Travel inspiration and insider tips

Family Half-Term holiday

5 years, 5 months ago

Best Places for Half-Term Holidays

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Half-Term’s on its way. We know it seems like the summer holidays ended five minutes ago and you’ve just got used to military precision breakfasts and the mystery of the solitary school shoe. But isn’t it great? Now you’ve got another week of long lie-ins, lazy lunches and merry offspring happy to spend Half-Term reading books and taking long family walks.

If you’re staring at that last part in open-mouthed disbelief, you’re not alone. Most (non-fantasy) families want to use every minute of the Half-Term break to really holiday before the long-haul into December, but December means Christmas and pretty much everyone’s counting costs. So, while you’ve been helping revise verbs and WWI dates over the past few months, we’ve been brushing up on maths and geography to give you 12 Half-Term holiday destinations all with up to 50% off the summer price.

Here are a few to get you started, once you’ve revised these you can move on to HouseTrip for the rest. Feel free to send gold stars and shiny red apples as a show of thanks.


Half Term without a hint of wild and wonderful Cornwall? We don’t think so. This lovely part of the English coast can’t guarantee October sun, but what it misses on rays it makes up for in sheer drama. Tiny, tucked-away coves, enormous sweeps of windswept sand, mighty waves and immense cliffs aren’t in short supply here. Places like St. Ives and Padstow tick the ‘quaint and charming’ boxes. Bigger towns score well for teenagers – also plenty of surfing action still happening all along the coast. The iconic, high-hedged Cornwall country lanes look even more astonishing in October. And don’t get us started on the food – in the unlikely event of running out of restaurants, farmers’ markets and local specialists in Cornwall itself, you could nip across the county border to Devon for the amazing ‘Dartmouth Food Festival’ 24th – 26th October.


Park Guell, Barcelona

Park Guell, Barcelona

There isn’t a better time to visit Barcelona than Half Term. It’s not a holiday the Spanish take, so the Catalan capital is as lively and energetic as ever, you just aren’t sharing it with quite so many tourists. This is when to go full-Gaudi and see everything from La Sagrada Familia to Park Guell in relative peace. Barceloneta’s beaches still have plenty of sun and local life in the restaurants, bars and markets. La Boqueria has harvested every bit of autumn taste and colour to be even more astonishing than usual. Since it’s nearly winter, you can justify wardrobe shopping for endless, delicious hours in L’Eixample, El Born and Las Ramblas. And Barcelona just happens to be one of the best European cities to celebrate a thoroughly Gothic Halloween.


The super-star DJs have headed for Vegas, clubbers are back home earning cash for next year’s parties, the Spanish aren’t on holiday and Ibiza’s returned to the beautiful, fascinating, explore-worthy Balearic we know and love.  There’s October sun. The big, famous beaches are more family focused and gorgeous little coves and bays are just as secret and peaceful as ever. Ibiza Old Town’s still lively but easier to get to know at this time of year. And Half Term’s only perfect for sailing, discovering the island’s interior and trying Ibiza’s legendary choice of water sports.


Eiffel Tower in Autumn

Eiffel Tower in Autumn

The most visited city on earth doesn’t have a quiet time or a good time to go, it’s just magnificent all the time. But we have to admit to a particular fondness for the French capital in autumn. The city parks look amazing and you have to stroll or cycle the Promenade Plantée, the colours are incredible. The Eiffel Tower’s new 200ft high glass floor is a must-see view of Paris for the fearless. The world’s largest catacombs are a sinister and strangely lovely Halloween experience. And for ‘only in Paris’ enchantment you want early evening on the narrow little streets of Le Marais with just the right hint of autumn mist in the air.


Canal cruise in Amsterdam

Canal cruise in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is almost impossibly pretty for Half-Term. There’s something about the combination of bridges, canals  and tall, narrow row houses that works late October like nowhere else. It’s never a quiet city, but in this space before winter you can happily be a tourist. Canal cruises are great fun for kids. You can cycle everywhere. The Albert Cuypmarkt is a must for ardent foodies. Gorgeously quaint  De 9 Straatjes’ wonderful little shops are even more seductive lit up on a late autumn afternoon. Eating outside is still a thing (just wrap up a bit). And, as usual in this famously child-centred city, the museums, galleries, gardens and parks have plenty of events planned.

We think top marks go to us for those five Half-Term picks. But if you’re not sure, have a look at HouseTrip to see the other seven. They’re all great and they’re up to 50% off the summer price for Half Term only.

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