How to improve holidays with children

Hey Mum, let's have a real experience

Half-term is drawing to a close, and my kids can look back on the week with a real sense of achievement. I don't like to boast, but they've had some pretty action-packed adventures in the past few days: motorcycle racing, snowboarding, skiing and white water rafting down giant waterfalls to name but a few.

They have spent hours navigating mazes and mountains, jumped aboard pirate ships, hunted, gathered and fished in implausibly blue waters and even designed their own igloos. And it has not cost me a penny, because they've managed to do it all without leaving the house. Yes, my little darlings have spent most of their school break on a virtual holiday. There's no better way to beat the February half-term blues than by giving the kids a few hours in cyberspace - it's amazing where a screen and a mouse can take you.

But in the interests of stopping their limbs from seizing up, I'm trying to be a responsible parent and show my kids that surfing is not just something you do on the net. I am trying to convince them that humans, just like Nintendos, need to recharge their batteries.

Which is why I'm so relieved that I can turn to holiday companies such as Outdoor Adventures (01288 362900;, whose Cornish haven is the perfect place to head for when in need of a screen break. This small, family-based operation, on the rugged north coast, offers some marvellous activity holidays for families, with everything from surfing and body boarding classes to abseiling lessons - there is so much to pack in that your kids won't even notice the lack of portable PlayStations.

You stay in family rooms on site or in nearby hotels, but, for a real thrill, you can opt to sleep in a teepee on the ocean's edge and wake to the roar of the waves.

If you'd rather take the kids abroad for their piece of the action, why not consider upping sticks to Umbria for a riding holiday? Stay in La Casella, a renovated farmhouse, with Real Holidays (020-7359 3938; and you'll find an equestrian centre on site as well as a kids-only pony club for those under 10. Go hacking in the glorious countryside, take night rides under the stars, and then relax together for an al fresco candelit dinner. Young (and old) bucks can also enjoy climbing, river canoeing, abseiling and archery as well as mountain biking, swimming and tennis.

If you are after something a little less taxing, how about a golf and fishing break in Scotland? The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course (01573 459331; near Kelso in the Scottish Borders is known for its championship golf course, where youngsters can get professional tuition. The fishing facilities, too, have families flocking here: Roxburghe's trout fishery actively promotes fly fishing to children, and private tuition is offered to all guests, whatever their age, for a small charge. There's also clay pigeon shooting, archery and falconry. With any luck my kids might even discover that the real world is as interesting as the digital one.

Katy's top tip

Sailors of all sizes should check out Sunsail (02392 222222; It offers daily sessions for children aged five and over, as well as lots of activities on and off the water. A new kids' club has just opened at Club Marverde in Turkey.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam