After the wet and dreary winter we’ve had, many of us will be desperate to head for the sun at Easter. The Mediterranean will be warming up nicely in April, but the further south you go the more likely you are to bask in sunshine and heat. Crete is a good bet. Not only does it enjoy a fabulous climate, but this gnarled island of mountains and gorges also boasts superb sandy beaches, some fine old harbour towns and, of course, the legendary lair of the Minotaur at Knossos. For independent-minded families, Cachet Travel offers a good selection of villas with private pools, while those is search of a luxury resort will find superb facilities at Daios Cove, including a Scott Dunn Explorers Club for children aged four months to 13 years.
Like Crete, Malta promises good weather over Easter – not the blistering heat you might expect during summer, but ideal temperatures for an activity holiday. Activities Abroad has a great-value seven-night Active Adventure holiday on the beautiful island of Gozo, featuring everything from climbing and abseiling to sea kayaking and scuba diving. It’s perfect if you have teenagers, but suitable for children as young as eight.
Another hotspot for Easter family holidays, Turkey’s Aegean Coast is the location of one of First Choice’s SplashWorld resorts – a wet ‘n’ wonderful selection of all-inclusive hotels with waterparks either onsite or close by. The Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa near Kusadasi boasts a range of sports, a kids’ club and no less than seven restaurants. But it’s the waterpark that children (and big kids) will make a beeline for. Water slides like the Viper, Screamer and X-Treme will see your waterbabes reaching speeds of 80km/h, while those who prefer calmer waters can kick back in the wave pool or lazy river. There’s also a special pirate-themed splash pool for littl’uns.
Offering good value and fine, not-too-hot weather at Easter, Morocco is just a three-hour flight from the UK. It’s ideal for families who want something a little bit different to a Mediterranean resort. Not that you’ll be left wanting for decent beaches. Morocco’s Atlantic coast has stunning, empty swathes of sand at resorts like Agadir, Essaouira and Oualidia. The surf is also excellent, while other activities range from trekking in the Atlas Mountains, camping under the stars in the Sahara or delving in the souks of Marrakech or Taroudant. Specialist operator Lawrence of Morocco can tailor-make your family holiday.
Sun-seeking at Easter is all well and good, but there’s a lot to be said for staying in the UK and snuggling up in a holiday cottage. Sheepskin has a small, but perfectly formed collection of properties (sleeping up to 10) in locations ranging from the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire to Shropshire, the Cotswolds and Peak District. Each stylish cottage is an idyllic base for exploring some of the most beautiful parts of the British countryside and enjoying family walks and other simple pleasures with the kids. Several properties have real ‘wow factor’ – the Red Kite Barn near Builth Wells, for example, is a contemporary, open-plan masterpiece which can be booked with a tree tent (featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces).
6. Feather Down Farms
If the prospect of camping in the UK at Easter leaves you cold, Feather Down Farms has several solutions for keeping you warm and cosy. Firstly, there are the tents themselves – large 45-square-metre canvas creations with wood-burning stoves, oil lanterns and beds piled with thick duvets. Ensuite toilets mean no traipsing outside in the middle of the night, while other ‘glamping’ touches include a sink, dining table and chairs, a real wooden floor and a sleeping snug for kids. Several sites even have hot tubs and pizza ovens. What will really bring a warm glow to your heart, however, is watching your children happily scamper outside each morning to collect eggs from your chicken coup or help the farmer milk his cows. With the lambing season underway, Easter is a wonderful time for children to spend time in the countryside. Choose from more than 30 Feather Down Farms, from Cornwall to Cumbria.