10 Family Holidays With A Difference

Whether you want to get away for action and adventure or to see different cultures there are endless opportunities for families to try something new. Here are some to get you started.

family holiday ideas

Photo by David Straight on Unsplash


Italy is one of the top cookery destinations. Nothing is more inspiring than being taught to toss pizza dough in the air by an Italian chef.

Not only can you make your friends jealous on Facebook whilst you’re away, but you can also use your new skills when you’re back home!

Make sure that your culinary holiday caters for little ones. You don’t want your lessons in a busy industrial kitchen!

Many Airbnb hosts offer individual cookery lessons. There is no one better than a local to teach you in your own, albeit temporary, home, avoiding travelling and the need to join a group of strangers. And if making sweet pastries isn’t for the children, at least you can carry on in the kitchen whilst they watch TV or play close by.


One of the greatest things to do on holiday, learn the language!

There is no easier place to learn a language than in the country. All of the locals will love you for trying to speak in their language. Cactuslanguage offer holidays for single parents and children aged 6 – 18.

You will usually get a bit more attention, from waiters and shop owners if you are going out of your way to speak in their language.

This is another holiday that you will take home with you. Learning a new language with the whole family will also help you continue speaking it.

Volunteering abroad

An unusual way travel and get off the beaten track with your family. Giving back and helping the local communities that you are visiting, enjoying a more meaningful holiday.

Many charities and community projects welcome families volunteering together from teaching to playwork in nurseries and even lighter building projects, depending on the age of your children.

Culture isn’t the only thing that your children will learn about when volunteering. They will get a first hand experience of life in another country. It is also a chance as parents to demonstrate the importance of helping others.

Many volunteer-sending organisations can be pricey but there are some affordable alternatives. Original Volunteers offer programmes on flexible dates typically from £95 per week including accommodation.


Not the most relaxing holiday at first, but a real family bonding experience as you learn something new together.

There are no distractions, just your children and you on a boat. Floating on water is known to be calming and relaxing, reducing stress levels.

Remember when you go out to take plenty of food, drinks and suncream! It’s never fun when you are out and your little ones are whining because they’re hungry, thirsty or burning. It’s even less enjoyable when you are out in the water and can’t just pop the shop to grab some essentials.

Sunsail are a leader in fully guided sailing holidays for families with 40 years experience and novices are welcome.


You don’t need to be artistic to join a painting holiday. You’re on holiday, just have fun with it! There are endless destinations in Europe which are inspiring to sit and paint.

Take everything you need with you as they can be hard to find abroad or extremely pricey. You don’t want to take a day out to travel 100 miles to buy quality oil paints.

You can get as adventurous with this as you want. Painting on a rock found on holiday. Using sand from the beach in your art.

One provider, Painting Holidays France offers residential holiday courses in France in addition to remote online tuition. This gives you the option to choose any destination painting the scenery of your choice.

Beach villa in Thailand with art tuition from an artist in France!


If you really want to get out of cities and towns on the tourist path, into the countryside. Farming is a great way to show your kids how much fun can be had outside in the fresh air.

Nature is a beautiful thing which we miss a lot of spending the majority of our time inside. A study from the TV channel Eden, showed that more 8-12 year olds can identify a Dalek more than an Owl.

Agriculture is a prized skill to know, it is everlasting and will never go out of style. Your family may find a new love for it and sign up for an allotment.

There are countless websites offering family farm experiences, look for farms which cater for the younger ones, for example, Coombemill near the Eden project in the UK offers daily tractor rides, play areas and educational activities.

Spa Holiday

Nothing is more relaxing than having a holiday at a spa. Let alone having a spa holiday abroad. Nothing better than being massaged on a roof terrace in the heat.

Many spa resorts at home and abroad have integrated family-friendly facilities. Your little ones can join you for mini treatments or enjoy some time at the kids creche while you take a well-earned break.


A family snorkelling holiday is ideal to learn more about what dwells under the water, usually offered in tranquil shallow waters so perfect for novice swimmers.

Check if the tour operator provides arm-bands and floats for younger children and how deep the water will but some of the best snorkelling can be in as little as a water depth of 1.2m.

See the beautiful colours of different reefs. Your little ones may think the sea is blue and be surprised by how many different colours there are underwater!


Cycling holidays are a great way to get the kids away from the TV playing on their console. Getting them into the fresh air!

Beware that kids may not care about getting from one town to another on a long bike journey. Their modern brains might be thinking “why can’t we just drive?” If your children are not great fans of the outdoors and physical exertion, choose a route where you can stop off at places along the way.

There are many tour operators offering guided family friendly cycling holidays.


Kayaking is a great water sport for all of the family and on family holidays you will usually be escorted by an experienced instructor and guide.

Kayaking is easy on rivers or calm sea waters close to shore, you don’t need a series of lessons to understand what to do, just a kayak and paddle and you can go off and explore nature’s beauty.

It is a great way to explore backwaters and coastal caves you couldn’t get to by other means. The largest tour operators offering family kayak holidays are Explore, Exodus and Neilson.

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