Keep the children entertained (while perhaps discovering a new talent), learning Italian cuisine, bushcraft skills or surfing in Atlantic
1. KIDS COOKING IN VENICE
Surely well ahead in a ranking of most child-pleasing global cuisines, Italian food wins early fans with its pizza and pasta dishes, but junior masterchefs can broaden their range with a class at Cooking Vacations Venice.
Menus vary by season, but always feature fresh produce bought from the Rialto Market by friendly local cook Sara. Her lessons are fun but subtly educational, schooling small groups on how to create dishes from scratch – from handmade ravioli stuffed with fresh spinach and ricotta, to Venetian-style tiramisù.
Arrive: Fly direct to Venice’s closest airport, Marco Polo, from UK cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle.
Stay: Ivy-covered Hotel Flora in Sestiere di San Marco is very welcoming to families, providing pushchairs and complimentary kids’ meal.
2. SNOWY NORWAY
From husky sledding across the pristine snowscapes of north Norway to an igloo sleepover, Discover the World’s four-night Alta Winter Adventure will have children feeling like they’ve woken up in the pages of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. And there’s a strong chance that the aurora borealis itself will make an appearance – the town of Alta, where you’ll be based, is famed for its consistently good sightings. A particular hot spot is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, its location 12 miles out of town ensuring the darkest of dark skies.
And, if the lights don’t show up, the novelty of sleeping in a house constructed entirely from ice should offset any disappointment. Husky sledding safaris are extra, but well worth stumping for.
3. BEGINNERS’ BARCELONA
Those who fondly remember cava and jamón-focused weekends in the city pre-parenthood, rejoice: Barcelona is also a very welcoming place for families. All ages will enjoy the high-octane play on offer at Bosc Urbà, an adventure park arranged by age-specific zones: from complex climbing frames with nets and suspension bridges, to zip wires and bungee jumping for teenage adrenaline junkies. Afterwards, pick up supplies – cava and jamón non-negotiable a – at Mercat de Santa Caterina for a sunset picnic at handsomely landscaped Parc de la Ciutadella.
Arrive: BA, easyJet, Monarch, Ryanair and Vueling fly to Barcelona’s El Prat airport from various UK airports.
Stay: Splendom Suites offers 2-bed apartments with kitchens.