Essential Travel’s Top Ten Single Parent Holidays
By Paula Gardner
In early 2012 there were nearly two million single-parent families in the UK, a number that has been steadily on the rise for the last decade. So, it comes as no surprise that there has been a rise in the number of holidays specifically created for single parent families. But how to choose which ones really work for the single parent and which aren’t just a marketing gimmick? Essential Travel has investigated the options out there and handpicked the best of the bunch:
Cornwall – the most popular family destination in the UK. It might be because of the quaint fishing villages, or monstrous cliffs and secret coves, or maybe because it boasts the longest stretch of coastline in Britain. Either way, Cornwall is an unforgettable experience.
Campsites abound, but for the most friendly (and equipped) family experience, head to Roseland Peninsula’s Treloan Campsite. Aside from the lush beaches and gardens, Coastal Family Holidays have organised onsite Fireside Sessions and workshops welcoming parents and children to meet others in a fun, relaxed environment. Kids are also invited to feed the animals in the eco-field and your own well-behaved pets are welcome to join you on your holiday.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is reminiscent of the English old charm. England’s largest island, it’s the perfect holiday destination for anyone wanting either the peace of the countryside or the bustle of a coastal town.
Don’t be fooled by the tractors and quirky stores, the Isle of Wight is a premier beach destination. Bembridge, which boasts several quiet beaches of rocks, pebbles and sand, is ideal for children. They can go crabbing, cockling and explore the natural surroundings safely, and these beaches are quieter than the others so you won’t have to search for a spot to set up your umbrella. East Cowes is a more popular beach and the traditional promenade has a children’s play area, woodland walks and stunning views of the Cowes. Single Parent Travel Club has organised many holidays to the island and families have always returned home happily with new memories and maybe a little sand in their shoes.
The New Forest
The New Forest is a sought after camping area. Single with Kids organises weekend breaks here that have families venturing to the land where cattle and ponies graze freely and wild deer stroll between mighty Oaks and Beeches. Nothing beats attempting to climb the tall trees, trudging through shallow, muddy river waters and hunting insects, and then recapturing the day through stories around a campfire. And let’s not forget sleeping in a tent with nothing but a piece of material between you and the stars. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hire a bike and ride through the many miles of car-free cycle tracks.
Single With Kids have arranged a fun holiday right in the middle of Peak District. Some of the most spectacular scenery can be seen from the Manifold Valley, where the sight of the river and trails passing through can take take your breath away. The Tissington Trail, which can be explored by bicycle or on foot, follows the old Buxton to Ashbourne railway and leads to the peaceful, isolated countryside. Ashbourne is just a short walk away and you’ll be privy to a charming shopping experience where vintage and contemporary architecture mingle effortlessly.
Parents and kids can pitch their tents on the grounds of a large field where everyone can mix and interact. Surrounded by trees and greenery, the many walks keep children entertained for hours. The large stepping-stones on the river and local wildlife seem to make everything more interesting. You can visit the Heights of Abraham by cable car, take the kids to the local park, and quietly read a book while they play in the heated swimming pool. After a busy day, relax in front of the fire and roast marshmallows while exchanging adventure stories.
This mountainous region in the North of England is a popular holiday destination, primarily because of its clear lakes, dense forests and iconic mountains. Although lovely all year round, spring is certainly one of the best times to go as you get to watch the rhododendrons bloom and see the leaves bring colour to the trees.
This time, Single With kids heads to Ambleside, an area in the heart of the Lake District. Expect ample water sports, walking and climbing. One memorable trek is to Stock Ghyll Force where you’ll come across a beautiful waterfall in the woods. You can hire rowing boats at Waterhead Pier and explore the waters of the Lake District or take a boat trip to Lakeside. Your home is a bunk house with two dormitories on the grounds of a lovely country house just outside of Ambleside in the South Lakes. It has its own bathroom and kitchen facilities, and although the rooms are shared, this is the best way to make new friends. The accommodation is on an estate of 34 acres of woodland and boasts waterfalls and an adventure playground for children. For a more relaxed activity, take a stroll on the Coffin Trail – don’t be fooled by the name, the picturesque pathway is rich in natural beauty and will make your senses come alive.
Single Parents on Holiday offer a unique holiday amidst the rugged and exotic farmlands of rural Italy. The Gelindo dei Magredi Farm is where you’ll be staying, surrounded by vast meadows and unspoiled landscape. The nature farm lies at the foot of the stunning Friulian Dolomites, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
The 400 m² nature park is a perfect educational environment for your children, with horses, cows, pigs, rabbits and many more farm animals. Let your children play in the swimming pool with their new-found friends while you relax on the patio enjoying home-baked cakes and a glass of wine. The farm even has a restaurant dedicated to providing cuisine with a traditional Friuli influence. Evenings see the farmhouse come alive with live music, pool parties and discos. There are an abundance of activities on offer, ranging from guided bike tours and horse riding in the countryside to trips to the sandy, blue beach or a longer day trip to the famous city of Venice.
Fuerteventura – Canary Islands
Jandia is located near the small fishing village of Morro Jable, which features some of the best beaches in Fuerteventura. The wide, sandy beach stretches for more than 20 miles and hosts a beautiful backdrop of mountains and clear blue skies. There are teenager, maxi and mini clubs for parents and children to enjoy the many sports – from table tennis and beach volleyball to water sports and darts. The mini and maxi clubs put on shows and play games and if you have a teenager, this is the perfect holiday as there are a variety of activities for older groups.
If camping or beaches aren’t really for you, Mango Holidays offer a single-parent holiday skiing in the French Pyrenees.
Barèges in the Tourmalet ski area is the largest resort of its kind in the French Pyrenees. Tourmalet is less known than the Alps so not only is skiing cheaper and less crowded, but the scenery has also remained unspoiled and maintains the atmosphere of a traditional French mountain ski village. The village is nestled in a valley between meadows and wooded slopes with mountains boasting snow-covered tips peeking out of the sun light. The ski area is able to host a range of abilities so is ideal for children and adults. You’ll get to stay in a quaint, family-run hotel located close to the village, with direct transport to all ski facilities.
The Turkey Single Parent Holiday by Responsible Travel is proudly eco-friendly. When visiting the coastal town of Kas make sure that you have adventure on your mind. This holiday is ideal for teenagers who have a thirst for adventure. And what better way to bond than a kayaking trip to visit a sunken city or exploring the land by mountain bike and exciting treks? Or what about SCUBA diving in crystal clear waters – with options for both novices and beginners, anyone can have a go at it? Alternatively, you can simply relax on the beach or spend two nights cruising the Aegean Sea in a gulet (traditional sailing boat). Only local tour operators and accommodation providers are used so all the money you spend gets ploughed back into the community.
Busy places like The Algarve aren’t always the first option for single parents, but when you’re around like-minded adults, it’s easier to see the appeal. Single With Kids have arranged for you to stay in an all inclusive hotel – which means no cooking or cleaning! There will also be a variety of hotel facilities and activities on offer, suited to both parents and children, so everyone is guaranteed a fun and memorable time. If you’d rather head off on your own as a family, you can spend the day on the beach building sandcastles, catching fish and exploring the clear, blue waters.