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Top Ten City Breaks For Families

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Check out my top ten city breaks for families, with plenty of activities for both adults and kids to enjoy.


City breaks for families should be embraced. Describing ancient Rome to your kids is so much easier when you are inside the Colosseum. Barcelona no longer becomes just a football club and tapas become something they enjoy eating. Talk about World War Two or the Cold War at home and you will probably be ignored – however, in Berlin its fascinating. 

Top ten city breaks for families

City breaks are the best way for kids to understand different cultures, taste new foods and enjoy some quality family time. You will be together 24/7 without kids clubs, pool games and only each other to talk to. Sitting down for a nice meal at the end of a days sightseeing, listening to your kids describing the highlights of their day, is very rewarding.
However, there are only so many museums kids can take. You do need to make sure there are some ‘cool’ things for them to see too. I have some tips for taking kids on city breaks  which you might find useful, and in my list below, you will find my top ten city breaks for families. 




Top ten city breaks for families

Berlin has so much to see, you could easily spend a week here. The DDR museum is a good choice for families as it is an interactive museum where kids are encouraged to touch things and interact. Checkpoint Charlie will be popular with teenagers, they can even get their photo taken with armed guards!


The National History Museum has three huge dinosaur skeletons, including the largest skeleton in the world, and there are numerous technology and science museums that are very child friendly. There is also a Lego Discovery Centre, a fantastic Zoo, and if travelling in the Summer, the outdoor waterpark at Friedrichstein is worth a visit.

Read: My travel guide to Berlin




Tom ten city breaks for families

This is a great value city break and one that usually guarantees balmy temperatures. The trams make everything so accessible and it is home to Europe’s largest Aquarium. Take the train to nearby Sintra and visit Quinta de Regaleira, the medieval castle full of dungeons and dragons. My kids thought they were in Hogwarts and loved it. You are on the coast so a day at the beach is also possible. 

Read: Cascais and the Lisbon Coast 




City Breaks for families - London

Right on our doorstep, London is a great city for a family break. Check out the London Dungeon and Tower Bridge, visit the Harry Potter Experience, or spend a day in Legoland. And if your kids are like mine, they will love seeing Big Ben and taking a spin on the London Eye.



Los Angeles

city breaks for families

So this might seem like a long way to go for a city break, but with so many direct flights from Dublin airport, it is more attainable now than ever. Kids will love seeing Hollywood boulevard, the stars on the sidewalk, as well as their favourite characters dressed up. It is also home to Universal Studios, Disneyland California and the California Science Centre. We combined a stay in Los Angeles with a great California road trip,  it was one of our favourite family holidays.

Read: Our California road trip.




 ten city breaks for families

The gateway to Lake Garda, Verona is ideal for city breaks for families. In Verona you can’t miss the amazing amphitheatre and Juliet’s balcony, while kids will love trying watersports on the lake. Like most cities in Italy, kids will receive a warm welcome in the Italian bars and restaurants, and the city has a ‘holiday resort’ feel to it. For a great day out, take a trip to the nearby themepark, Gardaland. Full of rollercoasters, water rides and shows, it is a great day out for all the family.




DIsneyland Paris at Christmas time - great city break for families 

Disneyland Paris is a reason in itself to warrant an inclusion on this list of best city breaks for families. We visited Disneyland Paris at Christmastime and it was magical. However, there are also plenty of other things that kids will love, particularly the Eiffel Tower, and a cruise on the Seine. A Parisian food tour is a great way to see the city on foot and gives kids something to look forward to, as you stop in various chocolate and pastry shops along the way. 

Read: Top tips for visiting Disneyland Paris at Christmas time




best city breaks for families - barcelona is close to portaventura 

Where else will you find a beach, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, Europe’s largest themepark, PortAventura, and some of Spain’s best tapas bars? Barcelona definitely ticks all boxes for a family city break. It can get very crowded in July and August so my advice is go off peak, and don’t miss a day out in PortAventura.

Read: 10 reasons to visit PortAventura 



New York


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Older kids will want to shop, younger kids will think they are in the movies, and as for adults, well you will just be happy to be in New York! Climb to the Top of the Rock, go ice skating in Central Park, take a tour of the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, and pay a visit to the massive Lego Store at the Rockefeller Centre. They are just a small sample of what families will enjoy in New York. TOP TIP: If you plan on shopping and are bringing a relatively empty suitcase, pack a cheap scooter from your local toy shop. Kids will love to scoot around the city and if you have to leave it there, so be it!  

Read: 12 things to do with kids in New York




things to do with kids in Dubai

Waterparks galore, Palm Island, aquariums, desert safaris, and even skiing – there is nothing you can’t do in Dubai. They have just opened the world’s largest indoor theme park and it is a whopping 1.5 million square feet! Being completely enclosed, it will offer a welcome relief from the hot temperatures. Expect a Dinosaur adventure zone, MARVEL superhero zone with thrilling rides, live shows, movies and lots more. Of course in Dubai, kids will love to spend time on some of the world’s best beaches. We had a fabulous few days in Dubai with the kids, it is certainly one of my top recommendations for city breaks for families.

Read: Top tips for family holidays in Dubai




Tom ten city breaks for families

Copenhagen is a great city break during the winter time, particularly at Halloween or Christmas. Tivoli Gardens, the world’s oldest theme park is home to roller-coasters, family rides, an aquarium, restaurants and has regular fire work displays. It closes down for weeks before Halloween and Christmas to prepare for the festivities and is decorated with 120,000 lights. It is magical experience for adults and kids. 

Read: My city guide to Copenhagen


So now that you have seen my top ten city breaks for families, let me know which one is your favourite, by commenting below.


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The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

City BreaksEuropeTravel TipsTraveling With Kids

Top 10 tips for taking kids on city breaks

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Check out my top 10 tips for taking kids on city breaks and get planning your next weekend break away.


Taking kids on city breaks may not be as daunting as you might think. Airfares are so low to many European cities, so it would be a shame to not take advantage of them – well thats my excuse anyway! Travel broadens the mind and is extremely educational for children. They will learn new cultures, see famous landmarks, try new foods and who knows, may even learn a bit if history too! Hopefully my handy tips and tricks will see you will jetting off on a family city break in no time.


1. Choose your city wisely.

The ideal choice when taking kids on city breaks is to choose a city that you have already been to, and you would like revisit. You won’t feel it necessary to see all the top attractions the second time round and you will have a more relaxed trip. Failing that, choose a small city where you don’t have ten ‘must see’ sights to see, because no matter how well behaved your children are, there are only so many museums and monuments that kids can take…

tips for taking kids on city breaks


2. Get your kids excited before you go.

Find something that you know they would be interested in and focus on that. Perhaps there is a famous landmark, a football stadium, a theme park or an aquarium that you know they would be excited to see. Google famous films made in that city and watch a movie together before you. 


3. Choose good flight times when taking kids on city breaks.

Very early starts are ok if your kids will sleep on the plane, but if this is not likely, then try to choose day time flights. Many hotels won’t have your room ready till 2pm anyway, so arriving at 11 am, after being asked ‘are we nearly there’ ten times, only to be told to come back in a few hours, is not ideal! On your last day all kids want to do is go to the airport, so try to get an early flight home and avoid hanging around. That €20 you think you are saving by coming back on a later flight, trust me you will spend it ten times over!



4. Choose your hotel wisely.

Try to choose a hotel that is centrally located, so you can walk to restaurants in the evening and sights during the day. Kids get tired and bored on buses and trains, so avoid these where possible. If you can, try to get a hotel with a pool. It is a great incentive when out walking all day, to reward your children with a swim in the evening before you go to dinner.


5. Get the kids involved.

Give them maps and let them help plan your day. Try to encourage your children to take selfies front of famous landmarks and bring them back and show their friends or teachers.

Tom ten city breaks for families

6. Choose museums that are interactive or child friendly.

The ‘please do not touch’ museums don’t work out so well! There are usually technology, science or transport museums in most cities, that everyone can enjoy. Boat trips can also be something that will appeal to adults and kids.


7. Plan one thing to do each day that interests them.

Try to fit some sightseeing in the morning while your children are fresh. Plan an activity for them in the afternoon, a visit to a park, zoo or kids attraction.


8. Bring portable toys, buggies or even scooters!

Bring pocket colouring books, lego, smart phones, tablets or anything that fits into a backpack. When you are taking time out for a coffee or standing in line in a queue, they can come in very handy. A Verbatim MEDIA SHARE is much handier than a portable DVD player. It creates it’s own wifi network so kids can watch movies on their tablets or phones, anywhere – just remember to bring headphones! It is great to have on the plane, in restaurants or even in museums where kids usually get bored. Depending on your children’s ages you may want to bring buggies too. If they are old enough a fold up scooter can be a great asset to get around a big city.

tips for taking kids on city breaks


9. Try something new.

Children will visit lots of aquariums, zoos or even theme parks in their lifetime, so do something different that they will remember the trip for. Maybe its something simple like eating the local street food, or taking a tuk-tuk ride around the city, but do something that you would not do in your own home town.


10. Relax and enjoy it!

Don’t stress out if you can’t ‘fit it all in’. Enjoy taking kids on city breaks,and if you love the city that much, you can always come back!



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The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery



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