Once you’ve had children, looking forward to a relaxing mini-break feels like a distant memory from once upon a time. Fortunately, relaxing isn’t the only desirable adjective to describe a mini-break! It’s now all about the fun, novel, simple, life affirming, inspiring and adventurous mini-break!
After doing a bit of research for my own family this summer, these are some of the best locations and mini-break ideas I found.
Canopy & Stars
If you’re not a big fan of kids clubs and all-inclusives, this website is a gift to parents looking for more unusual family holidays.
Canopy & Stars focus on the very best glamping style accommodation, although they also often feature houseboats, tree houses, cabins and chalets as well as yurts and bell tents. They are passionate about sustainable tourism, with an emphasis on eco-friendly accommodation in beautiful countryside surroundings. There is an entire family friendly holidays section on the site featuring properties that welcome children and sometimes pets too, so the everyone can come along!
At the moment they have several properties available in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Britain, all unique and full of character, promising a weekend of novelty and outdoor adventures.
Camping on Scilly
If you’ve never been to Cornwall’s Scilly Isles, imagine Caribbean style white sand beaches and turquoise waters, charming coastal cottages linked by winding paths and tropical gardens and you’ll soon get the idea.
There’s plenty of places to stay on Scilly, but if you fancy glamping (the best option with kids unless you can rent a cottage) there are options on many of the islands. St Mary’s is the largest island, with Bryher the smallest inhabited island. Rent canoes, boats or island hop using the regular ferries to different islands. Apart from the sea being a little chillier, you won’t be able to believe you’re still in the UK!
You can reach the islands by plane (planes leave from both Newquay and Penzance) or the Scillonian ferry from Penzance.
Tip: For the ferry, take a seasickness tablet and some ginger biscuits for sensitive stomachs on windier days!
Brownsea Island Adventure
Brownsea island is around 1 mile long and just under 1 mile wide and is the largest of the islands in Pool Harbour, Dorset. Owned by the National Trust, it’s a haven for wildlife like the “rare red squirrel and elusive Sika deer”. There are tree lined walks, activities for the kids and a cafe to refuel!
The island is easily accessed in just 10 minutes via a small boat that leaves Sandbanks Yacht Company Seaway at high tide, you just need to check the timetable.
There a couple of different accommodation options from renting a cottage to camping, but as the island is so small, the cottages book up quickly! If you really want to visit but can’t find any available accommodation, you can always stay in the charming area of Sandbanks or Pool Harbour and hop on the boat to the island for the day!
See the National Trust website for more details here.
Spain in Summer
I love taking the kids to Spain. It’s such a family friendly destination and incredibly easy to get to. Taking the ferry can often be the easiest option when you have kids. No trying to squeeze everything into suitcases, no weight limit and the freedom of being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want - without the hassle of busses or taxis.
There are three ferries to spain every week, each offering a different route. Our preferred route is to Bilbao and then a drive to San Sebastian in the Bay of Biscay just a few miles away. Here you can find a charming town set around a picturesque sea facing promenade, clean beaches and plenty of great restaurants. There are loads of hotels to choose from as well as several camper van or motorhome parking options.