Europe and Kids

Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 04:44 PM
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Europe and Kids

I've been to Italy and Ireland a few times on my own, but now that I have two children, the experience is anticipated to be quite different.
My spouse and I enjoy city and rural areas alike. We are hoping to get some feedback on vacation spots that are "family friendly", I know that is vague, but if there are any experienced moms and dads out there, your input would be appreciated. We have a budget of about 5,000 - 7,500. We would be flying out of boston or NYC. Have never been to London, Wales, Scotland......Spain or Portugal is also of interest...

Thanks in advance.
desertbound is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Hi desert -

Can you tell us how old your kids are? And when do you wish to travel? Then I'm sure you'll get some great responses.

Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 07:38 PM
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There is a helpful book, "Take Your Kids to Europe" by Cynthia Harriman which we have used a few times.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 01:09 AM
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This very much depends on the ages of your children and your interests. In all big cities there are activities that will appeal to children. Generally, I find Italians more friendly towards families with children than the French, and in Italy you could easily do a combination of rural and city destinations. Children also tend to like Italian food. Spain is also very child friendly, but the food is more difficult, and they eat very late.

Having said that, I lived in London when my kids were very young, and there's a lot to do for the whole family there too. You could combine that with a trip to the country. There are a few child-friendly country house hotels (and a few very child unfriendly ones too).
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 05:13 AM
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desertbound is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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We're taking our 4 1/2 year old to Paris in 2 weeks. We've been before, but until this year, he's been pretty clueless about his environment. Now he's excited. I'm researching things to do, and there is so much - I was concerned initially because we're going during cold weather, but I was able to find great stuff. I checked out the Cadogan guide for kids from the library and that had the most comprehensive stuff. My husband and I are going to switch off so that we can have adult (albeit alone) time while the other is with the little one so that he can enjoy his time.

I speak French, so I will go to the kids' museums where there are French workshops and puppet shows, and my American husband will take him to activities like the Bois de Boulogne (millions of things to do for kids), other parks with Carousels and fun play areas, and limited sight seeing (Eiffel, Madeleine's "house", Notre Dame of the movie fame) -- and then we'll both probably take him to the Aquaboulevard or the Chatelet les Halles pool/exercise place so that we can get some exercise in while he has fun in the water.

Finally, there is a boat tour called La Croisiere Enchantee (enchanted boat ride?) especially for kids, hosted by a pair of elves.

So much more to do, and I'll be happy to share if Paris if of interest to you.

We're also going to Switzerland, but that's for a family gathering and I am not finding as much child stuff there that I could take advantage of.

We've done this before, and found that preparation is key, with a routine and plenty of rest stops. Getting into one or two cities is much better than hopping around too much -- a lot of coordination, especially with 2! It's definitely not like traveling alone, so if you need adult sightseeing/dreaming time, then take turns with spouse.

Good luck.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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Having lived in London as a college student and having returned there last Christmas with my then 16 year old daughter, I'd definitely recommend it for a destination with kids. Lots to do and see. Any questions, feel free to email at [email protected]. Good luck!
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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I also have used the Cynthia Harriman book - it is very practical. I have found France to be very child-friendly, but "child-friendly" probably always depends on where you chose to eat, stay and your activities. Most children under the age of 10 prefer to "sight-see" at outdoor locations where they can run without having to be quiet - ruins, castles, parks etc. Don't schedule too many museums or art galleries. Gambader has some great ideas - wherever you go, research the local kids' activities and take your kids where the local kids are. For example, on a recent trip to England, we went to Warwick Castle and Sherwood Forest where they had kids' activities. If you want to do some adult activites, trade off with your spouse or hire a babysitter for the day.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 02:54 PM
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This may not be what you're looking for, but we just got back from spending a week with our 2 kids (ages 6 and 9) on the west coast of Ireland. We rented a very nice house in Ennis (4 bedrooms, each with own bath and a very large kitchen and living room). We were able to see quite a bit of western Ireland from this location, and I think the kids appreciated having a house to come back to rather than a hotel room. I found it reasonably priced at 650 euros for 8 nights (off season), and it had everything you'd expect in a home...microwave, laundry, stove, refrigerator, etc. We also took the kids to Edinburgh Scotland 2 years ago which they really enjoyed. We stayed at a B&B outside of town, which I wouldn't do again. I think the convenience of being right in the city would have made it easier on the kids. Every time they were tired, we had to get on and off buses to get them back for naps. I hope this helps. Good luck.

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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 12:37 AM
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There are superb things to do with kids in Scotland. There are a number of specifically child friendly accommodations and lots of top things for families to do in the areas round about them. I did a "Scotland for Kids" thing for someone a year or so ago, and if you want it, I'll send it to you. Of course, if you get good weather, that's the icing on the gingerbread.
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