January 23, 2019
With play barns, pony rides, a pets’ corner and a collection of alpacas available for walks (including cute, floppy-fringed Cyril), make this February half term the most memorable yet with a seven-night self-catering break at Summerwood Cottage (sleeps six), near Bude. Set on a working farm within easy reach of Cornwall’s many family-friendly attractions, there’s also the option to have a local chef deliver delicious meals direct to your door… giving frazzled parents some much needed time out, too. Arriving Saturday 16 February, a week’s stay costs £99 pp (£593 total) with holidaycottages.co.uk (01237 459888, www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
Why not venture further afield this half term and take the kids on an unforgettable adventure in Cambodia? Spend four nights exploring Siem Reap, taking tuk tuks around the ancient city of Angkor Thom, feasting on local street food and flying through the jungle on the Angkor Zipline. Then onto the island of Koh Rong, where fun activities include diving, sailing, fishing and quad biking. Priced from £2,780 per family of four (two adults and two children under 12 sharing a family room), including local English-speaking guides and transfers, seven nights’ B&B, one lunch, two dinners and internal flights. International flights extra. Contact AITO* member InsideAsia Tours on 0117 370 9758 (www.insideasiatours.com).
Sleep on a bed of ice and snow (insulated with reindeer skins!) in the northernmost ice hotel in the world, then warm up in a cosy cabin lodge for Northern Lights spotting. Spend half term near the family-friendly SarvesAlta Alpine Resort, which offers skiing and snowboarding (for all abilities), tobogganing, dog sled tours and ziplining across the spectacular scenery overlooking the Alta Fjord (activities payable locally). Departing 20 February, the price is from £1,880 pp (two adults and two children sharing), including one night half-board at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, three nights’ full-board at Bjørnfjell Mountain Lodge, flights (London) and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Staying at Sörbyn Lodge on the shores of a frozen lake in Swedish Lapland, this half-term holiday allows travellers to choose from Arctic favourites including cross-country skiing (from £105pp), a snowmobile safari (from £175 pp) and a visit to a local Sámi family (from £170 pp). Spend the evenings Aurora-hunting by snowmobile (from £176 pp), kicksledding (from £81 pp) or on snowshoes (from £105 pp). The trip is priced from £995 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), transfers, four nights’ half board and cold-weather clothing. Guided activities priced extra. Departs 16 & 20 February. Call AITO* member The Aurora Zone on 01670 785 012 (www.theaurorazone.com).
Family-friendly Bovey Castle on Dartmoor is offering free stays for children this February half term. Activities include a new Deer Park Tour (£12.50 pp), falconry displays and family swims in the Elan Spa plus a range of bookable activities. Bovey Rangers (ages 6-14; £35 per session) and Bovey Bears Den Club (ages 3-6; £15 per activity) offer activities from archery to brass rubbing. Families can choose to dine in the flagship Great Western restaurant or the more informal Smiths Brasserie. A night’s B&B in a Junior State Room (two adults and two children sharing) costs from £409 per room. Valid 17-24 February. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
From wandering around the colourful Matisse Museum and the fascinating ruins of the Castle of Nice to exploring nearby Cannes, Monaco, St Tropez and the picturesque medieval villages of Eze and Vence, Nice is the perfect location for a short family break. Located in the heart of the Old Town, Villa Rivoli is the ideal base for exploring the city and region. A three-night stay costs from £2,496 for a family of four (£624 pp), including flights (Gatwick), return private car transfers, B&B in two interconnecting rooms (one double, one twin), complimentary entrance to the Musée Matisse and the services of the Kirker Concierge. Departs 17 February. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Treat the family to the ultimate half-term break with this eight-night tailor-made tour of Peru. Kids will get to experience jungle life while searching for wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon. They can enjoy observing birds and butterflies from the 30-metre canopy tower, visiting the parrots at the parrot clay lick and cruising down Lake Condenado, before taking in the country’s must-see highlights such as the fascinating Machu Picchu and the unique Uros Floating Islands on Lake Titicaca. The price is from £2,399 pp (four sharing), including flights (Gatwick), eight nights’ B&B, private transfers and tours, internal flights and some meals. Call AITO* member Sunvil Latin America on 020 8758 4774 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Ideally situated less than half an hour’s drive from Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios, the five-bedroomed Villa Palmetto (sleeping ten) can accommodate two families or a multi-generational group for a week of half-term fun. This wonderfully sociable property boasts a cinema room, games room with table football and pool table, open plan living area, heatable pool and barbecue. Should Disney overload kick in, the grown-ups can escape to the Reunion Resort right next to the house for a round or two of golf. Arriving 16 February, a week’s self-catering stay costs from £337 pp (£3,371 total). Flights extra. Call CV Villas on 0207 261 5404 (www.cvvillas.com).
Boasting snow-capped peaks, towering gorges, unique architecture, bustling bazaars and some of the best skiing in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is a great alternative to a European ski break this half term. This six-day trip begins in the buzzing metropolis Almaty for a tour of the city’s sights, before heading to a stylish eco-lodge base in the Shymbylak resort for three days’ skiing, as well as skating on the Medeu Ice Rink, a celebrated Soviet arena. The trip costs from £700 pp (£2,800 for a family of four sharing based on two adults and two children aged 3-12), including five nights’ B&B, transfers, excursions, lift passes and the services of a local guide. Flights extra. Call TravelLocal on 0117 325 7898 (www.travellocal.com).
Just 40 minutes by bullet train from Tokyo, the seaside hot spring resort RISONARE Atami is a haven for families this half term. Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy tackling the ‘forest in the air’ climbing course through a canopy suspended in the Camphor trees, sampling tea and Japanese sweets and spotting wildlife through binoculars in the treehouse, bathing in natural outdoor hot springs, and learning about Atami’s sea and forest creatures in the hotel’s activity room, before retiring to a luxurious ocean-view room. A night’s stay costs from ¥77,600/£547 per room per night (¥19,400/£138 pp) based on four sharing including breakfast and dinner. Flights/transfers extra. Contact www.risonare.com/atami/en.
Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is ripe for fossil hunting, the perfect family activity this half term. Visit Lyme Regis, where ample examples have been found dating back to the Early Jurassic period and the sheer number and quality of finds have made the charming town one of the world’s most famed fossil-hunting spots. Budding palaeontologists should make the clifftop Alexandra their base, a beautiful historic boutique hotel set on the Jurassic Coast, offering exceptional sea views and access to both the beaches and the famed South West Coastal Path. Stay in a Cottage Apartment (sleeps four) from £320 per night. Call the Alexandra on 01297 442 010 (www.hotelalexandra.co.uk).
*AITO is The Specialist Travel Association: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.
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