Brittany in August
Head to Brittany in August - it's just across the Channel, and offers a glorious mix of uninterrupted coastline, fascinating heritage and unspoilt countryside, as well as tasty crêpes, artisan cider and sensational seafood.
Not only is it easy to reach, but it enjoys warmer weather than the UK without the uncomfortable-for-some temperatures of some Mediterranean destinations in the peak of summer.
In a nutshell
- Will suit: families of all ages
- Flying time: flights from London to Nantes are typically 1hr and 45 mins; ferry between six and 11 hours, depending on route
- Time difference: GMT+1
- Average temperature in August: 23˚C
- Tourist information: Brittanytourism.com and Familyfun-brittanytourism.com
How to get there
- By plane: direct flights from London, Southampton, Nottingham East Midlands, Exeter, Leeds-Bradford, Cork and Dublin to Brest, Dinard and/or Rennes with Ryanair, CityJet, BA Cityflyer and FlyBe.
- By train: from London to Rennes, Brest, Quimper and other cities (via Paris or Lille) by Eurostar and TGV.
- By boat: cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth, Plymouth, Poole, Weymouth, Cork and Rosslare to St-Malo and Roscoff with Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries and Irish Ferries.
Where to stay
Wherever you stop in Brittany you're never that far from the sea, so your main choice is whether you go north or south. While north will be closer to the ferry terminals for the return journey (assuming that's how you are travelling), the further south you go increases your chances of warmer weather.
- Hire a cottage: Cottages4you has a great choice of cottages and gites across Brittany offering accommodation from one to six bedrooms. There are also groups of cottages that can be booked together. Mumsnetters receive special discounts booking via this link.
- Caravan: Eurocamp has 13 campsites in the region, with pools and family entertainment laid on, plus you won't need to hoof things like cots and highchairs with you.
- Camping: Two Mumsnetter-recommended sites are La Baie and Camping de la Plage.
What to do
- Head to the beach: Brittany beaches are plentiful and offer something for everyone, be it a quiet bay, a full-on seaside experience or a back-to-nature rock pool adventure. For an active family beach stop, check out Dinard and St Cast le Guildo. For a picture postcard-type beach check out the pink granite coast near PaimpoPort and for a rock-pool and laidback vibe head to Port Maneche on the southern coast.
- Sailing: Take to the seas in a traditional tall ship and enjoy a day sailing around the coast. Various trips are on offer from points around the coast.
- Burn off some energy at Adrenaline Forest, Rennes: Its eight adventure trails have been set up for children aged two and older. Just pick the one best suited to your children's ages and physical abilities, and then they can enjoy themselves under the supervision of qualified staff.
- Cycling: Hire bikes and explore the eight different voies vertes.
- Visit Mont-St-Michel: This breathtaking old Benedictine Abbey towering over a small town built on a rocky islet is well worth a visit. The stunning interior, views and atmosphere of the castle, as well as the winding narrow streets leading up to it, are bound to leave a lasting impression -though the large number of steps won't suit those with pushchairs or small children unable to climb. And yes - we know it's in Normandy, but it's well worth the visit.
- Food: Visit the Fete de l'andouille, a sausage festival in Guemene Sur Scorff held in late August and try out the local speciality tripe sausage (scoff in Scorff, in other words). Or for something a little tamer, visit the strawberry Fete de Fraise in Plougastel, also in August. The dairy farm Gwel-kaer in Goudelin is the place to sample milk fresh from the cow and the ultimate rice pudding. It also does a fine line in milkshake cocktails, freshly churned butter and Far Breton, a typically Breton dessert.
- Visit Château de Fougères: 13 of its huge towers still stand, as do great lengths of its defensive walls. It's huge, and impressive, making it exactly what a medieval castle should be.
Interesting places to visit
- Dinan: A medieval walled town on the River Rance. The old town links to the port by the Rue Jeruzal, which is a steep cobbled hill surrounded by timbered buildings. Visit on a Thursday for the food market.
- Cancale: This seaside resort is renowned for its oysters and at low tide it is possible to see where they're grown. It's not a family day out, but it's worth a stop to pick up some fresh sea-food.
- St Malo: The chances are you have sailed in, arrived at silly-o-clock and headed straight out, but the town merits a visit on its own. Surrounded by rampart walls, it is possible to walk around the top of these and look out to sea and over the town. During the summer there is plenty of street entertainment, a huge variety of restaurants and bars, and a beach ideal for kids young and old.
- Rennes: It has a marvellous mix of architecture, culture, grand squares and gardens. Rennes is also home to Creperie Saint Georges, where all crepes are named after famous Georges. Yep, you can have a George Michael Crepe.
What Mumsnetters say about holidays in Brittany
- Although warmer, the weather in Brittany is similar to the UK, so pack your waterproofs. If travelling by ferry, one tip is to book a day cabin (if you can afford it). It will make your life loads easier - somewhere to leave stuff, play games in peace, read stories to children, kip, play DVDs etc. Loshad
- Be careful where you pack the buggy and bags if you're taking your car on the ferry. Make sure they are easily accessible as the cars are often tightly parked. Have a 'ferry bag' ready to get from the car. Don't forget that you can't go back to your vehicle, so take everything you may possibly need. Iwantacampervan
And last but not least, check before you go which items you're legally required to have in your car when driving in France (warning triangles, high-visibility jackets etc), so you don't get stung with high prices on the ferry or, worse, pulled over by French police.