Thanks all, we stayed in a lovely complex nr Alvor. Knew in advance it wasn't really walkable to town but cheaper apt offset the taxi fares so we could both have a wine or two with dinner. I have saved the details of some of the places suggested as it was pretty child friendly.
We stayed in a 3 bed penthouse apartment, with large terrace in Praia da Luz (have been twice as its so family friendly, DS' still talk about it) about 50 mins from Faro airport.
The complex was beautiful, had heated outdoor kids pool, and another larger one, also an indoor one. Can recommend the spa who did a fab massage! Cafe on site.
It is a 5 minute walk down to a fab sandy beach (good icecream shop half way). They have a great rock pool which kept DS' entertained for hours! Loads of great cafes and restaurants you don't need a car (although I know a good local place to hire one, we did for a few days), complex has underground secure parking as well. We got picked up at the airport by the resort private bus, even had two proper car seats for our DS', we did pay extra for this though but worth it as arrival at ungodly hour in am.
I found it through Owners Direct and it was fab, can highly recommend it. Ref P3051. Sorry cant link in Italy on hols and Internet connection very dodgy!
Lucky you. Olhos D'Agua is lovely. We were there at the height of the sardine festival last year. Nice feel to the place.
We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel which is part of the Pine Cliffs complex and has a whole range of self catering options. Some people rave about it but we hated it with a passion and my advice would be to avoid.
If you do go, Passarao Azul is the most perfect restaurant setting and a must visit!
We are staying here next week:http: www.hibiscusgardens33.co.uk. the owner Chris has been brilliant with every enquiry we have had on the way. We have never been to Portugal before. I can let you know how we got on when we get back!
Try Quinta do Paraiso in Carvoeiro. It's a low-rose complex, built like a village, with bungalows and apartments (as well as private villas with their own pools). There are 2 communal pools plus a kids pool and an on-site shop, pizza/pasta restaurant and pool bar. We first went there in 2005 when the DCs were 5 & 3 and they loved it. It's a walk downhill into Carvoeiro (around 15 mins) and to the beach there. There's also a square with restaurants (Monte Carvoeiro) about halfway for a closer meal/pitstop. Kids can run round in the square and you can keep an eye on them from the restaurant. There's entertainment in Carvoeiro by the beach in the evenings. Usually plenty of kids at Quinta do Paraiso for your children to make friend with and also some low-key entertainment like kids disco (but think 15-20 kids at the pool bar rather than a massive crowd and a stage). Hope that helps.
I have posted this in chat too for extra traffic but it's been to no avail, I have had a look here but can't see anyone asking or answering similar. I will look at Tripadvisor forums too but I trust the world of MN most. Looking for very low rise complex, ideally bungalows, townhouses. Nice area but not deathly dull. Looking Olhos d'Aguaish due to friend's recommendation but never been to Portugal so bit concerned of picking crap place too far out of the way or too busy. Also like the look of Balaia Village place. Family of four two youngish DDs one just 5 so nothing too far to walk, balconies etc as I'm a panicker and wouldn't enjoy myself. Prefer complex for DDs to meet other children and a wee bit of a buzz rather than pvte villa. Any recommendations or warnings where to avoid welcome, doing all the usual Owner's Direct/Homeaway etc but grateful for independent sites if you know if any. TIA