Family Holidays 2009: How to keep them all happy, big and small

Where are you going for your summer holiday? Katy Holland has a few family-friendly ideas

Three little words: tender loving care. That's what this year's family holidays are all about. Child-friendly operators, well aware that parents are feeling the pinch, are going all out to give us a big dollop of TLC. From children's activities to pampering facilities, these new offerings provide value for money as well as lots of thoughtful extras.

Many of us may be planning to cut costs by staying in the UK this summer, but that doesn't have to mean compromising on quality. This month, French and Italian family specialist Tots to Travel (0870 4585528; www.totsto travel.co.uk) is launching Tots to the UK, with a jolly decent selection of holiday home-from-homes.

Each property is stacked with everything a parent lusts after, from sterilisers to potties, and every room has been carefully child-proofed in line with Child Accident Prevention Trust guidelines, so even the most neurotic among us can relax. Accommodation options vary, but highlights include luxurious eco-farm cottages at the foot of Snowdonia, which come complete with a spa log cabin and a mini motor track where the kids can ride around on pint-sized tractors.

Anyone with half an eye on Cornwall should check out Green Acres Cottages (01840 213537; www.greenacrescottages.co.uk), a cluster of new villas three miles from Cornwall's Eden Project, which have just been awarded four stars by Visit Britain. There's an indoor pool and outdoor hot tubs, children's play areas and a garden farm to keep the little ones happy; the emphasis here is on tranquillity.

Across the Channel in Brittany, meanwhile, Canvas Holidays (0870 1921159; www.canvasholidays.co.uk) is doing its bit to keep campers content. Forget tents and mobile homes: Fairytale Cottages are where canny campers will be hanging out this summer. These new cute wooden abodes look like something straight out of Hansel and Gretel. But don't be fooled: they come complete with all mod cons, including flatscreen TVs, DVD players and separate bath and shower rooms.

But what about serious sun worshippers? Last year's washout summer will make some of us seek a hotspot further afield, and Neilson (0870 3333356; www.neilson.co.uk) has just the thing. Its luxurious new Beachplus Club in Teos on Turkey's Çesme peninsula, exclusive to Neilson, sits in a sheltered bay where your mini-mariners can partake in free sailing lessons and watersports in safe surroundings. Tennis courts, mountain bikes, treatment rooms, kids' clubs and nature walks are just some of the things you can look forward to there.

While we're on the subject of kids' clubs, Scott Dunn (0208-682 5000; www.scottdunn.com) is making fresh waves in Anahita, Mauritius, where it is opening its very first OurSpace children's club. There's a huge range of activities laid on for youngsters, from dancing lessons to golf tournaments. A team of professional carers are on hand to watch over tots from the age of eight months, making Scott Dunn one of the few companies offering extensive childcare for babies (one nanny for every two children under two).

Family adventure company Explore (0845 013 1537; www.explore.co.uk) is going for the younger market with the launch of its Toddler Tours. These allow families with children as young as two to participate in a selection of their excursions for the first time: check out the family trip to Jordan and the Red Sea, for example, which incorporates a tour of Petra and Roman army re-enactments, with toddler-friendly hotels and trips to theme parks. Explore is also featuring lots of new single-parent departures, too.

For more long-haul adventures, KE Adventure Travel's (017687 73966; www.keadventure.com) family collection has just announced a rather exhilarating child-oriented trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountain wilderness. This is perfect for families who like to live on the edge (quite literally): you'll be camping on ridges and river banks, trying your hand at canoeing, and horse riding through the peaks.

Sunvil (0208-568 4499; www.sunvil.co.uk) has an exciting new family adventure. Its two-week trip to Costa Rica, with private guides, is perfect for teenagers: there's lots of fun to be had white-water rafting and volcano climbing as well as plenty of time to surf on the beaches at Playa Quisales. Privately guided tours and your own driver will help make it an experience to remember.

For a truly personalised service, you'll need to check in with The Family Travel Collection (020-7584 2742; www.familytravelcollection.com), a newly launched service sitting right at the top end of the market. This small outfit is dedicated to providing advice and choice for families in need of serious luxury: it'll help you book some of the most exclusive child-friendly resorts in the world, from the Maldives to Tuscany. Lots of extra services have been designed to save you time and trouble, whether it's delivering nappies, making restaurant bookings or simply being on the end of the phone to give one-to-one advice.

For those who feel the urge to give something back to the world, Conservation Africa (0845 5200888; www.conservationafrica.net) has a new family conservation experience for 2009. This two-week trip of a lifetime will have you and your kids participating in all sorts of projects, protecting and monitoring the environment, taking part in bush walks and night drives in the Kruger area of South Africa, helping paint shelters for orphans and getting involved in local communities.

Not a bad way to get the family to give back a bit of TLC.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment