By Martha Hales
Tiny ones can be tricky holiday companions — they require equipment, entertainment and a watchful eye at all times. But these holiday ideas for toddlers are ideal, giving you peace of mind that your little ones have already been thought about. We cannot guarantee a tantrum-free trip, but we can supply some inspiration for making family holidays less of a challenge.
Family farm holidays
Spending time on a wholesome farm is toddler heaven. On farmholidays.co.uk look for accommodation under the ‘Family Friendly’ section to find farms and cottages perfect for your family. Some places will provide equipment such as high chairs, cots, stairgates and even socket covers. Some farms will have child-friendly activities such as playgrounds, sandpits, paddling pools and mini farm vehicles to ride but whichever place you choose the open spaces, helping with the animals and seeing real tractors are sure to capture children's imagination.
Try a Butlins break
Butlins do midweek ‘Just for Tots’ breaks for under-fives and their parents. The four-night breaks run on weekdays during term time, and everything is tailored to toddlers: the food, the activities and even the schedule itself. There are visits from favourite television characters, shows and craft sessions, sports activities and discos as well as free children's meals on certain dates. In short, loads to keep your pre-schooler busy and entertained from the minute they get up right through until bedtime.
Self-catering to swanky hotel
Whether you’re looking for a self-catering cottage or a luxury resort hotel, Babyfriendlyboltholes.com and Totstotravel.co.uk are a great resource for families with small children looking for somewhere special to stay. With listings included for the UK and abroad searchable by the age of your children, you know you are booking somewhere chosen by an expert in the field. The usual paraphernalia every small child requires comes as standard, with many options providing toys and games as well.
City breaks with toddlers
Don’t discount a trip to explore a new city with your pre-schooler. It may not sound like the most obvious idea but there’s lots to keep toddlers entertained in large cities. Make sure your hotel is central and research which museums have child-friendly exhibits. Many cities these days have a ‘city beach’ in the summer months, perfect for some time out and therapeutic sandcastle construction.
One of the most exciting things about a city break for small children is often the transport. Ride a bendy bus, a tram, a funicular or a ferry and watch their faces light up. Don’t forget that city zoos, parks and swimming pools are ideal for tots, and flagship toy shops are usually a big hit, too, if you fancy snagging a souvenir. With a toddler in tow, keep your schedule flexible, don’t try to cram too much in and your city break should be a great family experience.
Trying out Eurocamp
A stalwart of the continental camping holiday, Eurocamp offers a dream line-up of helpful and well thought-out extras for families. Their 17 ‘Mini Paradise Parcs’ in France and Italy are bursting with good ideas for taking the pain out of travelling with young children. Everything from nightlights to potties are available, often for free, as long as you book a week or more before travel.
Mobile home accommodation is generally on one level, and comes with an enclosed outdoor deck area safe for little explorers to play on.
The Mini Paradise Parcs all have a ‘fun station’ play area designed for under-fives, and most offer free cycling and swimming lessons which parents attend along with their child. The waterparks on site have brilliant facilities for pre-schoolers as well as the grown-ups in the family.