Forget foreign shores and theme parks – Cornwall has been named the most child-friendly holiday destination in the world. The south west tourist hotspot had more recommendations from the 2000 parents polled than anywhere else in the world thanks to its beautiful beaches, child-friendly restaurants and the short journey time to get there.
Devon, Somerset, Dorset and the Isle of Wight were other UK destinations to feature in the top ten.
Despite being a haven for young children with its endless theme parks and near constant sunshine, Orlando, in the USA, only managed second place after being marked down for its long flying time of around nine hours.
The Spanish islands of Majorca, Menorca and Tenerife, as well as the Costa Del Sol on the mainland, made up the rest of the top ten.
A spokesman for UK’s leading holiday home lettings company Holidaylettings.co.uk, which commissioned the research, said:
“If you have young children, there is so much to consider when deciding when to go on holiday, where to go and what accommodation to stay in.
“Not only do you need to choose somewhere that is safe for children, but you also want somewhere that has plenty of things to do, food that fussy kids will be happy to eat and also a journey which will be as stress-free as possible.
“And it seems Cornwall is the place that fits the bill. It only involves a few hours in the car and you can be confident there will be the right food and plenty of activities to keep your children busy.
“While Orlando might have the theme parks that children dream of, the high temperatures and long travelling time can push it down a parent’s wish list – at least until the children are a little older.”
The study, of 2,000 parents, also named the Canary Islands as a great family destination, alongside Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura which placed at 11th, 12th and 14th respectively.
The Brittany area of France was voted into 13th place, while the UK’s Lake District and North Wales region followed close behind.
Cyprus, Ireland, Corfu and Crete completed the top twenty.
Other UK destinations to feature in the top 50 include West Wales, the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and the Scottish Highlands.
Norfolk, the Cotswolds and Snowdonia also rank highly among parents.
Lapland features at number 24 while, perhaps surprisingly, Ibiza is at 30, despite being known mostly for its nightclubs and party atmosphere.
The study also found that parents reckon the ideal child-friendly holiday would last an average of 10 days and involve less than five hours of travelling time.
And while 60% would like to travel by plane, more than one in four would prefer somewhere where they only have a car journey to worry about.
For a destination or resort to be perfect for a young family, half of the parents polled said it must have nice beaches while 28% say kid’s swimming pools are essential.
Other priorities when choosing where to go for a family holiday include nearby play areas, a good choice of food to cater for fussy eaters and a shallow sea.
It doesn’t always go to plan though as the survey found that almost three in ten parents have gone somewhere and found it was completely unsuitable for children.
More than half say they find it a huge stress trying to find somewhere that is suitable for the whole family with worries about whether the accommodation is right for children and there are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy.
Six in ten parents also worry about the food that will be on offer in their destination or resort and whether their young children will be happy eating it.
Researchers found that 88% of people say it is important that any holiday they book is child-friendly.
And more than eight in ten even said making sure a destination or resort is child-friendly is their main priority when booking a holiday.
Top 50 most child-friendly destinations
- Cornwall, UK
- Orlando, USA
- Devon, UK
- Costa Del Sol, Spain
- Isle of Wight
- Dorset, UK
- Somerset, UK
- Gran Canaria
- Brittany, France
- Lake District, UK
- North Wales, UK
- Corfu, Greece
- Crete, Greece
- West Wales, UK
- The Algarve
- Yorkshire Dales, UK
- Peak District, UK
- Scottish Highlands, UK
- Kos, Greece
- Paris, France
- Rhodes, Greece
- Norfolk Broads, UK
- Cotswolds, UK
- Nice, France
- Snowdonia, UK
- Zakynthos, Greece
- Essex, UK
- Barcelona, Spain
- Brecon Beacons, UK
- Los Angeles, USA
- Santorini, Greece
- Saint Tropez, France
- Rome, Italy,
- Lake Garda, Italy
- Tuscany, Italy
- New York, USA
- Puerto Banus, Spain
- Florence, Italy
Top ten priorities for a family holiday
- Nice beaches
- Flight/journey time
- Kid’s swimming pools
- On-site entertainment
- Good attitude to children
- Children’s activities
- Children’s clubs
- Play areas
- Good choice of food
- Shallow sea