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Small child friendly 40th holiday ideas

(27 Posts)
LePetitPont Wed 16-Jan-19 21:36:28

Both DH and I will turn 40 next year. I’m thinking this is a good excuse for a kick ass family holiday but not quite sure what this would look like with a 3 and 5.5 year old in tow!

Our most successful holiday is, hands down, Center Parcs because —I give up on everything I hold dear about holidays— it works so well to entertain the boys and everything is in one place with no stress. We have also had some lovely eurocamp style holidays and splurge on skiing with amazing childcare. My favourite ever holiday was honeymoon, 3 weeks travelling round North America, SAN Fran, Vancouver etc.

Places on my bucket list include Thailand and South Africa which I can see could work for families. But is 3-3.5 and 5.5-6 just too young? My husband is fond of the phrase “just beacause we COULD, doesn’t mean we SHOULD” and I worry it may apply here!

Any ideas for a suitable holiday that is a bit more than a French campsite or a forest in Nottinghamshire appreciated. We’ve done AI in Kos for a destination wedding without children and I found it a bit meh. Definitely need something interesting stuff to visit, lovely scenery / coastlines for walking / cycling etc.

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Minniemountain Thu 17-Jan-19 14:24:53

How about a Kinderhotel(brand)/family hotel in the mountains? Stunning locations and great facilities.

In the UK we had a brilliant time at Woolley Grange.

WH1SPERS Thu 17-Jan-19 14:30:56

Three questions :

1. Will your children enjoy “interesting stuff to visit, lovely scenery / coastlines for walking / cycling etc”?

2. If not, are they the kind of children who will tag along happily doing things they don’t enjoy?

3. If no to the above, are you taking someone who will babysit your children while you do (1) above ? Like grandad, teenage step son, paid nanny, other parents wth young children who will take shifts with you ?

hihellohihey Thu 17-Jan-19 14:40:25


Lollyice Thu 17-Jan-19 14:47:18

We're in the same situation but decided to leave the kids at home for DHs 40th in May and go to Paris. My 40th is in September so we are thinking of staying at Alton Towers /Harry Potter Studio and a nice hotel type break. I would personally have gone to Disneyland Paris but the kids, 7 and 3, prefer Butlins hmm

Minniemountain Thu 17-Jan-19 14:53:37

To be fair, we left 5yo DS with MIL and went to Rome for my 40th.

DH is still dithering about his in July.

theresaspiderinthesink Thu 17-Jan-19 16:46:19

Swinton estate, in the log cabins. This is what I did, was fab!

LePetitPont Fri 18-Jan-19 06:52:23

Thanks, everyone! Lots of ideas. Leaving the boys at home / with grandparents isn’t really an option although there is a girls’ weekend in the very early days of planning (I am gunning for Ibiza or Lisbon!) as my two best friends turn 40 next year too.

WH1SPERS 3 excellent questions! To 1 and 2, hmmmmm. Realistically, no and no. Having flashbacks to a mega strop round the inside of gorgeous chateau despite having had loads of fun watching a birds or prey display, a treehouse and water gardens to run around in!! Generally it’s playgrounds or beaches or farms / aquariums / zoos with some observing of the wider scenery whilst pushing a swing... don’t fancy taking any grandparents but of course the fancy skiing holiday works so well as they have childcare.

So minniemounrain’s Kinderhotel hotel idea is very interesting and the ski chalet we’ve been to is open over the summer and there’s loads going on. That would be a lovely treat in fact.

Or has anyone had experience of Neilson? Like the idea of learning to sail, are there any in interesting places?

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LePetitPont Fri 18-Jan-19 06:53:54

lollieice I have wondered about Disneyland Paris / Paris too... love the idea of Harry Potter world!!!

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ChipsAreLife Fri 18-Jan-19 06:58:09

We did Bali with our kids when they were 1 and 3. Was fab!!! The villa had a housekeeper who offered babysitting which we used in the day but not at nights as we have bad sleepers! Maybe look at Thailand and find a child friendly holiday / villa. I think at their ages that flight is doable and it's really not as bad as it seems.

We've also just done Florida when kids were older 2 and 3. Orlando was fab, it's very family oriented then we headed to the west coast which is stunning and very family friendly too. Kids loved it. We have also done Disneyland Paris which has a centre Parcs near it called Villages nature which combines the two.

But for my DH 40th we left the kids with family and went to Rome! Is that an option?

Xmastummyhasgonebig Fri 18-Jan-19 07:08:24

For my 40th, with the same age children as you, we have booked Disneyland Paris but staying the week at centre parks in Paris! Included in price is 2 day pass to Disney, and transport there! Perfect!

PenguinPandas Fri 18-Jan-19 07:33:17

Might still be a bit young for this but my kids loved this holiday. Flew to Oulu with Finnair end July. Stayed at Hotel Sokos Eden which is next to a beautiful empty sandy beach with playground and has a waterpark on site full of rubber ducks, floats and slides. Food was amazing. Then went to Arola Bears were you see brown bears in the wild and stay in a chalet with canoe boats on site and lovely homemade food. Driving round there are more reindeer on road than cars including white ones. Also stayed at an Angry Birds Hotel with Angry Birds playpark on site, went to Ruka which has a summer toboggan and mini golf and did whitewater rafting, will be too young for rafting. Was about 22C and light until very late.

If you are after easy Magic Natura is nice, zoo and waterpark on site. We did Disneyland Paris but my DS said "that noisy mouse is scary, can we go back to hotel"

PenguinPandas Fri 18-Jan-19 07:41:52

In Austria have stayed at this hotel and would recommend, snow all year on mountain and can ski even in August, ice palace at top, hotel has own tourist train which takes kids to petting farm, amazing playground, cable car walking distance and lovely food. Would only do few days to a week then somewhere else though we went in May for few days and think in summer and winter more activities on. Flew out with Ryanair.

anniehm Fri 18-Jan-19 07:43:48

Go wherever you want! We went backpacking around Alaska when ours were 2&4, did the San Francisco road trip thing with a baby and toddler. I recommend south California with a couple of nights at Disney (the original park!). Closer to home French campsites are good - Pierre Vacance has loads of sites not in British brochures, we like Normandy as we are history fans, but the vendee is warm but a shorter drive due to a micro climate, we've also used the British holiday company Carisma who were excellent.

anniehm Fri 18-Jan-19 07:46:05

Oh - just read you mention Paris - it's crazy crazy busy, Disneyland Paris is pretty overwhelming queues wise and the city of Paris is no better (went for our 40th!) go out of season if you can

WH1SPERS Fri 18-Jan-19 08:35:46

Ha! Your kids are just like mine. In that case I recommend that you do a main holiday that works for your kids that you can also tolerate .

Work out what’s most important to you - nelison is great if you want loads of childcare and activities. But the hotels and food aren’t luxury and you won’t get to see much of the local area. However sailing is amazing and if your kids like to do things and join in you will have a ball.

It’s a waste of money if your kids are whingey and shy and won’t be parted from you. Mine like to do things with other kids so it works for us.

If your most important thing is a lovely hotel and wonderful food then find an excellent hotel that also has family activities and accept that you will be entertaining them all day and most evenings.

I’ve love to go backpacking round Alaska but it would be a nightmare with kids like mine, who don’t particulary enjoy the travelling bit of travelling.

Any experience of fine dining in a 5 * hotel would have been ruined by the stress of trying to make them behave and shushing their whines of “ why can’t I have chicken nuggets?” and “ yuck, what is this green stuff?”.

And I can just imagine crying with frustration, dragging then round the Ufizzi moaning about how boring is it while other people’s kids whisper “ oh mummy, look at the exquisite brushwork in the adoration of the magi “.

For us, it’s always a compromise between our ideal and what keeps the kids happy . I tend to prioritise the latter , because I have 3 annoying children and a husband who thinks that I’m still on duty 24/7 as he’s On Holiday.

Also I spend lots of “quality time “ with my kids the other 50 weeks of the year, so I go on holiday for a break. Of course if you work 70 hours a week / have a nanny / kids in boarding school then you may feel differently . I get that.

If you have childcare , I’d also book a luxury city break / county hotel for 2 and a fun girls weekend.

Just my opinion .

PenguinPandas Fri 18-Jan-19 11:14:21

One trip that is really magical around that age though wouldn't be until Christmas is Lapland - we did a TUI package for 3 nights and do husky safari, reindeer safari, snowmobiles, dinner with santa arriving on his reindeer and fireworks, elf workshop etc and lots of snow! We stayed in Santa Sport hotel which has a kids playcentre and swimming pool with spa.

LePetitPont Thu 31-Jan-19 12:44:23

Thanks again for another round of fab suggestions - love the idea of a Parisian Center Parcs!! We went to Paris for my 30th so would be a lovely blast from the past.

We’ve actually talked about Lapland / Santa in the past - thank you for jogging my memory on that one, @PenguinPandas also your Austrian hotel looks amazing with opportunities for skiing. Trying to work out if could link it with lake Garda or similar.

@WH1SPERS grin we definitely have matching children!! I quite like the time with them as I work 3 days - although feeding them... less so. Not sure a few chips, grated cheese, nuggets and the odd slice of pizza really offer VFM for an AI holiday though!! Or indeed is on the menu at a delightful fine dining restaurant.

Sadly we don’t really have childcare I would feel comfortable leaving them with to do something as a couple (my parents are lovely but will be in their 70s and just not up to it, sadly - in laws just aren’t very kind and untrustworthy ). But DH is mentioning Las Vegas with the boys so we won’t miss out too much. I hope!

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LePetitPont Thu 31-Jan-19 12:45:04

My parents will be in their 80’s that should say.

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juneau Thu 31-Jan-19 12:49:00

What about Martinhal? There are several in Portugal and they're supposed to be upmarket and luxurious, but ultra child-friendly.

juneau Thu 31-Jan-19 12:50:19

You might also want to check out Baby-friendly Boltholes (it's not just babies - also slightly DC), and Tots to Travel - both of which have lots of rather luxurious and fancy villas and hotels that cater for families. We found lots of our holidays with the former website when our kids were little.

SimplyLittle Fri 22-Mar-19 13:16:43

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SimplyLittle Fri 22-Mar-19 13:18:22

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AnotherEmma Fri 22-Mar-19 13:22:43

I was going to suggest Tots to Travel. There's also Mark Warner, Neilson and Kinderhotels.

I would definitely pick somewhere with good childcare - kids clubs, babysitting etc. That way you should be able to get some couple/chill time as well as family time.

another20 Fri 22-Mar-19 13:27:53

I have reported Simplylittle who has been on numerous threads today hawking !

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