february half term holidays 2014 - ideas for the whole family
The weather in the UK is a disaster at the moment & my heart goes out to all those people who are suffering in the floods. Being a country girl myself, the situation with all livestock is terrible & in areas like mine (Northamptonshire) where it's not too bad, we are sending fodder to the area's most badly affecting – I wish you all well & hope that this will be offer soon.
- On a different note, next week is February half term school holidays & perhaps, like me, you haven't yet planned anything to do & just fancy either getting away or taking the kids or a treat. I find that this half term is one of the hardest, mostly because of the weather – it is hard for children to be cooped up inside for the entire time & they can send us parents completely mad! Therefore I have come up with a last minute ideas of what you can do next week both at home & abroad.
Skiing holidays at February half term
- Yes, believe it or not there is still some availability. Skiing at February half term is traditionally hugely expensive which is why my family & I go during the Easter holidays when although the skiing conditions are not quite so good, the weather is warmer & at least it offers slightly better value for money than next week! However, ski conditions are absolutely superb at the moment so if I could, I would be heading off next week too. I have trawled through some of the skiing holiday websites are there are some excellent deals to be had. For example:
- Madame Vacances (ABTA registered) have an extra 10% off all half term accommodation – enter the code "HALFTERM" on online checkout. They specialise in the lesser known, though not less good ski resorts in France which offer superb value for money – polite way of saying cheap holidays! Prices start from £349 for next week in a self catering "Residence" in Saint Sorlin D'Arves with ski in/ski out, indoor pool & sauna. Other offers include Les Deux Alpes for £419, Saint Lary in the Pyrenees for £479, Courchevel for £609, La Plagne for £859 with a massive 78% saving – please bear in mind that the prices above do not include the extra 10% off.
- Inghams actually have 105 ski holidays still available for half term including flights! These include a fully catered holiday at £802.50 to Courchevel from Belfast that is even cheaper from Edinburgh & Southampton. There are other great savings to famous resorts such as La Plagne, Zermatt, St Anton (my favourite resort ever!), Wengen, Chamonix, Val Thorens … the list is endless (well, almost!).
Holidays for last minute sun-seekers
- Yes, I know, we can all dream! You may be so completely fed up with the weather here that you just want to go somewhere warm. Many of the traditional places to go to at this time of year are also experiencing extreme weather – my Mum is currently in the US & they are having terrible snow storms so who knows when she will get back. At this time of year, I would recommend heading out to places like Spain which is my family's favourite sunny destination, alternatively Cyprus is another great country – pleasantly warm & good value for money. I had a quick check of the weather for next week & it looks like being around 16-18 degrees in the Canaries next week with plenty of sun; 19-21 degrees in Cyprus during half term week and 16-20 degrees in Costa Calida in Spain.
- James Villa Holidays has masses of package holidays available. I searched for 4 people from any London airport to any destination next week & there were 255 options! The cheapest was in the Costa Calida area of southern Spain for a 2 bedroom apartment with flights & shared pool at £1,892 for 4 people. There was even a similar option for Sardinia at £1,976 all in. They do not have any availability to the Canaries however they have a great apartment on the Aphrodite Hills resort in Cyprus for £2,640 for 4 people for the week.
Holiday Cottages at half term in the UK
- You could always stay closer to home & choose a cosy country cottage for a quick escape next week – many cottages offer flexible start/end dates at this time of the year as it is low season but generally speaking you should find availability easy for Friday to Monday or Monday to Friday bookings. The problem really is where to travel to given the disruption and our most popular destinations in south west England are really not the place to go as they are suffering the worst in the country. If you fancied skiing, then all of the resorts in Scotland are reporting superb ski conditions so if you want to try out some of the tricks I have been watching in the ski and snowboard cross events of the Winter Olympics then head up there & good luck!! I think perhaps, the lesser known destinations here in the East of England might be the answer – we have got off extremely lightly compared to other regions with all of our roads & rail networks running perfectly normally. I have partnered up with 2 holiday companies that specialise in the region & I know you can find some great deals for next week:
- Bluestone Wales in Pembrokeshire also has last minute availability for this weekend at £349 or next weekend at £615. Bluestone Wales is a great alternative to Center Parcs with loads of onsite activities & lovely, more luxurious holiday accommodation – it is definitely worth a look as I have heard nothing but good reports from people who have stayed there.
- Sykes Cottages is showing good availability for half term & they have over 4,000 cottages across the UK and Ireland so for elsewhere I would try them.
- If you want to go to Scotland then Hoseasons Holiday Cottages & Lodges are probably your best best - luxury holiday lodges, parks or cottages, swimming pools, hot tubs.
Days Out in the UK during half term
- You might just want to treat the children to a day out in the UK and yet again there are some really good options:
- At Legoland, you can become a Master Builder from just £31 per person this half term which includes an overnight stay at the Legoland hotel with indoor pool, breakfast & the Legoland experience. To book – select "Feb Half Term" from the dropdown menu.
- Chessington Park are putting on an African Adventure during half term and the kids go FREE. Don't forget, you can meet the animals at the Chessington Zoo and also visit the Sea Life Centre there too. Prices start from £79 for a family of 4 people including a 1 day entry to the Chessington Zoo, overnight stay in the Chessington Safari Hotel and breakfast.
- Why not take them to Go Ape – the UK's number One tree top adventure for both juniors and seniors! There are plenty of places to give it a go all over the country with 29 centres around the UK all of which should be open for half term. Again, book online for the best price.
- London & Edinburgh Dungeons are offering a good deal with a focus on an outbreak of The Plague – book online for the best prices before you go & if you visit on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays then you can save up to 30% plus they offer a best price guarantee for online bookings.
- Article By Lucilla Paull
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