Where to go on a family city break this spring – plus top tips on city breaks with kids
A city break may not be the most obvious choice of holiday with children in tow. But children are naturally curious about the world and cities are full of discoveries, from hands-on museums and cool new parks to one-off attractions and tempting street food markets.
Don’t forget that there are five bank holidays in England to take advantage of if you are considering a city break this spring (15 April, 18 April, 2 May, 2 June and 3 June). Here are five great family city break options as well as some tried-and-tested family city break tips.
In spring, temperatures start to rise in Copenhagen and its parks and green spaces will be in bloom. Start with a walk down the city’s canals. Or for a treat, hire a GoBoat to explore on the water - the vessels have a picnic table so you can eat and drink on board too.
A visit to the magical Tivoli Gardens is a must as well. Take older children in the evening to see the attraction lit up. And allow for downtime in one of Copenhagen’s parks, such as Frederiksberg Gardens, where there’s a Chinese Pavilion, a boat service and wildlife to spot.
Our Chief Kids’ Officer, Wren, is travelling to New York with her family this spring and is looking forward to spotting all of the places she has seen in films and looking around “the biggest toy store ever”.
In April, temperatures creep into double figures in New York making sightseeing and playing in parks a delight. Plan a trip to Central Park to walk among the cherry blossoms, book tickets to a Broadway show then treat the brood to hotdogs or enormous New York-style pizzas.
If you visit the “Floating City” of Venice with kids in tow, you’ll discover just how magical it truly is through fresh sets of eyes. And, in spring, you’ll be able to explore with fewer crowds than during the summer months.
The city’s transport alone will excite your brood, whether you travel by vaporetto (water bus) or gondola. Add in a visit to the colourful island of Burano, or Murano to see glass being blown, followed by cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and gelato, and none of the brood will want to leave.
There aren’t many city break destinations where you can go whale watching in the morning and wallow in geothermal pools in the afternoon – but you can in Reykjavik. And while the weather may sometimes be unreliable, in spring the days are getting longer and temperatures are rising.
As well as being a place of adventure – think cycling and horse-riding – it’s also a place for mini historians, with attractions where you can all learn about Vikings, maritime history and geology.
You may be able to stroll around Dubrovnik in spring in shorts and a T-shirt as temperatures can reach 17C in April and 21C in May. And these temperatures are perfect for a potter along the city’s medieval walls or taking to the water on a sea kayaking adventure.
Once you’ve explored the city itself, you could all take a boat to Lokrum island to find its 11th-century Benedictine Monastery, or peek down at the city from above after a cable car ride to Mount Srđ (closed until the beginning of April 2022).
Top tips for family city breaks
- Don’t try to cram too much into one day as you’ll all get tired and cross. Prioritise one or two attractions a day and build in downtime in parks or indoor attractions where children can burn off energy.
- Think about the location of your accommodation. On a city break it may be worth staying centrally to save time and money on transport, and to prevent little legs getting tired. But do a little research on the area you pick first to make sure it’s not noisy at night.
- Involve your kids in some of the planning and read about your destination before you set off so you are all excited when you arrive.
- Set younger children an I-spy challenge for the city to distract them on longer walks. Buy older children a travel journal or let them use your camera/phone to document your trip as a memory for you all.
- Do some research on family-friendly attractions and places to eat ahead of your trip so you arrive with a loose plan. But don’t be afraid to deviate from it if you make a great family discovery, though.