February half term (13 to 17 February 2017 in most parts of the UK) provides the perfect excuse for a family holiday to blow away the cobwebs and escape on a winter break that both the kids and adults will love.
From the UK to Europe, there are plenty of last-minute trips to book for the school holidays. We've selected three unforgettable getaways for relaxing at the beach, getting active in the mountains and spending winter days in the sunshine...
Treat the kids to a classic beach getaway in Cornwall
British seaside breaks create some of the best childhood memories and on a February half term holiday to Cornwall, you can experience near-empty beaches, fun days out at the Eden Project and even take your four-legged friend along. Families can book a week at a stylish townhouse in St Ives as a fantastic base close to the sights and sounds of the seaside town and beyond. Coast House Cottage is spread over three stories, with an open-plan kitchen, living and dining room and double and loft-style bedrooms. The cottage is also just a three-minute stroll to the golden sands of Porthminster. From £450 for a seven-night stay from 10 to 17 February with Milly & Martha, based on five sharing on a self-catering basis.
Become apprentice mushers in the French Alps
For a unique twist to a February half term ski holiday, families can try mushing on a terrific dog sledding tour of La Plagne (€40 per hour). Supervised and instructed by a professional musher in Champagny en Vanoise, eight to 12-year-olds can learn the basic techniques on a sled pulled by one or two dogs in an exciting activity that takes place in beautiful snowy surrounds. For a family-friendly place to stay, Belambra in Plagne Centre offers activities for children and a nursery from three years, plus evening entertainment shows. Other fun things to experience in La Plagne include the new Family Fun Run ski area, the Ice Tower for a unique climbing experience and fat biking, which older kids will love. From £3,571 for a seven-night half-board stay at Belambra for two adults and two children during half term.
Escape to Portugal for beaches, sightseeing and surfing
With two lovely beaches, the pretty Portuguese town of Cascais, located just 15 miles from Lisbon, is a great spot for a winter family holiday. Travellers can combine culture and sightseeing in the vibrant Portuguese capital with blissful coastal relaxation during a stay at the four-star superior Albatroz, where Kirker offers three nights for the price of two on February half-term breaks. As the hotel sits between two sandy beaches in the heart of Cascais, families can soak up the beach life, pop to Cascais' famous ice-cream parlour Santini's and experience the paddle-boarding school on the main beach. The nearby beach at Guincho is also a well-known spot for surfers, if you're looking for something more active. From £1,795 for a family of four including flights, transfers and B&B accommodation.