Top seven active family holidays

January 21, 2014 - Lifestyle

go ape 4Thinking of booking a summer holiday for the family? Emma Pocklington looks at the best activity holidays to try with the kids.

Holidays are a time for relaxation but if your kids can’t sit still, having an active break could be the perfect antidote to lounging by the pool or on the beach – not to mention helping you stay fit and have fun as a family. Here are seven of our favourite holidays for this year.

trekking2Pony trekking
Combine sightseeing with horse riding on this brilliant holiday in Wales. As you meander through the countryside on your sturdy Welsh ponies you can admire forests, waterfalls and other natural beauty spots.

Enjoy anything from a half-day, to a full week of pony trekking in this remote location near Hay-on-Wye. Get back to nature, make new friends and have fun with the whole family.

The site provides basic training and you can choose between camping or staying in the guest house. What’s more, there are walking or sightseeing options if one of your group doesn’t want to ride or if you need a day to rest your sore bottoms.

Trekking is available for all riding abilities and the site welcomes children over the age of six. Prices start at £32 for a half-day trek, up to £650 for a full week all inclusive. Party and family reductions are available.


go ape 3Go ape on a segway
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Yorkshire as you swing through the trees with Go Ape. Featuring zip wires, Tarzan swings and all manner of aerial obstacle courses this activity will keep the kids entertained for hours, and there’s no reason for you not to join in too!

Later on, take an all terrain segway through the incredible scenery of Forest Holiday’s Keldy site. Visit the nearby town of Pickering, take a walk through the woods or relax in your forest cabin.

Basic training is included in the Go Ape experience but children must be aged over 10.

Prices for a Forest Holiday cabin start from around £140 for a two-bedroom cabin for four nights. Go Ape is £30 for adults and £24 for children.

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If you’re looking for a cheaper option this year, why not take on the challenge of mountain climbing with your kids? Nothing could be better than getting out in the fresh air, keeping fit and achieving something incredible with your family.

Mountain climbing needn’t be a daunting prospect according to Visit Wales, which offers a range of advice for climbing the big three, Pen y Fan, Cader Idris and Snowdon. There are beginners’ paths and regular opportunities to stop to make your walk easier. Standing on the top of the world will be something your children will never forget and, better still, it’s completely free!

You will need to travel a fair distance to fit in all three but there are great camping locations right across Wales, as well as hostels and guest houses, all of which can be found on the Visit Wales site.


sailing2Crew a pirate ship
Take a cruise around the coast of Devon and Cornwall or up to the shores of Scotland on some of the oldest vessels still in use. Trinity’s National Historic Fleet vessels were all built between 1892 and 1924 and will offer a sailing experience you will never forget.

You’ll learn the importance of teamwork as you help to sail the ship every day, and you can truly live the life of a wandering pirate as the cruises have very lose itineraries and let you choose where you would like to stop.

Life on board is safe and comfortable, with a well stocked bar and an on board cook. Get the whole family together and book out a full 12-berth boat or join in with a group and make some new friends. UK cruises cost from £325 for three nights.


underground1Explore an underground mine
Take a trip into the darkness this year and do something completely different. Mine exploring experiences in Snowdonia last from five to six hours and include everything from zip-lining to abseiling to waterfall climbing. There’s no potholing or squeezing through small holes here. You’ll discover secret lakes, lofty caverns and abandoned mining equipment. Your guide will reveal the history of this eerie place while you hang suspended above its depths.

Underground exploring is suitable for all abilities but children must be aged over 10.

Trips cost £49 for adults and £39 for children and there are a whole host of hotels, inns and B&Bs available in the town to suit all budgets.


rafting1Log rafting in Sweden
If you fancy something a bit different this year, why not try log rafting in Sweden? This unique trip gives your family not only the opportunity to get outdoors and spend some time on the water but to build and sail your own raft.

Tours of one to eight days are available on the stunning river Klaralven in Varmland and all the building equipment is provided. All-inclusive options provide cabins and tents for the less adventurous while cooking, fishing, paddling and wildlife spotting is available to fill the idle hours.

Prices start at around £250 for one adult for four nights up to £300 for seven nights. Children aged three to15 are about half the adult price and there’s an extra charge of £30 for cooking equipment and £16 for a sleeping bag and mattress if you don’t want to bring your own.


coast holiday3Coastal adventures
Choose from an action-packed or a more relaxed schedule on this great holiday on the coastline of the Pembrokeshire National Park. The instructors will take you sea kayaking, surfing, walking, kite boarding and horsing riding around this spectacular location.

If you have time to pause for breath, you can spot sea birds and seals on the beaches or from the cliff tops or take a walk through the bluebell woods. In the evening there are games, books and archery sessions available, as well as a bar.

The activities are suitable for all abilities but children must be aged over 9 and at least 114cm tall to use the equipment.

The stay in a five star eco lodge and all activities for five days costs from £469 per adult.