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Top 10 family holidays: best destinations for summer fun

For mums and dads, the balmy days of summer often mean daunting weeks to fill with something to keep the wee ones entertained. Never fear: we've complied a list of the ten best destinations for guaranteed family fun this year. Enjoy!

Where to go for a family holiday in England?

Family holidays in the UK are not just about Cornwall and the south (as beautiful as it is). Instead, herd your family up to the other end of England and try Northumberland. This old Borders badlands may be most known for its tumultuous struggles with the Scots, but for families it’s all about the clean, sandy beaches that unfurl up the North Sea coast. The best are in and around the pretty village of Alnwick, such as Bamburgh Beach and its seafront castle. In fact, legendary castles are rife round these parts and eagle-eyed little ones will recognise Alnwick Castle from the Harry Potter movies. It also boasts one of the world’s only ‘Poison Gardens’ – perfect gruesome fodder for older kids. Where to stay? One of our round up of the UK’s best holiday cottages, Crookhouse Mill in Kirknewton sits inside the Northumberland National Park and has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Find cheap flights to Newcastle here and plan your northern escape!

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
Image: Matthew Hartley, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Want a complete guide to staycations in the UK? You’re welcome.

Everything you need to know about holidays in the UK

Where to go for a family holiday in Scotland?

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s top city breaks – and it’s ideal for families too. A great city for walking around, its most visited attraction is a crag-top castle straight out of a fairytale, plus it boasts Edinburgh Zoo and its celebrity panda couple, a flurry of family-friendly restaurants like Filling Station (branches on Rose Street and Royal Mile) and loads of green spaces. Then there is Our Dynamic Earth, a brilliantly fun hands-on experience that lets kids have fun, but also learn about the human and natural world as they go. Handily, it’s next door to the city’s favourite park, Holyrood, where adventurous families can also hike up Arthur’s Seat, the city’s highest point. Need a city guide to make sure you don’t miss a thing? Here you go…

Where to go for a family holiday in Italy?

Think your dreams of visiting Venice have to be put on hold when you have kids? Think again and head for Marina Venezia, a sprawling holiday oasis that is strikingly set on a massive Adriatic beach. You could spend a week here in the (free) water park, with the kids enjoying all sorts of entertainment, messing around on the beach with its watersports and dining in the many the many restaurants across the site. But then the charms of Venice await just a short vaporetto boat trip away – a giant playground of covered bridges, gondola rides and hidden nooks and crannies. We reckon this break offers the best of both worlds for city slickers with families in tow!

A gondola on a canal in Venice

Where to go for a family holiday in Portugal?

For families heading to Portugal it has to be the legendary oasis of the Algarve. The beaches here are superb and well set up for kids of all ages, and there are waterparks aplenty. The Zoomarine theme park is the number one family attraction, as you can enjoy dolphin and sea lion shows, plus kiddie-focused fun rides and plenty of water-soaked fun. The main family-friendly resorts are Albufeira and Praia da Luz. For those looking to chill at night rather than party, Rocha Brava Village Resort is set back from Praia do Carvoeiro beach in a lovely garden with three pools and a free kids club; apartments are kitted out with handy kitchens and washer/dryers. The nearest airport to the Algarve is Faro. Take the plunge and book a cheap holiday in Portugal, but before you do, imagine yourself on one of their perfect beaches.

The Algarve has some spectacular beaches

Where to go for a family holiday in Spain?


really is the summer holiday island with it all. You’re talking Spain’s highest mountain (families can take a cable car up), an epic sweep of beaches, kid-friendly restaurants and a swathe of welcoming resorts. Then there’s the hugely popular waterpark [Siam Park]( (are you starting to see a pattern yet?) and an impressive zoo, [Loro Parque](, where you can watch Europe’s only killer whale show. Of the southern coast resorts, **Los Cristianos** has nice beaches and a more relaxed atmosphere than the more raucous Playa de Las Americas. For a serious touch of family luxury head further along the coast to the [Gran Melia Palacio de Isora](h, where kids can enjoy their own tiny dressing robes, private pools and even spa time. **For more Spanish summer holiday inspiration, check out [this guide to Spain’s most beautiful beaches](** ![A golden sandy beach in Tenerife]( “Tenerife beach”) ##**Where to go for a family holiday in [France](** Got itchy feet and don’t want just one destination for your family summer holiday? Then hop on a boat and cruise France’s waterways for a week or two. You don’t need to be an experienced skipper to enjoy a live aboard self-guided cruise on the famous **Canal du Midi** with the likes of [Le Boat]( This makes for a seriously relaxing family break as you ease along at an _escargot’s_ pace, mooring up and exploring anywhere that takes your fancy. There are a surprising number of leisure parks and other kid’s attractions in this part of the South of France, including brilliant watersports at Lac de Jouarres in Homps, and **Carcasonne**, a medieval walled city which will enthrall young history buffs. Retreat to your floating hotel at night, and sip a glass of French wine from the local vineyards of **Minervois** under the stars when the kids fall asleep. **[Fly to Carcassone]( to start your French holiday.** ![The lavender fields of southern France]( “French countryside”) ##**Where to go for a family holiday in [Florida](** Pick anywhere else in the USA but Florida for a family holiday and you may have some serious explaining to do to your disgruntled little ones. Florida is clearly the number one choice for families heading Stateside, with the legendary charms of ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’, Orlando, just for starters. From the massive Disney World (really four theme parks in one) and Universal Studios, through to Seaward and Busch Gardens, you’ll be hard pushed to cover them all in a week so book at least a fortnight. For real theme park junkies you just have to stay at [Disney World](, with everything available from camping through to luxury villas and plenty of options down the road like [Disney’s Boardwalk Inn](, just under a mile from the Epcot entrance. **You can [fly direct to Orlando]( from the UK with British Airways and plenty of other major airlines.** ![Go to Orlando for a family holiday in Florida]( “Go to Orlando for a family holiday in Florida”) ##**Where to go for a family holiday in the Caribbean?** The Caribbean, as many North American families know, is not just for romantic honeymooners and cruise worshippers. The region boasts bath-temperature seas, dependably warm weather and epic sights that will awe the kids, from hazy mountains to old plantation trains like the [St Kitts Scenic Railway]( This is also, of course, the land of the all-inclusive holiday, but these don’t have to be all about adults enjoying free cocktails. At [Beaches’ Ochios Rios resort]( in **Jamaica** it’s more about kid-friendly pools and swim-up soda bars. The rainbow-coloured Caribbean sunrises and sunsets come as part of the package, as do the sandy beaches and amazing natural attractions like nearby Dunn’s River Falls, a giant staircase of waterfalls and lagoons fun for older children – if you make sure you go with a reputable guide and watch out for deeper sections, younger kids can enjoy the scramble, too. [Montego Bay airport]( is around two hours from Ochios Rios, but before you search for flights on Skyscanner, **have a quick look at [the other amazing activities Jamaica has to offer](**. ![White sandy beach in Jamaica]( “Jamaica beach”) ##**Where to go for a family holiday in Iceland?** Not a fan of boiling on the beach and getting sand between your toes? Then head for the frozen north for the milder climes of Iceland. Base yourself in the capital, **[Reykjavik](**, an ideal family base with plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as great transport links. Hop on a bus or [hire a car]( to get to the geothermal pools at the legendary **Blue Lagoon** with older kids, or thrill younger ones with dramatically spouting geysers, tumbling waterfalls like Gulfoss (Golden Falls) and sparkling icy lakes. Then there are whale watching trips and scooter rides on massive **Sólheimajökull** glacier – look up local tour operators like [GeoIceland]( for a good selection of day trips. And if you can’t make it to Iceland this summer then consider a winter holiday here to [see the awesome Aurora Borealis]( (or Northern Lights) from about November onwards.
##**Where to go for a family holiday in Slovenia?** You might think that cities and kids don’t really go together, that is unless you’ve been to **[Ljubljana](**. The bijou Slovenian capital is seriously family-friendly and much of the city centre has been pedestrianised. The best way of getting around is by bike – head over to the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre on Kopitarjeva Uleva to join in with the easy, eco-friendly [Ljubljana Bike]( hire scheme. There’s the fairytale Ljubljana Castle to explore (which you can reach on a fun funicular railway) and there are loads of cute shops in the old town to delve into. Throw in boat cruises along the Ljubljanica river and the green delights of Tivoli Park and Ljubljana offers a compelling cocktail even without its two kiddie big hitters: [Atlantis Water Park]( and the brilliantly fun [Mini City]( **For more ideas on entertaining the kids in Ljubljana, including dragon-spotting and sailing, check out [our guide to the city’s unmissable attractions](** ![The Ljubljana skyline]( “Ljubljana cityscape”) ### **Want more advice on taking the perfect family holiday? Read on:** ### **[Flying with children: 20 top tips for keeping kids happy on board](** We’ve collated top tips from Skyscanner staff and travel blogger mum Monica Stott on how to survive a plane journey with the family so you feel prepared for take-off. ### **[Family fun: top 5 beach destinations for kids](** Sun, sea, sand and plenty of activities to keep the kids (and the adults!) entertained. We reveal the top five beach destinations for families. ### **[Where to stay with the family in The Canary Islands](** The Canary Islands are packed with family-friendly hotels where mum and dad won’t have to forego luxury to enjoy a fuss-free break with the kids, whatever their age. Here’s our pick of the 11 best family hotels in the archipelago. _Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on [flights](, [hotels]( and [car hire](