With the kids going back to school soon, we’re all taking more steps towards normality. Battle any autumn blues by thinking about your family holiday for 2021, by which time travel will hopefully be a little easier. From short trip ideas for UK family holidays to dreamy family holidays abroad, this article will provide inspiration for your 2021 travel plans.
Note: Many of the destinations mentioned in this article are not currently open for travel. To check which destinations are safe to visit now, use our interactive global map.
Family holidays 2021? Consider these fab 11 destination:
- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales, UK
- Bergen, Norway
- Brighton, UK
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Newquay, Cornwall, UK
- Kapaa, Hawaii
- Goa, India
- Dorset, UK
- Skiathos, Greece
- Naantali, Finland
Best for active family holidays 2021
Love hiking and exploring exciting new terrain as a family? These destinations won’t disappoint.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales, UK
How does 629 sqkm of coastal playground sound? Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, in the south of Wales, may be one of the best places for a UK family holiday. Its accessible location makes it ideal for a quick trip during the spring half-term holiday, and with Pembroke as your base, you can spend endless hours wandering around the National Park’s sea caves and over 50 beaches.
There are several adventure groups operating within the park that you can join for a spot of kayaking or SUP (Board Games Surfing have great experience with little ones). Plus, many beaches are equipped with a lifeguard so that you know everyone will be safe. When you’re all ready for something quieter, you can also go fishing or foraging.
Yes, the rainfall in Bergen rivals our own. But this Norwegian city has an ace up its sleeve, making it perfect for an active family holiday: fjords. Ideally located in the heart of Fjord Norway (basically the south-western part of the country), Bergen is a three-hour drive from Norway’s biggest fjord, Sognefjord, and only an hour and a half from its second largest, Hardangerfjord.
A trip to the fjords excites and educates youngsters. Together you can cruise on turquoise waters, hike behind waterfalls, and visit medieval villages and open-air museums that shine a light on what the Vikings were really like. Plus, the city of Bergen itself, with its UNESCO-protected Hanseatic port and the seven mountains that surround it, makes a scenic holiday base.
Best for rainbow family holidays 2021
Safety and acceptance are paramount when planning a holiday with your LGBTQ+ family. Here are some destinations that offer that.
Brighton is one of the best cities to visit in the UK for cheap family holidays and a great LGBTQ family staycation. All of the city is LGBTQ friendly, but if you’re looking for a hotel that’s LGBTQ owned, the New Steine is located just off Marine Parade and child friendly (5 years and up). The Pride Parade was unfortunately cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, so you know they’ll do something spectacular in 2021 to celebrate 30 years of Brighton Pride.
Even if you can’t be there in August for the parade, Brighton’s nostalgic and colourful vibes will keep you all happily occupied. Take the kids on a bird’s eye view tour of the city from Brighton’s British Airways i360, the world’s tallest moving observation experience, and then on a stroll along the pier for the mandatory fish and chips.
You may be drawn there for the LGBTQ+ history (Copenhagen is host country to WorldPride in 2021 and frequently voted among the most progressive cities in the world), but Copenhagen will offer your kids endless hours of joy. Head to Legoland, the amusement park in Billund, where young’uns can hop on over 50 rides and explore the original LEGO factory. Or you can take them to Lalandia water park, where they can get lost inside Scandinavia’s largest Aquadome.
But with up to 50km of sand in several beaches, Danish nature can rival any family amusement park. Copenhagen itself is pretty as a picture: take a boat tour of the canals or go on a walking tour of the city’s LGBTQ+ history with author Bjarne Henrik Lundis.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is beautiful all round. But San Juan is a real gem of a destination for rainbow families, with LGBTQ+ friendly resorts, restaurants, bars and cafes spread throughout the city. La Concha Resort, as well as San Juan Marriott Resort, are both located in the beautiful Condado beach and a favourite among LGBTQ+ families.
The Spanish colonial buildings on the cobblestone streets of old San Juan will beguile grownups and kids alike while the sweeping sea views from La Fortaleza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will make for some great family photos. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the iconic Paseo de la Princesa promenade, where impromptu salsa lessons may await the family.
Best for all-inclusive family holidays 2021
Finding a restaurant that pleases the whole family, night after night, can be a chore. These destinations for all-inclusive family holidays 2021 have got that sorted.
Newquay, Cornwall, UK
When it comes to UK family holidays, it’s hard to beat Cornwall. Its mild weather makes it your best bet to catch some winter sun during a domestic half-term February break. Make Newquay your base, where hotels like the pet-friendly The Headland Hotel & Spa offer the all-inclusive treatment, with spa treatments for you and activities for the kids.
Got your wetsuits? You can even surf in Newquay in the winter, or just watch those braver than you on the waves at the family-friendly Great Western Beach. If you’d rather stay on land, head to Elizabethan manor Trerice, where you can have a picnic in the garden or try to spot wildlife at the mow-hay.
Let’s be honest, 2020 has been a terrible year for family holidays abroad. Let 2021 make it up to you with a dreamy family holiday in Hawaii. With the small town of Kapaa as your base, you and the sprogs can discover why the lush island of Kauai is also called ‘the Garden Isle’, with its dramatic landscape making the ultimate playground.
Marvel at the Ho’olalaea waterfall, go hiking on trails that run along the Kuilau Ridge Trail, or watch the sunset together in any of Kauai’s postcard-ready beaches. Kids will love the local shaved ice that can be found in many ice cream shops here (Hawaiian Blizzard‘s coconut is one of the best), and you will love the unique food selections at the Pono market.
Goa might have a reputation as a party destination, but it’s surprisingly suited to a family trip, too. One of the safest and most tranquil places in India, Goa spoils travellers with its exotic beaches and many all-inclusive resorts.
Go for a swim in the waters of Candolim, Anjuna, Calangute and Agonda, in South Goa, where the sunsets are Instagram gold. Visit the magical Dudhsagar Falls and hike the fantastic landscape of Wildernest. Splashdown Waterpark offers great family fun, with a variety of water slides for different ages. And if you’re looking for fragrant gifts to take home, how about visiting one of the spice plantations in the area?
Best for young family holidays 2021
There’s a simple formula. Fairytale landscapes + interesting history – overwhelming crowds = ideal 2021 holidays with little ones in tow.
Even if your kids didn’t grow up reading Enid Blyton, they’ll be enchanted by Dorset. Take them to the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, where Blyton holidayed every year. Hop on the Swanage Railway for a vintage train ride between Swanage and Corfe Castle (which featured in Blyton’s Famous Five novels as ‘Kirrin Castle’).
Of course there are many non-Blyton related activities for you and your kids in Dorset. Head to Studland beach or go fossil hunting on Delimara on the Jurassic Coast near Chesil Beach. If you visit during the summer break, you should also take a stroll along the abandoned stone cottages of Tyneham, in south Dorset, a village where time stopped in 1943, when the residents were all ordered to leave.
Skiathos island became a big hit when the Mamma Mia movie came out in 2008 (the movie was filmed here, as well as in nearby Skopelos). Since then, it’s reverted back to its calmer character, which makes it ideal for a young family.
Located in the verdant Sporades archipelago, Skiathos is dotted with secluded beaches surrounded by pine trees, old monasteries and hilltops with breathtaking views to the ocean. The cobblestone streets of the old town are brimming with quaint little souvenir shops, while the colourful pillows and umbrellas of the outdoor cafeterias, all lined up across the main stone steps near the harbour, offer cosy respite from the heat. Do take a boat ride to Skopelos, or to nearby Alonissos island where you can visit seals in Europe’s largest marine protected area.
Naantali is known as ‘Finland’s holiday capital’, and for good reason. Apart from the picturesque old town, with the cobblestone alleys and the beautiful floral displays at Kultaranta garden, here the youngsters will have a chance to explore Moomin World, a theme park based on the cute Moomin figures (and books by Tove Jansson).
And at nearby Väski adventure island, older kids can try their hand at everything from archery and rock climbing to obstacle courses and gold panning. Family holidays 2021 sorted.
Whether you’re looking for an adventurous outing or a luxurious all-inclusive resort (while all the while keeping the kids happy and entertained) there’s a perfect family holiday for everybody to look forward to in 2021.
Does 2021 still feel a bit far off? Discover where you can go right now with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top family holidays destinations reopen.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice
- Everything you need to know about food and drink on flights (and what you’re allowed to carry on)
- The new world of hotels: What your hotel stay will be like during coronavirus
- Unexpected destinations to add to your future travel list
- Things to do in London during the Summer Bank Holiday