Whether you call it Whitsun, the May half term or the summer half-term, there is little doubt that the week-long school holiday at the end of May, is a great time to get away.
The short-haul destinations in Europe are warming up nicely, with places around the Mediterranean in the 20s Celsius, although the sea can still be a little chilly (bring your wetsuit). And while the tour operators have generally started their summer programmes, the crowds have yet to arrive, so prices are generally lower than in the summer. Many tour operators have discounts for the week too.
Sardinia is perfect at this time of year. There are some family deals at the five-star Resort Valle Dell’Erica through Sardatur Holidays. The resort sits in a private park of 28 hectares on a white sand coastline made up of bays and small beaches.
It looks out over the Straits of Bonifacio International Marine Park and the spectacular limestone cliffs of Bonifacio and the islands of Lavezzi and Cavallo are easily reachable.
The hotel has some great kids clubs as well as a five-a-side football pitch, mini-hockey on grass, volleyball, golf, swimming and water-polo lessons. Perfect for families.
Family packages for four people start at £6,088 half board including flights and transfers in a family suite.
Elsewhere in the western Med, the Algarve and Menorca are great at this time too. Olivers Travels has 15-20% discounts on villas in these places for half term.
Villa Trogos in Mallorca has 20% off that week. The villa has a pool and outdoor dining area and is a short walk from the medieval town of Pollença on the island’s north coast.
Or this stunning property in Croatia: Villa Gata is nestled in the glorious Mosor Mountains and is just 8km from the Dalmatian coast. You can use the villa as a base to go rock climbing or canyoning or you can just take it easy by the pool.
Over in Italy , CV Villas have 10% off Casa Simona in Tuscany for the half-term
The villa, which sleeps up to 13 in three buildings, sits in sixty hectares of private land, with vineyards, olives and walnut groves. Its extensive lawns encompass a children’s play area, a huge pool with built-in steps and large furnished pool. The shaded terrace is perfect for alfresco dining.
Club Med is offering money off holidays to its resort in Gregolimano, Greece on the island of Evia. The resort offers a brilliant range of water sports as well as archery and even a flying trapeze school.
If you would like it a little warmer, Morocco is a very pleasant 24 to 28C. You can get B&Bs in Marrakech for around £80 a person per night with the tantalisingly named Fleewinter – one of the best company names in the business.
Hands Up Holidays offer something a little different. A nine-day holiday combines sightseeing in Marrakech, relaxing in Essaouira and three days making a difference restoring the home of a low-income family in Marrakech. This package comes in at £4,500 per adult, £3,500 per child under 12 for full board in luxury riads although these prices exclude flights.
If you really need to get away from the cloud and rain of Britain, you might think about the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean where the mercury is already pushing the 30s.
Turquoise Holidays have good half term deals on staying at the Carlisle Bay in Antigua – about £8,000 for a family of four including flights , that’s about £1,900 off the usual price. The hotel has a private white beach, it offers simple, stylish sophistication and it offers tennis courts, a water sports centre, a yoga pavilion and a movie screening room, although sitting inside when there is so much to offer outside seems unlikely.
Mauritius is a 12-hour flight away from the UK but fly away on the Friday night after school gets out to make best use of the short holiday.
Long Beach sits on the beautiful east coast of Mauritius and is a great family option. The hotel has some of the best run and best equipped kids club on the island as well as swimming pools, tennis courts, chill-out areas, cyber cafés and pool tables. For the grown-ups, there is a great selection of bars and restaurants as well as a Cinq Mondes spa.
The Long Beach hotel has some special offers on for half-term including seven nights, half board, in a Junior Suite, from £4,800 for a family of four including flights, private transfers. That’s 35% off the usual price.
If you want to do something that is more than just a week on the beach, think about Jordan.
The country has the lost city of Petra and crusader castles. Explore has a nine-day trip departing on 26 May 2018 starting from £1,379 per adult and from £1,079 per child. This includes return flights, 7 nights’ hotel and some meals. You even get to spend a night in a traditional Bedouin camp in the Wadi Rum desert, a magical place to stargaze and appreciate the wonders of the universe
You don’t have to leave the country to have a good time though.
Helpful Holidays (another outfit with a great name) has £600 off at a lodge in the grounds of Bovey Castle Lodge in Dartmoor during May half term. There are plenty of activities for active families here – rock climbing, archery, tennis, horse riding and clay pigeon shooting on the estate. You can even try your hand at cider and sloe gin making. All guests over 16 also have a complimentary round of golf in the 18-hole championship course.
You can get more ideas of where to go in May at www.101holidays.co.uk/where-to-go-on-holiday-in-may/
Mark Frary is family travel editor of 101 Holidays