As Editor of Family Traveller magazine, Jane Anderson knows how to find the perfect family holiday. We asked her to share her expertise and give us her top five places to visit that the whole family can enjoy together with Elegant Resorts…
“As editor of Family Traveller magazine, I’ve been lucky enough to explore some utterly beautiful parts of the world with my children – Scarlett, now 13, and Fin, 11 – on our family holidays.
I never tire of taking them to diverse parts of the globe, nor do I take this for granted. I know travel has enriched their childhoods and educated them beyond the classroom. Here are just some of our favourite trips…
Being an adventurous family, the Algarve wasn’t high on our list, but I have to admit, it works perfectly for family holidays. It’s such as easy destination to get to and has a broad appeal, from the surf beaches in the far west to innovative resorts like the recently opened Anantara Vilamoura. Here, we found a five-star hotel that celebrates a local culture that’s often brushed aside.
Highlights included the herb-infused cold towel and carob juice on arrival, and the Sunshine Butlers magically appearing around the Palms Pool with freshly sliced Algarvian oranges. My children enjoyed a golf lesson with Anantara’s golf pro, José Dias, while I checked out the sublime spa. And we all chilled out on the white sunbeds at the new Puro Beach Club with DJ Dhanny spinning the beats.
Don’t believe what you hear about the Maldives! There is absolutely nothing boring about visiting this incredible destination with children.
When we visited this staggering nation of 1,190 islands for the first time last year, we were blown away by the other-wordly beauty and the impact the ocean had on the children. They couldn’t get enough of snorkelling with turtles and Black-tipped Reef Sharks, and were engrossed in ocean conservation during an afternoon of coral-planting, learning about the destruction of the reef and efforts to save it for future generations. Other highlights included night fishing, a mother and daughter yoga session and a late-afternoon cruise with Spinner Dolphins skimming close by the ship’s bow. Magical.
“Don’t believe what you hear about the Maldives! There is absolutely nothing boring about visiting this incredible destination with children.”
Heading to the homeland of Bob Marley and Usain Bolt, my kids were beyond excited to head to Jamaica for a family holiday. And far from staying put in our resort, we headed out every day for local adventures. Top of the list was a baby turtle release on Gibraltar Beach, where we grappled with the negative impact of humans on nature.
We had great fun on the Sky Explorer at Mystic Mountain – an aerial ride over the rain forest with panoramic views of Ocho Rios. And, my children even got to make shrimp and callaloo in coconut sauce and jerk chicken in the garden at Prospect Plantation! Plus, of course, we all enjoyed the scramble up the cascades at Dunn’s River Falls. Never a dull moment!
How do you tackle such a colossus as India with kids? In bite-size pieces is the answer. And, of course, it helps enormously if you have a luxury specialist tour operator to help things run smoothly. We felt privileged to take in the site of the Taj Mahal at sunrise before the serious crowds descended.
We learnt the ancient art of block printing in the pink city of Jaipur and experienced a full-on food walk of Old Delhi. Here, we saw the impressive food served free at Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, and headed down the delightfully named Gali Kababiyan – ‘Lane of Kebabs’ – and topped it all with scoops of Kufki – an ice-cream made from reduced milk, sugar, pistachios, saffron and cardamom. Served at a very basic ice-cream parlour, the saying “never judge a book by its cover” was proved true! Culture shock doesn’t begin to describe it.
“How do you tackle such a colossus as India with kids? In bite-size pieces is the answer.”
We may have spectacularly capsized during our very first lesson – the hull of our sleek, white Laser Bahia rearing up spectacularly above us; Scarlett wondering what lay beneath her in deep blue of the Mediterranean and her brother, Fin, simply wide-eyed in the coolness of it all – but learning to sail on holiday has been voted one of our best collective family experiences yet.
We chose the beautiful Anassa hotel on the westerly Akamas Peninsula of Cyprus, as it had just been awarded official Royal Yachting Association (RYA) accreditation for family sailing courses, as well as being one of the most beautiful family-run hotels in the Mediterranean. If you have young kids, this should be top of your family holidays bucket list.”
If you would like more information on luxury family holidays, please call our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 578 or view our full portfolio at elegantresorts.co.uk