Holidays with Children

Family and child friendly holidays.
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Child Friendly Holidays

Actually, being eco-friendly with your kids is not difficult -young people love messing about outdoors and exploring their environment. You can have just as much fun exploring a wilderness as you can in Disneyland.

Outdoor holidays are possible at farms, eco-centres and nature parks -our page on to wildlife holidays gives examples of conservation and wildlife trusts to visit.

For a more active holiday, there are a huge range of activity breaks to consider -sports, canoeing, rafting, horse-riding, biking, skiing -why not use the trip to teach yourself and your kids a new skill. Alternatively, they might enjoy something more creative -acting and performance holidays, film, photography are all possibilities.

Accommodation: camping, staying in an eco-lodge -forests, coasts. In particular Keycamp have a strong environmental stance, awarding their campsites awards for eco-friendly initiatives, and in fact ran a competition in 2008 for schoolchildren to design an eco holiday village.

Our top ten ideas for kids holidays:

Tree house Mighty Oak -http://www.mighty-oak.co.uk
Weekend tree top camping in Cornwall with instruction. All harnesses and equipment supplied. No better way to get close to nature. Suitable from four years old upwards.
Boho Eco Lodge -http://www.bohoecohire.com
Self catering in an eco lodge in county Fermanough. They offer cycling, canoeing and fishing. Stay ecolodges with solar power, rainwater harvesting, reed bed sewage system and wood pellets stoves.
Walking/canoeing Swallows and Amazons -http://www.outdoorconnections.co.uk
Multi activity weekends at Coniston Water -mess around in Canadian canoes under full instructio, hiking, campfires while staying at Coniston Coppermines YHA.
Fsmily Rafting -http://www.rafting.co.uk/FamilyAdventures.htm
family rafting in Perthhire with experienced instructors on class 3 rapids -suitable ages 8 upwards, or class 4 for 12 years upwards. Bunkhouse self catering accommodation.
Plan-itearth -http://www.plan-itearth.org.uk
Family based eco holidays in Cornwall -stay in a tent with woodburning showers and composting toilets on this smallholding near Penzance -willow sculptures, storytelling, nighttime walks, bush skills, coracle making and much more. 
CentreParcs -http://www.centerparcs.co.uk
Stay in a cabin at Centerparcs at Elveden in 400 acres of Thetford Forest. They have a car free policy, and run nature tours and activities for all ages. 
Hostelling at Deepdale Farm -www.deepdalefarm.co.uk/backpackershostel
Hostelling is not just for young people -the YHA offers a huge variety of places to stay for all ages. Try Deepdale Farm on the North norfolk coast, which has hostel accommodation or camping in tipis in this backpackers paradise -coastal walks, local pubs and fabulous seafood.
Orchard Acre farm -tipi holidays -http://www.orchardacrefarm.com
Stay in a Sioux tipi on this farm in beautiful north west Ireland -the tipis are really equipped with  futon style beds, cushions, rugs, bedding and a central wood burning brassier. There is a gas stove for cooking, with pans, crockery and cutlery,  and washing facilities in the adjacent Eco Barn. Activities include cycling, motor boats and horse-riding.
Single Parent Holidays -http://www.singleparentsonholiday.co.uk
Not forgeting the parents, this company specialises in joint parent child breaks in Austria, Greece, Croatia, Spain and other destinations in Europe. choose from beach, activity, wintersports holidays in family friendly hotels.
Centre for Alternative Technolgy -http://www.cat.org.uk
For a true eco-break, stay with the experts at CAT in Machynlleth, North Wales and learn skills in sustainability from wilderness skills to ecobuilding, including workshops specially aimed for young people.

Other Activities, Holiday Parks and Campsites

  • Butlins -the original family holiday camp with resorts in Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead.
  • Centreparcs -the complete family retreat with resorts at Sherwood, Oasis Whinfell, Elvedene and Longleat.
  • Days out with the kids -a bright listing of things to do with your kids -search by region, age and whether you want to be indoors or outdoors.
  • Disneyland Resort Paris -top tourist destination for families in Europe, with two theme parks, seven hotels and a range of dining and entertainment options. The Resort also features the Disney Village entertainment and shopping complex and Golf Disneyland, a 27-hole golf course.
  • Doit4Real -the YHA activities for young people -mountain biking, film making, rock climbing or canoeing in England and Wales.
  • Eurocamp -family camping and self catering holidays to over 150 holiday parcs in 12 countries throughout Europe.
  • Explore Family -adventure holidays for families from the Dordogne to Morocco.
  • Green Box -family activity eco-holidays in Ireland -climbing, walking, caving, canoeing, watersports, fishing.
  • Hoburne -owns and operates seven holiday parks in the south and south west of England.
  • Keycamp Holidays -mobile home and camping holidays for all ages on sites in Austria, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain and Switzerland.
  • Kids in Tow -founded in 2004 by Lyndsay Hudson, who was looking for activity holidays for her own family, this site is a veritable conucopia of activity holidays for children around the world.
  • Logoland -themed short breaks from the theme park of the famous toy manufacturer at Windsor. Also at Billund in Denmark, Berlin in Germany, and California in the United States.
  • Park Dean Holidays -UK based self-catering holiday park operator with 20 holiday parks: eleven in the South West of England, six in Scotland, two in South Wales and one in Norfolk.
  • Plan-it Earth -eco camps and yurt holidays at Govena, a smallholding run by Rachel and Daid Smart Knight in West Penwith, Cornwall. The great thing is that they offer additional discount if you leave the car at home!
  • Westar Holiday Parks -family holiday parks in the West Country.

Holidays for young people only

  • JCA Summer Camp -activity holidays for children -land, environmental and water based activities or ski training.
  • KidsKlub -specialists in in providing adventure activity and outdoor educational experiences for young people from 6-16 years old at a variety of venues arounfd the country.
  • PGL Leisure -residential activity courses and adventure holidays in the UK and overseas. Summer camps for kids, children and teenagers as well as family activity holidays.
  • School Groups Abroad -a very useful resource from from Cactus Language who specialise in school language trips around the world, including France, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Germany the UK and Russia.


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Featured books:
Eco-centres and Courses: A Directory for the UK and Ireland
Terena Plowright
Paperback -April 2007
Price in UK pounds
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Travel with Children (Lonely Planet Travel Guides S.)
Maureen Wheeler, Cathy Lanigan (Editor)
Lonely Planet Publications
Paperback
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Walt Disney World Resort and Orlando (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
Dorling Kindersley
Hardcover
Price in UK pounds
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