HOWEVER hard 2020 has been on us adults, for children it must have been a very long haul.
Months were spent away from the familiar school environment and their friends.
Multiple lockdowns and restrictions have seen the life they knew disappear.
But there is hope on the horizon and every reason to keep spirits high.
While we are stuck at home, there is no better time to plan a treat for the kids with the holiday of a lifetime in 2021.
We’ve rounded up our favourite 21 family-friendly resorts that you can head to in 2021 – complete with super water parks, exciting activities and, of course, lashings of ice cream.
Here, Travel Editor Lisa Minot suggests some of the best in the latest of our series of travel specials.
HARD ROCK HOTEL, LOS CABOS, MEXICO
STAR-STRUCK kids can visit the Music Lab where experts show them how to play an instrument or sing in a band before performing for a live audience.
There’s also cutting-edge DJ tools and software to be explored and the chance to star in their own music video.
The resort has five pools and a host of sports activities including a bowling alley and basketball and tennis courts.
Join mum for some pampering at the hotel’s Rock Spa with the Mini Rock Stars Package.
Seven nights all-inclusive at the 5H Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos costs from £5,700 for a family of four (£1,450 per adult and £1,400 per child) including flights from Heathrow on select dates between January 3 and April 15 and transfers. See dialaflight.com.
TUI BLUE FLAMINGO BEACH, LANZAROTE
THE hotel has three pools, a splash park, kids clubs and family entertainment programme plus three restaurants.
The Healthy Eating Challenge encourages youngsters to try new foods and there are swimming lessons and family wellbeing classes.
There is also a water park ten minutes’ walk from the resort. Seven nights’ all-inclusive is from £458pp including one free child place, departing June 2021.
Use the code CANARIES to save £150 when you spend £750, or £250 when you spend £2,000 on all Canary Island holidays valid on departures up to 31st October 2021. See tui.co.uk.
DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT, ORLANDO
VIRGIN Holidays is offering up to four free nights at Disney resort hotels, a 14-day Disney ticket for the price of 7 on selected 2021 arrivals and $200 Disney Spending Money.
The resort, with three pools, is the perfect place to return to after a day’s fun in the parks with its incredible themes that celebrate toys, dances and fashions through the decades.
Room-only for 14 nights, including Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow and car hire is from £1,299pp, based on two adults and two under-nines sharing virginholidays.co.uk, 0344 557 3859.
LIMAK LARA DELUXE, TURKEY
THIS striking 5H hotel in the popular resort of Lara Beach has a host of activities to keep the whole family happy.
Set in landscaped gardens and with a Far Eastern design, there are indoor and outdoor pools, water slides and a huge number of sports on offer, from sailing and surfing to tennis and mini-golf.
While the youngsters enjoy the kids’ club, mum and dad can relax in the spa. On-site restaurants include Indian, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Thai and Turkish.
Seven nights’ all-inclusive in a two-bed family room is from £966pp based on two adults and two children sharing. Includes flights from Gatwick on July 27, 2021. To book, call 020 3870 6844 or see loveholidays.com.
ATLANTIS, THE PALM, DUBAI
THIS legendary hotel is perfect for families — offering free access to the Aquaventure water park with its myriad slides and rides.
There is also a children’s play area and private beach as well as the chance to swim with sharks, sealions and more.
Inside, the Lost Chambers Aquarium will delight. There is also a kids club for three to 12-year-olds and The Zone for teens.
And its family entertainment centre, the Wavehouse, features a Wave Rider machine, fun arcades and a four-lane bowling alley.
There are plenty of interconnecting rooms and the resort has 23 restaurants, many of which have a “kids dine free” offer.
Seven nights’ room-only is from £810pp including flights from Gatwick on select dates in June. See loveholidays.com.
CELTIC MANOR RESORT, NEWPORT, S WALES
A SPRAWLING country hotel, this has three championship golf courses and an incredible spa to keep the parents happy. But the kids definitely haven’t been forgotten.
There are two swimming pools, adventure golf, ropes courses, tree top net adventures, and archery on offer.
Accommodation includes rooms with cots and children’s beds as well as interconnecting family rooms and the hotel was voted the AA’s favourite family-friendly hotel in 2019.
Rooms are from £122 per night, or with dinner in one of the resort’s restaurants from £162 per night. All bookings made for arrival up to August 31, 2021 are subject to a flexible cancellation policy. See celtic-manor.com.
LES VILLAGES NATURE, PARIS, FRANCE
YOU could spend a week at this fantastic Center Parcs-style resort near Disneyland Paris and still not take in all the many activities on offer.
It’s ideal for families, with five immersive worlds to explore, including the Aqualagon — the biggest water park in Europe to be heated entirely with geothermal energy — and BelleVie Farm, which is home to horses, goats, cows, pigs and more.
Learn how to look after bees, discover how to build a wall garden or master the art of bread baking.
After each fun-filled day, settle down in a self-catered cottage or apartment or head to the bowling alley, the Action Factory family activity centre, or the restaurants on the Lakeside Promenade.
A week during the summer holidays 2021, in a self-catered Clan Comfort Cottage, from £1,860 in total for a family of four. See lesvillagesnature.com/gb-en.
CASA DE CAMPO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
BEND it like Beckham at Real Madrid’s new Caribbean Soccer School.
Luxury all-inclusive resort Casa De Campo has launched a year-round soccer camp in partnership with the famous Spanish club.
Kids can master their skills on a Fifa-sized football field during a week of sessions with coaches from the Real Madrid Foundation.
Off the pitch, there’s plenty for kids, with a family pool area right next to the shores of the Caribbean featuring shops, dining options and a kids’ playground.
Activities include watersports, horse-riding, golf and even pottery lessons.
Seven nights’ all-inclusive is from £972pp based on two adults and two children sharing and including flights from Heathrow with British Airways in February 14, 2021.
See britishairways.com or call 0344 493 0120.
The football sessions cost from £475 and include Real Madrid football kit, backpack and water bottle. See casadecampo.com.do.
MARBELLA ELIX NEAR SIVOTA, GREECE
THIS new 5H hotel ticks all the boxes when it comes to a family resort. An adventure club for teens offers activities including water sports, archery, football and cookery.
For younger ones, there’s a kids’ club and creche.
The hotel is on the waterfront near the laid-back village of Parga.
Adults can relax in the spa, soak up the sun poolside or take in the sunset from the serenity of your private balcony.
Family suites have a separate living room with twin sofa beds and all rooms have stunning sea views or swim-up access.
Seven nights’ half-board is from £996pp, based on four sharing and including flights on May 30, 2021, 20kg luggage and transfers.
In August, the same package is from £1,479pp for one week and £2,249pp for two weeks. Call Sunvil on 020 8758 4758 or see sunvil.co.uk
PARK PLAZA VERUDELA APARTMENTS, CROATIA
FOR a great value, family-friendly option in Croatia, the Park Plaza Verudela Apartments has plenty of attractions for the kids including a promenade with waterslide into the sea.
There are also 16 tennis courts, three outdoor pools, plus tennis courts, football pitches, mini-golf, basketball and well-run kids and teen clubs.
There’s a supermarket on site for those who prefer to go self-catering and there is a frequent bus service to the nearby town of Pula with its Roman amphitheatre.
A week’s self-catering in a one-bed apartment next Easter is from £394 per adult and £155 per child based on a family of four sharing with flights from Stansted on April 11, 2021, and transfers.
Call 01425 480400 or see prestigeholidays.co.uk.
HOLIDAY INN RESORT VANA NAVA HUA HIN, THAILAND
KIDS stay and eat free at this resort with panoramic ocean views and direct, complimentary access to the Vana Nava water park with its 19 rides and slides.
The resort’s 300 modern, spacious rooms include KidSuites, decked out with bunk beds and play areas. The kids’ club has fun and interactive experiences with different zones for all ages.
There’s also an infinity pool on the 26th floor and a glass observation deck to soak up the views.
Prices start from £115 per night, including breakfast and can be reserved on a book now, pay later basis on ihg.com.
SUN SIYAM OLHUVELI, MALDIVES
FOR an activity-filled, luxury family Maldivian escape that won’t break the bank, the resort of Sun Siyam Olhuveli is ideal.
Teens can enjoy fly board lessons while younger kids can take banana boat rides and the whole family can spot turtles, manta rays and dolphins on a speedboat ride.
Children under 15 stay and eat for free, with Grand Beach Villas just steps from the Indian Ocean. A villa sleeps two adults and two children.
Seven nights’ B&B is from £1,999per adult and £539 per child including Sri Lankan Airlines flights from Heathrow in April 2021.
See southalltravel.co.uk or call 0800 408 8003.
PINE CLIFFS RESORT, PORTUGAL
YOUNGSTERS will love the Pine Cliffs Resort — its children’s village features two life-size wooden pirate ships as well as clubs for children from six months to 13 years.
The Porto Pirata children’s village also features a bouncy castle, basketball court, mini track for big-wheel toys, scooters and bikes, a swimming pool just for kids, and an 18-hole mini-golf course.
Beach babes are just minutes from Falésia Beach. The resort has golf and spa for parents to enjoy.
Seven nights’ self-catering in a two-bed apartment is from £2,419, for two adults and two children for dates next summer, including flights and transfers. Visit jet2holidays.com or call 0800 408 0778.
PRINCESA YAIZA SUITE HOTEL, LANZAROTE
VOTED the best family resort in Spain, this hotel on the beachfront of Playa Dorada has a 10,000sq metre children’s park, Kikoland, complete with pools, indoor soft play area and playgrounds.
There are facilities for kids from four months and organised clubs for children from three years, with daily activity programmes featuring everything from arts and crafts to stand-up paddle boarding.
The resort has six pools, eight restaurants, a shopping centre and spa complex. Family suites have two separate bedrooms.
Seven nights’ B&B is from £949pp including British Airways flights from Gatwick in August 2021 and a 23kg luggage allowance. Book by November 22 at ba.com/lanzarote.
SUNWING MAKADI BAY, HURGHADA, EGYPT
EGYPT’s Red Sea Riviera has always been great half-term destination.
Recent prices and a host of family-friendly highlights helped this 5H hotel win a TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice award.
There’s a water park with giant flumes, seven pools and a Flow Rider learn-to-surf machine.
Plus kids’ clubs for four to 12-year-olds, mini discos and children’s menus.
The hotel has three buffet restaurants, five speciality ones and six bars.
Seven nights’ all-inclusive is from £1,675 in total for a family of three or £2.087 for a family of four flying from Gatwick on June 1, 2021.
There’s a low deposit of £59pp. See redseaholidays.co.uk/sunwingmakadihotel.
WHEN we can finally travel again, the chance to stay in sunny Dubai and keep the kids amused with a fantastic theme park is an ideal combination.
The 4H Lapita is the only hotel inside Dubai Parks and Resorts. The family will get free access to Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Park Dubai, Legoland Dubai and the Legoland Water Park as well as the hotel’s own facilities with its unique Polynesian theme, temperature-controlled pools and kids clubs.
Seven nights’ half-board is from £2,252 in total, based on four sharing, and including return flights from Manchester and theme park entrance.
Available throughout 2021, this offer includes a FREE room upgrade. Visit southalltravel.co.uk or call 020 8705 0086.
ZAFIRO MALLORCA, MAJORCA
THIS 4H hotel in Ca’n Picafort features studios and apartments in a beautiful landscaped setting with three linked pools.
There is also a splash pool for kids complete with pirate ship and a separate adults-only pool as well as a spa, gym and wide range of daily activities for children.
Ideal for families with younger children, it is on the north-east coast in a quiet town with palm-lined streets and sandy beaches.
Seven nights’ self-catering in a one-bed apartment in the summer holidays is from £621pp, based on two adults and two children sharing, and including flights from Stansted on August 15, 2021.
See loveholidays.com or call 020 3870 6844.
AVANTI HOLIDAY VILLAGE, PAPHOS, CYPRUS
DESIGNED to replicate a Mediterranean hamlet, this spacious complex is perfect for great value family holidays.
Just 300 metres from the beach, there’s also a large pool including a lazy river and kids’ area and entertainment both day and night.
But it’s not just the children who are in for a treat. With a swim-up pool bar, spa and spacious apartments complete with kitchens, mum and dad will be able to relax too.
Seven nights’ self-catering is from £519pp based on two adults and one child sharing and including flights from Leeds Bradford on April 17 plus 22kg baggage allowance and transfers. See jet2holidays.com
MARGARITAVILLE RESORT ORLANDO, KISSIMMEE
OPENED last year, this waterside mega resort features more than 300 acres of holiday fun.
There is a hotel and villas, the Sunset Walk shopping, dining and entertainment district and Island H20 Live!, a 14-acre water park with 20 rides and slides and some unique, interactive experiences.
The resort is also just a short drive from all the major Orlando theme parks and has a complimentary shuttle service to Disney, Universal and SeaWorld parks.
Back at the resort there’s also the Beach Club with its pools and cabanas plus lively bars and restaurants.
Seven nights’ room-only is from £685 per adult and £542 per child including BA flights from Gatwick departing July 1, 2021. Deposit is £99pp and balance due ten weeks before departure.
Changes to booking allowed ten weeks prior with no admin fees. See kenwoodtravel.co.uk or call 020 7749 9235.
TURTLE BEACH, BARBADOS
SET on a wide, sweeping beach, this all-inclusive resort has three open-air restaurants as well as an ever-popular ice cream parlour and a coffee bar.
Kids love the playground, splash area and two large pools and everyone loves the beach and pool ambassador service bringing scented towels, drinks, fresh fruit and ice lollies to your sun lounger.
British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at this 4H resort from £1869pp, travelling on selected dates in January 2021.
Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick, 23kg luggage allowance and all-inclusive accommodation. See ba.com/barbados.
BAHIA PRINCIPE FANTASIA, TENERIFE
ARISING mirage-like from the holiday resort of Golf del Sur, this hotel complex comes complete with a fairytale castle that’s sure to enchant younger guests as well as two splash parks and five outdoor pools.
With the kids amused, grown-ups can do a lap or two in the adult-only pool, snooze in the sun on loungers or Balinese beds, or relax at the spa — featuring an indoor pool, sensory showers, sauna, steam room, Turkish bath, whirlpool and massage menu.
This £30k camper van sleeps 4 people and comes with a kitchen and toilet but is the same size as a CAR
There’s a huge programme of entertainment and activities plus kids’ and teens’ clubs.
Family rooms are spacious and sophisticated with a separate lounge area — with suites in the fairytale castle for those who really want to push the boat out.
Seven nights’ all-inclusive is from £561pp, based on two adults and one child, including flights from Luton, 23kg luggage and transfers, departing May 11, 2021. For details see easyjet.com/en/holidays.
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