For the October half term holidays, which for many schools last a fortnight, there are four truly inspiring destinations that are hard to beat for a genuine change of scene and pace.
Morocco does cool down somewhat in the autumn, but still has temperatures in late October which bear very favourable comparison with Northern Europe. Though not its capital, Marrakech is Morocco’s cultural mecca, and has countless exotic and fascinating experiences for adventurous families.
In addition to a tennis court and pool onsite the French Colonel villa also offers easy access to mountains for hiking and wildlife exploration. Riad Camilia is right in the heart of the urban action. Children will love exploring the sights and scents of the ancient Marrakech medina, while teens and parents will enjoy the onsite hammam and spa.
Late October in the Caribbean is pretty much perfection for families. With the tropical storm season at an end, there is glorious weather to enjoy without the Christmas crowds. St James in Barbados has several very special residences as a base for exploring the island’s unique Barbadian vibe.
Barbados Atelier House is the place to wow children with celebrity style, having featured in many location shoots and magazine features. The Barbados Paradise villa has a fantasy family pool overlooking the ocean and a fun media library. The Coral Stone House has a private path leading down the beach and an additional, appealing cottage in the grounds for extended families to benefit from. All three properties offer easy gateways to the unforgettable diving, snorkelling, sailing and beach-combing experiences of Barbados.
Atelier House Barbados
Autumn in Sicily is a time of mellow sunshine and stunning seasonal cuisine. Four special villas offer a very rich tapestry of different experiences. For young culture vultures, Il Sipario Barocco provides the classic Italian palazzo experience, as it is housed in a grand old building in Modica. Another important historic property in Modica is Villa Al Castello, a stunning converted fortress, perfect for aspiring princes and princesses, set in a valley that is renowned for nature-spotting.
Santa Marinella in Taormina by contrast is the model rural retreat, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside and dramatic night skies. In Trabia, Villa Giardini del Principe is a beautiful property with incredible grounds. Its three swimming pools, waterfalls and gentle appeal to all the senses makes it perfect for any October half term guest from infants upwards.
Giardini del Principe
Those in the know have long treated Portugal as their go-to late autumn destination, and the Algarve is possibly Portugal’s hottest region for dining and outdoor activities. Naturally it is one of the best places on earth for a round of family golf, but it also offers everything from cookery classes to horse riding. Casa Fuzettain Olhão is an imposing townhouse with a fabulous roof terrace, great for swimming, people-watching or a yoga class. The Casa Branca villa in Santa Barbara de Nexe is the perfect Algarve getaway for up to six people, with a pristine pool and handy barbeque on site and some of Portugal’s prettiest scenery and most interesting historic towns in close proximity.
With such diverse attractions and landscapes represented by these properties, what they all share is the ideal solution to the question of how to entertain a demanding brood during the October break.
Phileas French, Travel Writer