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Europe's best summer destinations for families

3 spots to spend some quality time with the kids

Europe has long been considered a good bet when you have little ones (and not-so-little ones) in tow. It’s attractive both in terms of budget and travel time, while still offering plenty of exciting options to choose from. Whatever your interests, here are our suggestions for a great family getaway.

Family enjoying a hike, Matla © Dreamstime.com/Nadezhda1906

London

Best for: culture

If you’re raising a brood of mini sophisticates, London can be surprisingly family-friendly in the summer. There’s an overwhelming amount to see and do, from historic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, to more kid-centric options such as the Harry Potter Studios. Add in the array of world-class museums (mostly free) and fantastic theatre productions (usually far from free) on offer, and you have the makings of an action-packed holiday.

One word of warning: London’s public transport can reach sweltering temperatures during the summer months, so seek out the city’s green spaces or open-air lidos to give the kids – and yourselves – a cooling break.

Changing of the Guard, London © iStock.com/ZambeziShark

Scotland

Best for: camping

Families with a feel for the great outdoors should head straight for Scotland. Home to some of the UK’s most scenic landscapes, the country’s liberal access laws also allow ‘wild camping’. This means that it’s legal to camp on almost any unenclosed Scottish land, and allows for some spectacular options.

Many of Scotland’s more remote areas – such as the starkly beautiful Isle of Skye – are also likely to offer almost total solitude, so it’s the perfect place to ensure some quality family time. It’s a good spot for animal-lovers, too, with red deer and pine martens among the wildlife that may be glimpsed.

A wild stag in the Scottish highlands © Dreamstime.com/Travelwitness

Matla

Best for: relaxation

Malta is best known as a sun and sea destination, and the tiny Mediterranean archipelago does not disappoint. Families are likely to spend much of the trip in their swimwear, with the azure waters perfect for snorkeling and swimming.

If you do bother to rouse yourself from the beach, Malta’s 7,000-year-old history is in evidence across the island and crying out for some leisurely exploration. Boat trips also provide a relaxing way to sightsee; pack a picnic (Maltese bread is divine) and set sail for the petite Comino, a day trip that will take you past the crystal depths and mysterious caves of the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon on Comino, Malta © Dreamstime.com/Viewapart