Planning the perfect family weekend break

First published: 01-05-2015

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With two bank holidays coming up in May, it's the perfect opportunity to kick back and relax with the family. Whether you choose to escape somewhere abroad or find a little bit of paradise closer to home, there are plenty of ways to make a bank holiday weekend enormous fun for everyone involved.

To make it a top success, there are a few things to consider while planning your trip away. Read our hints and tips to ensure you make it as enjoyable as possible.

The location

Image 2 Near or far, there are so many gorgeous locations that are ideal for a family getaway. Going away somewhere abroad or even at the other end of the country can be a real adventure, but staying closer to home can be just as fun if you've got the right activities lined up.

If you're heading off abroad, then try to pick somewhere that is just a short distance away by plane, train or ferry (don't worry, we'll cover transport later on)! This way, you can maximise the time you have to spend relaxing, rather than using up all your time travelling. Luckily, there are loads of places that are just an hour or two away on a plane that make for the ideal family getaway.

If you're staying in the UK, it is still really easy to find a picturesque corner of the country to explore. Whether it's a city or a peaceful mountainside setting you're after, there will be something that does the trick.

Whichever option you choose, the knack is to find somewhere with plenty of things to keep everyone busy. Things to look out for include bike routes, activity centres, museums, pools, and other family-friendly places.

The accommodation

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If you want to spend your weekend away in total luxury, then your best bet is to find a hotel with plenty of family-friendly restaurants that will cater to your every need. Alternatively, a very hands-on approach would be to rent out a cottage or apartment, where you can feel very settled and explore the local area even more. This will allow you a little bit more freedom than a hotel, since you'll have more room to feel at home while you're away.

The food

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Part of the fun of getting away is being able to enjoy some foods you wouldn't normally find the time to cook or get your kids to try. So, while you're on your break, take the opportunity to visit lots of new restaurants - especially if you're abroad - to make the most of the different environment.

If you're staying in a cottage or apartment, you can make some meals yourself as well as going out for food a couple of times. This could turn into a really fun family activity, and depending on how old the kids are, you could even have teams making different courses. This will also save you a little bit of money if budget is a priority.

Another really nice idea for your family break is to go out for a picnic. Weather depending, this can be a really lovely way to spend your afternoon, and can be combined with a whole load of activities, like rounders or playing with a Frisbee in the park.

The transport

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Depending on the distance, number of people, price, and how much time you have at your disposal, there are a few travel options from which you can choose. For somewhere just a few hours away or less, you could consider driving or getting a train. However, for somewhere a bit further afield, you might want to investigate planes or ferries.

You should consider how much time you have when you're picking your mode of transport. Scotland might be a drive away from some parts of England, but if you're near an airport, you may find it quicker to fly. This means you get to spend more of your precious time enjoying yourself than you would have to if you drove.

While you're away, you can often rely on the local transport to get you around, be it buses, trains, or just strolling through the streets. If you want to get out and about as much as possible, investigate hiring a car if you haven't driven there.

The schedule

When time is in short supply, you want to be sure you get the chance to do all the activities you've got planned. Make sure you factor in a little bit of time for relaxing, but also try to make the most of your new environment.

To keep you running on time, make sure you've got a good watch to see you through the trip. Unlike your mobile, you don't have to worry about these running out of battery half-way through the day, or being out of signal range, and with so many added features available you can pick something that will be really handy while you're away.

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If keeping on top of your activities is your priority, then this ladies' Garmin watch is the one for you. Using this, you can see how far you have travelled and how many steps you've taken, which is ideal if you're all off for a walk, either through the town or the countryside. It also has an alarm to help you stay on schedule, and is water resistant up to 50 metres in case you get caught in the rain.

Image 7 Alternatively, this men's Timex chronograph is perfect if you're spending a lot of time in the wild outdoors, since it has a compass, barometer, weather reporter, and is also water resistant up to 50 metres. If you're planning a night of camping or a spot of hiking across the countryside, this could be the perfect accessory.

For any family holiday, planning is essential. However, if you think through these important points, you can arrange something that will be fun for everyone, and will help you make the most of the May bank holidays!

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