It’s now officially Spring and Easter is coming up. Thank you all for reading or for your contributions to my last round up – Ideas for Easter (post Brexit) that don’t involve travel in the EU. I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned for Easter.
This round up is focused on recommendations for May Half term which vary from Wales to Scotland, Austria to Croatia.
We spent last May half term in Turkey at a family friendly hotel in Kalkan, the weather was beautiful and I’d highly recommend it as a May half term location.
London is the perfect place to visit for families looking to have a UK staycation in half term as there is just so much to do with kids! There are plenty of outdoor and rainy day activities, and plenty of free culture and green spaces for the budget conscious family traveller! Check out these 50 Best Things to Do in London.
Norwich is Catherine’s favourite half term destination, she’s biased as her parents live just outside the City. Norwich itself has a mass of things to see and do and should the urge take you both the Norfolk coast and the Norfolk Broads are within easy reach. Catherine has a handy post on What to see in Norwich
Bury St Edmunds
Why not think about visiting Ickworth House near Bury St. Edmunds. It’s a hotel and National Trust Property. So much to offer families including two hours free childcare included daily. Swimming pools, free bikes and scooters so you can explore the area and the history of the property makes it well worth a half-term break. Scandi Mummy visited recently and you can read her review of Ickworth House here.
A little place called Settle in North Yorkshire. There is one of the best toys shops I have ever seen, you will visit more than once. The little town is surrounding by amazing bakeries, the settle to Carlisle steam train, and so many mini adventures to look for kilns and waterfalls! You can read more here
Cornwall would be Zena’s top suggestion for a place to go on holiday for May half term break. It’s great for a UK family road trip. If you plan a few places to stay you can really explore the area before the summer crowds hit. It’s packed with places to stay and things to do so you really will be spoilt for choice. Read more about planning your perfect Cornwall holiday.
Saunton Sands in North Devon is Jayley’s top pick for half term fun, whatever the time of year. The long beach backed by miles of dunes is perfect for exploring and with dogs allowed year round it means you can include the WHOLE family. They stay at the Saunton Sands Beach Villas which are set in the beach car park and make a great base for day tripping to other local beaches or even taking in the Tarka Trail cycle path. Perfect for active families! You can read more here
Scotland is an incredible place to visit at any time of the year, but during May half term the country is in its full splendour. The wildflowers are blooming, the wildlife is out and about, and for the past 2 years when Jo and her family have visited, the sun has been shining! In 2018, they spent a wonderful week exploring the West coast of Scotland. Basing themselves on a farm near the seaside town of Largs, they island hopped around the Isle of Arran, Isle of Bute and tiny Cumbrae. They also made it up to Loch Lomond where they went biking and swimming in the loch (yes, swimming in Scotland!) What a week they had exploring Scotland’s famous Caribbean-esque beaches, roaming around castles and getting to grips with the Calmac ferries which are a lifeline for so many of the Islanders. Plus, at this time of year it doesn’t get dark until nearly 11pm so you can make the most of the long, summer nights to have bbqs and eat al fresco. Read more about the trip to the Scottish Isles
Debbie and family have spent May half term in the Scottish highlands at Loch Ness. They went out and about every day and found so much to do within an hours drive in every direction from history, castles, dolphins, waterfalls, bluebells, the monster! And Harry Potter. It really was a family adventure they all loved and they would thoroughly recommend it. You can read a further blog post on it here.
How about camping at Shell Island in May? To get there you cross a causeway which when the tide is in means the road goes under water. It is a fantastic place for crabbing! And being in North Wales it is also a great site to see Dolphins. Shell Island is also near a flight path so you can see fighter jets training too! (Although not all the time, so you need to check). Shell Island is close to other attractions like Harlech Castle, Mount Snowdon and the steam Railway. There is a lovely post to read about it here.
May is a great time to explore the English countryside and Kirsty and family love walking to Ivinghoe Beacon in Bedfordshire to see the Whipsnade Lion, which is carved out of the Downs and was re-laid with bright white chalk last year. The Whipsnade Lion
sits on the hillside right next to Whipsnade Zoo!
With it warning up in the Canaries, you will have guaranteed sunshine and the hotel swimming pools and even the sea are warm enough for swimming. But you don’t have to stick to the standard package holiday resorts, Jenny shows us how to get off the beaten track in Lanzarote with kids
in this popular tourist destination.
Tallinn and Helsinki
May is the perfect time to explore some of Europe’s cities – there’s more chance it’ll be sunny as you explore but it’s not too hot, and you’ll skip the crowds of summer. And that goes double if you’re looking at the more northerly capitals.
With a short ferry ride linking Tallinn
, Cathy and family spent their half-term week discovering the two cities: wandering the streets of Tallinn’s Old Town, with its medieval walls, as well as the nearby beach and some fascinating museums. Then across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki, to discover its island fortress, Baltic sea pools and Moomins. Less frantic than trying to fit everything into a long weekend, they were also a great contrast.
Whether you have a toddler or teens there is something for everyone in Efteling. Situated about an hour from Amsterdam with easy transport links from the U.K, this magical and thrilling theme park is absolutely worth a visit. From talking story-telling trees, Sleeping Beauty’s castle to shriek inducing rollercoasters this is perfect for a half term break.
Ile de Porquerolles
If you want a taste of the Carribean but don’t want to travel so far just for a week, the Ile de Porquerolles off the South coast of France is a perfect alternative with its amazing beaches. Towards the end of May the weather is on average mid-twenties, perfect for swimming and playing in the beautifully clear waters, and exploring by bike on the virtually car free islands.
Daisy and family will be there for their third May half term this year and they cannot wait!
Half term week gives ample time to fit in an adventure to Area 47; Austria’s most extreme waterpark. You won’t need more than a few days there; to be honest you will need to go somewhere and calm down afterwards. Area 47 Adventure Waterpark, in Ötztal in the Tirol, throws some crazy stuff at you. Like blobbing; the art of flying off an inflatable cushion into a cold lake. And canyoning; throwing yourselves down rocky rivers. Are you picking up a theme here? “I have very adventurous teens but have never seen them look so pale as when they emerged from the high ropes course which dangles beneath a high bridge with concrete beneath. And let’s not speak about the water cannon.” says Kirstie from The Family Adventure Project. Check out Kirstie’s post for more on this fun family trip.
Verona is Nichola’s favourite city in Italy, it’s got all the charm of Venice or Rome with a fraction of the tourists. Kids will love all the references to Romeo and Juliet and there’s gelato on every street corner. With a Roman amphitheatre that is older than the Colisseum in Rome there’s plenty here for all ages. Spring is a wonderful time to be in the city which can get very hot in the summer. It’s also perfectly located for day trips to the Lakes or some busier cities like Milan and Venice but with so much to do in Verona itself, once you get there, you probably won’t want to leave.
Venice is recommended as being great in May half term as it is lovely and warm but you haven’t got the horrendous crowds that you get in the summer holidays. You can also visit Murano which isn’t open in August.
Charly recommends Sardina for May half term. Situated in the Mediterranean, it’s to the west of mainland Italy and south of Corsica. Sardegna, as it’s known locally, has a fascinating history with unspoilt coastlines and vibrant towns. As you’d expect, the people are lovely and friendly too. Charly, her husband and her daughter spent a week last May at the Baia de Mori resort, with Neilsons and loved the kids’ clubs, activities and guest services. You can read the full trip report here.
Clare and her family spent last May half term in the incredible cave city of Matera in Southern Italy. It was a thrilling adventure for the whole family. They slept in a cave hotel and wandered around streets virtually unchanged for hundreds of years.
With beautiful beaches, peaceful bays, crystal clear turquoise waters, and impressive mountain views, Katy and her family found Croatia absolutely breathtaking. They visited the Makarska Riviera in Croatia last May half term, the weather was perfect for families, and they even managed to squeeze in a visit to Krka National Park which is well worth a visit! You can read the full trip report here.
The Vendée in France is a great May half term destination for Clare and family a few years ago. You can get flights from regional airports, the weather is fine and the beaches are quiet! It’s also a great base for a holiday including Puy du Fou. Here’s their review of a stay at a Vendée campsite.
For the next travel round-up I’m after your Favourite Places to Camp in the UK. Please let me have a couple of introductory sentences explaining why you’ve chosen this post and send it to me by email to me [email protected] by 14th April 2018 I’ll include the first 15 posts which I receive.
Karen Beddow is the Editor of Mini Travellers, a multi award winning Family Travel blog. Karen left her full time role as a commercial litigation solicitor when her three children were then 6 and 5 (twins) to concentrate on her Family Travel blog so that she could spend more time with the children and travel a lot more. From camping to five star resorts, from Welsh beaches to African plains there isn’t many places the Mini Travellers won’t travel and they are determined to enjoy every moment of it. Mini Travellers is all about proving that travelling anywhere with kids is possible.