We all missed out on some quality family time during the pandemic, and most of us really, really missed going on holiday.
Now most restrictions have been eased around Europe, many of us are looking to take the whole gang when we go away, with a rise in the popularity of multi-generational holidays.
Yes, that’s right, not just you and your immediate family - grab you Gran, aunt, nephew or grand daughter - 2022 is the year of the big family getaway.
But how on earth do you choose a destination which suits everyone? Here are a few of our favourite options to keep all ages happy.
Travel together at no extra cost
If you’ve got a car full of people (or even a dog) crossing the channel using Eurotunnel Le Shuttle could be a cheaper way to travel.
Unlike taking a flight, where you pay per person, here you pay per vehicle so this is a great budget-friendly way to travel if you’re taking the whole gang.
Prices start from €60 per vehicle for up to 9 people.
Surround yourself with nature in Limousin, France
Domaine des Etangs in Limousin, France is a converted private home surrounded by over 1,000 hectares of protected countryside that has been recently transformed into a unique hotel.
There’s a variety of accommodation options including six farmhouse cottages perfect for a cosy and private multi-generational break. Domaine des Etangs itself is a former family home. Everything here - including two swimming pools and a vegetable garden - centres around quality time spent together in a group, making it the perfect playground for families.
For the younger travellers, there’s an outdoor wooden playground and a vegetable garden to explore. Plus a guided tour of the farm let’s children meet the cows of the Domaine among other farm animals.
There’s a huge choice of indoor activities too including a spa, the Moulin des Etangs. Here children can join the adults of the family for some pamper time with child-friendly massages inspired by farm animals and mini manicures or pedicures.
Easy access to the beach in the Algarve
Pine Cliffs is a five-star resort in Portugal with eight pools and 11 restaurants. It also has one of the largest kid’s clubs in Europe so if you want some peaceful adult time, the little ones will have plenty to keep them occupied.
If there’s a member of your group who might struggle with stairs, Pine Cliffs has a convenient lift which bypasses the 110 stairs down to beach level. This route isn’t totally accessible though as there are still some steps on the walkway from the lift to the beach.
There’s a towel hut and restaurant right on the sand, meaning you’ll have much less to carry. Plus there’s a handy app to order drinks and snacks directly to your sunbed so once you’re at the beach, you’ll be all set for the day.
A weekend getaway in York
The historic city of York is a great place for a long weekend with all the family. You can travel by train from most of the UK’s major cities and, once you’re there, you can walk basically anywhere in the city. This means you don’t have to worry about fitting everyone in the car or finding parking.
The National Railway Museum is free and a great way to fill an afternoon. It often has visiting exhibitions too so check out what's on before you go. The Jorvik centre is another great option for a day trip. Though it can be pricey for a short visit, visitors are taught all about York’s fascinating Viking history.
If you fancy a treat, why not head to The Grand, York for afternoon tea? Here they offer a special children’s afternoon tea which swaps Earl grey and posh pastries for donuts and milkshakes to keep all ages satisfied.
In the evening, there are family friend ghost walks around the city centre to tire out the little ones before bed. Or, if you fancy a night away from the kids, you can book The Grand’s babysitting service and the grown-ups can enjoy some of York’s independent cocktail and craft beer bars.
Head to the mountains in Switzerland
By now, we all know how stunning the Swiss mountains are. Jungfrau in the Bernese Alps is a great destination to stay if you want to appreciate this beauty.
Jungfrau is Europe’s highest railway station but the extensive train network makes it easy to access the mountains. Here there’s a glacier viewing area as well as ice caves to explore all year round.
For the more active people in your group, there’s hiking, mountain carting, zip wiring and even skydiving - and of course skiing in winter. However those with a little less energy can still see much of the mountains, enjoy food with a view and meet up with the rest of the group using the Eiger Express Lift.
There are plenty of options for accommodation in the region too. Interlaken, the bigger of the towns, is generally a bit cheaper and has all the amenities you could need. If you want to be further into the mountains there’s also Grindelwald or Wengen, a car-free town that can be accessed by train.
Dolphin spotting in Jersey
If you’re thinking about a trip to Jersey this summer, a day on a boat exploring the island’s beautiful coastline and spotting some wildlife could be for you.
Jersey Seafaris offer a variety of excursions around the Channel islands. If you’ve got your whole family with you, you can even charter your own boat and design the perfect day.
In just 30 minutes by RIB boat, you can pop over to France to enjoy a luxury picnic or BBQ, paddle boarding and games on the beach.
On the way back, keep an eye out for dolphins and seals or even stop at a private sandbank for a glass of champagne (for the grownups, of course).
A big get-together at the pub is Shropshire
Going to the pub may not immediately sound like the ideal family holiday but bear with us, this one’s a bit different.
The Boar’s Head in Bishop’s Castle, South Shropshire was once a pub. From the outside it still looks like one but inside it has been transformed into self-catered accommodation. The bonus is that it still has its working bar so you can pull yourself some pints.
This is a great option if you’ve got a big family who all want to stay together as it can accommodate up to 23 people. There’s also an industrial size kitchen for cooking up a family feast.
For onsite entertainment, The Boar’s Head has an air-hockey table, pool table and table football as well as on-demand karaoke, an old-fashioned juke box plus a movie-screening area.
Outside, there’s a jumbo hot tub in the fairy-light strewn beer garden that is ideal for a spot of alfresco drinking.
Bishop’s Castle, where the pub is located, is a dedicated ‘walkers welcome’ town with a multitude of routes across the Shropshire Hills. Quirky buildings including a flower-strewn cottage and ‘zip’ painted terrace are worth a visit.
The town is also home to a ‘poetry pharmacy’ which offers a sort of personal shopping experience for poetry and books with a particular focus on helping their customers’ mental health. It’s designed to look like a Victorian pharmacist and so while you might not need its unique services, it’s worth taking a quick peek when you’re exploring.