Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What's a good destination for a family of five that's keen on independent travel?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Wednesday 28 August 2013
Q I’m currently perusing holidays suitable for a
family of five in mid-September: two adults, twins aged two and an eight-month-old
We are looking to travel independently to somewhere quiet and picturesque. A nice little beach is most important to us with safe accommodation close by. We went to Scarborough and loved it, but there no guarantee we will get good weather. We want a flight no more than two hours with a short transfer.
Name withheld, Sheffield
A Could you be persuaded to be a little less independent? The location that looks just right for you is Menorca, but the island is most easily experienced on a package holiday with an operator such as Thomas Cook or Thomson. They have plenty of simple beachside accommodation options and hotels on this beautiful and tranquil island. For example, Thomson is offering a self-catering week in an apartment at the Son Bou Gardens in the middle of Menorca’s south coast for a total of £1,339 for your family group. The price includes flights from your nearest airport, Doncaster, on 13 September, and transfers (likely to take around half-an-hour). This works out at £267 for each member of your group, which looks reasonable.
If you insist on the independent approach, then southern France looks good. Fly into Biarritz, whose airport is only 3km from the resort - walking distance, though possibly not with three very young children. Ryanair is quoting £101 return from Stansted on 14 September for a week, though of course the cost will increase rapidly if you start taking luggage, etc. In September you should find plenty of good accommodation deals around, since the main French holidays have ended.
For somewhere quieter, consider taking the train from Biarritz station (also walking distance from the airport) to the resorts of St-Jean-de-Luz or Hendaye, both of which have wide, sandy beaches.
Whatever you choose, your infant should travel for just a nominal price, while the two-year-olds will be classed as adults for the purposes of flying.
One final option: travelling by train from Sheffield to London St Pancras, where you transfer to Lille on Eurostar with onward connections to a range of Mediterranean destinations; Montpellier is an excellent choice. Your children will travel free, but this is likely to be a day-long journey so may not appeal.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...