There will come a time – far off in the unimaginable future – when my children will abandon our family holidays. We will one day be replaced by girls-only holidays, first trip with the latest boyfriend and culminating, hopefully, in husband and family trips of their own. Perhaps we’ll be able to snag the odd invite on these if we promise to babysit!
This is obviously the natural way of things. If all goes well, our girls will spread their wings, enjoy life and we will somehow cope with being left behind!! Of course, this also means that I’ll get to sit on a sunlounger again and we’ll only have to pay for two flights, so although unimaginable right now, not all bad!
So, before we grow old and they ditch us, here’s my Top 5 family holidays I’d like to take with the girls:
- InterRail – I have a vision of Europe by train with our girls. My plan is to time this just before our eldest starts to shuffle out of the nest, so I envisage this be when they’re aged about 17 and 12 respectively. I know, this could mean dragging two sullen teenagers around Europe but this is a trip for everyone.
- Cafés and culture/shopping in Paris, sunbathing by the Seine. Onto Brussels (where I once had to wash my hair in the fountain outside the station, might not tell them that story though!) days exploring the Grand-Place and flea markets. We’d travel to Berlin next for the history, people watching, we’d visit Kollhof Tower for the 360-degree views and amazing sunset. We’d visit Prague to show the girl’s all the places we went on our first couple’s holiday before they were born – I treasure the picture I have of Steve on the Charles Bridge taken with one of those old disposable cameras! With so many destinations to choose from with this InterRail pass, we’ll be able to plan a family adventure to suit everyone.
- Vancouver – when we were planning our honeymoon it came down to either California or Vancouver. We went with California and it was amazing – however Vancouver remains high on our wishlist. Vancouver is a great mix of city and the great outdoors with Stanley Park flanked by the ocean to one side and the city to the other, we can cycle, walk and climb all 850m to the top of Grouse Mountain. With Skiing options only half an hour from the city centre and mountain biking on your doorstep it would be hard to run out of things to do as a family. We would definitely head over to Vancouver Island for the whale watching and a chance to spot bears in the wild. At only three and a half hours from Vancouver, it would almost rude not to go to Whistler – a winter playground that is just as much fun in summer with activities for everyone. Half the fun would be in getting there on the Rocky Mountineer train, picture windows framing some of the world’s most spectacular natural scenery. Amazing!
- California – Yes, I know we’ve already been but we need to go back! Not least because we need to take our youngest (being in my tummy just doesn’t count!) but also because it’s such an amazing place and we simply didn’t have time to do everything we wanted to. We would absolutely go back to San Francisco. We were there for three nights and barely scratched the surface of this fantastic city. Next we would drive back to Yosemite to camp in the park. We previously stayed in a lovely hotel on the outskirts (Tenaya Lodge) but having seen the campsites within the park we would love to try this. With options ranging from simple tents, canvas huts and proper buildings I’m sure we’ll find accommodation that suits us all.
- On our previous trip we were amazed by the ‘Big Sur’ area as we drove down to Santa Barbara. Unfortunately we were on a time schedule for the drive so we would love to take the girl’s back and take the time to explore properly. Having glimpsed the beaches at Pfeiffer State Park and seen the masses of seals that live along the shore I know this would be a great experience.
- Australia – this is a biggy! Not only in terms of getting there but also in cost. I can’t imagine not going with the girl’s, not sharing it with them. I want to see their faces when we all see the Great Barrier Reef together for the first time or the white sands at the Whitsunday Islands. It is simply too far (and too expensive) a trip to make multiple times so the emphasis would be on seeing as much as possible.
- A stay in Sydney and then onto Perth would be top of our agenda. We have family on my husband’s side who live in Perth who visited us two years ago so we have a ready made excuse, as if we needed one! I planned my first trip to Australia on a very primitive version of Google many years ago but I haven’t made it there yet. As if Australia wasn’t enough, we would have to make New Zealand part of our trip. I’ve fallen in love with Auckland through photographs and programmes, and everyone I’ve spoken to who have been only confirms what I suspect…I would love this city! Built across a series of islands (and volcanoes!) the city is said to be breathtaking. Auckland is a favourite for the America’s Cup and it would make my Dad insanely jealous if we were to take a trip on one of the actual yachts that operate around Waitemata Harbour and retrace the regatta’s course.
- Dubai – this is my husband’s choice but who can deny it would be amazing. The city represents an unnerving level of opulence that I know would have to be seen to be believed. Dubai is all about their pursuit of the best of everything, be that the most extravagant, the most dazzling, deepest or tallest feats of engineering and spectacle. we would visit the Burj Khalifa building, the world’s tallest building, it also apparently has the world’s fastest lift (which makes me feel a little queasy just thinking about it!). I can imagine the view from the top is breathtaking but not for the faint-hearted! Dubai has the largest shopping malls in the world (mainly because it’s too hot to be outside I’m thinking!) at the base of Burj Khalifa and entrance to the Dubai Mall are the Dubai Fountains, all set to music – apparently these fountains give the Belaggio in Vegas a run for their money (no real surprise, this is Dubai!). If we were doing Dubai, then we’d stay at Atlantis The Palm, with the waterpark (swimming with dolphins), shops, restaurants, kids activities, live music, marine adventures and it’s own beaches its less a hotel and more a small planet. I can’t deny that for families it has everything covered – all wrapped up in a bizarre level of luxury. I might have to drag everyone out for a desert safari, it would feel very wrong to go there and no experience the desert on the edge of all the craziness!
Which destinations would make your family holiday wishlist?