Published on December 16, 2010 by Charlotte Cook
What constitutes a ‘perfect family city break’ often dominates the minds of many families when preparing to book a holiday. Of course, the answer to this question will vary massively depending upon the family in question, but two common themes repeatedly crop up: the holiday needs to provide a relaxing time for the adults, whilst also being a fun-filled adventure for the kids.
Balancing these two criteria is often difficult and this is why package holiday firms invented kids’ clubs. However, if you are travelling independently, it can often be a struggle to tick both boxes. The aim of this article is to provide you with a couple of ideas to create a holiday which really is perfect for everyone.
The most important aspect for consideration is location. City breaks are often ideal because of the range of different options available to families. Whilst extra care needs to be taken with children in cities (any families who have stayed in New York hotels, for example, will know how busy roads and packed pavements can get the heart-rate rising), there is a greater potential to alter your itinerary depending upon the mood of the kids.
Interactive museums are often popular and institutions such as The British Museum in London have activities which are dedicated solely to families. Treasure hunts, free events and the opportunity to handle objects will keep the little ones amused, whilst they will also be learning amidst the fun. Furthermore, many museums in the UK are free, meaning that they are a fantastic option if you are holidaying on a budget.
The other issue to consider is food. Children can be incredibly fussy eaters, so having a range of restaurants in walking distance of your hotel is highly recommended. This doesn’t mean that you have to stick to McDonald’s, though, as the choice of eateries in a city can enable you to introduce new cuisines to your children. Hotels in Rome, for example, will allow your kids to get a taste of authentic Italian life that is both healthy and a real eye-opener after our experience of "pizza" and "pasta" in the UK. Another option, of course, is to go self-catered, where you will have greater control over what you eat. Having said this, many people go on holiday to avoid cooking.
Kids crave variety, so do not fear taking them out of the city and into the countryside for the day. Forests and beaches provide great opportunities for younger children to play, whilst it will also provide them with exercise and fresh air. However, a vivid imagination is often required as tired and bored children often become cranky. If you cannot leave the city, then head to a city farm where they can meet the animals. In London, there are such farms in Mudchute, Hackney, Hounslow, Kentish Town, Vauxhall and Spitalfields to name but a few.
Taking a family anywhere is expensive these days, so do your research before you go. Look into getting family tickets to the attractions you want to visit, whilst create a loose plan regarding what you want to do and when you want to do it is always a good idea. Tie this in with how you intend to get there so you don’t incur unnecessary transport costs.
Despite your need to relax, the ultimate happiness comes from seeing your children happy, so plan your activities accordingly. After all, if they tire themselves out during the day, they are guaranteed to fall asleep early, giving you that much needed relaxation time!