I’ve never really understood Kids’ Clubs. Why would you want to go on a family holiday (that's F-A-M-I-L-Y holiday) then pack the children off every day while the grown-ups do their own thing?
My philosophy, and it is one that I have always insisted that we adhere to here at Activities Abroad, is that a family holiday should be just that, a family holiday.
I see a lot of my kids. I see them when I am driving them to football or rugby or cricket or dancing or "Rock Project" or any number of activities. I also see them while they are playing football or rugby or cricket (but not dancing or "Rock Project"….Teenage Daughter would never allow a “PARENT!!!” to be present).
However, this is my point. Whilst I SEE a lot of my kids, like so many parents, I rarely actually DO anything with them. I seem to spend my life watching them rather than participating with them and I think that is a great shame. I'm not sure that the kids feel the same way but it is the reason that I believe a shared family holiday is so important.
What do families enjoy the most about Harriniva, Jeris and Torassieppi?
There are so many fun activities to enjoy especially for children. Children always love meeting the huskies. They enjoy the husky safaris and getting to cuddle the huskies. The reindeers are also very popular and a reindeer sleigh ride is a magical experience for the whole family. The tobogganing is probably one of the most popular activities. It’s very fun and children don’t get cold as they are constantly running up the hill for another go.
Reindeer Sleigh Ride
Over the winter months our Activities Abroad representative Ben has been working in Nellim. As the season draws to a close we asked Ben to share his favourite experiences of the winter season.
Our Activities Abroad representative Sarah has just spent her first winter season in Luosto. We caught up with Sarah to find out all about her time there.
How would you describe Luosto?
Luosto is small but extremely friendly. From the guides to the hotel staff and shop keepers everyone seems to know everyone and there is no shortage of helpful, smiling faces if you ever need anything. There is always something to do too, whether that be checking out the local scenery or relaxing at the spa, playing in the snow, or hitting the slopes, you are never going to be bored in this beautiful town.
What activities did you experience this winter?
Give me playing in the snow over sitting behind a desk any day. Over the course of the winter I tried to get out and try as many activities as I could fit into my week. The huskies and anything to do with snowmobiling were the top of my bucket list and easily my favourite activities. I mean what’s going to beat speeding through the snow on a glorified quad bike or cuddling up to the most adorable puppy I think I have ever seen.
and the winner is...
This summer we invited families to share their memories of their Activities Abroad holiday with us and we were delighted with the great response we received. From the Mihill family hiking through the Paklenica National Park in Croatia to the Crump family canyoning in Slovenia, we received some amazing images and videos from our summer sun holidays all over the world.
We created a video of some of the #AASummerFun 2015 memories so you can enjoy a piece of the action.
As a travel expert at Activities Abroad, i’m often asked for holiday inspiration... Here are some great ideas for family winter holidays.
For younger families there may only be one chance to meet the ‘real’ Father Christmas in Lapland.
Credit: Marko Junttila & Hotel Gulo Gulo
Our Father Christmas and Arctic Animal Encounters ensures a memorable and magical experience for both children and adults alike. The focus of the holiday is of course the Santa visit......Travelling as a family by snowmobile pulled sleigh through the snowy Lappish Forest, the trail leads to a cosy cabin where you will be welcomed by Father Christmas himself. If you like the idea of a private Santa Claus experience, this is perfect, with the children getting around 20 minutes to talk with him about his most important of jobs!
During my time with Activities Abroad I have visited Nellim twice.
My first experience at this wonderful place was in September, during the Finnish ‘Ruska’ – a time when the trees are a palette of orange and gold and the forest floors are carpeted with mushrooms and berries.
My second time was in the depths of winter, a time when the region comes alive and showcases the most incredible winter scenery. The drive here takes you down quiet winding roads, lined only with trees and the odd wooden cabin. Located on the banks of the frozen Lake Inari, Nellim Wilderness Hotel is warmly welcoming, a charming home-from-home set idyllically in the snow which endlessly covers everything. At this time of year, the sun rises just barely over the horizon, keeping daylight hours to a minimum and bathing the region in unique blue polar light.
Any light that there is however reflects off the snow so it is much lighter than you would think!
Hot climates have always been my first choice of holiday destination. The very thought of visiting a cold country would get my teeth chattering uncontrollably, which prompted an avalanche of strange looks.
Since joining the Activities Abroad team, I’ve found a good deal of snow-based fun to change my mind.
Here are five activities which I definitely want to try, all of which you can experience for yourselves on our family holidays to winter destinations!
While my list isn’t in any particular order, this has to be right at the top. Dogsledding has long been central to the culture of the Nordic countries, and it’s easy to see why: the energy of the pack driving you over sparkling white lands must be amazing (correction: ‘is amazing’, as resoundingly confirmed by the whole office!).
The Lake District is one of my absolute favourite places in the world (and not just because I’m a Cumbrian born and bred!).
With stunning lakes and mountains there is always something different to explore and it really is as picturesque as anywhere else I’ve travelled.
A walk around Derwentwater to take in the spectacular views of the fells and the lake is a must. Derwentwater is just a stone’s throw away from the town of Keswick, which has a wide selection of cafes and boutiques to enjoy; a visit to Luchinis ice cream parlour is certainly worthwhile I speak from Lakeland experience!!
There are many different activities to experience in the Lakes from kayaking to climbing but I’ve always found ghyll scrambling most enjoyable.
Here, our Managing Director tells you why he goes back to Finnish Lapland year after year.
In this job, I travel a great deal on business-related matters but always find some time to go out and play regardless of whether it’s hydrospeeding on Slovenia’s stunning Soca River or husky sledding across the frozen lakes and undulating hills of Fell Lapland.
You would think that somebody who visits snow covered Lapland up to five or six times every year would seek somewhere slightly warmer for a holiday. Not so, when it comes to the McLean Family holiday, we’ve headed straight back to Finnish Lapland for the last five years running.
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