Thursday, 7 May 2009

Top family holidays

The time has come to start planning the annual summer escape, but with kids in tow it's not always easy to keep everyone entertained. Here are some of our top picks for the best breaks for the whole family.

Sail away

Family bonding doesn't get more necessary than when trying to work together. Nonstop Sail offers family breaks, with courses to achieve a Royal Yacht Association Competent Crew qualification by the end or more relaxed jaunts around the West Country coastline. With canoes onboard, families can take a break from skippering and explore the nearby rivers and waterways.

Tree house trip: France

What child hasn't dreamt of spending the night hiding out in a tree house? Well, now they can at one of the six Keycamp sites dotted across France. Accommodation may be nestled in the tree canopy but they are a far cry from the shack-like offerings many might remember from their childhood. Each tree house has four single beds and a double with a large decked terrace and a toilet. There is also a fully equipped tent at the base of the tree hide-out with fridge, freezer and cooking facilities. The sites currently offering the Tarzan retreats are Dol De Bretagne (Brittany), Carnac Grand Métairie (Brittany), Berny Rivière (near Paris), La Forêt (Vendée), Le Château des Marais (Loire) and Le Val de Bonnal (Jura).

Hit the water: Llangollen Canal

Kids and adults will be kept entertained on a narrowboat holiday with Hoseasons. The Llangollan Canal is one of the most picturesque waterways in the UK and also offers plenty of action to keep nippers amused. A highlight of the route is the Chirk Aqueduct which is followed by a long dark tunnel and continues on past the 600-year-old Chirk Castle. However, it only puts you in good stead for the 38m (127ft) Pontcysyllte Aqueduct that soars at dizzying heights above the River Dee valley.

Cool kids city: Berlin

Currently one of the hottest cities for adult escapes and nightlife junkies, Berlin shouldn't be overlooked for its fantastic child-friendly appeal. For a start Kindercity ( has a 6,000 sq metre play and learning centre. Or take them to Legoland Discovery Centre with its miniature Berlin and medieval castles. At the AquaDom & Sea Life little ones can get up close to around 4,000 creatures of the deep and at Magic Mountain they can climb about. There are also adventure playgrounds, skateboard parks, city beaches and puppet and theatre shows if they are still feeling energetic.

Get active: Wales

The Clyne Farm Activity Centre in Wales is the prime place for those with energetic children and a love of the great outdoors. Various outdoor pursuits are on offer, including a guided walking tour of the coastal waterfalls and pools as well as the chance to get down and dirty in the muddiest assault course in the world. There is also horse riding, archery, climbing, canoeing, surfing, quad biking and much more besides. Accommodation comes in the form of old stone cottages, fully equipped as a home from home - an added benefit when holidaying with children.

Beach break: Crete

Thomson's Sensatori Resort in Crete is five-star luxury but at affordable family-friendly prices. The various pools are a star attraction, with a special family zone and children's splash pool, water jets, a tropical treehouse for little monkeys to climb over as well as an adults-only pool with giant outdoor hot tub for parents to relax in. Children can hang at the Play House and Sully Science Lab and for the evening there are movies and sleepovers so adults can enjoy a meal or two alone or head to the luxury spa. Tiny tots will be taken care of by nursing staff with UK-accredited childcare qualifications and can even borrow a mobile phone for complete peace of mind.

If you want to have a top family holiday as well, go to

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