With the longer school summer holidays now upon us, there are some great destinations for families looking for fun in the sun.
We look at the top three destinations for families taking flights with TAP Air Portugal, Finnair, and Aer Lingus, for quick breaks away in Lisbon, Helsinki or Dublin.
Return flights in Economy from Heathrow to Dublin with Aer Lingus starting from £59, to Helsinki with Finnair from £166 and to Lisbon with TAP from £90, including all taxes and charges.
TAP Air Portugal
Lisbon makes a great location for families seeking a child-friendly city break, offering a varied selection of sights and activities, including:
São Jorge Castle - This historic Moorish castle sitting on a hilltop overlooking Lisbon makes the perfect place for kids to explore and let their imaginations run wild. It has fantastic views over the city, a camera obscura, giving 360 degree views across Lisbon and family activities with knights and archers.
2. Lisbon Oceanarium - Holding a staggering five million litres of seawater, Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the largest indoor aquariums in Europe and has over a million visitors a year. It features over 15,000 marine creatures from 450 species, from stingrays to sharks, penguins, and rare sunfish, making it a must-see for kids.
3. The beach - Less than half an hour away from Lisbon can be found some brilliant beaches, including Cascais and Estoril, reached by a fun trip by train along the seafront.
Just across the Irish Sea, Dublin has plenty on offer for a family getaway, including:
Viking Splash - Take a tour of Dublin with Viking Splash onboard a World War Two amphibious military vehicle which is as home on the ocean wave as much as it is on the road. Guides provide a fun, informative and unforgettable experience for all ages, taking in Dublin’s cathedrals, Georgian squares and much more before splashing into the Grand Canal basin for a short cruise by the iconic U2 studios.
2. Phoenix Park - Spread over 1,750 acres, Phoenix Park is a vast urban park offering plenty of opportunities for family activities, including picnics, exploring the Dublin Zoo, renting bicycles, visiting the Victorian People’s Flower Gardens, or simply take a leisurely stroll in the park and watching the wild fallow deer in one of the largest enclosed public parks in any European capital city.
3. The Ark - Dublin’s Cultural Centre for Children, The Ark is a creative hub for children, offering a wide range of interactive workshops, performances, and exhibitions in theatre, music, dance, and visual arts.
Helsinki has a host of family-friendly activities, including:
Linnanmäki Amusement Park - Enjoy over 40 thrilling rides at Finland’s oldest theme park. During the summer, kids get to watch circus shows and street performances at the open-air arena. Located just 3.5 km north of Helsinki’s Senate Square, the park has a famous wooden roller coaster which has been entertaining thrill-seekers since 1950.
2. Korkeasaari Zoo - Dating back to 1889, Korkeasaari is the oldest wildlife centre in Finland and offers visitors the chance to visit 150 different animal species from all over the world. Uniquely located on an island in the Baltic Sea, it is only a short distance from the Helsinki city centre. Kids can see the zoo’s Amur tigers, tiny pygmy marmosets, agile snow leopards, impressive European bison and dazzling peafowls alongside indigenous Finnish species such as the bear, wolverine and European forest reindeer.
3. Moominworld - Just two hours away from Helsinki in nearby Turku, families can enjoy a day out at amazing Moominworld - one of the world’s best theme parks for children. It is home to the world-famous Finnish Moomins, cartoon characters created by Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson and offers kids the chance to meet and interact with their favourite Finnish characters.