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Top picks for family holidays

Family holidays for cherished memories

Family holidays can be challenging to get right. Different generations have different interests and pleasing everyone can be difficult. The optimal solution is to choose a destination that offers something for everyone. Ideally, somewhere the days will fly by and create shared memories your family will cherish forever.

Once you settle on the perfect country, you still need to narrow down your options. Do you have young children in need of stimulation? Teenagers open to new cultural experiences? What about older generations? And don’t forget your own holiday wishes. Choose the right destination, and you can avoid making too many compromises. This is particularly true of the world's most compelling beach destinations. Beaches are a winner for all age groups. Some of the most family-friendly beach destinations also blend in natural wonders, outdoor activities, and thrilling diversions that eliminate the risk of boredom.

Family holiday in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has pulled out all the stops to become a premier holiday destination for everybody — couples, solo travellers and families.

The capital of the UAE is the largest emirate, yet small enough that most of the highlights are just a day trip away. Not forgetting Dubai, just an hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi.

Wherever you base your family, the emirate’s highlights are accessible to all age groups. For most families, the star attraction of Abu Dhabi is Yas Island. The appeal of Yas Island speaks for itself. The sandy idyll is home to the world’s largest indoor theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. It is also where you’ll find the fastest rollercoaster of all time, at Ferrari World, an attraction that delights multiple generations and that’s just the headline stealers. Yas Island boasts a fabulous beach, a picturesque marina, an aqua park, mangrove forests and phenomenal scuba diving sites. For many families, this is the ultimate place to stay in the UAE, with villas and hotels that boast kid’s clubs, child-friendly pools, and facilities to entertain every generation.

Beyond Yas Island are other appealing things to do. Absorb culture at world-class museums on Saadiyat Island, get close to nature and history on Sir Bani Yas Island or enjoy thrilling escapades in the Arabian Desert.

Family holiday in Dubai

Dubai crams a world of entertainment and wonders into a hypermodern city that caters to every tourist need. Draw up a list of family interests and there is a good chance Dubai has something to match. There's the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, and the second-largest shopping mall. In addition, Dubai offers an adventurous aqua park where you can swim with stingrays and an indoor ski park with ice caves. Youngsters (and big kids) embrace the dazzling variety, yet more refined cultural experiences are available to older generations. Adults will most likely appreciate the iconic landmarks, colourful souks, historic waterways and world-class restaurants which Dubai is famous for.

If that’s not enough to excite the whole family, the sands of the desert and local beaches deliver distinct experiences for differing interests. Dubai has several beaches that are suitable for families with plenty of space to relax and play.

Family holiday in the Maldives

The Maldives will appeal to families looking to unwind and recharge their batteries. There are no big attractions for kids and very little wilderness to explore, but the Maldives excels at delivering a spellbinding beach holiday. It’s not an overstatement to describe the chain of islands as a paradise. It is a place to dive amongst multicoloured fish, stretch out by the pool, sip a cocktail and spend quality time with your family.

A family holiday in Maldives centres on the choice of accommodation as much as the island. Most visitors stay on their chosen island and enjoy an unhurried life on their little slice of heaven. Families with children can choose from an array of resorts that boast excellent facilities for young ones. Think on-site entertainment, fun activities, kid's clubs, playgrounds and amazing pools.

Seductive beaches elevate the Maldives above other tropical destinations: soft white sands, gentle tides and the chance to swim with turtles and colourful marine life. And while the kids play, parents and grandparents can soak up the tranquillity of one of nature’s gifts to the planet.

Family holiday in the Seychelles

If the idea of a beach paradise hits the right notes, but you also want some culture and nature, consider Seychelles. The capital, Victoria, and towns like Beau Vallon offer a cluster of family-friendly activities, including lively festivals and welcoming restaurants. Meanwhile, there is a beautiful nature to explore: a mountainous national park and thriving nature reserves home to enigmatic giant tortoises. Even the journey between islands, by boat or helicopter, will fire the imaginations of young and old.

However, the beautiful beaches of the Seychelles are the centre of interest – they are what draws visitors to the islands. You might need to take care with little ones in deeper waters, but the pristine sands hide rock pools and shallow waters for children to play. As a desirable island holiday destination, there are family-friendly lodgings on the main islands — Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

Seychelles offers a rounded package for families craving a tropical escape, where beaches are only part of the story.

Family holiday at Koh Samui

Families with teenagers and young children can tailor an unforgettable holiday in Koh Samui. Thailand's second-largest island has something for every age group. There's buzzing nightlife, stunning beaches, water sports galore, delicious food and mountain trails through lush rainforests. Young children are well looked after at family resorts with kid’s clubs and free entertainment. Maybe visit an Elephant Sanctuary to see these magnificent animals up close, feed and pet them or thrill kids at a cobra sanctuary. When you don’t want to hang by the pool or snorkel the inviting waters, the cultural milieu in Chaweng bursts with vitality. All age groups will enjoy roaming the Fisherman’s Village night market. If there is still energy to burn, activities like zip-lining and rainforest hikes should help with that. Add it all together and you can create holiday memories to fill the family photo album.

More inspiration for your next holiday