Missed your chance of a family holiday this summer? Whether booked-up Britain, the pingdemic or post-lockdown jitters scuppered your plans, you still have one last chance to rescue your holiday year – the autumn half-term break.
It’s not the easiest time of year to plan a holiday. The weather in some parts of the Mediterranean is long past its best and the tight window of opportunity – most schools break up on Oct 22 and return on Nov 1 – means that some flights to popular destinations are already in short supply.
But if you choose carefully – heading well south in the Med or to the Canaries if you want a beach holiday, or plan a different type of trip where hot sunny weather isn’t so crucial – then there are still lots of excellent options. And if your children are lucky enough to have two weeks off, or break up the previous week, then you really are in clover.
We’ve scoured the websites and brochures for some inspirational holidays for children of all ages. We’ve picked out the most attractive beach breaks, with options in Cyprus, Lanzarote and Crete, and have ideas for child-centred fun in the best of the theme and holiday parks – from Disneyland Paris to Legoland and a holiday centre in Brittany.
We have also included cultural breaks for families who’ve had enough of the beach – they include an introduction for young children to ancient Rome through a gladiator “training camp” and a sunny break in Seville, one of the most family-friendly cities in Europe.
And for those who like to get out into the open air, we have tracked down active breaks, from walking along the Thames exploring the world of Wind in the Willows to cycling around Mallorca.
Fun and games
While Mickey Mouse and friends may not be hugging visitors, they are back in action. Allow a couple of days to explore Disneyland Paris and nearby Walt Disney Studios Park. Magic Breaks (magicbreaks.co.uk) offers a three-night stay at Campanile Val D’France from £478 B&B for up to five passengers and a car, including Eurotunnel crossing, with free shuttle to Disney. Park and ticket information at disneylandparis.com.
Break with bricks
New for this year at Legoland is the world of Mythica, which includes three new rides and 13 huge Legocreatures that come to life when scanned with a downloaded app. For younger children there are old favourites like the Legoland express train. A two-night half-term stay from at the on-site Legoland Resort Hotel near Windsor costs from £1,030 B&B, including theme-park tickets and access to a pirate-themed indoor water play area and swimming pool.