Favourite 5: February Half Term Breaks
February Half Term is nearly upon us. If you haven’t got anything booked yet then check out my favourite destinations for some inspiration!
1) ACTIVITY BASED: Centre Parcs – Due to our location we have been to Whinfell Forest countless times. It’s based near Penrith and means we can get the boat, stayover in Premier Inn Lancaster (with a decent breakfast) and then venture up early morning. Centre Parcs is much better (and cheaper) with friends or another family.
There is a variety of activities both indoor and outdoor. In the past we were put off by people saying it was expensive. But this is entirely up to you. If you choose to do 2 activities each day and each out for breakfast, lunch and dinner… then you will find the costs increase. However, we make use of our bikes (which we load onto the car) and also the free, and huge, swimming pool.
There are 4 bed houses which easily accommodates 2 families with a well equipped kitchen. There is a shop onsite but we tend to stop at a Supermarket on the way (usually Asda in Lancaster) to fill up on Petrol and food stocks. Friends have also recommended Longleat Forest as a great parc too!
2) VERY COLD ACTIVITY BASED: Skiing/snowboarding in France – this is a great active holiday and one the children remember. People worry about initial cost but don’t forget it includes most of your food and activities included in the price. Plus you have VERY tired children at the end of each day – Bargain!
We tend to stick to resorts which are a short hop from the airport and have taken the kids to Les Gets and will soon be off to Morzine! We have also taken them to Slovakia (which is considerably cheaper than France but not as well structured).
The accommodation is usually Chalet or Hotel. We choose catered options as, after a long day on the slopes and tired children, I really don’t feel like cooking! I much prefer Chalets to Hotels as they are less formal and there is a lounge area where the kids can flop and parents can relax. Again, this is best enjoyed with groups of friends or families.
Check out my upcoming blog posts relating to preparation for the ski trip and about Morzine.
3) RELAXING SHORT BREAK: Copenhagen, Denmark – a quick and easy little weekend break if you don’t want to use up the entire school holidays. We visited here without the kids but a lot of what we did easily accommodates children as Copenhagen is very flat so good for walking & getting out.
There are some lovely walks around the quay/waterside, with the famous ‘little mermaid’ statue & fort close by for exploring. If you are looking for some exhilarating fun the famous Tivoli Gardens should tick that box, and the kids will love it too – even better at night when it’s all lit up.
There is also a very interactive science museum. Granted, we didn’t understand much as don’t speak Danish but you can follow simple picture instructions to see what happens (fun even without the kids!).
Then for a nice meal and some gluhwein, head to Nyhavn, with long colourful terraced houses next to a quaint quay. As with most cities it has a zoo and aquarium, although we didn’t visit these as we found other areas to explore. Plenty to keep you and your little ones entertained for a few days.
4) WILDERNESS BREAK: Iceland. I notice just recently this has become a popular destination (2017). It is a great ‘outdoors’ destination with lots of interesting areas to keep the kids entertained. From Geysers exploding into the air to star gazing and in February a strong chance to see the famous Aurora Borealis ‘Northern Lights’. Iceland can be expensive so bear this in mind when planning your spends! There are tours available but I prefer to get around in a hire car. I recommend you check out www.icarhireinsurance.com if you do decide to hire! Also, the distance from the airport to Rejkavik is quite far and could rack up to around £90 in a taxi (learnt this the hard way at 1am without researching transport), use the local bus if you don’t have a hire car!! whoops!
A ‘must do’ in Icleand is to check out the Blue Lagoon – yes you do have to be quite brazen to run from the changing rooms into the outdoor area and back again, but I’m told the ice cold is good for the body & soul! There is a nice short walk out to Gullfoss waterfalls which has dramatic scenery. I’m not sure it was as amazing as I was expecting but it’s worth a quick visit, just don’t plan a day around it. Tag it on with other activities within the ‘Golden Circle’ route, such as Thingvellir National Park. This is a natural beauty and where the American and European Tectonic plates meet (A Great world schooling opportunity). However, be aware February is extremely cold and I’ve read many blogs and reviews which warn of slippery/rocky pathways so some areas are not really recommended for young children.
It was an interesting place and certainly worthy of a short break… even better if you get to see the northern lights!
5) ‘A BIT OF WARMTH’ BREAK: Canary Islands. Yes, we all feel the need for a little sunshine at this time of year, so the best place to head is the Canary islands for guaranteed sun. Only a 4 hour flight from the UK and you have a choice.
We only have experience of Furteventura with the children. It is quite a quiet island and in winter you’ll find a lot of wind/kite surfers. This should give you an idea of the weather! It can get breezy at times, but still warm during the day. In the south of the island there is an Oasis Park, which has lots of animals for the little ones to see and get close to. If you are near the north of the island you can take the ferry across to Lanzarote for a day trip and takes just over half an hour. We used to take the kids to the quay with some bread and look at all the fish. Although, if you want to get even closer there was a glass bottom boat excursion. There are some old towns you can visit if you have a car but for the most, it is a chilled beach holiday.
You also have the choice of Lanzarote, Gran Canaria or Tenerife if this doesn’t suit you needs/budget.
Hopefully these will offer you a few options which you may enjoy, however, there are plenty of short city breaks if none of these float your boat!