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The family travel specialists at i-escape.com/kids have launched an inspirational ‘bucket list’ of experiences for kids to try before they venture off to primary school - including sleeping under the stars, exploring a cave and rock pooling.
Compiled by the team behind i-escape’s Kids Collection - which brings together more than 850 stylish yet family-friendly hotels, B&Bs and holiday rentals across the globe - the ‘Bucket and Spade’ list names some of the best travel-related activities for under 5s. It aims to encourage kids and their parents to spread their wings and seek out as many adventures - both large and small - as they can.
To form the list, the i-escape experts asked their database of family travellers for suggestions and then chose their favourite 20 for the official ‘Bucket and Spade’ selection.
“Experiencing some of the different adventures that the world has to offer is hugely important in developing a child’s understanding of the environment around them,” says Nadine Mellor, Editor of the Kids Collection. “Our list has it all, from star-gazing to crab-catching, and includes a variety of things for kids to cross off with their parents before starting school. What’s more, most of the activities are available both near and far, demonstrating that there are always opportunities to inspire young minds and fuel wanderlust - whether you’re on a trip to the UK seaside or a far-flung holiday somewhere exotic.”
The full ‘Bucket and Spade’ list for under 5s is as follows:
1. Build a sandcastle
2. Go rock-pooling and discover the coast’s secrets
3. Send a postcard from your holiday
4. Go star-gazing
5. Explore a cave
6. Order something yummy in a foreign language - perhaps a gelato in Italy or a croissant in France
7. Go on a camping adventure and sleep under the stars
8. Visit a real castle
9. Have a picnic in the countryside
10. Go crabbing (and release your catch back into the sea!)
11. Ride a donkey or pony
12. Go on a nature walk and draw the interesting plants and flowers that you find
13. Photograph a famous landmark
14. Paddle your own boat - maybe a pedalo, a kayak or a canoe (with your parents, of course!)
15. Make a woodland den
16. Pet farm animals
17. Bounce on a hotel bed
18. Find a holiday souvenir
19. Take a boat trip
20. Go on a treasure hunt
To go alongside the ‘Bucket and Spade’ list, the Kids Collection team has suggested some great family-friendly accommodation where under 5s can tick off some of their chosen travel experiences:
Go rock pooling at Polurrian Bay Hotel in Cornwall
Perched on a cliff top on the spectacular Lizard peninsula, Polurrian Bay Hotel is a seriously stylish coastal family escape. The cove just beneath it is ripe for rock pooling, with gleaming sands at low tide and surf-friendly waves at any time, and there are plenty of other beaches to explore nearby. The hotel also has a fantastic free crèche (‘The Den’), plus 2 pools and reams of on-site activities (including football on the lawn).
Prices start from £125 per room per night, based on 2 adults and 1 child sharing an Inland Facing Double Room on a B&B basis (all taxes included).
Visit a real castle at Castello di Tornano in Chianti, Italy
Kids can not only visit a castle at this Italian gem - they can stay in one, too! Set in the enchanting wooded hills of Chianti, this turreted fairy-tale hotel has a choice of B&B rooms and simple, self-catering apartments. Kids will have hours of fun in the playground, where there are swings, slides and a rocking horse, and tennis, cycling and riding are all available in the grounds. There’s also a pool built into the moat, and a restaurant with half portions.
Prices start from £151 per night, based on 2 adults and 1 child sharing a Small Apartment on an accommodation-only basis (all taxes included).
Go camping at Bivouac in North Yorkshire
The quirky yurts and shacks at Bivouac are perfect for discerning tots (and parents) who want the adventures of camping without sacrificing comforts. Hidden in North Yorkshire’s 20,000-acre Swinton Park Estate, this rural getaway has 8 cosy yurts for up to 5 people (with proper beds, wood-burners and cold running water), plus woodland shacks sleeping 7. They’re ideal for introducing under 5s to the great outdoors, and there’s a café plus a range of fun activities (crafts, nature trails, cake decorating) on site.
Prices start from £65 per yurt per night, based on up to 5 people sharing on an accommodation-only basis (all taxes included).
Take a boat trip at Palmizana in Croatia
Hidden on a tiny, car-free island, just off Hvar in the Adriatic Sea, is the Bohemian retreat of Palmizana. It’s accessible only by boat, so budding sailors can’t help but tick off an activity from the ‘Bucket and Spade’ list when they stay here. Nature-loving families will adore the lush botanical gardens, quirky-cool accommodation and 2 restaurants, and the hotel has a shallow pebble beach (complete with a cave for shade!) that’s perfect for little ones.
Prices start from £135 per room per night, based on a family of 4 sharing the Romina 1 room on an accommodation-only basis (local taxes not included).
The i-escape Kids Collection is inviting parents of under 5s to share photos of their mini adventurers trying out activities on the ‘Bucket and Spade’ list. To take part, simply follow @iescapewithkids on Twitter and tweet your picture with the hashtag #iescapebucket by 31 August - the top 5 photos will win a £50 i-escape voucher!
For full details of the ‘Bucket and Spade’ list, together with further suggestions on where to undertake the adventures featured, please click here.