16 family friendly holiday ideas for 2016

No matter what your budget, holidays are an important part of family life, and even if it's only a long weekend getaway, it all helps to recharge and refresh you all. For 2016, here are our top 16 suggestions for a getaway.


by Georgina Wilson-Powell |
Published on

No matter what your budget, holidays are an important part of family life, and even if it's only a long weekend getaway, it all helps to recharge and refresh you all. For 2016, here are our top 16 suggestions for a getaway.


1. Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal's capital should be firmly on your radar. With a mix of Moorish architecture, vibrant city parks and plenty of reasonable tapas bars, it's an inexpensive city break. Plus you've got beaches (for swimming and surfing) 20 mins away and it's small enough to walk round or there's cheap public transport.

When to go? Head over in June for a series of events and parties to celebrate St Anthony's Day.

2. Valencia, Spain

While Barcelona is one of Spain's biggest draws, a bit further along the coast sits Valencia, a similar, smaller and cheaper version. From paella on the beach to wandering around the medieval streets munching on churros, there's loads for the whole family to do. Head to the City of Arts and Sciences for an oceanographic park - the largest aquarium in Europe.

3. Cardiff, Wales

2016 is the centenary celebration of Road Dahl, the Welsh born author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda. Cardiff will be celebrating all year but September's City of the Unexpected will combine theatre productions, large scale street performance and art commissions that all celebrate one of our most famous authors.

4. Ireland

Ireland will launch a new touring experience, the Ancient East, combining the coastal south and east of the country, where 5,000 years of history is yours to discover on walks, driving routes and events. Take in Kilkenny's Medieval Mile, Waterford's Viking Quarter or ancient burial sites in Newgrange.

5. Slovenia

This former Yugoslavian state will celebrate its 25th birthday as an independent country in 2016 and this beautiful, mountainous country is bursting with adventures and activities for those that love the great outdoors (but don't want to spend a fortune). From kayaking crystal clear rivers to mountain biking or sleeping in your own treehouse, Slovenia's an undiscovered gem.

6. Wroclaw, Poland

European Capital of Culture, Wroclaw is a Gothic chocolate box of a city that combines history, a love of beer and an even larger love of gnomes. There are 300 gnome statues dotted around the city to commemorate the 1980s anti-communist group, Orange Alternative. See if your kids can spot them all.

7. Montenegro

The Med's biggest secret, this coastal Baltic state is full of dramatic landscapes, cove beaches, tiny bays and best of all, hardly any tourists. Head to Kotor which feels like a fjord (only warm), for romantic beachside villages or work off lunch with a 1,200 hike up the medieval fortifications.

8. Miami, USA

There are some good trans-Atlantic deals with Wow or Norwegian airlines in 2016. Miami's where it's at next year with new districts opening up full of art galleries, you've got the Art Deco architecture, enough beaches to keep the whole family happy and get a taste of Cuba without having to leave the States.

9. Latvia

Another country celebrating its 25th anniversary is former Russian state, Latvia. From Nordic inspired restaurants (at a fraction of the price you'll find in Scandinavia) to new museums and galleries, romantic crumbling castles, this tiny country is a gem waiting to be discovered. Head to capital, Riga,

for a cosmopolitan take on post Soviet living.

10. Glasgow, Scotland

While it's often overshadowed by Edinburgh, Glasgow now scrubs up nicely and has a jam packed calendar, from a comedy festival in March to a three week multi-cultural festival in June called The West End. Take the kids to see the Tall Ships or the Glasgow Science Centre for interactive shows and exhibitions.

11. Sri Lanka

If you want an Asian adventure but don't want to pay the earth, this island paradise is about to explode in popularity. A whole swathe of boutique, beachside hotels have opened in the last couple of years. Jungle walks, elephant orphanages, great surfing and a laid back way of life all await.

12. Mallorca

There's more to Mallorca than boozy Brits abroad in Magaluf. This lush hilly island is an adventure playground, ringed with Blue Flag beaches that are perfect for kids paddling and splashing about. Head inland for mountain biking trails or to Palma for delicious tapas and goldfish bowl size G&Ts.

13. Crete, Greece

Greece's recent financial problems have meant great deals for British holiday makers and 2016 shouldn't be any different. For families want to hit an island in the Med, Crete has the most to do, plus it's still warm in October (if you're going outside of school holidays). Ancient old town Hania has charming hotels and little bays, discover the ancient city of Knossos or just chill on the beaches.

14. Jersey

Often overlooked as we fly further abroad, Jersey is a wonderful step back on time in the Channel. With castles, steam trains, manor houses and plenty of cream tea opportunities, the island is like one huge family fun park. Rent a house by the beach and leave the screens at home.

15. Marrakech, Morocco

Get away for a girly weekend and taken in Moroccan charm in Marrakech. From atmospheric markets to cute riads and stunning Arabic architecture, this ancient city's exotic charms weave their spell no matter what time of year you go. Shop in the souks, relax with a traditional massage and tuck into delicious mezze.

16. Adelaide, Australia

Ok, so Australia's not a short hop but thanks to the exchange rate an Aussie holiday will cost less this year than it has done in years. Hit the west coast's Adelaide for a less touristy experience, the city has come into its own recently. Feed kangaroos at the city zoo, explore on free bikes, hit the beaches, go crabbing or spot sealions on the Eyre peninsula.

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