These lively holiday ideas from parasailing to hang gliding will give your family a real adrenalin rush
Paddling in the sea and building sandcastles may have timeless appeal – and yet there comes a time when your family will be ready for a little more action. Children will then thrive on the opportunities to exert their independence and have a holiday without parents.
Run along the lines of a US summer camp, at Camp Beaumont children from seven years (there are also non-residential Playtime Camps for children from three years) can participate in up to six activities every day and experience the thrills of over 40 activities from climbing and quad biking to caving. There are 12 camps across London and the southeast and children can also focus on a favourite activity with a specialist holiday like horse riding, tennis, football and fashion.
For the most adventurous, children aged ten and over can try the action-packed Adrenaline Extreme holiday: tackle the Giant Zipwire, courageously conquer the Leap of Faith, traverse a lake, build rafts, see how high you can get in Crate Stack, experience the 3G Swing and head off site for an extreme trip into the woods. Prices for a 2011 Camp Beaumont week-long holiday start from £429 per child.
Center Parcs is ideal for outdoorsy types who like a bit of family adventure. Whizzing around on bikes is de rigueur, but for a real adrenaline rush, try abseiling, aerial climbing, dirt buggies and night-time tree-trekking. For added adventure, stay in a new two-storey treehouse at Sherwood Forest. From £1,499 per night for up to eight people.
There’s more adventure on offer from PGL – and the adrenaline rush is for all the family. At Château Du Tertre, in Normandy, a typical week’s itinerary might include archery, trapeze, canoeing, abseiling, climbing, fencing and raft building. Staying in a 19th-century chateau, a week costs from £345 per adult, £159 for children two to five, and £309 for six to 18-year-olds. PGL has also teamed up with Eurocamp to offer optional add-on Action Station activities (for children seven-plus) to its holidays at two French parks with challenges from zipwires to climbing.
If you fancy some Alpine action, the Tyrolian resort of Mayrhofen in Austria offers everything from gentle family fun to extreme adventure. The Ahorn and Penken lifts will take you up to 200km of walking, mountain play parks, wild-bird displays and panoramic picnic spots. Down in the valley, there’s a choice of tennis, outdoor swimming in pools and lakes, and horse riding, as well as more adventurous pursuits like summer skiing on the Hintertux glacier and rafting. Stay at the four-star Hotel Neuhaus with Inghams (www.inghams.co.uk). Prices from £589 per adult; £175 per child, based on seven nights’ half board.
If you fancy getting your palpitations from the close proximity of a volcano (albeit a dormant one), how about a holiday at Auvergne Naturelle in the Haute-Loire region of France? There are 80 dormant volcanoes in the region, all with breathtaking views and excellent take-off points for parasailing and hang gliding. Vulcania amusement park, just outside Clermont Ferrand, is also a great day out. Accommodation at Auvergne Naturelle is in a luxurious yurt, with plenty of activities from woodland crafts and fire-making to gentle wildlife walks and a visit to a delightful fairy garden. A seven-night stay costs £585 for two adults and two children in a yurt.
Explore our Travel section for more wonderful holiday ideas.