Where the travel experts go on holiday
Ever wondered where the travel experts head on their hols? Tim Winkworth from the Family Adventure Company (Have you checked them out? They’re amazing) knows a thing or two about what to look for, so here are his tips for a brilliant break.
Morocco: Riad Arganier D’or
This place is incredible, only 20kms from Taroudant, on an orange grove nestling at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, so not a bad location! We always stay here when we go to Morocco, as it’s just a few hours drive from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech and with just 14 rooms it’s the perfect family escape. The riad has a fantastic swimming pool (tick), berber inspired tent restaurant (tick), and a wonderful family friendly zen like atmosphere.
Thailand: Mae Taeng Valley to Elephant Nature Park
One of the most magical days you’ll ever spend with your children. Up close and personal (responsibly!) with around 100 rescued Asian elephants in this magical park approx 60km drive into the hills from Chiang Mai. Feeding them huge chunks of water melon and sugar cane, gently approaching and petting an elephant, and then bath time with your very own Asian elephant on the river that runs through the sanctuary. Quite hard to put in to words to be honest.
We always suggest customers come here when they have free days our Italian holidays as it’s just stunning. Anacapri is a little town on a high plateau above Capri Town – the two places are linked by a zigzag road down the cliffs. It’s easy to get there by bus or taxi from Capri Town, but it feels a world away from the busy port where tourists arrive on ferries or glitzy Capri itself. Anacapri has a lovely villagey atmosphere, with locals sitting chatting or reading newspapers in the sun, and lots of interesting shops selling local produce. We loved wandering through the pretty whitewashed streets and alleys – not quite sure where we’d end up! I’d recommend Café Michaelangelo, just off the main square, for some amazing gelato and people-watching. Also, don’t miss the Museum of Villa San Michele, where you can see sweeping views of the entire Bay of Naples.
Vietnam: Hoi An Lantern Festival
Hoi An is always lovely but it become even more magical with the lantern festival, which happens once a month on the 14th day of the lunar calendar. We were really lucky that our trip coincided with it. All the electric lights in the town are switched off and the streets are pedestrianised. Both locals and visitors light tiny paper lanterns and place them in the water, where they join thousands of others bobbing down the river. Lanterns are hung from trees and outside shops, there are dragon dancers in the streets and the smell of incense is everywhere – the atmosphere is really magical. The kids were mesmerised by all the sights and smells – it was a fantastic experience for them. If you’re booking a holiday to Vietnam, it’s worth looking at departures that work with the festival dates – for 2015 the festival falls on 29 July, 27 August , 26 Oct and 24 Dec.
HAMPSHIRE: Alice Holt Forest
Set on the border between Surrey and Hampshire , Alice Holt forest is a wonderful place to take the kids, dogs, friends, anyone you know really. The forest has really well maintained foot and cycle paths, some magical woodland creatures set in the forest include a wooden owl and woodpecker and lots of areas for the kids to make dens or just run off-road.
The best time to visit is early early morning. We live really close by so are often there at 6 or 7am on a weekend. At that time, not only is it a great place to take the family, but with the sun dappling through the canopy and the birds in morning song , its one of the most beautiful places on the planet. To top it off, there’s a fabulous cafe there, and a Go Ape, you can rent bikes, and big play area or the kids. Heaven really.
Sri Lanka: Cactus Lounge restaurant, Tangalle
Sri Lanka is my favourite place in the world – full of energy, colour, lovely people, amazing beaches, culture and history. Located on the point of a stunning beach in Tangalle, this restaurant looked nothing more than a shack. But blimey, the friendliness of the owner, the simplicity of the food and the taste of the fish was like nothing I’d ever tasted.
We also had the delight of releasing baby turtles into the sea to start their life – a truly transcendental experience and one we’ll remember forever.