Family Travel Navigator: September 2015

Per Aquum Niyama

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

From style-setting Soho House’s foray into the countryside, to a new heli-glamping Cloud Camp in the Canadian outback, there are so many awesome travel temptations out there that we’ve had to lock our passports away. Check out our pick of the best openings, offers and ideas for travel savvy families: then simply check-in.

The Good Life: Soho Farmhouse

Soho Farmhouse cabin

The most anticipated UK opening of 2015, this latest outpost from the Soho House empire, Soho Farmhouse, is found on the outskirts of a sleepy Cotswold village – Great Tew, in Oxfordshire. For privacy (at a price) book the four-bedroom cottage or seven-bedroom farmhouse. But for the excitement of staying in your own Anne of Green Gables film-set, nab one of the 40 cabins set along a river, which is home to a bunch of wholesome, outdoorsy family activities.

Cosy down with a wood burning stove, kick back in the rocking chair on the veranda, sink into a hot steel bath and gorge yourselves on a ton of pitch perfect snacks – plus liquor for the grown-ups. There’s an ice skating rink in winter, a cinema, an outdoor pool built right next to a lake, ten horses, a kid’s club and, best of all, acres of fields to explore and streams to paddle through. Girls can get their hair braided at the Josh Wood hair salon and the pedicures are legendary.

This is ranch-style living, turbo boosted. Most importantly, the service is superior to the hipper-than-thou attitude almost as guaranteed with Soho House as rough cut wood and metro-tiled bathrooms. One for cool kids – pack your Hunters.

Island Hop: Niyama Per Aquum, Maldives

Niyama Per Aquum Explorer Club

If you love Huvafen Fushi but want to try something new with little ones in tow, check out Niyama Per Aquum. The new Scott Dunn Explorer kids’ club caters to children from 1-12, and makes this the only resort with a club for children under three in The Maldives.

With activities tailored by age group (‘tribes’) and the focus on outdoor play, there’s more than enough space to explore and ways to entertain them: including a trampoline, splash park and stage. Munch, the mini gourmet kitchen, offers cooking classes, dining and refreshments catered to the tribes’ different tastes. Stay in a new one-bedroom Beach Pool Suite or two-bedroom Family Beach Pavilion and don’t miss out on the new treetop restaurant, Nest where tropical birds call around you as you tuck into roasted banana ice cream.

Into The Wild: Clayoquot, Vancouver Island

Cloud Camp Clayoquot

If you’ve heard of Clayoquot on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island you will know two things: it’s the definitive family adventure – black bears, heli-hiking and all – and it’s bloody expensive. So it’s good to know that in the shoulder seasons of June and September, grandparents can come free. The idea is to get three generations celebrating their ‘Wildhood’ together and for kids to learn from the olds, who these days are younger and more adventurous than ever.

Children can ride out with cowgirls through forests of 1,000 year old cedar trees, go rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking and toast marshmallows around the campfire. Whatever you do, don’t forgo a night at the new and unparalleled Cloud Camp.

Arrive at the glamping site (complete with four-poster bed, down duvet, antique furniture, fireplace, and hot shower) by helicopter, along with your guide and chef, who sleep a discreet but safe distance away.

Alpine Adventure: Nira Montana, Italy

Nira Montana Family Skiing In Italy

Opened last December at the foot of Mont Blanc in La Thuile, Nira Montana is geared for families. In a quiet area of the Italian Dolomites, where pasta takes precedence over apres-ski, fearless children can have a crack at real alpine adventure when their legs are too tired to ski.

Up in the canopy of towering pines at Pres St Didier Adventure Park, in the Aosta Valley, watch them fly down zip wires, wobble across swinging rope bridges, and tackle tightropes under the tutelage of a mountain guide. Tailored to each child’s age and height, the two-hour course will channel their energy and gear them up for another feast back at the hotel.

In The Family Way: Abercrombie & Kent

A&K Sri Lanka Family Brochure

Another big-hitting tour operator has launched a dedicated family travel brochure for 15/16. A&K segregate their family offerings into Wildlife and Safari, Adventure and Activity, Culture & Education, Beach Resorts, Villas and Chalets. There’s plenty to pore over and some unusual ideas and destinations – but we flicked straight to October half term: elephant rides in Sri Lanka, anyone?