The house is currently filled with the sounds of Matilda the Musical as YDS has just started doing some choir lessons at lower school to learn all the songs. If you haven’t seen it, you must, it is surely one of the musical highlights of the last decade. One of the best tunes is The School Song and its clever use of the alphabet. I have been absent-mindedly humming it all day and it got me thinking that I should try something similar in my writing. Apologies to Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly but here goes:
A is for all-inclusive
Take a real break by forgetting about cooking and cleaning for a week and go all-inclusive. Some f my favourites are the Iberostar Hotel Anthelia at Costa Adeje on Tenerife, Le Cannonier on Mauritius and, if you really want a full-on all-inclusive experience, Round Hill in Jamaica.
B is for beach
Are you beach-ready? My mind is but my body may not be. How about Cornwall’s Polzeath, a favourite of David Cameron, and a great place to learn to surf? Stay at Hatteras cottage is a 15-minute walk to the beach and with views to Tintagel. Further afield, there is
Kalamaki (Apraos) beach on Corfu – gorgeous and with warm, shallow water. Stay at Mimosa House villa on the Kardaki Estate.
C is for cycling
Summer holidays were always about being on my bike when I was younger so it is great to remember those golden days with a holiday where you can cycle. I love these self-guided cycling tours through Europe for families or a camping trips where you take your on bikes or hire them locally. Great options for this include the New Forest and the Peak District.
D is for driving
Swap the daily gridlock of the M-whatever for a real drive on some of the world’s best highways and byways. California has some iconic routes, including Route 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles while the Australian coastal routes are perfect for exploring in a motorhome with the family.
E is for exploration
Perhaps this year is the year that you ditch the two weeks on the beach for a real adventure. Explore the wildlife reserves and Mayan historic sites of Belize or if you don’t want to fly around the world, why not explore the furthest reaches of our own country with a sailing trip around the Outer Hebrides?
F is for France
It is our nearest neighbour and the world’s favourite tourism destination and it is easy to see why – it has everything from mountains to beaches, active to lazy and great food and wine. Rent out a villa on the Dordogne, take a few days in a Parisian family-friendly hotel or enjoy the French Alps in summer.
G is for golf
Golf is a great bonding activity for parents and children and doing it on a summer holiday is a great introduction to the sport. The Algarve mixes family-friendly beaches, a warm welcome and great golf. If you want to push the boat out, try Rocco Forte’s Verdura Golf & Spa Resort on Sicily.
H is for hot, hot, hot
Some like it hot or so they say and heading south is the best guarantee of high temperatures and sun in the summer. If you are the sort of family who love lolling around by the pool while the mercury hits thirty, try out Sani Resort in Halkidiki on the Greek mainland or Mark Warner’s new Phokaia Resort overlooking the Aegean in Turkey.
I is for ice cream
Minghella’s on the Isle of Wight lays claim to being Britain’s best ice cream. Try it for yourself on the farm where it is produced, staying at a nearby cottage in Wootton. If you truly love ice cream, then all-inclusive is the way to go. The new IKOS Dassia in Corfu has not one but two ice cream huts where you can gorge yourself silly.
J is for Jersey
Jersey, where I am heading with the family this summer, takes the best bits of Britain and France, mixing them together with their own unique Channel Islands style. There is a great selection of hotels on Jersey and you can use them to explore the island’s beautiful beaches, its castles and discover the island’s World War II history.
K is for kayaking
Kayaking has become hugely popular in recent years and it is a staple of many holiday destinations. Adventurous families will love a campfire and kayak adventure in Sweden where you get to see wildlife, chop wood and forage for food Bear Grylls-style. Another option for active families is a week of adventures in Kas in Turkey, including kayaking down a gorge.
L is for lounging by the pool
Be honest the idea of a week on a sunbed is pretty appealing, isn’t it? The Hotel Almyra in Paphos is a family friendly hotel with great reviews and no less than four swimming pools. The Hard Rock hotel in Tenerife, recently refurbished, has three pools and a seawater lagoon and all the Hard Rock experience you would expect – great music, great food – and things you might not – cutting-edge technology and a huge luxury spa.
M is for Mallorca
You can’t mention summer holidays without mentioning Mallorca. The island has everything from beach resorts to Balearic beats but families will probably prefer its quieter side. Sir Richard Branson’s Son Bunyola villas on the unspoilt northwest coast are very special while there are plenty of villas in quieter parts of the island.
Come back for the rest of my holiday alphabet, from N to Phys-Ed, soon.
Mark Frary is family travel editor of 101 Holidays (www.101holidays.co.uk)