Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Toddler-friendly holidays - do they exist?

As the weeks tick steadily by towards the arrival of baby number two, we have been turning our thoughts to the possibility of a little holiday, just the three of us. We didn't have a proper break last year and the need to get away from it all, as they say, is quickly becoming less a desire and more an urgent necessity.
But where to go when you have a toddler who runs and never walks and needs constant hurding out of imminent danger - in short, a normal, although extremely active, two-and-a-half-year-old? What we don't want is to be somewhere that poses more work than we get at home. Anywhere with lots of steps, steep hills or perilous cliff edges is out. Even a wide expanse of open land is a bit of a no-no unless we are willing to run after him the whole time, because he doesn't stop and he doesn't mind how far he gets from us (I think - I haven't had the courage to test this fully).
Of course, we know that the days of snoozing on a lounger by the pool are over for now, for both of us at the same time at least, but if we could sit and relax for a little bit while watching him safely playing that would be marvellous. The beach is an obvious place to start. A pool would be good too as he does love splashing about. A play area with swings, slide etc would be really handy as a week is a long time to entertain a little one. Some sort of tiny tots club where he can do painting and playdough could come in handy. A private patio area completely contained would hit the nail right on the head. Most of all, we want somewhere that is child friendly and where there won't be other adults casting evil stares at us if the little man starts doing his own thing. In short, we want everything we have at home, but somewhere nice and hot.
So far, I have looked into family cruises, Centre Parcs and a rather attractive-sounding website called Luxury Family Hotels where adults and kiddies are all catered for under one rather posh roof. Camping is on the list (although I'm not sure I fancy sleeping on an air mattress at seven months pregnant gone). The best bet so far is a lovely complex of bungalows in Lanzarote. By May, it will be balmy but not over-bearing, there is a beach, a pool and a play area. I admit I am a little daunted by the four-hour flight but our trusty iPad should ease any problems there and, come on, I only have one child after all.
That's as far as I have got for now. The little man's daddy is snowed under with work and we are reluctant to book anything too far in advance in case we have to cancel which does leave me plenty of time to find the perfect place. If any of you seasoned mums and dads have ideas on good places to go with toddlers, I would welcome any suggestions. 

11 comments:

  1. I think the best thing you've mentioned is Centre Parks. Or something similar...!
    Long time ago, l know..But, besides our family trips to Sicily and Belgium..(as half my family moved there back in the late sixties). I used to book a eight birth caravan with Haven. Down in Seaton, Devon..As it was just me and my daughter, we used to take some of her little friends as well. Usually about 5-6. Shame to waste the room. And, their Mums were glad to get rid of them for a week, and have a break.
    It was really great, lots to do, games and things....And, loads of other kids as well.
    We popped into Exeter, once, but, there's no need to leave the park, as everything is there for you.....
    Don't know if that one is still there, but, there must be others, along the south coast, so you don't have to travel that far.
    Anyway just a thought for something in this country....
    Goodness....I sound like a travel agent...HeHe!
    Hope you find something anyway...Good luck..! :).

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  2. Thanks for that. Some good suggestions. I knew a seasoned daddy like you would come up with some good ideas! x

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  3. We did Lanzarote this time last year with a nearly 3 year old and it was fine re plane etc. In terms of the weather it was a great bet. One of the shortest flights we could get with good weather. If you are going to be 6 months pregnant I would personally advise against camping unless you have a toilet in your tent!, I went glamping at 6 months and going to the loo every five minutes in the night was a nightmare.

    A couple of other thoughts. Have you looked at Baby Friendly Boltholes, they have a variety of options in the UK and abroad, definitely worth a look.

    We've also had a couple of holidays with Mark Warner. Fantastic for childcare / kids club in the mornings and then family time can be spent together in the afternoon. The children's pool area is usually gated so no worries about little people running off.

    Hope you find something and that you have a lovely time. :0)

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    1. Some great tips - thanks. Have heard good things about Mark Warner so will have a look at that and your other suggestions. Yes, camping is out I think!

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  4. Euro camp in France? They have mobile homes, pools, parks and some have toddler clubs. Haven't been on one for years but we have been looking into that sort of holiday. Good luck! x

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    1. Good idea - will look into. Thank you. x

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  5. A wonderful idea, everyone deserves a nice holiday in the sun! There are loads of holidays available which are aimed for families with young children. These child friendly holidays are perfect it you want to find somewhere to suit you all. I hope you find a wonderful holiday!

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  6. Thanks for this Alice. The website looks great. Villa Maria looks particularly good as it has a play park and inside play room which seems to be pretty unusual. Would totstotravel.co.uk be interested in me writing a travel piece specifically about travelling with toddlers as I am a parenting journalist? If so, do you have an email address on which I can contact you directly? Many thanks

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  7. They do http://goo.gl/odVwY is a good place and I've used them.

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  8. I spent my holidays with my toddlers in France and it was awesome.

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  9. I stumbled across this website which may be of interest for future holidays as it mentions Toddler Friendly Holidays. http://www.courtfarm-holidays.co.uk/families.htm - They have an enclosed grassed play area, swings & slides etc which you mention as being handy in the post above. Hope this helps :)

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