Q. Is it us? All we want is to take our three- and one-year-old away for a Mediterranean package holiday in May, when we understand prices are supposed to be low. We want some high-quality child-care for half the day, so we can relax and read in the sun. We'd also like some cultural diversions nearby. And we'd like this without spending an absolute fortune, if possible. But it's a conundrum that has defeated our local travel agent.
James Leaton Gray, Cambridgeshire
A.Two upmarket holiday companies that run creche and kids' club facilities – with well-qualified staff – are Club Mark Warner and Club Med. Mark Warner (020-7761 7250, www.markwarner.co.uk) has a wide range of Mediterranean packages, offering holidays to Turkey, Greece, Italy (including Sardinia), and Corsica. A seven-night stay in Altinel, Turkey, in May costs £499 per adult for seven nights all-inclusive accommodation. The rate is £299 for toddlers sharing adult accommodation, which would be suitable for your three-year-old, and £220 for under twos. An extra £75 per child pays for child-care six days per week from 9am to 5.30pm. Children can stay for as long or as short a time as you like, but there is a break from 1pm to 3pm in which children rejoin their families, so you may need to bear that in mind when planning a day-trip without them.
Extra babysitting is available in the evening for £5 per hour, and should you wish to leave your toddler or baby asleep in the hotel room while you socialise, baby-listening is available from 8pm to midnight every night, and is free of charge.
With the children securely looked after, you're free to take in the sights, as each complex offers a higher dose of culture than many European family resorts. For example, the Altinel hotel is located on the Bodrum peninsula between Bodrum City and the tourist area Turgutreis.
The main cultural attraction in Bodrum is the castle of St Peter (open daily except Monday, 8.30am-noon and 1-5pm), with its surrounding museums. The city is also the home to a good bazaar. A day's boat trip costs about £10, but beware of the sun if you want to bring the children.
In the opposite direction, beyond Turgutreis, is Kadikalesi with its tangerine groves and magnificent cross-water views.
The prices are relatively high at Mark Warner, but in the past there have been late-availability discounts for May.
Club Med (0700 2582 932, www.clubmed. co.uk) tends to be cheaper. A seven-night, all-inclusive holiday to Metaponto in Italy this May would cost £449 per adult, £296 for a three-year-old, and £38 for children under two. It has Baby Club Med, for four-month to two-year-olds, and also Petit Club Med, for two- to four-year-olds. Each adds an additional £109 to your holiday.
The baby club offers child-care from 9am to 5.30pm six days per week. Breakfast is taken with parents, lunch and tea with the qualified staff, although parents can join in if they wish. The Petit Club Med runs between 9am and 9pm. This particular destination has club facilities for four-month-olds and over, but be sure to check before booking that the clubs are available at your chosen resort.
Q.We have friends in Germany whose 13-year-old son speaks quite good English and plays a reasonable game of golf. They have asked me if there is somewhere in England where he can improve both in a summer school. Can you make any suggestions?
Mrs G Giffen, Broadstairs
A.English-language tuition is a boom area in the UK and it is possible to find English lessons combined with a huge variety of other activities, including golf. And, as coaching is also in English, your friends' son should be able to improve both his English and his game simultaneously.
Champion International (01227 457 447; www.championgolf.co.uk) specialises in English and golf courses for children ranging in age from 11 to 17. It has two centres in Kent, both in public schools with excellent accommodation and sports facilities. Lessons are also given at a range of courses including Royal St George's in Sandwich, the location for next year's Open. The summer programme, which runs from 30 June until 21 August, includes training from PGA professionals. Full-board accommodation costs £540 per week, although the centre says students normally stay for two weeks. A similar "home stay" package, where students stay with a local family, costs £500.
Exsportise (01883 744 011; www.exsportise.co.uk) offers a wide range of sports and English holidays for 9- 16-year-old children from 6 July until 24 August. Its courses are held in public schools in Cranleigh and Epsom in Surrey and Seaford in East Sussex. Two weeks costs from £995 including full-board accommodation within the schools in either single or double rooms.
There are 15 English lessons a week as well as 15 hours of professional coaching in golf, hockey, tennis, horse-riding or football. Students can do the same sport for the whole fortnight or do a different sport each week. However, if your friends' son really is a golf fanatic, he can opt for a programme offering more intensive coaching, including individual tuition, costing £1,335 for two weeks.
In the south-west, the Sidmouth International School (01395 516 754; www.sidmouth-int.co.uk) in Devon charges £245 per week in the summer. Younger students stay with host families who have children of a similar age, which is sure to help them practise their English. Full-board accommodation costs an extra £115 per week which includes transfers to and from the school.
The price also covers a full social programme including trips to Exeter, Bristol or Bath. Mornings are devoted to English lessons, while visits to the local driving range are reserved for afternoons. Green fees cost £9 for children, while golf lessons given by a PGA professional, cost £10 for juniors.Reuse content