Many families are constantly having to manage the balancing of homework, play dates and after-school clubs alongside work commitments resulting in life feeling like one big juggling act. The joy of a quieter holiday is the inevitable quality time that comes with it. Instead of snatched conversations and meals on the go, there’s time to be together and reconnect as a family.

All in the balance

When it comes to accommodation, it's important to avoid larger resorts, (and anything theme-park adjacent!) These can sometimes be a little trickier to get right so look for providers that can help you book your accommodation and flights as a package. Doing everything in one place can make things much more straightforward and will probably save you some cash too!

That said, a quiet holiday doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel to far-flung corners of the world! Unless you’re up for an extreme Bear Grylls-style experience, you’re probably going to want to have access to some amenities and facilities whilst holding on to the feeling of getting away from it all. The key is getting the right balance. For inspiration, look for providers that offer flights and accommodation to interesting destinations that are outside of the busiest airports. For example, if you're thinking of heading to Spain and visit the Opodo website, you’ll see flights to Spanish cities such as Valencia which sees 2 million visitors a year compared to Barcelona’s 27 million - you see what we're getting at!

Finally, opt for destinations that offer a pace of life that's just that little bit more laid back and will give you space and time to enjoy as a family:


There are plenty of quieter coastal routes around Belfast, taking you through rugged headlands, rolling dunes, and sandy beaches. The Giant’s Causeway is a must-see when in Belfast. Although it’s a popular tourist attraction, if you head there earlier in the morning, it’s possible to find that you’re the only ones there which makes for a very atmospheric visit.


For a more serene atmosphere than other parts of Portugal, head to Faro’s old town where there are plenty of cobbled streets, and quieter cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Compared to the busier towns in the Algarve, Faro offers a more laid-back and tranquil vibe. The coastline is far quieter, with plenty of long sandy beaches and secluded coves which remain less frequented throughout the year.


Whilst France, Spain and Italy instantly spring to mind when it comes to European holidays, Germany often gets overlooked, making it the perfect destination for a quieter holiday. Germany even imposes quiet hours whereby loud noises and activities must be kept to a minimum between certain hours - bliss! Whilst the city centre is relatively lively, there’s still less hustle and bustle than in many European cities. Frankfurt offers plenty of tranquil parks and gardens and some peaceful riverside walks. For something even quieter, the mountain range of Taunus known for its geothermal springs and spa towns is a short drive away.

The little things that make a big difference

Whilst we’d love to convince ourselves that all we need is the open air and some sparkling conversation to keep everyone occupied, the reality is that you’re probably going to have to provide some kind of entertainment to keep everyone happy, particularly if you have to travel a little way before hitting your destination:

A little bag of wonder

A little bag of wonder is a great way to break up long journeys or periods of time. Have a bag filled with small novelty items. This could be a book, fidget toy, small Lego set, activity pack or even a snack or edible treat. Every so often, tell the children they can take something out of the little bag of wonder to play with. This will not only break up the time but is also a great way to incentivise and reward good behaviour!

Single-use cameras

Getting kids to take pictures is a great way to engage them with their surroundings. Using single-use or disposable cameras instead of a phone or digital device means time spent away from the screens and you’re not worrying about little hands dropping or damaging expensive tech. As you can’t immediately see the photos that have been taken, there’s also the joy of getting the photos developed once you’re home and reliving all those wonderful holiday memories.

Travel games

Board games are a must for any family holiday that’s a little on the remote side - we've even put together a list of some of the best. Using travel versions are less likely to take up space in the suitcase and they often use magnetic pieces which are perfect for playing on the go. Don’t forget good old-fashioned memory and observation games and a straightforward pack of playing cards will always come in handy no matter how old the kids are.

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In a world full of tech and screens it’s sometimes easy to forget about packing books. Take a trip to your local library beforehand to pick out a few. Reading on the go can sometimes cause travel sickness so consider taking audiobooks for long journeys. If you have avid readers in the family, e-readers are a great way to save some space, but you might want to pop a couple of paperbacks in there if you’re spending time on the beach or near the water.

Time well spent

If you’ve chosen to head for a quieter destination, chances are you’ll want to opt out of theme parks and busy attractions. Choose activities that encourage communication, reflection or working as a team, as well as being plenty of fun of course!

Visit an outdoor activity centre

Take a trip to a centre that offers pursuits such as whitewater rafting, abseiling or archery. Such activities are a lot of fun, can be done as a group and will give you plenty to talk about afterwards.

Make nature your playground

You can visit the National Trust website for some fantastic ideas of things to do in the open air. You’ll be amazed at how much fun children and even teenagers can have with a rope swing, some stepping stones across a river or on some safe rocks to clamber up and the best thing is it won’t cost you a penny.

Ration the tech

If you’re heading to a remote spot, there’s a good chance that you may not have access to Wi-Fi, which if you’ve got older children or teens, could be a blessing! That said a bit of screen time entertainment could come in handy if there’s any bad weather so consider downloading a couple of family films. There’s something rather lovely about a family film night on holiday, particularly whilst accompanying the film with some local delicacies and treats!

Build a fire

It doesn’t get much more wholesome than gathering around the campfire. Toasting marshmallows is always a winner or if you’re feeding the family over the open flame, take a look at some of our favourite recipes and tuck in under the stars!

Quality time

If you’re constantly backwards and forwards, living Monday to Friday in the fast lane, a holiday or getaway is the perfect opportunity to slow things down and enjoy some quality time together. For the most part, it’s about changing your mindset and slowing things down. If you’re going on a walk, take your time to appreciate your surroundings. If you’re having a meal, sit around the table together and make it a leisurely one. If you adopt this philosophy, it will certainly rub off on the kids and you’ll have plenty of memories to last a lifetime.

August 2023