20 January 2017
With all of the snow, sleet, rain, and gales we’ve had recently, the summer holidays seem a long way away, don’t they? This year, make the most of February (and mid-term break if you have children!) and escape to somewhere exotic.
Wander through cities with world-class museums, parks, and sights to occupy little ones. Or, head for the seaside and sunshine.
We’ve chosen seven of our favourite spots for last-minute February holidays but if they aren’t on your travel wish list this year, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor for more suggestions!
Winter sunshine to delight sunseekers
A few of the reasons these islands are so popular with families? 500 beaches. Over 3,000 hours of sunshine. And warm year-round temperatures!
Made up of seven islands, the Canary Islands include: El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote.
If you’ve never visited the Canary Islands before, expect average winter temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius, sunny skies, and a diverse landscape.
The islands were formed by volcano activity, so you’ll spot craggy peaks and gorges alongside long sandy beaches and sand dunes. The sprawling national parks are perfect for outdoor-enthusiasts, and you can also spot whales and dolphins in the North Atlantic Ocean!
Travel Counsellor Helen visited Tenerife for the first time in April 2016 and stayed at Sheraton La Caleta Resort & Spa: "I think Tenerife is a great destination for all ages and I can see why it is so popular with a huge mix of tourists, from small families to the elderly, as the coast offers a variety of good spots to visit for everyone.
As soon as you step out of the hotel you have sea views and fantastic walks in both directions along the promenade. We hired bikes and ventured along the promenade which is mainly flat just having the odd incline to Los Cristianos. What surprised me about going along the promenade was how many joggers, walkers and cyclists were enjoying the coastal route. Going on the bike ride I got to see many gorgeous beachfront restaurants, all the different beaches and lots of smaller resorts."
Dazzling Dubai offers a huge amount to see and do, and you’ll also find that there’s plenty to keep little ones happy! February is also one of Dubai’s winter months, so you can enjoy glorious temperatures in the low 20s˚C (high 60s˚F).
In February, Dubai hosts concerts almost every week, too. It’s a perfect chance to listen to live music from world-famous artists - expect everything from jazz to pop! Foodies should make a beeline for the Dubai Food Festival, while tennis fans can watch a game at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.
A few child-friendly activities to add to your Dubai itinerary include the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Wild Wadi water park, the fascinating science and learning park Children’s City, and Creekside Park.
From beaches to mountains, caves to wildlife, South Africa has an incredibly diverse landscape. As there’s so much to explore, from city to countryside, it’s an ideal place for a family holiday. And, as the month of February sits towards the end of South Africa’s summer, you can expect toasty temperatures!
While in South Africa, gaze at the Big Five as they wander through Kruger National Park. Sample wine on a tasting in the vineyards in Stellenbosch and the Cape Winelands. See the former cell of Nelson Mandela at Robben Island Prison. Ride a cable car to the top of Table Mountain.
Taking the family to South Africa? As well as spotting the Big Five on safari, children (and mums and dads!) will love watching the adorable African penguins on Boulders Beach in Cape Town. Adventure-seekers can head underground to explore caves, and there are plenty of brilliant museums to delight both parents and children.
For more ideas on activities for families, take a peek at our guide to 10 family-friendly activities in South Africa
Home to a fairy-tale world of theme parks and everyone’s favourite mouse, Orlando will delight both little ones and big kids. We don't think you're ever too old to have your photo taken with lots of the storybook characters from your childhood!
The amazing theme parks and water parks will easily entertain everyone in the family for days, and International Drive (known as ‘I-Drive’) is filled with an incredible number of shops and restaurants to explore, too. Art-lovers should add Orlando Museum of Art to their itinerary, and aspiring astronauts can learn about all things space-age at the Kennedy Space Centre.
As you’d expect of the Sunshine State, the weather in Florida in February is sunny and warm, making it perfect beach weather, too!
Travel Counsellor Noreen visited Orlando in September 2016: "Walt Disney World Resort is the place where stresses disappear, fun reigns and imaginings come true! Picture six incredible Disney Parks, two exciting night time entertainment districts and a state of the art sports complex. More choices then you can imagine for dining, shopping and recreations! It is a wonderful and magical holiday for both families of all ages and for the big kid within all of us and is one I would highly recommend for people of all ages."
Action-packed city breaks
While a city break to Amsterdam might not be the first place you’d venture to with a family, this beautiful city has lots of family-friendly activities for all ages.
Some of the city spots we recommend? NEMO Science Museum, Amsterdam Dungeon, ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, a canal cruise, and a visit to a working windmill.
The city is very easy to get around, whether you walk or take the trams, and there are lots of family-friendly cafes and restaurants, too.
Travel Counsellor Gillian visited Amsterdam for the first time in June 2016: "The city is beautiful and scenic and has more character than any other European city I have visited, it makes you smile and laugh for no reason at all other than its charisma and charm. And did you know that Amsterdam has more canals than Venice? Or that UNESCO named its 400 year old waterways a World Heritage Site?
My favourite aspect of Amsterdam is the wonderful 17th century narrow houses with gabled facades lining all the waterways. The city has embraced the issue of subsidence of properties built on sand and surrounded by water and instead of trying to change them has left the lovely old buildings exactly as they were, resulting in rows of houses all slanting and leaning. They are so individual and picturesque."
New York City
Dazzling lights, the sprawling green of Central Park and towering skyscrapers make New York City a mesmerising sight for almost all ages. And, there’s so much to see and do here that you’ll almost certainly have to go back to tick everything off your list!
From the buzz of Times Square to walking across Brooklyn Bridge to watching a musical on Broadway, New York makes for a really fun city break.
There are plenty of museums to explore, parks to wander through, and playgrounds designed just for little ones. And, a city break in the Big Apple can be as action-packed or as relaxing as you’d like to make it.
While it’s big and bustling, London is a fantastic city to explore with a family as there are so many things to see and do there. Plus, many of the museums and galleries are free.
Why not start your day by riding one of the hop-on-hop-off buses? Sit at the top, at the front, and ride through the city to see some of the iconic sights. Then, take a boat ride on the River Thames to see Big Ben and Tower Bridge from the water.
And no matter if there’s a spot of rain – simply head to a museum! There’s the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Design Museum, the Museum of London…Plenty to keep children and mums and dads busy!
Wherever you'd like to explore this February, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to plan your getaway!