What makes our Perfect Family Holiday?


Holidays can seem a daunting thing when you have children. All of a sudden, that longed for break is more about ‘life as normal but in a prettier location’, but without all of the things that you have to hand at home to make life easier – toys, gadgets, TV – all of those parenting crutches are gone! We’ve had a few holidays as a family since our children came along, and there are certain things that we definitely look for to make our perfect family holiday.


A Home from Home

Pre-children we were all about a luxury hotel, but all of our holidays since Max came along have been villa holidays or cottages in the UK. I find the flexibility of having your own base so much easier – you don’t have to worry about upsetting other guests, or conforming to set meal times. Especially when you’re in continental Europe and dinner time is so late, I love that you can just whip up dinner on the BBQ at 5pm, pop the kids in bed, and relax on the terrace with a ¬†glass of wine. Tots to Travel family friendly holidays have a huge selection of villas which are perfectly set up for families with young children, and will provide all of the items you would have at home – cots, high chairs, kids cutlery, play areas, sterilisers. A great way to save on your packing!


Villa courtyard with table and chairs



Location is key for us. I’m not up for a long flight, so places like Italy, France, the Greek Islands, and Spain are ideal. The flight is short enough that it’s over before things really start to get difficult, and if you have your under two year old on your lap, it’s not too uncomfortable. UK holidays are also great – we love Cornwall, and, although it can be a long car drive, I find the fact that you have the flexibility to break it up means that it’s bearable with kids.


St Ives Harbour


Italy always tops our list for a family holiday due to the Italians’ love of children. Every time we visit, it makes me wonder whether we actually despise children in the UK. In Italy, Max has been welcomed anywhere we’ve gone and treated like a king. At home, I’m often conscious of his behaviour in restaurants and feel like I’m constantly asking him to keep his voice down, but the Italians don’t appear to be bothered by it at all and completely embrace his exuberant personality.



Good Company

I realised the other day that we’ve not actually had a full holiday since having children without my parents coming along too! I’m lucky that we get on with them, and having them around, even if it’s only for part of the holiday, is fantastic. More pairs of hands on deck is always welcome, and it means that we can sneak in a few child free nights as they are happy to babysit. If you rent a villa, often it’s not much more expensive for a 6 person villa than a 4, so it works out really well for us.


Good Food & Drink

Holidays are all about eating and drinking! Whether it’s eating out or having a BBQ, it’s a chance to break from the normal routine. Another reason why we love Italy – gelato, pizza, pasta, and t-bone steak! What’s not to love? And what’s a holiday without good wine to enjoy? I love relaxing in the evening with pre-dinner drinks, and a glass or two of red wine with dinner as the sun sets.


Gelato at San Gimignano


A Beach / A Pool

I’m definitely a sunshine holiday person, so a beach or a pool (or ideally both!) is essential. Max can be entertained on the beach for hours, making sandcastles and sending Daddy down to the sea to collect water for him, and there is something about being on the beach that relaxes me. I remember taking Max to the beach in St Ives in Cornwall when he was just 7 weeks old and paddling in the water with him.



Me, John and Max sat on blanket on pebble beach with blue skies


If you can’t have a beach, a pool is almost as good! Last year we rented a villa in Tuscany which had a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the Tuscan hills – the perfect spot to watch the sun set. If you’re concerned about a pool when you have young children, lots of villas will have the pool area secured to prevent children from wandering in.



Swimming pool with loungers set in olive grove


What makes your perfect family holiday? Villa or all-inclusive? Close to home, or far flung adventures? I’d love to know what kind of holiday works for your family!


Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Tots to Travel

  • Laura
    August 15, 2017

    I completely agree with you after having children we definitely wanted a home from home and have stayed in villas without too much travel. This year we hired a place with a pool and it was just amazing and gave us all so much fun and entertainment.

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 17, 2017

      I think we could spend the whole holiday by the pool, I love the endless cycle of sunbathe – dip in pool – dry off in the sun

  • Laura @dearbearandbeany
    August 15, 2017

    Villas are definitly the way forward for families I think. Our first family holiday abroad was to Portugal in a villa with our friends. Alice was only 13 months old and we could put the babies to bed and put on the bbq, it was lovely. Having our own pool was brilliant too for the babies x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 17, 2017

      I guess for people who don’t enjoy cooking it might not be so appealing! But we love a BBQ, and a quiet night in, so it works so well for us

  • Kira
    August 15, 2017

    We’ve never stayed in a villa . Might look into this for next year with having another little munchkin

  • Katy
    August 16, 2017

    You’ve just described my favourite type of holiday too. Home from home is most important for me now I think – you need it to be with kids don’t you? x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 17, 2017

      Absolutely! I find with a hotel I’m often on edge all the time about bothering other guests – with a villa you can just relax so much more.

  • Laura Dove
    August 17, 2017

    I totally agree with all of these, infact you’ve made me crave another holiday already! For me the biggest one is company, I could be anywhere in the world but if I wasn’t with my family it just wouldn’t be perfect. A villa is our idea of Heaven, we’d take along my parents for baby sitters! Hehe!

  • Michelle Twin Mum
    August 17, 2017

    Ohh yes I am with you. We are hoping to go to Italy next year and are pondering Vilas, friends of ours got a wonderful Air BnB over there earlier this year. The pool is the favourite part for my kids, they spend ages in there. Mich x

  • MudpieFridays
    August 20, 2017

    Thats brilliant that they have things like a steriliser too. Actually in the throws of packing for our Tuscan escape anything we don’t have to take with us is a real bonus. This will be our first villa holiday with the boys. We have always managed hotels up to now but with two its just too stressful. Love the young photo of max on the steps – so cute!! xx

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 21, 2017

      We always struggle with the packing aspect – there’s so much stuff when you have kids! Hope you have an amazing time – I’m looking forward to hearing what you got up to!

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