While I hope to travel to every single place I possibly can, there are certain destinations that standout to me as places I must at some point go and enjoy with my children. My ultimate family holiday bucket list.
Places that range from the cultural, to the inspiring or simply just childish enjoyable family fun.
With so many places to see it makes sense to have a list as a reference point so when I’m thinking about that ‘next’ vacation, I can refer back and see what the kids will enjoy first. Because let’s be honest all these places I also want to go to.. but as an adult I can be swayed easily to go and see more of the world without really considering what would be best for the kids. They’re far too adaptable- much to their own downfall 😉
This way I have a list of places I know they’ll love, places that’ll take them on journeys throughout their childhoods and places that I will love to watch them enjoy. Places that they’ll get more out of while they’re young, giving us the rest of their lives to explore other parts of the world.
So without further ado, here’s my list of what I consider to be the top 10 ultimate family holidays.
1. Meet Minnie and Mickey
Known as the ‘happiest place on earth’ experiencing the Disney magic is a no brainer. Thankfully there are a few places around the globe where you can seek out that Disney excitement. In the USA you have the choice between Disney World Florida or Disneyland California but let’s not forget about the Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris and the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Disneyland’s.
It’s every child’s dream to visit these parks, and to witness the joy they’d get from the Disney experience would be priceless.
In terms of age I think a minimum for 4 or 5 years old would give you the most out of the theme park.
2. Watch the elves at work
I think a visit to the real Father Christmas in Lapland would be such an exciting trip to take. An experience that would have to be done over the Christmas period for sure.
While there are day trips that you can enjoy to Lapland (from the UK), I think to get the most out of it, a two or three night break would be best. It would give you the chance to enjoy other activities such as dog sledding, reindeer sleighing and playing in the snow- all with a good amount of time to relax and time for the kids to warm up between activities.
In terms of age I think a minimum of 3 or 4. Although I’d want to double-check that my youngest would be able to participate in enough activities that it would be worth it… otherwise it’ll be an expensive return visit.
I visited Kakslauttanen in Finland pre children with my sister and the activities were amazing. So as a place to stay I’d recommend them. They’re also instafamous for their glass igloos- which would make a lovely exciting night under the northern lights.
3. Visit Dracula’s home
Children love a bit of mystery and intrigue, so a visit to Bran Castle would certainly pique their interests.
I think for this holiday it would involve creating the scene and preparing an interesting way to present the castle… perhaps through stories before flying to Romania. I’m sure there must be some good tours also you can join.
But this one is all about the imagination and the secrets that the castle holds.
In terms of age I think this could work for most age groups depending on how you decide to talk about and present the legend.
4. Become Harry Potter at Universal Studios
Immerse yourself in the world of film and tv, and if your kids are big Harry Potter fans; like I am, the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be right up their street.
A trip to Universal Studios is definitely something the whole family will enjoy, and if you have a range of age groups to make happy, there will be something for everyone. Although again to get the best out of it I’d say a minimum age of 4 or 5 would be best.
6. Eat breakfast with giraffes
I saw this experience on a tv show, and I’ve wanted to do it ever since. It looks incredible. Giraffe Manor is a unique place to stay in Kenya where they have a herd of roaming giraffes that frequently visit in the morning or in the evening and they interact with the guests.
Of course being in Africa there is also the opportunity to enjoy a traditional safari and for me this is the place I’d want to do that.
In terms of age, I think for health reasons it’s best that all children are over the age of 12 and can take appropriate health and malarial precautions.
There are safaris that you can go on that don’t carry a malarial risk, I wrote a post about a company called Yellow Zebra Safaris which will explain that further.
7. Learn to be a cowboy at a ranch
Learning a new skill is always exciting, and learning how to be a cowboy is definitely something that the whole family can do together. Living on a ranch just adds to that excitement, and the best thing is that it’s all right here in the UK.
Loose Reins offers beautiful glamping in canvas tents or cabin living in lodges reminiscent of those you’d find in the real wild west. And if you want to participate in western riding lessons they provide those at an additional expense.
I’ve not been on a Loose Reins break, but everything about it appeals to me and it’s high up on my list.
In terms of age I think it’s quite adaptable because they offer mini trail rides for the younger children and proper lessons for the older children.
8. Play Indiana Jones
Visiting Petra with my children is something I really want to do in the future. I’ve been before, and it was just beautiful. Jordan itself as a country also has much to offer. Being able to camp out in the desert before heading to Petra and then floating in the dead sea afterwards- it’s all just quite exciting.
And thanks to Indiana Jones when they get to the right age- I assume around 8 years old, it’ll be a place they’ll be begging me to take them!
9. Learn about witchcraft
For a long time I’ve really wanted to visit Salem. And my son loves everything to do with Halloween so really it’s a no brainer that this city is on the list. It’s a place that caters for Halloween all year around. It can be as creepy or as none creepy as your children require. For some reason my son really wants to go for a walk at night-time… well there are a few of those available in Salem 😉
I want to be able to live out my Practical Magic fantasies and no doubt the kids will want to play dress up and pretend they’re in Hocus Pocus. It caters for the full age range really because everything can be adapted to suit.
10 Hunt for trolls
Iceland has a rich history of folklore and legend. They believe in elves and trolls. And who are we to say they don’t exist?
So a summer adventure to enjoy long days exploring the beautiful rugged terrain of Iceland just sounds ideal. Reading stories to the children and searching for the hidden people would make a great family holiday.
I think to get the most out of Iceland renting a camper van would be the best decision, there’s just so much to see that it’s a shame to have to return to a set location to sleep. I think for that reason children aged 3 and up would like this kind of holiday.