Wondering if there’s any light at the end of this long winter tunnel? Cheer up and check out some of the best family holidays for 2012. There are options to suit every budget and all are within easy reach of the UK:
1. TURKEY – Escape the Eurozone and touchdown in Turkey, where east meets west. With reasonable prices, a near flawless climate, rich heritage and beautiful coastline Turkey is the ultimate family holiday destination. Stay in a rustic mountain haven, relax on the lagoon beach of Oludeniz or discover hidden bays on a gulet cruise.
2. CROATIA – Mountains, national parks and 1500 miles of dreamlike coastline. Croatia remains blissfully unspoilt. Find yourself a family friendly hotel and uncover the secrets of Croatia’s diverse history in Dubrovnik or Split, island-hop, then swim, sail or snorkel in the sea.
3. CORSICA – A true island paradise: deserted white beaches, mountain villages and forests. Keep it simple with self-catering in a villa, or apartment, and picnics on the beach. Explore the ancient capital Corte, spot wild boar on a train ride up the mountain and pack the kids off on a pony.
4. SARDINIA – With family friendly accommodation and restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets, you’ll enjoy the best of Italian hospitality in Sardinia. Stay in a cottage on a country estate and watch the children get chummy with the sheep, pigs and donkeys. Luxuriate on an untouched beach, gelato in hand.
5. BRITTANY – For fresh air, culture and relaxation, head to Brittany. Pitch up at one of the region’s campsites, kick back with a crèpe and cheer for the kids’ club. Explore the quaint streets of medieval towns, muscle in on the merriment of a Breton festival and visit the family friendly Musée des Beaux-Arts in Quimper.
6. THE ALPS – Family friendly ski resorts abound in the Alps so pick a place that’s close to the ski schools and slopes. Saas Fee in Switzerland is packed with resorts offering activities such as tobogganing and ice skating so there’ll be no cries of ‘I’m bored’ and you can enjoy your après ski in peace.
7. MENORCA – One of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Menorca is a fantastic family beach destination with gently shelving beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Explore the island’s Roman ruins; make a splash at Los Delphines Aquapark or cycle along the coastal road at the top of the cliffs into Ciutadella.
8. GERMANY – Cycle along the Neckar Valley, one of the most beautiful regions in Germany, then crash out in a ‘hay hotel’, converted barn below Guttenberg Castle; beds are made of dried grass – don’t forget your sleeping bag. Lovely low impact eco-tourism – the little ones will love it, as will your wallet
9. THE ALGARVE – Portugal’s southern coast is a firm favourite with families, with beaches that are made for children. Accommodation ranges from budget apartments to lavish villas and hotels. Lose yourself in the cobbled streets of Lagos and hide from the hordes by heading for the hills.
10. ITALY – For a real taste of rural Italian life, stay in a farmhouse at an agriturismo. La Casella in Umbria offers riding, hiking, tennis and mountain biking. Tuck up the tots then enjoy dinner al fresco on the terrace.