January is the most popular time of year to book family holidays. The Christmas decorations are down, holiday sales have started and we’re keen to start filling in new wall calendars with family holidays to get us through the rather bleak month of January. I’ve asked 35 world leading family travel bloggers to share their favourite family holiday of 2017. The following 35 recommendations include 10 tried and tested family holidays in the UK from the islands of Scotland down to the Isles of Scilly. Scroll down further to be inspired by family holidays in Europe and the rest of the world including a road trip around Iceland, trekking with gorillas in Rwanda, a Sahara desert adventure and a magical visit to Disneyland California!
2018 family holiday ideas – UK
Pembrokeshire, Wales – My family and I enjoyed some truly memorable family holidays close to home this year. The one that really stands out is our week at Bluestone in Pembrokeshire, Wales. We throughly enjoyed spending time with friends at the national park resort and also loved our days out exploring the nearby stunning coastline and beaches.
Scottish Islands recommends Jenny from Monkey and Mouse – “We visited lots of amazing places in 2017, but one of my favourites was close to home, on the Scottish Islands of Coll and Tiree. We chose to camp a few days on each island, despite being summer the islands were fairly quiet, but we had some beautifully sunny weather. We were sat on beaches in shorts and t-shirt having a picnic, splashing in turquoise seas and flying kites. May as well have been the Mediterranean, except it was a lot quieter!” Camping with kids on the Scottish Islands of Coll & Tiree.
Cornwall recommends Holly from Sleeps 5 – “The highlight of 2017 for my family was an idyllic holiday in Cornwall, England. With our teens we explored quaint villages, walked meadow trails and gardens, drove narrow country lanes, and admired the boats seaside. This rugged and beautiful area is also where the BBC series Poldark is set.” A family holiday near Coverack, Cornwall.
Isles of Scilly recommends Katy from Otis and Us – “Our favourite family holiday in 2017 was our two-week Devon, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly road trip. We ended our holiday with a few days in the Isles of Scilly and it was absolutely beautiful. White glittery sand, turquoise waters, deserted beaches and spectacular sunsets… we hired out kayaks, hired bikes out on Tresco, enjoyed a boat trip where we spotted seals and walked for miles. Such a beautiful place and only 28 miles of the Coast of Cornwall.” 15 Reasons why you will fall in love with the Isles of Scilly.
Peak District recommends Claire from Tin Box Traveller – “We had some great mini-breaks around the UK in 2017 but the one we needed the most was a lodge weekend in the Peak District. We had just moved house and Darwin Forest was the perfect destination to unwind as a family. We relaxed in the hot tub, explored the incredible National Park and forgot about unpacking boxes, at least for a few days!” Relaxing at Darwin Forest Country Park – spa lodge weekend review.
Wye Valley suggests Laura from Side Street Style – “My boys, mother and I really loved our time at Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans, a quirky small glamping site near Ross on Wye in the Wye Valley. It was the perfect opportunity to disconnect from technology and the busy daily routine and reconnect as a family away from distractions.” Glamping at Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans.
North Yorkshire recommends Erin from Yorkshire Tots – “We really loved our first ever family festival, The Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire. There was so much to do, lots of art & hands on things for the kids, great music & the kids had a fantastic time. The entire weekend felt a bit surreal – like we were on our own little Deer Shed planet.” High & lows of Deer Shed Festival 8.
Gateshead suggests Samantha from North East Family Fun – “We adored our first attempt at wild camping in Gateshead. We learned how to make our own fire and have successfully used that technique ever since and it was such a different camping experience. The best thing about wild camping is that its super inexpensive and such a fantastic way to see the world.” Exploring Gateshead’s Great Outdoors.
2018 family holiday ideas – Europe
Lake Maggiore – My boys and I all agree that our favourite family holiday abroad this year has to be our week in Lake Maggiore, in the Italian Lakes. Although we’ve travelled extensively around Italy in the past it was our first time to the Italian Lakes. The region is absolutely stunning and we will definitely return to explore further. We spent the week hopping on and off boats, exploring lakeside villages and neighbouring Switzerland. The area is particularly great for active families who love water sports.
Gozo recommends Clare from Suitcases and Sandcastles – “Our trip this summer to the tiny Mediterranean island of Gozo, Malta’s little sister, had all the ingredients for the perfect family holiday: a stunning coastline with pretty harbours and hidden coves, boat trips through tunnels and into lagoons and forts and quirky museums to explore. The delightfully laidback atmosphere made it an ideal place to take kids and what’s more, we had festivals and fireworks virtually every night.” The enchanting island of Gozo.
Copenhagen and Billund suggests Jo from Kiddie Holidays – “We loved our holiday this year to Denmark. We managed to combine a city break in Copenhagen with a trip to Billund to go to Legoland. We loved Copenhagen, in particular the Tivoli Gardens which is fab for families. We stopped off at the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum on the way to Billund, and saw some amazing viking ships which they had found in the fjord – a great learning experience for the boys. Legoland Billund was great fun, and we stayed at a fantastic place next door to Legoland called Lalandia. It had a massive indoor water park, bowling alley, ice skating, climbing wall and even crystal mining all on site so it was the perfect place to return to after a day at Legoland.” Denmark With Toddlers: A Danish Adventure Visiting Copenhagen and Legoland.
Iceland recommends Emily from Kids and Compass – “We loved our summer family road trip around Iceland’s ring road. We were blown away by Iceland’s beauty and the kids had an amazing time exploring the great outdoors. It’s hard to pick our favourite part of the trip – we managed whale watching, going into a glacier and learning about volcanoes. We’re going to have to go back in the winter!” Iceland road trip with kids: A 2 week itinerary.
Italy is a perfect destination for a multi stop holiday recommends Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes – “We had an amazing holiday in Italy this year. My husband somehow managed to get 3 weeks off so we had a week with family on the Amalfi Coast, a week with more family on Lake Como and a week with friends in Sicily. It all started with an incredible 24 hours in Rome…” Top six things to do in Rome with kids.
Crete recommends Susanna from A Modern Mother – “Our favourite family trip of 2017 was a summer getaway to Crete. We usually head to California for our summer hols, but this year we went European. It was my first trip to Crete and I fell in love with the blues – the blue sky and blue sea. The girls loved the food, sunshine and history. We’d go again in a flash!” Crete with Olympic Holidays: Filion Suites and Spa.
Sardinia recommends Nadine from Le Long Weekend – “It’s a tough call, but my favourite family holiday of 2017 would have to be the week we spent in Sardinia. Unlike most of our jam-packed getaways, Sardinia offered us the chance to really unwind and relax. The easy-going nature of the locals, the family-friendly vibe, the perfect Spring weather, and our amazing beachfront accommodation all contributed to it coming out on top!” Sandcastles to Stalagmites – A Family Holiday Guide to Sardinia.
Belgium suggests Zoe from Juggling on Roller Skates – “We loved our night in a Bubble in Belgium. It was a real ‘quality family time’ experience all snuggled up sleeping under the stars together. Plus the hosts really couldn’t have made us feel more welcome”. Family holiday in a bubble, Wanze, Belgium.
Montenegro recommend Mark and Becky from the Wyld Family Travel – “We spent an amazing 3 days in Kotor, Montenegro. It’s probably the most picturesque spot in all of Europe. We spent an amazing morning climbing the 1500 steps to Kotor Fortress. Anyone who knows the Wyld’s know we are built for comfort not speed, we are more walk down a hill than up a hill. We had an amazing family adventure in Kotor and thoroughly recommend it to other families.” Climbing Kotor Fortress, a three-hour odyesse.
Austria recommends Trish from Mum’s Gone To – “A walking holiday in Austria was a new type of holiday for my husband and I and one I can thoroughly recommend for active families with older kids. Walking from one beautiful hotel to another, with a taxi taking your luggage, is a brilliant way to enjoy a hike. Austria was so pretty in the autumn – lakes and mountains bathed in sunshine.” Lakes & Mountains walking holiday in Austria: Dachstein Mountains.
2018 family holiday ideas – North America
Montreal recommends Cristin from Smart Mouse Travel –“Montreal, Canada is a beautiful city with a rich history. There are so many museums, parks, and historic sites to explore. The city is amazingly easy to navigate with the Metro and several neighbourhoods are easily walkable. We had three generations on our trip and everyone enjoyed their time in the city.” Beginners guide to Montreal.
California recommends Holly from Four Around the World – “We got to visit the most magical place on earth this year with our first trip to the USA and Disneyland California. It was so much fun exploring the two parks and reliving our own childhoods alongside the kids. Plus we loved the city of Anaheim as a whole too!” Disneyland California: Tips for Your First Visit.
Orlando recommends Chloe from Picture-Taker Memory-Maker – “The highlight of 2017 was our our family holiday in Orlando. It was the first time we’ve ever done a ‘big’ long haul family trip. Disney was, of course, absolutely magical and exceeded our expectations in every way – the attention to detail was phenomenal and we made some wonderful memories. We’re all now desperate to explore the rest of America to see the diversity and experience the differences between all the states.”
Check out this post for Disney World Florida tips – Tips for planning the ultimate family holiday to Orlando.
Cruise from Cape Canaveral recommends Jemma from Twinkles and More – “We stayed overnight on International Drive in Orlando, before heading to the cruise port in Cape Canaveral. The whole week onboard Disney Fantasy was magical. The kids loved meeting the characters that wander around the ship and we all enjoyed our days ashore in Cozumel, Gran Cayman, Jamaica and Castaway Cay, which is Disney’s very own private Island.”
Caribbean Disney Cruise On Board The Disney Fantasy and Disney Cruise Tips From Disney Cruise Fans.
New York recommends Daisy from Dais Like These – “Our favourite holiday by far this year was our trip to New York and Greenport on Long Island. I was desperate to head back to New York but my husband didn’t want to trade in his beach holiday for a city break so this was the perfect compromise!” New York City With Kids: Top 10 Places to Visit and 5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Greenport, New York.
2018 family holiday ideas – South America
Argentine Patagonia recommends Melissa from The Family Voyage – “We’re currently on a year-long trip around the world and a stand-out for all of us this year was our four-day visit to El Chaltén in Argentine Patagonia. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and there’s no shortage of family-friendly trekking. The town itself is lovely, with a rustic mountain village feel.” El Chalten trekking with kids.
2018 family holiday ideas – Asia
Maldives is worth splashing out for recommends Tracey from Pack the Pj’s – “We took a lifelong dream holiday to the Maldives. It was such an amazing adventure. We got to ride in a seaplane, snorkel over a reef, watch spinner dolphins, go night fishing, kayaking … action-packed and amazing. Would LOVE to go back!” Kandima, Maldives: A resort overview.
Sri Lanka recommends Jenny from TraveLynn Family – “Our trip to Sri Lanka was definitely the highlight of our 2017 travels. Colombo is just a 1 hour flight from where we live in Bangalore, so we just had to do it! There is so much variety packed into a relatively small country and getting around in a tuk-tuk, train or car was so easy; with journeys between destinations only between 2 and 4 hours long.
There a miles and miles of pristine beaches to choose from (we loved Mirissa and Arugam Bay), but head inland for close encounters with wild elephants, mountain peaks with stunning views that even our 2 and 3-year-old could climb, and hidden temples to explore. With lots of family homestays (with toys!) dotted around, fun and friendly locals, and cheap travel, food and accommodation, we reckon Sri Lanka is a definite winner for young travelling families!” Sri Lanka Itinerary with young kids.
Philippines recommends Marianne from Mum on the Move – “Our favourite place we visited in 2017 was El Nido in the Philippines. We spent our days island hopping, kayaking through lagoons, snorkeling in the clearest water and hanging out on deserted white sand beaches. It is one of the most beautiful places I have had the pleasure of visiting, and I’m hoping to head back again in 2018.” Things to do in El Nido Philippines.
Jordan suggests Keri from Our Globetrotters – “Road tripping around Jordan was simply amazing, I can’t believe we lived in the Middle East for so many years before taking this adventure. From Tala Bay and the Red Sea in the south, through to the Lost City of Petra, ancient Roman City Jerash in the North to floating in the Dead Sea. Fears that the kids would be ‘bored’ on a trip like this were quickly quelled when we hit the great outdoors and they started exploring. Ancient crusader castles were a real highlight for them as well as camping under the stars in the Wadi Rum Desert.” A Jordan highlights itinerary for families.
Taiwan is unforgettable states Maggie from Adventures of a Traveling Girl – “We visited 7 countries in 2017 but our favourite by far was our trip to Taiwan! Best food, friendly people and super kid friendly. Highlights include a visit to Taipei Zoo, a gondola ride up to Maokong and indulging in the local food.” Taipei – Travel With Kids.
Cambodia is unmissable says Helen from Actually Mummy – “Cambodia was definitely our favourite family holiday in 2017! I don’t think I’ve ever really understood the meaning of travel as an education before, but this was truly it. For me as well as for the children. It was such a fascinating, and very humbling trip.” Cambodia family holiday highlights.
Oman recommends Cathy from Mummy Travels – “Our trip to Oman was something of a spontaneous decision – looking for October sunshine with a bit of exploring that we could squeeze into a week of half term school holidays. But our trip exceeded all our expectations, starting from our first morning spotting wild dolphins to exploring the desert dunes, watching turtles hatch on a beach, paddling in wadis, watching the sun set over the mountains and exploring historic forts. It felt like we packed a month of adventure into six days, with welcoming smiles at every point.” 9 reasons to visit Oman.
2018 family holiday ideas – Africa
Rwanda as recommended by Karen from Mini Travellers – “Rwanda for us. Not only the most incredible two weeks full of experiences for all the family but a real turning point in travel for us, realising the girls love meeting people and understanding their lives too. Watching them in the local schools with the children warmed my heart.” Family holiday in Rwanda: 14 day adventure.
Egypt as recommended by Lisa from Flip Flop Globetrotters – “We stayed in Dahab. Egypt for 5 weeks this fall. Such an amazing place. We’ve been coming there for at least 10 years now and still love it. Usually we don’t visit destinations more than once because there’s still so much to see in the world, but Dahab is different. Beautiful nature, lovely people, great scuba diving and plenty of other activities. Definitely a destination for your bucket list!” 10 reasons to visit Dahab, Egypt.
South Africa is a must see recommends Nicky from Go Live Young – “A tough choice for us but our absolute favourite was our 2017 road trip around South Africa. From Cape Town where we hiked up Table Mountain to the fabulous Stellanbosch wine region to our drive along the Garden Route. South Africa is really family friendly and there is so much fun and adventure to be had. Highlights along the way included riding ostriches in Oudsthoorn, hiking the Robberg Peninsula near Plettenburg Bay, picnicking and sampling wine in several wineries, and exploring Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good Hope.” 12 Reasons Why You Should Visit South Africa with Children.
Morocco recommends Yashy from Baby and Life – “We visited 9 countries this year and of the 40+ cities we experienced, the Sahara desert road trip in Morocco blew us away. It’s not an easy trek but it’s fun to do with kids as long as you give yourselves plenty of time.” Check out Yashy’s inspirational video below and article featuring their drive through the Atlas Mountains here – Morocco Desert Drive With Kids.
2018 family holiday ideas – Australia
Western Oz recommended by Sally-Ann from Travel Tips 4 Trips – “The highlight of 2017 was a relaxing break away from health issues with my family in Cervantes, Western Australia. We enjoyed a drive through the Pinnacles Desert, sunset over Ronsard Bay and a trip to see 3500-year-old living stromatolites and thrombolites at Lake Thetis.” Family holiday to Cervantes and the Pinnacles Desert.
Tasmania recommends Dawn from 5 Lost Together – “We loved our road trip around Tasmania where we explored National Parks, cute seaside towns and learned more about the history of Australia. Tassie, as it is affectionately known as is a sparsely populated and rugged island off the south coast of Australia. For a small island, the landscape is incredibly diverse and combines amazing outdoor opportunities with culturally rich cities. Our Tasmanian road trip.
Many thanks to all the travel bloggers who shared their family holiday reviews. I hope you find these family holiday recommendations useful in planning your holidays for 2018. Please do let us know in the comments below your family holiday plans for 2018. We wish you an adventure filled 2018!
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