City breaks are perfect for couples and groups of friends right? Well, yes, but we are firm believers in going on a city break with the family too. There are so many child-friendly cities around the world, with fun places to go from parks and museums to castles and zoos. We asked some of our favourite family travel bloggers to share their favourite child-friendly city with us…
Paris – picked by Fritha from Tigerlilly Quinn
“I absolutely love Paris for travelling with children In fact I’d say it’s the easiest place we’ve ever travelled too with our son Wilf (4). The first thing that appealed to us was just how easy it was to get around. We initially went when our son was two and a half (although we’ve visited a couple of times since then too) and we used a fold up pushchair we could quickly collapse it and hop on and off the Metro with ease. Whilst Paris has tons to offer for children (I’d recommend sailing boats at the Jardin de Luxembourg) the thing we loved the most were the (very well maintained) playgrounds on almost every street corner. Children are also very welcome in cafes and restaurants and we stayed in a AirBnb that also had a children’s room which was brilliant!”
Copenhagen – picked by Cathy from Mummy Travels
“You might not the same kind of fussing over kids as in the Mediterranean but Denmark’s attitude is that smaller visitors should be just as welcome as their parents, so Copenhagen is fantastic even with toddlers and babies. There’s loads to see and do, from the Tivoli Gardens amusement park to canal cruises, the Little Mermaid, child-friendly museums, a large helping of Hans Christian Andersen and the Lego store. Even the metro has lifts down to the platforms. We stayed in an Air BnB – it was in Islands Brygge which was lovely – quite residential, very peaceful and easy to get into the centre with metro or on foot.
Mexico City – picked by Katja from Globe Totting
“Given that Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities, it might not immediately appeal as a family destination. But in reality, Mexico’s capital is a fascinating city for parents and kids with lots to see and do. Climb ancient pyramids, float along the colourful canals at Xochimilco, pay a visit to Frida Kahlo’s house or simply walk through the central Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Forest), one of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere. And when you’ve had your fill of history and culture, there’s the very innovative and very fun, Papalote, Museo del Nino (the Children’s Museum), which children are guaranteed to love.”
STAY AT: The Red Tree House, Condesa – this popular B&B is located in one of Mexico City’s best neighbourhoods, filled with tree-lined streets and Art Deco buildings.
Read more about Katja Gaskell’s adventures over on globetotting.com.
Salzburg – picked by Sarah from The Family Travel Times
“Salzburg is a brilliant place for a family trip, as it’s beautiful, easily walkable with lots to see, delicious food to eat, and something for everyone. Firstly, of course, there’s the Sound of Music, and all the real-life locations you can explore, particularly the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. If you have time, hop on a bus and visit the Hellbrunn summer palace as you can see the gazebo where Rolf sang to Liesl, but also enjoy the most fantastic trick fountains which you will all love (but bring a change of clothes for the kids…) Back in the city, the music connection continues with Mozart, who seems to be everywhere – from the font where he was baptised in the magnificent Cathedral to the house where he grew up. You won’t be able to miss the wonderful views of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the biggest castle in central Europe, which overlooks the city, and we’d definitely recommend taking the funicular railway to the top and enjoying the views. You can also visit the museum while you’re there. If you’re lucky enough to have more than a day or two, you need to add some art to your itinerary, plus the museum of natural history and Salzburg Zoo,. This city is brilliant at understanding children and lots of the museums have special children’s programmes or tours. We took a family walking tour with the Salzburg Experience, and loved it.”
Read more from Sarah and her kids Jess and Robert, aged 14 and 10 on their blog.
Singapore – picked by Nisbah from Five Adventurers
“We have travelled over the Far East extensively but one place which has always stood out for family friendliness is Singapore. The city is a fantastic fusion of East meets West with many Asian traditions thriving in the country but without a huge culture shock for first time visitors an especially children to this part of the world. Singapore is stunning with beautiful buildings, culture, friendly people, gorgeous food and activities galore. A highlight for families is Sentosa which is a small island off Singapore’s mainland literally jam-packed with family focused activities with Ziplines (that even a 2 year old can do) to Universal studios to the Luge. Back on the mainland, our pick would be Singapore Zoo, The Night Safari, Merlion and the futuristic (and free!) Gardens by the Bay. Singapore is often overlooked as lacking some of the appeal of its neighbouring nations but for a family holiday with children of all ages, you will be spoilt for choice and have a great time. The city has a fantastic infrastructure and you can fit so much into a few days! We have stayed in both the mainland and Sentosa.
STAY AT: On the mainland, the Pan Pacific or Mandarin Oriental are fantastic hotel for family travellers, located at Marina Bay. If however, you want to escape the city but still only be under 20 minutes away from the action, Sentosa has some greats hotels which have gorgeous swimming pools and slides to give the children lots of hours of fun, when you are not exploring. We have stayed at both the Sofitel Sentosa Resort and Spa and also the Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa and both are highly recommended.
Barcelona – picked by Sarah from Extraordinary Chaos
“Barcelona is a wonderful place to take the family there is so much to see and do and children are welcomed with open arms.
Parc De Guell is the most wonderful park, the colourful architecture and amazing atmosphere with stunning views over Barcelona is the perfect place to spend the day and enjoy a picnic. Whilst Camp Nou is every football fans dream, and they have a champagne bar for us not so keen on football. We also loved Las Rambla and the boys spend ages marvelling at the street entertainers as we wander through the streets, or stop to enjoy tapas over looking the square on the Plaça Reial.”
STAY AT: The Novotel City Centre – it is a great location and has a pool on the roof to cool down after a day sightseeing.
And the Space In Your Case team recommend….
Edinburgh – picked by Penny
“Edinburgh is such a great city for family breaks; compact, easy to navigate, bursting with history, incredible attractions and museums. You are spoilt for choice for great places to eat and there are plenty of open spaces for kids to run free. The castle is a great place to start, we loved Our Dynamic Earth and Camera Obscura. The Malmaison is a former sailor’s hostel – or house of ill repute if you read the Malmaison introduction to the hotel – in trendy Leith, just a hop on the bus from the centre of Edinburgh. In my head Malmaison hotels are where you take the other half for a cheeky weekend break without the kids, but it turns out the Malmaison is a perfect base for exploring Edinburgh as a family.”
STOCKHOLM – Picked by Katie
“Stockholm is a fantastic city to take children and the Swedish are so incredibly friendly. People are often put off thinking that it is really expensive to visit, but if you look off the beaten track you will find some amazing places to eat and explore. We loved K25 which is a big warehouse serving hundreds of different street food vendors and Junibacken is a fantastic child museum based on some popular Swedish authors. We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Kung Carl which was nice and central.”
LONDON – picked by Helen
“Living close to London, we rather tend to take it for granted, and don’t stop to enjoy what visitors from further afield see. But we recently spent a weekend in the city and it opened my eyes to how brilliantly set-up it is for families. We finally took the London Duck tour
we’d been planning to do for a long time. More on that another time, but I thoroughly recommend it. Our guide was knowledgeable and funny, and the 90 minutes flew by. We also spent a happy hour exploring the South Bank and Wonderground
, a slightly expensive-for-what-it-is, but nonetheless fun-for-an-hour attraction that saw the kids travel way higher than I ever would without the benefit of a jet engine and a lifejacket. There’s also Covent Garden, Leicester Square’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, China Town, and the shops of Regent and Oxford Streets to keep you busy. And if your feet get tired of pounding the pavement, the children always love a ride on the top of a London bus! We stayed at the Amba Hotel
at Charing Cross, which is perfectly placed for all of the above fun.”
NEW YORK – picked by Alison
“New York is the city that never sleeps, so it’s apt that it’s such a child-friendly place since so many kids refuse to sleep too! From the rowing boats in Central Park to museums-a-plenty with hands-on sessions (Museum of the City of New York and the American Museum of Natural History are great ones) you’ll never run out of fun activities. The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to take a boat trip and get views of the Statue of Liberty, all for the price of a Metro ticket. Don’t leave without paying a visit to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
, and if you visit between October and March, be sure to go to one of the many outdoor ice skating rinks like the one at the Rockefeller Center. A great place to stay is the Ritz Carlton Central Park
– it’s a short walk away from Fifth Avenue and makes getting around really easy.”
Which is your favourite city to visit, as a family?
Great post! A little bit further away obviously, but I would add Tokyo too. It’s definitely a fabulous place to visit with children, it’s like a different planet anyway, but there’s lots of child friendly stuff to see and do! My two loved it and want to go back again soon!
Fantastic ideas – thank you! We are very much looking forward to planning a Scandinavian extravaganza next year so reading the Copenhagen and Stockholm posts especially.
Love this so much. It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Salzburg with my family (I was brought up on the Sound of Music and all things Julie Andrews!) My husband has promised me a trip for our 20th anniversary – so I am very excited (though I think he is less so!) These other places are obviously all on my bucket list too – but unfortunately our budget is limited so we tend to do most of our family breaks in the UK. Though admittedly it’s not as glamorous as New York, we always have a lot of fun! We like city breaks especially because there’s always so much to do that everyone can enjoy! We’re actually going to Birmingham in a couple of weeks time to go to the Sea Life Centre and Cadbury’s World etc and the kids are so excited! We’re staying in the Park Regis hotel as it’s got a great reputation for families! Has anyone been? I’m so excited to go! Has anyone got any other recommendations for what we can do while we’re there? I’ve never been to Birmingham before so this is a new experience for me!
I would not pick New York.We went with a 2 year old and werent recieved well in so many places. People arnt child friendly and kinda stared at us like what we were thinking bringing a toddler. California is deffenitly a must with kids. So much to do.
Oh so sorry you had that experience. We’ve all been to New York and I know Katie found it wonderful with her young children, even her baby. Maybe we need to do a ‘toddler friendly’ tips list for New York! x