As part of our weekly series Family Travel Tales, we pick the brains of some of the most inspirational travelling families, so they can share their top travel tips, bucket list of destinations and favourite travel memories.
This week, we are introducing you a family of five based in South London. Heledd and her husband Dominique have 3 girls with an unlimited passion towards travel, fashion and food.
1. What is the first trip you remember taking as a family?
The first trip we did as a family of five was to Greece. Iris my youngest was just four or five months old. We booked a Mark Warner holiday, which worked out really well, as they had a great kids club and brilliant facilities for babies as well, including offering sterilisers. We could go and try different sporting facilities as a family too, all included in the cost of the holiday.
2. Which are some of your most favourite destinations, activities, and hotels?
We do love Disney, having been to Paris once and Florida twice – and kids are desperate to go again! It is an exhausting holiday, but we love the adventures and memories we’ve made there. Having said that, I know that as long as it’s warm and there is a swimming pool, the kids are happy. We’ve had great trips to the South of France, Greece, Turkey and Spain and made some brilliant memories there too.
3. Any tips you would give to other family travellers?
Travelling with children is never going to be easy and I think you’ve got to go with this is mind. Travelling itself (in cars, trains or planes) can be boring so the biggest tip I’d say is to have some entertainment ready. I’m not a massive fan of tablets in restaurants, but they can be very useful when traveling.
4. Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Last year, when my kids were eight, six and three, we went to Barcelona – it was our first family city break. I was nervous, as I knew there would be a lot of walking and I wanted them all to appreciate it. Thankfully, it went really well. The kids embraced the food – they loved tapas and we went to the Picasso museum, which they all enjoyed. So it turned out to be a much better experience than I expected. It was tiring and we did a lot of walking, but we used the buses and tubes a lot too.
“I’m not a massive fan of tablets in restaurants, but they can be very useful when traveling. “
5. Tell us something unexpected that has happened to you on your travels
We had a lovely experience in Kalkan in Turkey with Simpson Travel. We booked to villa for a week and as part of the trip they included a day’s boat trip, which was unexpected and turned out to be the highlight of our holiday. We were able to jump in to the sea and swim with turtles and the food on board was delicious.
6. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?
I really want to take the children to Thailand. My husband and I went for our honeymoon and had the most amazing time. We have travelled a fair bit as a family, but never to the Far East. I know the kids would love it – especially the beautiful beaches.
7. Where is the best family meal you had in a restaurant?
When I think about the best family meals we’ve had, they seem to be pizza places. And it’s not because I’m a big pizza fan, but we always seem to like pizzas as a family. There was a pizza place in Kalkan called Foto’s Pizza that stands out. It was a pretty rooftop restaurants with amazing views out to sea and all they did were these amazing pizzas! Another stand-out pizza restaurant is Blaze Pizzas in Disney Springs (Orlando), they also make seriously good pizzas. Again it comes back to the kids being happy – when they’re happy, we’re all happy, which is why we also like restaurants (in London) that have The Kid’s Table.
8. What are your top 3 family friendly hotels or holiday homes?
As a family of five we do use Airbnb a lot. For us, it has been really successful and we’ve stayed in some lovely villas. For a family of five, a hotel room is always going to be a squash and hotel suites are lovely, but can be very expensive. Or hiring two rooms in a hotel – again expensive and I’m not too keen on that set up either. So for me, a villa works really well. So we’ve used Airbnb a lot and stayed in some beautiful places with stunning views and private pools. In terms of hotels though, we did stay at the Sofitel Dubai The Palm, where we had a suite on a half-board basis, which was brilliant. Also in Kalkan (Turkey), we stayed in a great villa with Simpson Travel, which is a very family-friendly travel company.
9. If you had a bucket list of 5 destinations to discover with your children, what would be on the list?
We haven’t done the Caribbean yet so that’s definitely on my list, and I’ve already mentioned Thailand. Another dream is to drive down the West Coast of America when the girls are a little older, starting off in San Fransisco and ending up in LA. I’ve never been to Portugal, so that’s also on my list. And after our successful Barcelona city break, I also think Paris, New York and Rome would be great too. That’s probably way more than five?!
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