If you would like to introduce your children to the ways of
an entirely different culture, Marrakech is the place for
you. Here, they can see camels sunning themselves by the roadside, snake charmers
in the medina – they can even take a trek in the desert!
The beauty of it is that Marrakech is less than four hours by air
and the weather is just perfect, even in November. And you don’t
even have that pesky hour change trauma, because it’s on the same timeline.
Movenpick Mansour Eddahbi is an oasis of tranquility in a fast moving city that’s
a riot of colours, tastes, scents and unfamiliar
sounds – like the call to prayer. Just 20 minutes’ drive from
Menara International Airport, it’s in the tourist district and a
30-minute walk (or 10 minutes by taxi) to the medina and souks.
Opened in 2016, it boasts 513 super spacious and luxurious rooms and family suites.
Inspired by an oasis (blue for water, beige for sand), the rich and exotic décor
reflects the life of the 16th century Sultan emperor Mansour Eddahbi.
Families will have a fabulous time!
Stroll around the extensive grounds and you’ll discover a
magnificent main pool, a shallow circular pool favoured by
families, and several more – all surrounded by lush greenery. We
loved the super-size pool beds – the whole family can clamber
aboard and join the fun!
For four-plusses, there’s a well-equipped Kids’ Club available
from 10am to 8pm each day: allowing mum and dad to head off
to the magnificent Wellness Centre for a spa treatment and a bit of pampering.
Five restaurants and a rooftop lounge serve a selection of
international, Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisine, along with
barbecued treats and poolside snacks. Children are welcome
anywhere, anytime and can choose from their own special menu.
But babysitting is also available if you crave a night off.
You may decide you never want to raise yourself from one of
those seductive poolside beds. But if you do, the coastal town of
Essaouira makes a great (if long) day out. Here, you’ll find a pretty, historic town
with huge sandy beach and the all-important souks. Take a comfort bus from the local
bus station (15 minutes walk from Movenpick) for the three hour drive across the
A family room (b+b basis) in December 2017 (2 adults/2 children) starts from EUR306
per night. Visit www.movenpick.com/en/
Tel +212 (0)524 33 91 00.
Find your family’s perfectly happy place here...
FOWEY HALL HOTEL, FOWEY, CORNWALL
When you see a line of weeny red, blue and pink wellies – plus an assortment of buggies
– in the entrance hall, you can be sure you’ve arrived at a hotel which is truly
family-friendly. Fowey Hall is a Luxury Family Hotel and families are at the heart
of its ethos – along with great food and plenty of mum-and-dad pampering.
Perched above the pretty sailing town of Fowey, this listed
mansion commands sweeping views over the estuary and out to
sea and is reputed to be the inspiration for the children’s classic
The Wind in the Willows.
Its 36 bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, from classic rooms in the Main House
and a choice of family rooms in the Courtyard, to more contemporary rooms in the
Garden Wing. Changing mats, nappy bins and travel cots are supplied, along with steam
sterilisers, bottle warmers and fridges. Full fat milk can be provided free of charge
and pureed food can be whizzed up from 7 am until 9.15pm. A free baby listening service
is monitored from 7am to 11pm each day, or you can arrange a babysitter (£10 per
hour, minimum two hours).
The fun begins at the Four Bears Den, an Ofsted-registered crèche for babies and
children up to eight, open from 10am to 4.45pm daily, offering three two-hour sessions.
Activities range from messy to outdoor, and there’s even a Little Ones That Lunch
Club! Your package includes a two-hour complimentary session each day – but do book
For family quality time, head to the indoor pool where everyone can find their inner
water babe, splashing around with the floats and toys. Or the Blue Room, where there
is a big movie screen and a selection of board games. In the lovely gardens, you’ll
find a trampoline and a zipwire for the more adventurous. And parents, don’t forget
to factor in a little me-time in the luxury spa!
Breakfast and lunch are family occasions, with a children’s meal
available from noon and high tea from 5-6pm. You can dine as a family in the Garden
Room, or enjoy exquisite cuisine in the ‘grown-ups’ restaurant from 8pm. All is freshly
made with local produce, and served with characteristic friendliness and charm.
With the Eden Project and Readymoney beach both within hopping distance, this truly
is the perfect family break you’ve dreamed of.
Rooms start at £190 per night including breakfast, based on 2
adults sharing. Children up to 16 stay can stay free of charge in their parents’
room, and pay for breakfast (depending on age).
Visit www.luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk or call 0844 482 2152.
SHOREFIELD COUNTRY PARK, MILFORD-ON-SEA, HAMPSHIRE
The staycation has come a long way since the days of sitting in a cramped caravan
watching the rain. These days, if you choose wisely, you’ll be somewhere fun like
Shorefield Country Park, in an enviable spot between the south coast and the New
Forest. If the weather’s not playing ball, you have a heated pool house, big games
room, on-site Tides Restaurant, Mini Foresters club activities for the kids – or
for the grown ups – a luxury massage at the Reflections Day Spa to keep everyone
When the sun puts its hat on, you can enjoy the play park, get in a set of tennis,
take a bike ride or walk in the pretty grounds. If you choose to head off to one
of the local attractions, you won’t have to go far. There’s the seaside with its
paved, buggy-friendly coastal path, the New Forest for pony spotting, Lymington for
boutique shopping and a Saturday street market – plus Hurst Castle, Adventure Wonderland,
Exbury Gardens for a miniature steam train and the unmissable Peppa Pig World.
Shorefield offer an on-site shop, bar and entertainment and there are many restaurants,
cafés and gastro pubs in the vicinity. If you do like to cook, you’ll find a well-equipped
kitchen space, along with spacious living space, DVD player, flatscreen TV, comfy
beds and sofas, excellent heating and a lovely deck with tables, chairs and BBQ for
alfresco dining. Your mobile home accommodation really is as comfortable as a home.
Short breaks start at £219; weeklong stays from £319 based
on a family of 4. Facilities, including daily free entertainment,
are included in the price of the holiday, except for tennis court and football pitch
hire, treatments at the spa and a small induction fee for the gym. Visit www.shorefield.co.uk
tel 01590 648 333.
LANDAL BEACH RESORT, OOGHDUYNE, JULIANADORP, THE NETHERLANDS
We took an overnight crossing on a Stena Line Ferry in a Comfort Cabin, perfect for
a family of four. There’s an onboard children’s play area, cinema, a basketball court
and plenty of decks for fresh air. Before turning in, we had dinner in the onboard
Metropolitan restaurant, where staff were very attentive. From the Hook of Holland
ferry port it’s an easy and scenic drive of about 140km which took us under two hours.
Our accommodation was a two-storey house with everything we
needed, from washing-up liquid to a bottle of wine! In the village,
you’ll find a Lidl, Aldi, local supermarket, bakery and pharmacy.
Landal provide linen, washing machines and house towels, but
you need to bring your own pool towels or hire them there. The
resort staff were courteous, helpful and everyone speaks English.
The nearby sandy beach is very clean, with shallow water and a range of activities
and amenities. Our children loved the on-site
swimming pool most. There are also indoor and outdoor play
areas, inclusive activities such as den-building and arts and crafts,
two restaurants, a golf course, putting greens and bike hire. In the
locality, there’s lots to do: wildlife parks, a zoo, canal-boat rides,
food festivals and more.
A family of 4 can enjoy a 7-night stay in a 4-person villa from
£273 (based on stay 15-22 December), including tourist tax
and bed linen. Visit www.landal.com or tel +31 70 300 35 06.
Stena Line offer twice daily, return crossings between Harwich and the Hook of Holland.
Return fares for a family of 4 start from £178. Visit www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland
TOM’S ECO LODGE, TAPNELL FARM, YARMOUTH,
ISLE OF WIGHT
I’m going to start this piece where most people finish theirs: book it! Tapnell Farm
sits on the site of the infamous 1970 Isle of Wight festival and is one of the most
incredible spots we’ve had the pleasure of staying in. First and foremost, the views
are spectacular, with endless roaming fields and little sneak peeks of the sea.
The farm has various accommodation options all under the glamping umbrella. We stayed
in one of their custom-made ‘modulogs’ which offer more of the glam than the ping!
those with inner caveman urges, there are still plenty of things to
fire up: a wood burner, BBQ, fire pit and a glorious log-burning hot tub, As our
two young children quickly discovered, it’s heaven for littlies with so much to do
on site, including soft play, climbing, pedal go-karts, small animals and a jumping
‘pillow’ that can apparently be seen from space.
For breakfast, you can help yourself to freshly laid eggs from the chicken coop.
There’s an honesty shop with most of the basics,
right down to ready-prepared pizza dough to use in the pizza oven, and a restaurant
on site if that caveman in you needs a rest.
The team at Tapnell seem to have succeeded where so many
fail in creating somewhere that’s both fun, yet still relaxing. And,
if you can peel the kids away, there are wild beaches within a short drive to blow
away those cobwebs before rolling back up the hill to your perfect sanctuary, where
that cuppa/beer/Prosecco (delete as required) on the cabin terrace awaits.
Prices for a Modulog, sleeps 6, start at £310 for midweek
breaks, £420 for weekend, or £595 for 7 nights.
Red Funnel operate regular services between Southampton
and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The vehicle service
takes 55 minutes and costs from £44 for a day return or £56
for a short-stay return for a vehicle and up to 7 passengers.
The high-speed foot-passenger Red Jet service between
Southampton and West Cowes can take just 23 minutes and
costs from £9.70 for an adult return. Visit www.redfunnel.co.uk
Nestling within the mythical forest, in a peaceful location on the Thoresby Estate,
you’ll find the Sherwood Hideaway, winner of Holiday Village of the Year from the
Nottinghamshire Tourism Awards. Guests stay in one of the charming lodges and take
advantage of discounts in the spa and fine dining at nearby Thoresby Hall Hotel.
Our luxury three-bedroom lodge was perfect for our party of six,
with two spacious doubles (one with ensuite) and one twin room,
plus a family bathroom. Each bedroom is furnished to a high
standard, with its own TV and snug fur throw to keep you cosy in
bed. There were no squabbles about what to watch!
The lounge/diner and kitchen area are open-plan, which gave us ample opportunity
to spend quality time together. The superbly-equipped kitchen with all mod-cons,
including a dishwasher and coffee machine, made cooking a pleasure. There are also
several nearby takeaways should you want a night off.
Highlight for the kids was undoubtedly the hot tub on the generous wooden veranda.
Whatever the temperature, they were happy to spend time in the 39°C water, complete
with jets and changing fairy lights.
Nature lovers will enjoy the on-site bat hut, as well as the
opportunity to try your hand at falconry with the local Harris
hawk experts, Go Active. For more outdoor fun, the park provides
a kids’ activity booklet, so they can identify wildlife while exploring their own
Local attractions include the charming village of Perlethorpe and the Major Oak in
Sherwood Forest, reputedly 1,000 years old and the hide-away of Robin Hood. For day
trips, Newark, Nottingham and Lincoln are all in striking distance too.
Holidays start from £464, for a 4-night short break in a
Woodland Rustic 2-bed pet-friendly lodge that sleeps 4; and
from £785 for a 7-night holiday in the same accommodation.
Visit www.sherwoodhideaway.com or tel 01623 824 594.