6 best family holiday destinations

Whether it’s laid-back and beautiful beaches you’re after or the thrill of outdoor activities that bring your kin together, your family’s earned a stellar holiday. 

After all, we all need time to reconnect, make memories and explore what’s beyond our back garden. 

So if you’re planning your next family break, these are the best family holiday destinations that deliver on the ‘wow’ factor that should be on your shortlist.

Read more: Cheap, last-minute holidays that can’t be missed

6 best family holiday destinations of 2023

interior view of the holiday inn belfast city centre

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre

room with a balcony view of the ocean

Isle of Wight, England

Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel

view of a hotel room with double bed and single beds

The Outer Hebrides, Scotland

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Cape Town, South Africa

Flights from Heathrow to Cape Town with Virgin Atlantic

Best family holiday destinations in the UK

Keeping it close to home? Maybe a holiday abroad isn’t on the cards this year or you’re on a mission to discover those close-to-home destinations that feel anything but normal. Either way, the great thing about the UK is that there are incredible sites to explore.

And while you won’t have travelled thousands of miles, you and the gang will get that holiday fix we all crave. 

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

interior view of the holiday inn belfast city centre
Photo: Expedia

Northern Ireland is the place if you and your family want the best of both worlds. 

Breathtaking countryside that rolls into fantastic cities is just part of what makes Northern Ireland one of the best family holiday destinations. 

Among the many sites to see in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway. Stretching for around four miles along the north Antrim coast, the Giant’s Causeway features 60-million-year-old basalt formations that are seriously cool. 

view of rocks and a grass covered mountain
Photo: Phil Aicken/Unsplash

The Causeway is just 60 miles from Belfast, and it pays to make your home base in Northern Ireland’s capital city.  Not only are you within a day’s driving distance of the Causeway, you’ll also have the opportunity to check out attractions like the Titanic Experience.

The Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre scores high on cleanliness, amenities and eco-friendliness and it’s close to just about everything you’d like to do in the city. 

So explore the city before packing up the family and heading up the Causeway Coastal Route stopping off at the many castles and scenic sites along the way. Or, book a day trip bus tour from Belfast so that you don’t have to do any extra planning. 

Isle of Wight, England

room with a balcony view of the ocean
Photo: Expedia

Escaping to England’s largest island, the Isle of Wight, is easy and it’s one of the best holiday destinations for kids and parents alike, in the whole of the UK.

Reachable by ferry, train and plane, the Isle of Wight sits just off the south coast opposite Portsmouth, and boasts more activities and attractions than you can shake a stick of rock at. 

mini golf course by the ocean
Photo: Expedia

Step back in time with the Isle of Wight Steam Engine or take to the skies in the Needles Landmark Attraction, a chair lift that carries you by the Alum Bay chalk stacks. Treat the family to beach-side donkey rides or for those in search of a water park, there’s the Isle of Wight Aqua Park.

Needless to say, this is by far one of the best holiday destinations for families who are all about activities. 

Feeling like this is your ideal holiday? We recommend Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel so that you’re near all these attractions and more. Just minutes from Shanklin Chine, a beautiful geological feature waiting for exploration, Luccombe Hall offers panoramic views, a swimming pool, hot tub, family-friendly rooms and more. Oh, and breakfast is included — a real win for family holidays. 

The Outer Hebrides, Scotland

view of a hotel room with double bed and single beds
Photo: Booking.com

Off the northwestern coast of Scotland, lies an archipelago of more than 70 islands teeming with incredible views, historical sites and plenty of activities.

With hotels and homes to rent across the Hebrides, you can find the perfect spot for your family, such as the Hotel Hebrides located in Tarbert on Harris. Handily positioned just next to the ferry terminal which connects Harris to Uig, on the Isle of Skye, the Hotel Hebrides is a family-friendly boutique-style hotel. 

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Photo: Historic Environment

Featuring an on-site restaurant and lounge with various Scottish whiskies to sample, this hotel is a fantastically located choice that’s within driving distance of many of the attractions you won’t want to miss. 

Those attractions include Luskentyre Beach, which according to the BBC ranked among the top 25 beaches in the world in 2020. While quite north, the Outer Hebrides benefit from the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, making the area unusually mild for its latitude. So its beautiful clear waters are also a welcoming spot for a dip.

Next, head north to explore the Callanish Stones, Scotland’s own Neolithic standing stones that predate Stonehenge by about 400 years. From Callanish, it’s a short drive to the remote Bostadh Iron Age House for an extra dose of breathtaking history.

Best family holiday destinations in Europe and beyond

If you’ve got a yearning for something further afield, these international destinations for families are among the hottest this year. 

So if you’re after exciting new places to immerse your family in new cultures, introduce them to once-in-a-lifetime memories and spend quality time together, these are the best family holiday destinations abroad.

Cape Town, South Africa

coastline of the western coast of cape town
Photo: Taryn Elliott/Pexels

Flying direct to South Africa is easier and more affordable than ever with Virgin Atlantic. With flights leaving daily, this stunning destination is well worth the long-haul flight. And it’s non-stop as well.

Once settled into the vibrant pace of Cape Town, active families will be thrilled with the incredible excursions on your doorstep. Escape to Table Mountain for hiking and breathtaking views taken in from a cable car ride before exploring the iconic colourful houses in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap neighbourhood.

For extreme thrill seekers, book a cage-diving experience to see sharks up close and personal. Or, tick a safari off your bucket list to see the Big 5, first-hand, along the Western Cape. 

view of table mountain in cape town
Photo: Marlin Clark/Pexels

Of course, there’s more to Cape Town than over-the-top adventures. This South African gem is home to incredibly beautiful beaches like Llandudno Beach, ranked the eighth best beach in the world according to TimeOut.

For families with older kids, South Africa is known for world-famous wineries, so why not spend a day sampling the local libations? Cape Town is central to the country’s Winelands but it doesn’t stop there. 

From shopping to the city’s incredible botanical gardens to museums, the only difficult thing about your family break in Cape Town is coming home.

Rhodes, Greece

poolside view of a hotel
Photo: TUI

The largest of the Greek Dodecanese Islands, the island of Rhodes is an enchanting mix of old and new for your family to enjoy.

The Old Town in the city of Rhodes has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Medieval City, the oldest such town still around today, and is just waiting to be explored. There are museums, archaeological sites, hiking and more to help keep everyone entertained.

And when you’re ready to hit the beach, the blue waters of the Aegean Sea await you. Known as the ‘Island of the Sun God Helios’, Rhodes is the ideal place to soak up some vitamin sea.

pool with kids play area
Photo: TUI

Sounding like the right fit for you? Why not book your family-friendly holiday at the Holiday Village Atlantica Rhodes? 

Four outdoor pools, a kid’s pool complete with an adventure water park and waterslide, an indoor pool and lazy river all await you and the family at this Rhodes all-inclusive hotel. With four restaurants and multiple bars, sports, activities, the sun and sand, you might not even want to leave the resort — but we recommend you do to explore all that Rhodes has to offer. 

Holiday Village Atlantica Rhodes has rooms that can accommodate up to four people, which is great for families. And when you book with TUI, your flights are included in the price!

Florida, USA

cruise ship at sea with setting sun
Photo: Marella Cruises

If you think Florida is only about Disney World, we’ve got news for you: there’s so much more to the Sunshine State than meets the eye. 

This all-out luxury family cruise from Marella Cruises sets sail from Port Canaveral ahead of a magical stint at sea calling at Key West and Miami. To make the trip even better, this cruise includes two bonus stops: the beautiful islands of Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. 

Boasting excursions like walking tours, horse riding, dune buggying and more, the Sunshine State and Sands cruise really ticks the boxes for active families and R&R-seekers alike.

man in red shorts and blue top on a climbing wall
Photo: Marella Cruises

Of course, what sets this holiday apart from the others is that in addition to the fun awaiting you at each port of call, this Marella Cruise is packed with incredible onboard activities. 

We’re talking Broadway and West End shows all on board, movies in the ship’s open-air cinema, indoor and outdoor pools, mini golf, kids’ entertainment, an outdoor jogging track, multiple restaurants and bars… Need we go on?

What are the best family holiday destinations 

Whether you’re after sun-soaked private beaches or a family break with plenty of activities, the best family holiday destination is the one that ticks the boxes for all of your family’s wants. 

To find your perfect destination, we recommend taking stock of what your family’s wants, needs and holiday goals are. At that point, the destination almost means less than what you and your family do together.

If you’re part of a family with mixed interests, why not plan a balanced itinerary of action and relaxation? Try making plans to do one activity per day to get your family out and about without overdoing it. 

All aboard for the best family holiday destinations

While we feel it’s more about the time spent together rather than where you go, there’s still something to be said about finding the perfect destination for your next family holiday.

From sites bursting with history and outdoor adventure, like the Outer Hebrides to excursion-packed cruises like the Sunshine State and Sand by Marella Cruises, these hand-picked destinations help you nail holiday planning. 

Prices updated on 22/02/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above. The “Best Buys featured” badge indicates sponsored content and we may earn commission when you make a purchase.

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