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A man and two children play in the sea in the Sani Resort, Greece
Photograph: Sani Resort

The 10 best family holidays in the world to try this year

Looking for inspiration for the perfect family-friendly holiday? We’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly trips to suit every budget

Marcus Webb
Edited by
Marcus Webb
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Family-friendly travel is changing. For many years, it was presumed that people travelling with kids would be content to be kettled into a soulless holiday park every summer – but today’s parents are looking for more. So, whether you’re dealing with travel-averse toddlers, kinetic kids who won’t stop moving, screen-obsessed tweens or teenagers who want to be as far away from you as possible, we’ve got the break that you need. These are the very best places for a family holiday in the world right now. Happy travels!

Marcus Webb is Time Out’s former global editor-in-chief and has written about family travel for various publications. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our 
editorial guidelines and check out our latest travel guides written by local experts.

This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

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Best family breaks in the world

The key to a successful family holiday is finding a place that offers something for everyone – and Sani Resort has all bases covered. There are cabanas overlooking the beach, pools for seemingly every occasion (kid-friendly, adults only, indoor, outdoor, private, infinity), opulent spas and a plethora of restaurants and bars. But Sani goes beyond the usual holiday staples. Sporty kids can enrol in the football or tennis academies (in association with Chelsea FC and Rafa Nadal respectively) while the adventurous can throw themselves into the Bear Grylls survival camp or around the on-site Go Ape-style rope course. There’s a complimentary ‘Babewatch’ on-beach babysitting service plus birdwatching and even beekeeping sessions around the vast nature reserve the resort calls home. Sani also hosts its own music and food festivals every summer. It all adds up to a genuine haven for families looking to reconnect without once hearing the two words all parents dread – ‘I’m bored.’

Best for: Energetic families looking for something to agree on.

Everything about this sylvan retreat is geared towards wholesome family enjoyment, from the beautiful woodland setting and the myriad invigorating activities to the brilliantly designed accommodation and the gourmet restaurant (complete with its own soft play palace). Leap aboard a golf buggy and cruise around the resort, where you can hop on thrilling flumes in the aquatic centre, get a massage at the spa, play mini golf with your kids or watch them whizz through the treetops on zip-wires. The stunning natural backdrop will leave you in a laidback and chipper mood, as will the bill, which is likely to be surprisingly low.

Best for: Families in desperate need of a break from the city.

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3. Blackberry Wood, UK

It’s easy to see why securing a summer booking at this boutique campsite on England’s south coast can be a little like getting your hands on a Glastonbury ticket. But while the photogenic woodland plots are a draw, it’s the highly coveted unusual lodgings – which range from a converted Routemaster and a grounded 1960s helicopter to a ‘curvy cabin’ and a pair of twisted, Disney-worthy treehouses – that will get your brood grinning. Activity-wise, a schlep or cycle up Ditchling Beacon from Blackberry Wood offers the reward of a striking Sussex panorama, while the Jolly Sportsman pub does a nice line in attentively cooked Sunday roasts.

Best for: Hardy, transport-mad youngsters.

4. Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

Malaysia is blessed with the clear waters and white sand beaches that draw tourists in droves to the likes of Thailand or Fiji, yet the country remaind under the radar of many holidaying families. On the small island of Pangkor Laut is the eponymous Pangkor Laut Resort, which feels like a haven from the modern world. Villas climb up the hilltop or sit on stilts over the water, while throughout the resort fruit bats dangle, hornbills flit and sea eagles circle. The games room, sports courts, infinity pool and water sports all provide welcome distractions, but this is really a place to unwind on the sand or explore the island (70 percent of which is untouched rainforest). A day spent on the horseshoe-shaped Emerald Bay followed by an evening in the magnificent Chinese Malay restaurant Uncle Lim’s Kitchen will have you torn between taking to the socials to tell the world what an amazing time you’re having, or keeping this secret for yourself.

Best for: Crowd-averse families looking for a beachside break.

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5. Wilderness, Botswana

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is the largest inland delta in the world. Its vast water networks are home to crocodiles and hippos, while lions and cheetahs hunt on its plains. It is also where sustainable, locally-run safari company Wilderness runs a handful of luxury camps. Each one caters to families keen to experience the joys of a safari both on land and on the water. With one of the best chances of seeing the Big Five in Africa, this is a once in a lifetime, awe-inspiring destination that will become the stuff of family legend.  

Best for: Nature-loving families looking to create collective memories before the kids fly the nest.

Climbing up a steep, rainforest-studded hillside on the island’s north-west coast, Windjammer Landing may well be the best family-friendly resort on St Lucia. Accommodation options run the gamut from conventional rooms to palatial villas with private infinity pools and views out over the Caribbean Sea. The sprawling setting means that whatever option you go for, you get the privacy of secluded surroundings as well as access to Windjammer’s extensive facilities. There’s an in-house reef for snorkelling and water activities including water-skiing and paddleboarding. Or you could always take a cable car into the rainforest and zipline back out, if you and the fam are feeling adventurous.

Best for: Water sports-loving junior beach bums.

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7. San Diego, USA

With sunny beaches, fantastic theme parks, and the world’s largest comic book convention, there's no such thing as bored children in sunny San Diego. Plus, like a good Pixar flick, the best kid-friendly activities work brilliantly for adults too. We promise parents will love mingling with exotic animals, splashing through waterfront fountains and marvelling at towering Lego sculptures right alongside the kids. Avoid rowdier crowds and embrace calm waves alongside other families at Mission Beach, Coronado Beach or La Jolla Shores.

Best for: Best-of-both-worlders looking to mix urban thrills with some beach time.

Yamanashi prefecture, on Japan’s main island of Honshu, boasts bubbling hot springs, the iconic Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes resort area – and Glamping Villa Hanz is the ideal location for exploring them all. This place is all about reconnecting, not just with nature but also with your family. With no on-site restaurant, you pick your food box from a menu and then barbecue the contents yourself under the stars. The onsite onsens and barrel sauna will introduce you to Japanese bath culture, while the activities – including bike riding, archery, forest walks and unforgettable canoe trips on Lake Kawaguchiko – will keep everyone entertained. And, of course, there’s the spectacular views of Mount Fuji. Combine with a few nights in Tokyo (Shinjuku station in the heart of the city is just over an hour’s train ride away) and you’ll have a holiday to thrill even the hardest-to-please family members.

Best for: Teenagers, tweenagers and parents determined to encourage a screen break.

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Midway between Pisa and Florence, Villa Lena is a Tuscan hilltop estate that’s become a stylish hotel and artists’ residence. Hotel guests stay in one of three rustic-chic outbuildings (there are also a couple of full houses for larger groups or families) and roam the gorgeous grounds at will, including popping in to see artists at work in the studios or main villa. Cots and high chairs are available in every room, though the Renacchi Apartments are particularly family-friendly with their kitchens, pool and play garden, and there’s an English-speaking nanny available in case you want a night off. The excellent San Michele restaurant does high chairs, crayons and huge plates of top-notch pasta for kids, and it’s right next to the main pool, with its own toy-equipped toddler splash zone. And don’t miss out on a walk around the estate’s rambling woodlands and vegetable and flower gardens.

Best for Younger kids with parents in search of art, nature, aperitivo hour and a chance to slow down.

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James Manning
Content Director, EMEA

A world away from Bali’s overcrowded tourist hotspots, Padma Resort Ubud is a family-friendly luxury resort that stands out from the crowd by focusing on nature, sustainability and the island’s rich cultural traditions. This passion for the natural landscape and Balinese heritage inspires the activities at the Wolly Kids Club and Kids Garden Club, where under-13s can make traditional ceremonial offerings, weave coconut leaves and explore the animal farm and agroforestry garden, which provides the impressive hotel restaurants with fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. Curious adults can do all these activities too. Padma Resort Ubud’s undisputed centrepiece, however, is the 89-metre infinity pool, which offers a stunning view of an unspoiled river valley. There's a shallow kids pool too. With on-site activities including archery, fishing, golf, cycling and yoga, the regular free shuttle bus to bustling Ubud, located 40 minutes away, is unlikely to be required.

Best for: Budding horticulturists and their pool-loving parents. 

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