Family Travel3-minute read
Six family-friendly escapes to book right now
Looking for holiday inspiration? We curate the best places to travel en famille this summer
Take off to Madeira
This subtropical Portuguese island, off the northwest coast of Africa, may be small in size, but it has a big personality: year-round Atlantic sun, green and rugged scenery and a glittering coastline. Not to mention its namesake wine.
Why you should feel confident booking now:
Madeira has one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in Europe. Face masks are mandatory in all public spaces, but not on the beach or in the countryside, and you must take a test before you travel or for free on arrival. Currently, you will have to self-isolate if you are returning to Scotland or Wales.
What to enjoy when you’re there: It’s all about the great outdoors. Navigate the island’s famous levadas – irrigation channels-turned-trails – that offer excellent hiking opportunities. So, too, do the wildflower-cloaked cliffs. Between April and October, look out for whales and dolphins that frequent the surrounding waters.
Best for: nature-loving families.
Take off to Edinburgh
From the atmospheric cobbled streets of Old Town to the cool, contemporary Leith Docks, Edinburgh delights all shapes and sizes – even teens will be impressed. It’s also surprisingly compact, so easy to explore by foot.
Why you should feel confident booking now: Whether you’re after a luxury blow-the-budget number, such as the famous Balmoral, or a quirkier boutique stay, hotels in Edinburgh are reopening, ready once more to offer visitors a warm Scottish welcome.
What to enjoy when you’re there: Soak up the Scottish culture along the Royal Mile, which runs from the city’s towering castle at one end to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. For a bird’s-eye view of the city, climb Calton Hill with its unmistakable Acropolis punctuating the skyline.
Best for: families with teenagers in tow.
Take off to Antigua
This sun-drenched Caribbean jewel has 365 beaches – one for every day of the year – a rich colonial history (Horatio Nelson was stationed here), delicious Creole cuisine and a near unbroken coral reef.
Why you should feel confident booking now: Antigua is on the travel corridor, meaning that UK visitors will not have to self-isolate when they return home. Safety measures on the island – you must arrive with a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than seven days prior, for example – ensure peace of mind.
What to enjoy when you’re there: Take a speedboat to Stingray City, a shallow pool that Southern rays call home. Enjoy watching these curious creatures bask in their natural habitat before taking the kids to Devil’s Bridge near Indian Town, where the geysers and blowholes create a spectacular show.
Best for: families seeking chilled-out beach vibes.
Take off to Florence
Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the most historically and culturally significant cities in the world, with the soaring Duomo (opening image), Giotto’s Campanile and the iconic 14th-century Ponte Vecchio just a few of its architectural masterpieces.
Why you should feel confident booking now: As Covid-19 restrictions are gradually lifted, you currently no longer have to justify your reason for travelling from the UK into the country. Passengers arriving at the airport are temperature checked and face masks are currently required in indoor venues (and outdoors between 6pm and 6am).
What to enjoy when you’re there: Most of the city’s galleries and museums have reopened – including the Uffizi, which holds the largest art collection in the country – and visitor numbers are regulated. It is said that gelato was invented in Florence, so indulging copiously in ice cream is also a must.
Best for: families looking for a culture fix.
Take off to Corfu
One of the largest of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is all golden beaches and secluded bays, lapped by a crystalline sea. Inland, rolling olive groves and dramatic mountainscapes are dotted with villages packed with rustic, traditional charm.
Why you should feel confident booking now: Greece acted swiftly to impose lockdown, gradually easing it from April, meaning that it was one of the European countries least affected by the pandemic. On arrival, you may be required to take a test for coronavirus.
What to enjoy when you’re there: The old quarter of capital Kerkyra, with its shady lanes, pastel-hued Venetian architecture and ancient fortress, will entrance all ages. Afterwards, make your way to one of the island’s myriad seafront tavernas and watch the children paddle as you feast on fresh seafood.
Best for: families with young children.
Take off to Zurich
For fresh mountain air, glacial waterfalls and alpine meadows, head to Switzerland. Zurich may be the gateway to the Alps, but it has plenty to offer the visitor, with its quaint mediaeval old town, famous St Peter church, which boasts the largest clock face in Europe, and huge lake.
Why you should feel confident booking now: With partial lockdown lifted, shops, restaurants, cafés and bars are reopening. In the Alps, mountain railways and cable cars are running – wearing a mask is compulsory. You will currently have to self-isolate for 14 days after your return to the UK.
What to enjoy when you’re there: The majestic views from one (or all) of the big three – mounts Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – are quite something. Take the train to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3,454 metres above sea level, where you’ll be rewarded by a wonderland of ice, snow and rocks.
Best for: families who enjoy their space.