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Giraffes looking to the camera in the Kruger National Park

Ten places to take the kids before they grow up

Introducing children to the world’s most amazing sights is one of the best things about being a parent. With so much on offer, though – and the super-speed at which kids seem to grow up – it can be difficult to narrow down the best. To give you a helping hand, travel-loving mum Charlotte Duck picks the top ten places to take your offspring while they still appreciate the effort, before they can head off on adventures of their own


01/07/2022

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi in Lapland (Getty Images)

Visit Father Christmas in Lapland, Finland

A trip to see Father Christmas near his actual home in the North Pole is a truly magical experience that no child will ever forget. Best taken when they’re aged between four and nine, kids will get the chance to explore Santa Claus Village, join the elves working in Santa’s post office, make friends with a reindeer, see the northern lights and, of course, meet the big man himself. That should guarantee good behaviour for the duration of the holiday at least!

Visit Father Christmas


Elephants at Kruger National Park in South Africa – also opening image (Adobe Stock)

Go on safari at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Observing animals in their natural habitat is one of travel’s most enchanting experiences. Going on safari at Kruger National Park will give children a whole new perspective on wildlife and the importance of conservation. Everything here is big, from the vast landscapes to the animals themselves, and older children will love the thrill of spotting ‘The Big Five’ (from a safe distance away), while younger ones can learn essential bush skills.

Head into the wild


Snowboarding and skiing in the mountains (Getty Images)

Hit the slopes in the Alps

Stunning scenery, fresh air and lots of exercise – what better way to drag youngsters away from their screens than by whisking them up a snow-capped mountain? There’s so much more to the Alps than ski school and perfecting a snow plough, though. Older children can enhance their street cred with a bit of snowboarding, while younger ones can frolic on the magic carpets and in the on-snow play areas. And, for afters, there’s lashings of hot chocolate and fondue-dipping to warm everyone up.

Take the family mountainside


Ancient ruins of Pompeii, near Naples (Adobe Stock)

Explore the ruins of Pompeii, Italy

It’s likely your children have heard the story of Pompeii in history lessons at school, but nothing brings it more to life than a visit to the place itself. Walking around the crumbling temples, time-frozen streets and enormous amphitheatre is a truly immersive experience and a fantastic way to experience what Roman life was like in AD 79. As well as the tragic story of this town, seen in the 1,500 bodies that were preserved in volcanic ash, there are lighter sides to a trip here, such as the classical graffiti and a glimpse at a Roman toilet.   

Step into history


Swimming with the fishes in the Indian Ocean

Snorkel in the Maldives

Whether they’re snorkelling newbies or veteran water babies, kids keen on the ocean simply must visit the Maldives. The weather gives great water visibility and the sea is warm, averaging 29°C in the lagoons all year round. What’s more, the shallower waters are teaming with colourful marine life and are an easy swim for little ones trying to find Nemo. For the more adventurous, boats are available for visiting offshore reefs to see turtles and rarer fish varieties.

Dive into the Maldives


A world of adventure at Legoland

Visit Denmark’s Legoland

For those young or old who can’t get enough of Lego, a trip to the original Legoland in Denmark is a must. Of course, there are the rides, such as Emmet’s Flying Adventure, Unikitty’s Disco Drop and Benny’s Playship, but there’s also a lot of brick-building to be done. Visitors can design their own Lego boat and sail it on a river, learn construction tips and tricks at a creative workshop and let loose with thousands of chunky bricks in the enormous Duplo Fun play area.

Discover Denmark


Playtime in Mykonos (Adobe Stock)

Hop around the Greek islands


One big advantage of travelling around the Greek islands is that no one’s going to get bored. From Santorini’s black-sand beaches and Kefalonia’s wild horses to Paxos’ tiny harbour towns and Crete’s antiquities, each island has its own distinct personality. There’s something for every member of the family here, and it’s worth getting older ones involved with the planning. ‘Hopping’ between islands is easy via the network of ferries, but it’s worth organising ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

Get going in Greece


Join the Mickey and Friends Cavalcade

Ride Space Mountain at Disney World Florida

Make all your children’s Disney dreams come true with a trip to Orlando, aka ‘the most magical place on earth’. As well as meeting the likes of Elsa, Peter Pan and Cinderella, young ones will get to sing and dance along to colourful parades and experience the thrill of the iconic Space Mountain rollercoaster. This is an active holiday if ever there was one and the fun doesn’t stop at the Magic Kingdom – there’s also the Epcot theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and two Disney-themed water parks to explore.  

Explore Disney World


The mighty Sphinx and pyramids of Giza (Adobe Stock)

See the pyramids of Egypt

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one available to visit today. Nothing quite prepares visitors for this feat of engineering and that of the Sphinx next door (cue the Instagram selfies). While little rivals Giza’s exterior, if exploring inside a pyramid sounds appealing, the Valley of the Kings near Luxor is a better bet. Here, visitors can experience the extravagance of a pharoah’s life and burial with 11 intricately decorated tombs, including that of Tutankhamen.

See one of the world’s ancient wonders


Ready to hit the surf on Bondi Beach

Bodyboard on Bondi Beach, Australia

Offering the thrill of surfing without having to stand up, bodyboarding is a brilliant activity for kids to try on holiday – and Bondi Beach in Australia is the best place to do it. Various surf and bodyboarding schools along the beach offer lessons for all ages and levels, with qualified instructors on hand to share their tips and tricks. It’s easy to try for yourself, too. Head up the north end, which tends to be quieter, and make the most of the golden sands, turquoise-blue water and waves that break close to the shore that are perfect for kids to ride in on.

Break some waves in Bondi