May half-term is almost here. Easter is only just behind us and yet another week off school looms and once again parents across the country will scratch their heads, wondering how to fill it.

If, like me, you’re fed up of spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on days out in the UK (transport, entry costs, picnics, gift shop toys and emergency service station snacks), then this year why not consider channelling all that effort and cash into one, glorious, memorable break instead.


Adventure time

What do you get if you cross Bridgerton with Bear Grylls? The answer: PGL Adventure Camp at Caythorpe Court in Lincolnshire. On a four-night break there, you can try out dozens of activities including abseiling, archery, canoeing, challenge courses, climbing, fencing, high ropes and … axe throwing (what could go wrong?). Evenings are spent in the Grade II-listed historical hall, where delicious communal suppers are served, followed by more games and campfires. Book a stay in the mansion or a cosy cabin in the 65-acre grounds - either way it’s a sleepover the kids will remember forever.

How to do it: A four-night holiday costs from £658 in a family room, including three daily meals and all activities. There’s currently 15% off if you use code 101HOL24 when booking for a summer holiday or October half-term camp, with PGL Adventure Camp.

Seaside special

If you fancy heading to the coast this half-term (the weather has to start warming up soon, right?) then three-storey Albatross, a perfect Cornish cottage perched on the harbour at Sennen Cove, is still available. Combining all my seaside home fantasies in one neat package, it has three bedrooms (including a cosy attic room), a real stone fire place, wood floors and epic sea views. Oh, and it’s dog-friendly if you want to travel with your pooch.

Albatross - Classic Cottages

How to do it: Four-night break (24-27 May), from £1,056, with Classic Cottages.

Park life

Springfield Lodge at Springfield Holiday Park in Devon could be just what you need if you’re looking for a brilliant base that appeals to all the family. Sleeping four, it’s modern, spotless and comes with two bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen-diner and light-filled lounge. But it’s the nearby facilities the kids will be interested in, including a swimming pool, play area and games room with table tennis and pool table. Close to the coast, Dartmoor National Park and Exeter city, you’re not going to be bored for a second here.

Springfield_Lodge - Helpful Holidays

How to do it: Seven nights from £803 based on four sharing (25 May-1 June), through Helpful Holidays.

Rural idyll

Want to stay somewhere that looks like it’s in a fairy-tale? If it’s a yes, then you’d better snap up a week at Far Away Cottage, a stone-built, chocolate-box getaway on the edge of Abergavenny in the Brecon Beacons. If you can drag yourself away from the pretty cottage and garden (think wood burner, shelves of books, fire pit and a tumble of shrubs and plants) then there are mountains to explore, pony treks, and walking trails right from the door.

Far_Away_Cottage - Holiday Cottages

How to do it: Seven nights from £680 per week (available from 24 May), sleeps four, with Holiday Cottages.

Northern exposure

Creel Cottage in Northumberland is a real find. A former fisherman’s cottage, it’s so tastefully decorated you’ll want to spend time indoors in the cosy lounge and kitchen (kids will love the bunk beds), as well as exploring the local area which includes trips from the harbour across to the Farne Islands, discovering the town of Seahouses and walking the coastal path to nearby Bamburgh and its famous castle.

Creel_Cottage_Castle  - Cottages In Northumberland

How to do it: From £957 per week based on four sharing from 25 May, through Cottages in Northumberland.


Villa thriller

If your idea of half-term heaven is relaxing with the fam in a gorgeous villa on the Côte d’Azur (and I know it’s mine), then take a look at Maison Fleur, which is currently available from 25 May. Modern, stylish and oh so private, up to eight of you can romp around the spacious living room, TV room, four bedrooms, pool and outdoor kitchen. Cannes, Antibes and Nice beaches are a short drive away and maid service is included. What are you waiting for?

Maison Fleur, CV Villas

How to do it: Seven nights costs £1,189pp (25 May-1 April) including 10% off and return flights from London with CV Villas.

Cruise control

A self-drive, self-catering boating holiday is a great way to bond as a family, particularly if you’re exploring some of France’s scenic canals and waterways. Appoint yourself Captain, naturally, and get the kids to muck in with life on the water, assisting at locks and spotting hazards (and wildlife) along the way. Nicols Boating Hire has some fun choices - I’ve got my eye on a journey along the Canal du Midi, which links the Atlantic to the Med and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it’s safe to say the sightseeing is next level.

Boating Holidays France 2 - Nicols

How to do it: Boat hire with Nicols costs from €1,308 for a family of four departing 25 May.

Peak performance

If you thought mountains were only for winter, think again. They can be even more entertaining in summer if you’re an active family. Peak Retreats has some fantastic apartments and chalets in Chamonix, a popular resort set at the foot of Mont Blanc and overlooking a valley ideal for hiking, biking and exploring a vast wildlife park. Book an apartment at Le Cristal de Jade for your crew and you’ll also get to enjoy an indoor heated pool, hot tub, sauna, kids’ area and underground parking.

Le Cristal De Jade, Chamonix - Exterior - Peak Retreats

How to do it: Seven nights self-catering in a two-bedroom apartment costs from £275pp (arriving 25 May), based on four sharing, including DFDS ferry crossing, with Peak Retreats.

Village life

If you want to immerse yourselves in French life this half term (ideal for teens studying languages), book Petite Shambhala (sleeps 4), a newly-restored village house in the Dordogne. This charming little oasis is filled with the owner’s art, has a walled courtyard and riverside garden, the perfect spot for picnics beneath a fig tree. It’s self-catering, but with Saint-Émilion and Bordeaux close by, good food and wine are just a short journey away and the ideal places to test out that GCSE French.


How to do it: Petite Shambhala costs from £1,602 per week (available 25 May-1 June including a 20% discount) with Oliver’s Travels.

Your own private pool

If there's one thing that makes children of all ages say they had a 'brilliant holiday', it's a private swimming pool. Handily, Mas St Siffrein, a gorgeous three-bedroom villa in Provence, has its own fenced-in pool lined with loungers to splash/jump/dive in, meaning entertainment is pretty much sorted for the week. When you can manage to drag the kids away from the aquatics, there's a lot to discover in the surrounding area, including Avignon (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and hikes on Mont Ventoux.

Vintage Travel - Mas St Siffrein - Pool

How to do it: A week’s rental costs from £1,345 based on six people sharing from 25 May with Vintage Travel.

Visit 101 Holidays for more May half-term holiday ideas.