine ski lifts are used in the summer to take you into hiking country," says father of a teenager, John Clarke.

10. Latvia is cool for kids and Dads - The bracing and at times bizarre Baltic coast suits a sun-shy family says Damien Whitworth. "When you have two ginger kids it's a shade-hopping marathon of sunscreen smearing and keeping hats on heads."

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