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Top 10 family destinations in the world

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Whether you’re planning a sleigh ride to Santa, a family-friendly safari or seaside fun, this handy guide to the top 10 family destinations in the world will help you book the right hotel.

Rovaniemi, Lapland

Take the little ones to the Santa Claus’s village near Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. It’s Christmas every day here with presents, jingle bells, reindeer and elves. Come in winter for a wonderland of activities like snowmobiling and husky sleigh rides.

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Orlando, Florida

If the world was just a great big theme park, its capital would be Orlando, ruled by Mickey and crew at the happy-ever-after Magic Kingdom. Big kids enjoy the movie-themed thrills of MGM and Universal Studios, while all ages love SeaWorld’s marine life, Epcot’s world in miniature and Wet’n’Wild’s splashy attractions.

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Salzburg, Austria

With its sing-while-you-pedal Sound of Music tours, a fairy-tale fortress and an Old Town full of chocolaty treats, Salzburg is a child magnet. Shark feedings at the Haus der Natur, Hellbrunn Palace’s trick fountains and the Marionette Theatre’s dancing puppets keep boredom at bay.

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Newquay, Cornwall

Newquay’s Blue Flag beaches are great for bucket and spade fun or learning to surf in the Atlantic. Take the kids to a water park, petting farm or the Lappa Valley steam train before heading back to your hotel by the sea.

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Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Active volcanoes, cloud forests alive with toucans and howler monkeys, and activities from pony trekking to whitewater rafting lure families to Costa Rica. Base yourself close to volcanic beaches on Guanacaste’s north Pacific coast for safe, good-value family adventures.

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Cancun, Mexico

Cancun’s all-inclusive hotels with dedicated kids’ clubs are a top choice for family holidays in Mexico. Even if they’re too young to appreciate the Mayan ruins, they’ll love swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean, zip-lining through the jungle and riding horses on the beach.

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Gold Coast, Australia

Fine sandy beaches and fun-filled resorts await on Australia’s Gold Coast. Kids will have a scream at theme parks like Movie World and Dreamworld. Or take them to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary’s rainforest and eucalyptus forest for encounters with crocodiles, kangaroos and koalas.

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Garden Route, South Africa

Families can see the Big Five on malaria-free safaris in game reserves like Kwandwe and Shamwari on South Africa’s Garden Route. Budding explorers will enjoy spotting elephants, leopards and rhino. Tie in your safari with whale-watching on the coast. 

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Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

The quiet resort of Playa Blanca is popular for low-key family holidays in Lanzarote. Kids are easily amused paddling and building sandcastles in sheltered Blue Flag bays, while Timanfaya’s volcanoes, Costa Teguise’s Aquapark and Guinate Tropical Park are a short ride away. 

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Cape Cod

Cape Cod is one of the top 10 family destinations in the world, with whale-watching cruises, rock pools and dune-fringed bays inviting exploration. The National Park Service’s ranger-guided programme keeps kids entertained with activities from canoe trips to campfires. 

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