By the time autumn half-term comes round, those balmy lazy days of summer are nothing but a distant memory, and the excitement of Christmas is (thankfully) yet to get into full swing. The half-term break is the perfect time of the year to escape on a short mini-break with the whole family.
Children and adults can greatly benefit from taking a timeout in October, to do fun stuff together. Parents who take their children away on a short break for the half-term holidays are less stressed, and (from a kid’s perspective) more fun to be around.
Whether you’re travelling abroad or staycationing in the UK, half-term breaks are of the ideal duration to pack full of family-orientated activities that please everyone.
Italy’s Top Half-Term Breaks
When it comes to travelling abroad with your brood, Italy is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations, primarily due to the kid-friendly food.
Verona, Veneto – Best for…theme parks, water-based activities, and Shakespeare.
Tucked away in the corner of the Veneto region, Verona is nestled between the Adige River and Lake Garda. It’s the perfect place for half-term breaks with children of all ages. The profusion of history, art, great architecture and tons of fun things to do, easily makes Verona a winning half-term destination.
Youngsters will be thrilled to visit Italy’s equivalent of Disneyworld – Gardaland. The fantasy theme park features diving, looping and corkscrew curving roller coasters, free-falling simulation rides, and rapids to navigate in a canoe.
The family-friendly Caneva Aquapark boasts an array of tubes and chutes, as well as a lazy river and a pool where adults can relax while their offspring are busy being daredevils. There’s also a play area and an on-site restaurant.
The cinema-themed Movieland Studios has more than 20 attractions and rides, and live entertainment. Dare your brood to step inside the House of Horrors, or take part in reenacting classic action movie scenes.
Even picky teenagers will appreciate that northern Italy’s ancient medieval city is the setting for Shakespeare’s young love story ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
Where to stay…
Borgo Romantico Relais is an enchanting 20-room property situated in a 14-hectare estate on the outskirts of Verona. Lush bio-certified vines, olive groves and cypress trees surround the countryside retreat that boasts outstanding views of the rolling Garda hills and Mount Baldo.
The light and airy Family garden view room comprises of 2 interconnecting bedrooms, with 4 beds. There’s a swimming pool set among the olive trees, a sauna, lounge and bar. Within the scenic grounds, you can spot hares and pheasants.
Although there’s no on-site restaurant, you can order traditional Italian cold cuts and cheese snacks at the on-site winery bar. Cooking classes are available on request. The nearby village of Cavaion has a good selection of pizzerias and ristorantes.
If you’ve already visited Verona, or prefer half-term breaks that are a little more sedate, Umbria’s largest cosmopolitan city of Perugia is the perfect place for a family-orientated holiday.
Perugia, Umbria – Best for…food tasting, learning how to cook, and chocolate
The charming city of Perugia is the capital of both the region and province of Umbria. It’s packed with ancient historic structures and monuments, old churches and fabulous museums. The city is known for its art and culture and plays host to many annual festivals.
When you’ve done the sightseeing of all of the notable cathedrals, chapels, religious relics, and Gothic Palazzos, enjoy some quality time teaching your kids how to appreciate great Italian food.
Perugia offers walking tasting tours that visit artisan food producers. Sample cheeses, cold meats, handmade pasta, truffles and other authentically Italian treats. You can also join small group cooking classes to learn how to use the ingredients.
If your family are lovers of the sweet stuff, you’ll feel like you’re in Heaven when you step inside the Perugina Chocolate Factory, that’s located outside the city centre. The 1 hour 15-minute long factory tour shows you the production process and includes a tasting session. There’s also a shop where you can buy your weight in chocolate.
Where to stay…
Unlike most holiday apartments in Perugia, Aethos Saragano is accommodation that encompasses an entire vineyard and olive grove nestled Umbrian village! On half-term breaks your family can rest and relax in one of the 10 comfortable, traditionally furnished suites and apartments that are fully equipped with kitchen, living and dining areas.
There’s a swimming pool, spa and on-site restaurant, as well as a range of activities on offer. Get the kids involved in a daily yoga session, or explore the spectacular countryside on a hike with a local shepherd. Day trips can also be arranged.
The Best Half-Term Breaks In The UK
If you don’t plan to travel abroad with your family during half-term, a UK staycation in one of England’s most beautiful locations makes a great alternative break.
Due to the unpredictable weather in October, half-term breaks in the UK can sometimes be a damb squib. If you factor in the changeable climate, there’s no reason why visiting stunning coastal and countryside destinations can’t be a fantastic fun-packed getaway for the whole family.
Falmouth, Cornwall – Best for…seaside fun and exploration, and Cornish pasties
Home to the world’s third-largest natural harbour, Falmouth is Cornwall’s jewel in the crown. The picturesque town is the gateway to a stunning coastline and fabulous beaches. The sandy and pebble beaches of Gyllyngvase, Swanpool, Castle, and Maenporth are ideal to visit on a family outing. If your kids are into watersports, try out surfing, snorkeling, standup paddleboarding, skimming and sailing.
When it’s time for lunch you’ll want to tuck into something hot and hearty to stave off the October chills. When in Cornwall, nothing beats a traditional Cornish pasty. The local meat and veggie delicacy is made with love, and also available in vegetarian and sweet varieties.
Where to stay
The child-friendly 4-star St Michaels Resort is a beachside haven offering comfy accommodation in 84 nautical theme guest rooms.
The Large Beach House family rooms and suites have king-size beds and sofa beds, comfy seating and a host of amenities. Some of the rooms also have a private outdoor space. Four-legged friends are welcome to stay, with prior arrangement.
On-site, there’s a 2 AA rosette restaurant, a spa and health club with swimming pool, and sub-tropical gardens. As you would expect from such a prime location, the ocean views are simply breathtaking.
If you prefer the countryside, a back-to-nature bolt-hole in a stunning location is definitely a place you’ll want to take your family.
The Cotswolds – Best for… outdoor adventures and getting back to nature
Half-term breaks in the Cotswolds offer unlimited opportunities to connect with nature and wildlife. At the Falconry School, kids can learn all about magnificent birds of prey via hands-on engagement, and by watching the breathtaking aerial displays.
The Slimbridge Wetlands Centre is an expansive, wild nature reserve where kids can explore flora and fauna. At the birdwatching hide, flocks of herons and flamingos can be spotted with binoculars. There’s a vast collection of reptiles and amphibians, and an opportunity to watch the otters at feeding time.
At Arctic Quest, hop on a cart and enjoy an exhilarating husky-powered ride that mimics the sensations of exploration in icy climes, without sub-zero temperatures. Safety gear and training are provided.
Where to stay…
Situated on the sprawling 400-acre Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is a unique back-to-nature hideaway that all the family will love. Accommodation is available in rooms, suites, chalet-style huts and treehouses that are nestled deep into the stunning Cotswold countryside. The family pooch is also welcome.
Dining options are diverse at the Fish Hotel, and include high-end gastronomy, feasting on the deck, light lunches and tasty Slider menu snacks, and private dining.
On-site activities are available to keep kids of all ages entertained and happy. The wonderful woodland views can also be explored on a bike for hire.
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