The Caribbean has been a go-to destination for Winter Sun for generations. There are so many direct connections from the UK with a manageable 8 hour flight.
Ed was fortunate enough to spend two weeks in Antigua this summer with his wife and 3 children aged, 7, 5 and 6 months. Whilst on the island they were sure to check out the full range of hotels. The whole family was lucky enough to spend a night at the uber luxurious Jumby Bay Private Island, which was “out of this world” in every way. From the “Royal” welcome as they stepped off the boat, the beautiful private suites, to the sublime beach. The children were equally blown away (which isn’t always necessarily the case in expensive hotels). They loved the personalised bikes (main mode of transport on the island), the resident starfish and the kids club with “proper” activities like sailing and snorkeling. Thanks to the fully inclusive concept, meal times were a dream. Everyone loved the “pantry and a la carte” concept at The Verandah and the exquisite fine dining at The Estate House. As you can gather, they were more than blown away by Jumby Bay. The faultless service really added another dimension. Ed would love to chat to you and further share his experiences and tips.
The family also stayed at Carlisle Bay which was also beautiful, though more of a “conventional” hotel, set on the stunning Carlisle Bay beach. Perfect for younger families, the Beach Terrace Suites are directly on the beach, making it super easy for the parents to relax whilst the little ones make sand castles or nap in the room. The size really allows you to mix with other families which is fantastic for those who like to be social and keep the children busy. There are flexible meal times, with a brilliant kids tea.
Next up they stayed at Nonsuch Bay resort which is great for families looking for a smaller all-inclusive resort with very spacious apartments or villas – perhaps better for older families and excellent for kite surfing or sailing enthusiasts.
Finally, the family were lucky enough to stay in a beachfront villa at the St James Club, a really great value option for families wanting the privacy and space of a villa directly on the beach but still with an all-inclusive board basis, so you don’t have to worry about cooking. A great 4*, it has an excellent natural location and will tick a lot of boxes for families.
If you are at all interested in a Caribbean Holiday this winter, please feel free to give us a no obligation call to discuss.
Ed was in Costa Rica on a research trip this May, so has lots of up to date information. If you are interested in visiting this amazing country then you can read his detailed blog here. Suffice to say Costa Rica is a great option for a first “family adventure”. It’s very safe, with warm and friendly people, a great tourism infrastructure with high standards and good safe to eat food.
A visit here will help instil the wonders of nature to your little ones. Take majestic flights past active volcanoes, cruise down the canals deep in the Tortuguero National Park, call out to Monkeys and Macaws up in the canopy of the rainforest, zip line down, hike to indigenous villages, kayak, snorkel, surf and of course take some time to relax on the beach or by the pool.
The perfect mid-winter sun holiday in our opinion, a real crowd pleaser for young and old. An easy overnight flight with no jet lag; say goodbye to the doom and gloom of Winter and wake up to glorious mid-Summer.
South Africa is not just about great food, wine and safaris (though they are some of the highlights). There are so many amazing hotels that are excellent for families. Whether it’s a boutique beach hotel in Camps Bay or a farmstay in the Winelands – the quality of hospitality is consistently fantastic.
It’s possible to take children of any age on safari, but we’d say they’d really appreciate a full game drive experience from 5 years and above. There are some malaria-free options within driving distance of Cape Town or the Garden Route as well as some excellent lodges in the Madikwe or Waterberg.
This can be mixed in with some beach time, by the warm Indian Ocean, either on the Garden Route, Kwa Zulu Natal or Mozambique.
Ed has been organising family holidays to South Africa for over 15 years now, so has a great wealth of experience.
Ed took a detailed research trip here last September. Until the terrible events on Easter Sunday this year Sri Lanka was riding a wave of incredible popularity. After these tragic events the Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel for the following 6 weeks whilst they investigated and did their due diligence. The all-clear was given at the beginning of June and tourists have slowly been returning. We would not be promoting Sri Lanka if we were not 100% confident in the security precautions in place.
Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for some family Winter sun. A country of gorgeous nature. deep spirituality and rich culture – a holiday here will be educational as well as relaxing. Many families elect to spend their entire time by the coast, boutique hotels like Why House have mastered the art of creating a truly magical holiday for both young and old. There are also some lovely beach resorts like Anantara Peace Haven if that’s more your cup of tea, or some stunning private service villas, perfect for families travelling together or with grandparents. This magical time on the beach can be combined with a safari, beautiful train rides through the tea country, buddhist temples, bike rides and stunning heritage sites like Sigiriya Rock.
Standing slightly apart from the other destinations we mention here, Australia does require that greater time commitment. So perhaps this isn’t one for a half term holiday, but instead for a good 2 weeks (or even 3 if you can manage it!).
Being the world’s largest island, there is something for everyone at every time of year; however during our Winter months we would suggest sticking to the Southern parts of the country as the further North and inland you travel, the higher the mercury rises! Also the closer to the Equator, the greater the risk of rain.
Australia is prime road-trip territory; if you’re more of an intrepid family then perhaps hire a camper van and head off-grid for a few days. Either from Perth down into the South-Western corner of the country, including the beautiful Margaret River region and it’s many wineries and windswept beaches; or up into the red dust of WA, including Karijini National Park and the idyllic Coral Bay. You may prefer to start further East and head inland from Adelaide to the stunning Flinders Ranges, the most ‘accessible’ outback destination only a 5 hour drive from the city of Adelaide. The journey also takes you through the Clare Valley and Barossa wine regions – certainly worth a stop and a tasting or two on the way!
Give the children an insight into farming life and stay in a traditional homestead, offering you the chance to witness everyday life on their livestock stations and perhaps even take part? If you’re keen wildlife enthusiasts, Kangaroo Island is an absolute must – essentially an open-air wildlife park where the animals roam free and conservation efforts have encouraged both flora and fauna to flourish.
Working progressively East, drive the Great Ocean Road and take the long route from Adelaide through to Melbourne; a city so welcoming and enchanting with its fantastic array of restaurants, cafes and thriving arts scene – take a tour down the labyrinth of laneways to explore hidden treasures and if you’re lucky catch a game of cricket at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
All of these destinations we’ve mentioned so far can be either combined together on an epic family adventure, or you can pick and choose which you may prefer; however for most the highlight is Sydney and New South Wales. This city of many bays and beaches, the famous harbour and Opera House is a tough one to beat and there is so much to do for young and old – certainly worth at least a few days, even if just to catch a few waves at Bondi! From here it also works as a great base to explore either the coastline of New South Wales to the South down to Jervis Bay, or right up to the furthest North in the state and Byron Bay. Otherwise if you’re more interested in what happens inland, then the Blue Mountains are a perfect introduction or end to any trip, with their stunning scenery and fantastic wild camping and adventure opportunities. All in all, Australia is a true adventure however we don’t believe in there being any ‘must-sees’ in destinations and so with a country as big as Australia, we feel sure that you are always going to find a fantastic combination however long or short your trip happens to be.
As with Antigua, Thailand has long been a perfect tropical destination to escape to from the depths of Winter. Known as the land of smiles, you are always greeted with fantastic service and children of all ages can be sure of a very warm welcome – few hotels in Thailand won’t accept children of any age and if they do it’s indeed rare!
If it is a relaxing holiday by the beach you’re after it is possible to fly straight through to Phuket from the Middle East. There are options to suit all budgets, from more low-key ‘toes in the sand’ and simple accommodation right through to your luxury beach resorts such as Rosewood Phuket and Soneva Kiri which cater for every whim and are a true playground for young and old. You may be looking for that small island, Robinson-Crusoe style escape or alternatively an All Inclusive family resort that will keep your children entertained from dawn till dusk – whatever your style we can recommend fantastic options through from the South Western destinations of Krabi, Phuket, Khao Lak and Koh Lanta across to the Gulf of Thailand and the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phang’an, Koh Chang and Koh Kood.
For those looking to travel beyond the beach, you don’t necessarily have to fly up to the North or Central areas of the country, as there are some excellent National Parks to explore right in the South – such as Khao Sok National Park which is an easy drive from either Phuket or Khao Lak, here you can stay in the jungle or by the river, try your hand at kayaking, exploring the forest on foot and of course taking part in the daily elephant bathing activities.
Snorkeling and diving are both great whichever island or coastal spot you choose; as is the food which is always a highlight. We feel it’s an exciting exploration as a family to head out in the evenings to the street food stalls and have a chance to watch a bit of vibrant local life once the sun has gone down and the beach activities have come to an end.
Rather than travelling due East, in Winter we often find ourselves keen to head South for the sun and warmth. Mauritius in that case is a perfect option as not only are the flights direct, but you have little time difference and so the blessing of no jet-lag, which when you’re travelling with little ones is always a huge bonus.
The beach resorts on Mauritius are fantastic playgrounds for families; with a vast array of activities and facilities to suit all ages. It may seem on first glance that many of the resorts offer very much the same holiday and experience, however Rosie visited Mauritius earlier this year to check out some of the hotels for herself and was surprised just how different each and every property is to the other. We believe it is hugely important to choose the right resort for your family; trust us they are all hugely different in their own ways and what suits one family certainly won’t suit another – we would be only too happy to talk you through what she thinks will be the best fit for you and your family.
Another appealing factor for holidays to Mauritius, in comparison to the Caribbean, is your pound goes that bit further here. Not only are the flights often better value but the resorts themselves are always extremely competitive when looking at the levels of quality and inclusions they offer.
Due to its location, you can combine an exhilarating family safari in South Africa with a relaxing stay by the beach – what an adventure!