Stuck for ideas for an Easter getaway? Katie McGonagle has the answer
“Looking out on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired.”
When Aretha Franklin sang this first line to A Natural Woman, she definitely wasn’t musing on her next choice of holiday.
But in the midst of that chilly stretch of the year between New Year and Easter, you – and your clients – would be forgiven for feeling just as unenthusiastic.
Luckily, it’s always sunny somewhere, so if your sales need a lift, check out our guide to good spots for a family break this Easter. All prices are during the school holidays.
1 – Dubai
Look no further for guaranteed sunshine and activities to amaze kids of any age, from tots dressing up in KidZania to teens racing down slopes at Ski Dubai.
For a short break, pick a property with on-site activities so they don’t waste a moment; Gold Medal offers three nights’ half-board at Atlantis the Palm from £899, including Emirates flights.
2 – Costa del Sol
Mainland Spain is basking in mid-20s temperatures by April, making it ideal for a beach break with very young children. They can splash around as much as they like in the water park at Hotel Los Patos Park, Benalmadena, complete with pirate ship and water cannon. Jet2holidays has a week’s B&B departing East Midlands from £355.
3 – Butlins
No time to jet abroad? Never fear, Butlins has Easter egg hunts, Easter bonnet parades and the first lambs of spring. Britain’s Got Talent stars Diversity will also be performing and running dance academies at each resort, costing £20. Prices start at £95 for three nights’ self-catering.
4 – UK Lodge
For a quieter family time, suggest chilling in the hot tub at one of Hoseasons’ Evermore lodges. These two and three-bedroom Finnish-style lodges feature underfloor heating, smart TVs, and you can even bring the family pet. Fairview Lodges in Withernsea, Yorkshire, has 10% off between April 3-10, with three nights costing £580.
5 – Barbados
“This is the perfect time to visit Barbados as there is little rainfall and plenty of sunshine,” says Virgin Holidays product development manager Alison Porter. It’s also the tail end of high season so there are good prices around. A week’s all inclusive at Savannah Beach costs £999 (£375 per child) including Gatwick flights.
6 – Thailand
If your customers would rather fly east – the time difference means later mornings and less jetlag – Thailand is hard to beat. Build castles on the pristine white-sand beaches of JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa, or visit the nearby elephant camp.
A week for four with breakfast starts at £5,820 with Carrier, including Emirates flights and private transfers, with a complimentary upgrade to a Family Lagoon Pool Access Studio.
7 – Malta
There’s no need to blow the year’s holiday budget on a quick getaway, according to Belleair Holidays, provided you take advantage of deals.
Kids stay free with two paying adults at the Westin Dragonara; there are free child places at DB San Antonio, Ramla Bay and Qawra Palace; and a sea-view upgrade for Seashells Resort at Suncrest (reopening after renovation on April 1) during Easter week.
8 – Italy
Italy can be pricier than other Med destinations, but Eurocamp’s Easter lead-in of £329 for a two-bedroom mobile home at Marina di Venezia makes it far more affordable.
Located in the woodland of Punta Sabbioni near Venice, the park boasts six swimming pools, plus waterslides, supermarkets and restaurants, with horse-riding, abseiling and quad-biking nearby for more adventurous youngsters.
9 – The Gambia
There are good deals and availability in The Gambia, where tourism is suffering because of the Ebola crisis elsewhere in Africa.
The Gambia Experience product manager Karen Durham says: “The Gambia has become an unfortunate victim of being situated in West Africa, despite being totally Ebola-free, which has always been the case and with stringent measures in place to ensure this doesn’t change. Having just returned from the destination, I can reassure people that it is business as usual on the ground.”
Seven nights’ B&B in a standard room at Palm Beach starts at £549.
10 – Morocco – Dubai
Agadir may not have the souks of exotic Marrakech, but its medina, kasbah and working harbour are a gentle introduction to Moroccan life – and its beach isn’t bad either.
Thomson offers a week’s all-inclusive at ClubHotel Riu Tikida Dunas from £591 per adult, £486 for one child and £561 for the second, departing Manchester.
11 – Crete
Greece’s laid-back island culture awaits at the Filion Suites & Spa in Bali – not the Indonesian island, but a town near Heraklion – which has two kids’ pools, tennis and basketball courts.
A family suite costs £1,958 for four with Olympic Holidays, for half-board accommodation and flights.
12 – Ski
Is Easter too late for skiing? Not quite, but clients must be flexible to find availability.
Club Med’s snow guarantee – a 50% refund if more than half of pistes are closed – saves worrying about a lack of snow, while Mark Warner recommends Tignes and Val d’Isère where higher altitude means better conditions at Easter.
13 – Mauritius
For those who prefer sun to snow, it’s never too late to book Mauritius. Travel 2 product manager Michael Creighton says: “There is a wide choice of hotels on the island, so there is always good availability even if clients book a month prior to travel. Over the years, Mauritius hotels have vastly improved their family offerings.”
Creighton recommends Heritage Resorts Awali and Le Telfair for their first-class kids’ clubs; a week with flights, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation starts at £1,099.
14 – St Vincent
With its Harlequin Theatre School, Pat Cash Tennis Club, football, cricket and rugby academies – on top of kids’ clubs, watersports and games – there’s no chance of getting bored at Buccament Bay in St Vincent.
Caribtours offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £2,455 for a one-bedroom deluxe garden villa with plunge pool, including flights and private transfers.
15 – Orlando
The theme park capital of the world is never quiet, but at least visitors won’t have to queue in sky-high summer heat. Funway Holidays offers a week at Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando for £649, with United Airlines flights, free car rental upgrade, airport lounge passes and a Kids Eat Free card; park entry extra.
16 – UK Theme Park
If clients are saving Florida for a special occasion, they can still get their park fix closer to home – albeit on a smaller scale. Legoland Windsor opens on March 13, while Alton Towers’ season starts on March 21.
SuperBreak has two day park tickets with a night’s accommodation from £330 or £320 respectively.
17 – Tenerife
With Euro exchange rates in our favour, the Continent is more cost-effective now than it was last Easter. Adding even better value, Cosmos Holidays offers unlimited entrance to Siam Park with stays at Dream Villa Tagoro; a week’s all-inclusive costs £549, flying from Manchester.
18 – Paris
A hop across the Channel also takes advantage of the exchange rates, with the bonus of saying ‘bonjour’ to Mickey or sightseeing in the City of Lights.
Those keen to conserve pennies for summer can camp at Paris Est (ideally located for Disneyland Paris) from £275 for a six-person mobile home through Al Fresco.
19 – Turkey
It’s hard to please everybody, but Turkey’s action-packed resorts come close. The refurbished SunConnect Paloma Grida Village is near Belek, so guests who want local life can wander into town, while those who prefer zipping down waterslides or playing tennis will get their thrills too.
Thomas Cook offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £1,619 for four, flying from Gatwick.
20 – Egypt
The Red Sea coast is at its best now – warm but not sweltering – and it need not break the bank with Red Sea Holidays’ fixed child prices. Under-12s cost £439 for any date and duration, including school holidays, so a week’s all-inclusive at Ghazala Gardens Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh totals £2,674 for a family of four departing Manchester.
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