Family Travel Navigator – July 2015

Cape Weligama Sri Lanka

We’ve scoured the world for the best family destinations and resorts, new openings, great offerings and unusual holiday ideas to bring you the latest Mr Fox family holiday hit list…

Whether you are yet to book this summer’s getaway or are one of those organised families who are already booking ahead for October half term and Christmas, carve out a few moments to daydream through our pick of the best family-friendly resorts, hotels and destinations. From lickety-split exotica in Sri Lanka, to a Finnish fling on the water, a Sicilian Summer camp for football fanatics and a new family hideaway in Cambodia, we’ve dug out some new and unusual holiday ideas for families to get you through summer and beyond…

Under The Midnight Sun: On The Water in Finland

Finland lakes family holiday

After long, dark winters, it’s no surprise that Finns take their summer pretty seriously. But while they are busy dancing at festivals under midnight sun (you’ll certainly want to pack black out blinds to get the kids to stay in bed) you can rent a summer cabin in Lakeland on the water’s edge and while away quiet days boating, canoeing, fishing and taking saunas. Boating on the still night water in the eery salmon sunlight is quite a mesmerising thing. For more action, sail the Finnish archipelago along the Baltic coast, where you can explore the 80 thousand Åland islands, blessed with light winds and calm seas, the ideal family adventure.

Summer Camps For The Tech Generation: FireTech, UK

Firetech Camps

Do you have a tech geek on your hands over the holidays? Sign them up for some summer camp courses with FireTech. There is a week long residential course at Wycombe Abbey for kids aged 12+ which covers coding games with Java and robotics, but younger kids (8+) can pick from day courses in anything from CAD to Rapid Prototyping, app design, 3D printing or robotics with Lego Mindstorms. You never know, they might build an app you can retire on.

Family Fling: Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka family destination

It might not leap out as a family friendly destination but, get past the teeth-grinding 10-hour flight and you get a lot of bang for your buck at Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka’s slickest family resort, which opened in October 2014. On a wind-swept headland in the south of the country, 40 beach villas sit within eight ‘wattas’ (Sinhalese for garden) each with its own private swimming pool. Younger children can take swimming lessons at the Cove Pool, and chase the roaming ice cream cart around the grounds, while older kids can try kayaking on nearby lake Koggala, learn to surf in Weligama Bay or take a PADI diving course. Once you have caught up on the time-difference, explore the local area cycling through Paddy fields, big game fishing or whale and dolphin-watching. Cultural guides are on hand for family tours of Uda, Walawe and Yala National Park where you can spot elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, and Sri Lanka’s infamous leopards. The best time of year is post-Monsoon November-December, so book ahead now. Time flies.

Sports Stars: Juventus Football Academy, Verdura, Sicily 

Juventus Verdura Sicily

While you catch up on critical tanning poolside at Sicily’s smartest family resort, Rocco Forte’s Verdura, your aspiring footballers can get thoroughly stuck in with professional training from Juventus coaches on a full-size pitch. For 3 hours a day they cover everything from briefings about training goals, psychomotor activation and stretching, to learning exercises for improving technical skills, ending each session with a match to test their new skills. All kids will be given full Juventus Summer Football Academy gear to train in. (A four day programme for 5–16 year olds costs €350, courses run from 1st July to 2nd September)

Rumour Has It: Phum Baitang, Cambodia

Phum Baitang Cambodia

Due to open in September in Siem Reap, Phum Baitang is the second property of Arnaud Zannier (the first is a luxury ski chalet in Megève). ‘The Green Village’, will have 45 private villas and is well placed for exploring the Angkor region, as well as offering a plethora of family activities: from cooking classes for the family, to an Angkor discovery tour or rice-harvesting activities. So while the kids are wading in the paddy fields, you can retreat to the pool, or throw a few shapes in the yoga pavilion. Adventure without discomfort? Perfect.