Why not consider a European family city break for this year’s half term getaway?
City breaks present an ideal opportunity for some family bonding time, where you’ll have a range of child-friendly activities, restaurants and hotels to choose from. They’re also excellent value compared to Europe’s southern beaches during the upcoming October half term. Here’s three of our favourite family-friendly city destinations…
1. Rome, Italy
If you’re looking for a family city break, all roads should lead to Rome. It’s a fantastic destination for all ages, where history really does come to life. From ancient sights such as the Pantheon to masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel, the city is a living museum which will capture a child’s imagination. And then of course there’s the gelato.
We can arrange a local guide to take you on a child-friendly tour of the sights, where you’ll avoid impatient children and lengthy queues at The Vatican and Sistine Chapel by having your tickets booked in advance. For youngsters with an interest in the spookier side of things, a trip to the ancient underground catacombs is a winner. And any budding Spartacus will love an afternoon at the Gladiator School, where children learn the art of gladiatorial combat while dressed in traditional tunics.
Top Tip: The sprawling Villa Borghese Gardens are a great place for young children, where you can hire bikes, row boats on the lake, or visit the zoo.
Stay: The boutique Inn at The Spanish Steps has bags of style, interconnecting rooms and a perfect central location.
2. Athens, Greece
The birthplace of democracy may not instantly spring to mind as a family destination, but its crumbling temples and ancient markets are an awe-inspiring and (whisper it) educational experience for kids.
Dive into the mythological world of Ancient Greece as you climb the Acropolis with a private guide who’ll tailor information to the ages of your children. After you’ve finished taking pictures of the Parthenon, it’s well worth a visit to the Acropolis Museum, where a host of family tours and a museum scavenger hunt should prevent any boredom.
Take a break from all that history with a wander around the labyrinthine streets of the atmospheric Plaka district, where you’ll find plenty of traditional family-run tavernas for lunch. Or head to the National Garden of Athens, where there’s a playground and plenty of space for a picnic.
Top Tip: Kids will love taking the cable car to the top of Mount Lycabettus, where the panoramic views across the city are best enjoyed with an ice-cream from the hilltop café.
Stay: We favour the historic Hotel Grand Bretagne for its indoor and outdoor swimming pools, family-sized rooms and Acropolis views.
3. Valletta, Malta
Its southerly position ensuring a long sunny season, Valletta’s combination of historic forts, boat trips and open-air restaurants makes it ideal for a family break. The pedestrianised streets are home to honey-coloured buildings, grand palaces and churches, and a host of family-friendly museums. The city’s maze of underground tunnels will appeal to Indiana Jones wannabes, after which you can head to the high ground of Upper Barrakka Gardens for spectacular views of the harbour.
History loving teenagers will enjoy visiting nearby Mdina, the island’s ancient capital, whose winding lanes and ancient architecture feature heavily in Game of Thrones. Parents might remember the 1980 movie Popeye, whose filmset turned theme park is another great day out for younger kids. Add in island hopping boat trips to neighbouring Gozo and Comino, or to swim underneath the arches of the beautiful Blue Grotto, and you’ve got plenty to keep everyone entertained.
Top Tip: Malta’s Italian-inspired cuisine is very child-friendly. Head to Sotto Pizzeria on Valletta’s South Street for the best Margherita in town.
Stay: Built into the ancient fortifications of harbourside Senglea, the all-suite Cugo Gran Macina is a short hop from central Valletta and most rooms can take extra beds.Call 0207 359 3938 or contact us and we'll arrange the perfect family-friendly city break.