10 amazing half-term getaways at home and abroad that still have availability

From Crete and the Canaries to the Cotswolds and Cornwall – there's something for all the family

10/23/2021 3:25:00 PM

✈️ 🍂 Whether ‘Autumn glow’ means tanning in Crete or rosy cheeks after a Cotswolds walk, we round up the best late deals around

From Crete and the Canaries to the Cotswolds and Cornwall – there's something for all the family

Art attack City breaks may have fallen off your travel wishlist of late, but few capitals are as convenient – or as rewarding – as Amsterdam. A weekend of museum hopping, from the Van Gogh to the Stedelijk, can be balanced with a visit to Wondr – a 1,200sq m indoor playground. W Amsterdam offers a hotel package with free tickets for up to four people to visit the attraction. Given the Netherlands' entry rules, this is one for families with children under 12; also look out for Covid pass requirements for certain attractions.

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The details: From £516 per night, with 50 per cent off a second room for under-16s (0031 20 811 2500; marriott.co.uk).Be wined and dined Check in for a short burst of indulgence at the Lainston House, Hampshire. The 17th-century property is set in 63 acres of woodland and offers up plenty of culinary pleasures. In The Wellhouse, for example, all dishes are cooked by woodfire. Highlights from the menu include chalkstream trout and slow-cooked Lainston garden rhubarb. Youngsters might be more taken with the local attractions, including Paultons park (which has over 70 rides and is the home of Peppa Pig World) and Marwell Zoo. Children are allowed on the discovery tour, which includes a complimentary gin and tonic for the adults and a peek inside the glasshouses.

The details: Two nights B&B (Oct 26-28) cost £937 for two adults and two children, including some dinners (01962 776088; exclusive.co.uk).Borders rule Enjoy the last of autumn’s warmth – or, indeed, luxuriate in the indoor cosiness – on a countryside break in the Scottish Borders. For a break with the extended family, Bemersyde house sleeps 18. Alternatively, the “Wing” sleeps four. The house has a fascinating backstory. Its core, the Peel Tower, was built in 1535. The English army burned it down during the Reformation; it wasn’t rebuilt until 1580 and has since gone through rounds of renovations, but has stayed within the Haig family for 800 years. Further earning opportunities for young historians are available nearby. Take the historic country house of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott (five miles from Bemersyde). headtopics.com

The details: Bermersyde House sleeps 18, from £3,000 for seven nights; the Wing sleeps four, from £1,200 (01968 678465; sawdays.co.uk).Go chic in Crete Seeking a stylish retreat? Try a modernist villa in Crete, complete with a well-equipped patio area – prepare for nightly barbeques. Picture yourself wallowing in the infinity pool, sipping a cold glass of prosecco as you gaze out to sea. As you are submerged, the concierge service can schedule a range of activities for your clan – from watersports to cookery classes; take your pick. Its size is just right for a multigenerational trip, so while grandparents oversee playtime, parents could head up to the master bedroom’s hot tub – or for a scenic drive.

The details: Sleeps six, from €970/£820 per night (0203 286 5400; greekvillas.com).Terrific Tenerife Head to the southwest coast of Tenerife for Atlantic views, top-class golf and plenty of time in the sun. The 4T Grant Oasis Resort is just five minutes from the beach (via a free shuttle bus), while its swimming pools are surrounded by tropical gardens and include a whirlpool bath. Sporting families are well catered for: basketball, water polo, volleyball and darts are the activities on offer. Expect themed nights in the buffet restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The details: Five nights from £726pp, based on two adults and two children sharing, including return flights from Gatwick on Oct 27 (0203 451 2688; tui.co.uk).A shot of Sicily Book in for an extended family stay in Sicily. La Preziosa penthouse apartments include a two-person hot tub and a roof terrace. It’s mere steps to the nearest beach and a 10-minute stroll to the local village. Plus, the hilltop town of Taormina, where you’ll find the ancient Greco-Roman theatre, is a short bus ride, or drive, away. Beyond that, take a turn around its 13th-century cathedral, wander its narrow, boutique-filled lanes and spend some time gazing out towards Mount Etna. You could also spend a day getting up close to the volcano – reserve a spot on a jeep or guided tour.

The details: Sleeps eight; five nights from Oct 25 for £3,325 (0800 133 7999; oliverstravels.com).Cotswolds crawl Shake off first-term gripes on an active, self-guided tour through the Cotswolds. This walking and cycling trip with Exodus passes through some of the best known storybook villages, including Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh and Bourton-on-the-Water. The treasures to spot – and visit – along the way include the post office in Guiting Power, renowned for its headtopics.com

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teacakes. The trip is suitable for ages 12 and up – so best reserved for patient (and curious) teenagers. You’ll be biking through the ages, with Tudor history at the castle (it was the resting place of Henry VIII’s sixth wife) and a stay at the Saxon capital of Winchcombe.

The details: Eight nights for £1,099pp, departures available between Oct 24-31 (0203 1312 785; exodus.co.uk).Canary cravings If a beach, pool and pleasant temperatures are all that you’re craving, then head for Fuerteventura. Keep hassle to a minimum with an all-inclusive stay at the Labranda Aloe Club in Corralejo. The sand dunes of Corralejo (a seven minute drive away) could offer respite from poolside play. The almost white slopes contrast pleasingly with the red and black of the volcanic terrain. If your brood includes a twitcher or two, they will enjoy the chance to spot

species such as spoonbills, Kentish plovers and little egrets.The details: Four nights, departing October 24, cost from £2,186 for a family of four – with young children (020 8016 3295; thomascook.com).Take to the water If the first month or so back to school (and back in the office) has left your family a little frazzled, head to The Floathouse Amelie restore your equilibrium. Three generations could book in (there are three cabins below deck; two with king-sized beds and one with bunk beds) for a short stay. It’s a 30-minute walk to Falmouth, for the beach, while The Eden Project (approx one hours’ drive away) makes for a winning day trip. Waterside activities include yoga on deck, rowing to the nearby nature reserve or crabbing. Note: the house comes with its own row boat.

The details: Sleeps six; £910 for a three-night stay from Oct 29 (0117 204 783; canopyandstars.co.uk).Capital idea Should your offspring be planning a couple of nights at their grandparents, then why not take yourself to London? The capital has yet to fully feel autumn’s chill, so plan a stroll along the Thames or take a wander in St James’s Park. The understated rooms of Page 8 hotel come with touches such as vintage rotary phones and Marshall radios. You could even – dare we mention – get started on Christmas shopping. The boutiques of Covent Garden are a six-minute walk away – and more pleasant than the crowds of Oxford Circus. headtopics.com

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