When it comes to family holidays, there are plenty of options to keep mum, dad and the kids entertained, but what about one-parent families? When it comes to travelling without a partner, the biggest challenge is to put yourself out there and make the most of every opportunity. This is especially important when you're taking your kids travelling.
We wanted to know what single parents could do to have a great break with their kids and we found there were plenty of fantastic holidays to be had.
In The UK
Cornwall is the most-popular family destination in the UK. It might be because of the quaint fishing villages, towering cliffs and secret coves, or maybe because it boasts the longest stretch of continuous coastline in Britain. Either way, Cornwall is an unforgettable seaside experience at any time of the year.
While Cornwall has plenty of great places to stay, it really lends itself to going back to basics and getting in touch with nature. For a friendly (and equipped) family experience, head to Roseland Peninsular's Treloan Campsite. Aside from the lush beaches and gardens just waiting to be explored, Coastal Family Holidays have organised onsite fireside sessions and workshops welcoming parents and children to meet others in a fun, relaxed environment. Kids are also invited to help out with feeding the animals and your own well-behaved pets are welcome to join you on your holiday.
Isle of Wight
You'd be forgiven for thinking that in the short journey from The Solent to the Isle of Wight, you were transported to a farming village in the 18th Century. With rolling meadows and an abundance of greenery, the Isle of Wight is reminiscent of the old charm that the UK so easily exuded in previous centuries. England's largest island is the perfect holiday destination for anyone wanting either the peace of the countryside or the bustle of a coastal town.
Don't be fooled by the tractors and quirky stores, the Isle of Wight is a premier beach destination. Bembridge, which boasts several quiet beaches of rocks, pebbles and sand, is ideal for children. They can go crabbing, cockling and explore the natural surroundings safely, and these beaches are a little quieter than the others so you won't have to search for a spot to set up your umbrella. East Cowes is a more-popular beach and the traditional promenade has a children's play area, woodland walks and stunning views of the Cowes. It's also just a short walk from shops and cafes. Single Parent Travel Club have organised many holidays to the island and families have returned home happy with new memories and sand in their shoes.
Isle of Wight cliffs
The New Forest
Tucked away in the South of England, the historical area of The New Forest is a sought after camping area. In 1079, William The Conqueror discovered the forest and declared it his new hunting ground. Today there are few places that have retained their historical culture and significance as much as The New Forest. Single with Kids organises weekend breaks there that have families venturing out to see cattle and ponies graze freely and wild deer stroll between mighty oaks and beeches. Nothing beats attempting to climb the tall trees, trudging through shallow, muddy river waters and hunting insects, and then recapturing the day through stories around a campfire. If you're feeling adventurous, you can hire a bike and ride through the many miles of car-free cycle tracks to get even closer to the natural wildlife.
Horses grazing in the New Forest
A camping holiday in the Peak District is so much fun. Luckily for you and your kids, Single with Kids have arranged a fun holiday right in the middle of the Peak District. Some of the most spectacular scenery can be seen from the Manifold Valley, where the sight of the river and trails passing through can take your breath away. The Tissington Trail, which can be explored by bicycle or on foot, follows the old Buxton-to-Ashbourne railway and leads to the peaceful, isolated countryside. Ashbourne, the nearest town, is just a short walk away and youâll be privy to a charming shopping experience where vintage and modern architecture mingle effortlessly.
Parents and kids can pitch their tents, set up their caravans or lay out their sleeping bags on the grounds of a large field where everyone can mix and interact. The site is surrounded by trees and greenery, and the many walks keep children entertained for hours. You can visit the Heights of Abraham by cable car, take the kids to the local park, and quietly read a book while they play in the heated swimming pool. After a busy day, relax in front of the fire and roast marshmallows while exchanging adventure stories.
Just in case you werenât already spoiled for choice, thereâs also the Lake District. This mountainous region in the north of England is a popular holiday destination, primarily because of its clear lakes, dense forests and iconic mountains. Although lovely all year round, spring is certainly the best time, as you'll see the rhododendrons bloom and the leaves bring colour to the trees.
Single with Kids also heads to Ambleside, an area in the heart of the Lake District. Expect water sports, walking and climbing. One memorable trek is to Stock Ghyll Force where you'll come across a beautiful waterfall in the woods. You can hire rowing boats at Waterhead Pier and explore the waters of the Lake District or you can take a boat trip to Lakeside. Your home for the next few days is a bunkhouse with two dormitories on the grounds of a lovely country house just outside of Ambleside in the South Lakes. It has its own bathroom and kitchen facilities and beacuse the rooms are shared, it's certainly the best way to make new friends. The accommodation is on an estate of 34 acres of woodland and boasts waterfalls and an adventure playground for children. For a more-relaxed activity, take a stroll on the Coffin Trail - don't be fooled by the name, the picturesque pathway is rich in natural beauty and will make your senses come alive.
Roughing it with your family has never been this adventurous or culturally educational. Single Parents On Holiday offer a unique holiday amidst the rugged and exotic farmlands of rural Italy. The Gelindo dei Magredi Farm is where you'll be staying, surrounded by vast meadows and unspoiled landscape. It lies at the foot of the stunning Friulian Dolomites, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
This nature park is a perfect educational environment for your children. You'll see horses, cows, pigs, rabbits and many more farm animals and let your children play in the swimming pool with their new-found friends while you relax on the patio enjoying a glass of wine. The farm even has a restaurant dedicated to providing cuisine with a traditional Friuli influence. In the evenings, the farmhouse comes alive with live music, pool parties and discos. If that's not enough, there is an abundance of activities on offer, ranging from guided bike tours and horse riding in the countryside to trips to the sandy, blue beach or a longer day trip to the famous city of Venice.
Friulian Dolomites, Italy
Fuerteventura - Canary Islands
That feeling of white beach sand and the salty sea smell can't be compared to anything else. To be sure you and your children have an unforgettable holiday on the sandy beaches of Jandia, why not make the most of the comprehensive package offered by Single Parents On Holiday? It takes the stress out of having to plan your trip and you'll be guaranteed a family-friendly holiday.
The wide, sandy beach stretches for more than 20 miles and hosts a beautiful backdrop of mountains and clear blue skies. There are teenager, maxi- and mini-clubs for children to enjoy table tennis, beach volleyball, water sports and darts.
Morro Jable, Spain
If camping or beaches aren't really for you, Mango Holidays offers skiing in the French Pyrenees.
Barages in the Tourmalet ski area is the largest resort of its kind in the area. Tourmalet isnât as famous as the Alps, so skiing is not only cheaper and less crowded, but the scenery has the atmosphere of a traditional French mountain ski village. The village is nestled in a valley between meadows and wooded slopes with mountains boasting snow-covered tips peeking out of the sun light. The ski area is able to host beginners, intermediate and more advanced skiers, so is ideal for children and adults. You'll get to stay in a quaint, family-run hotel close to the village, with direct transport to all ski facilities.
The Turkey Single Parent Holiday by Responsible Travel is proudly eco-friendly. When visiting the coastal town of Kas, make sure that you have adventure on your mind. Coastal towns are always a favourite and you donât just get to dive into the sprawling waves, you also get to immerse yourself in the beach culture.
This holiday is ideal for teenagers with a thirst for adventure. What better way to bond than a kayaking trip to visit a sunken city or exploring the land by mountain bike? How about SCUBA diving in crystal clear waters with options for both novices and beginners? Anyone can have a go at it. After all that adventure, you can simply relax on the beach or spend two nights cruising the Aegean Sea in a gulet (traditional sailing boat). Only local tour operators and accommodation providers are used, so all the money you spend gets plowed back into the community. To do your part for the environment, guests are encouraged to recycle.
Portugal is more than just the birthplace of the talented (and extremely good-looking) Cristiano Ronaldo. Aside from its many, world-class attractions, the country also boasts the famous Algarve, one of Europe's most-popular holiday destinations. The stunning beaches and over-the-top resorts may attract the tourists, but it's the breathtaking cliffs and natural bays that keep them coming back.
Busy places like The Algarve aren't always the first option for single parents, but when you're around like-minded adults, it's easier to see the appeal. Single With Kids arrange for you to stay in an all-inclusive hotel, which means no cooking or cleaning! There will also be a variety of hotel facilities and activities on offer, suited to both parents and children, so everyone is guaranteed a fun and memorable time. If you'd rather head off on your own as a family, you can spend the day on the beach, building sandcastles, catching fish and exploring the clear, blue waters.
Just A Thought
When it comes to travelling alone or as a single parent, the biggest challenge is to put yourself out there and make the most of every opportunity. This is especially important when you're taking your kids travelling. So depending on your natural instincts and those of your children, you'll either need to lead by example or follow theirs. Kids might be more willing to hang out with others if they see you chatting to other parents. Or if you're inclined to take solace in a book or paper while your kids go galivanting, follow in their footsteps and make the effort to meet other people. It's your holiday too... you can read the newspaper at home anytime.