Back-to-school breaks

Who says the holidays are over? Back to school season is when parents come out to play. Here are 10 holidays for grown-ups this September

Sat, Aug 23, 2014, 01:00

R&R in Kerry
If running around after kids were an Olympic sport, you’d be up there on the medals podium, right? Well seeing as no one else is going to festoon you with accolades for your parental performance, why not reward yourself with a relaxing break at Aghadoe Heights, a five-star hotel and spa on the lakes of Killarney.

Soothe the aches and pains of a summer spent separating combatants and leave the confiscation of mobile phones to teachers, while you wallow in an Athlete’s Recovery Package, a rejuvenating spa treatment available at a special price through September. Having limped over the back-to-school line, enjoy a revitalising session in the thermal suite, a renewing foot rub, back, neck and shoulder massage, seaweed leg masks and relaxing scalp massage, for €95. Rest in the relaxation area with herbal teas, fresh fruit and iPods that aren’t a means to drown out the noise of squabbling kids. Stay B&B from €229. aghadoeheights.com

Norway in a nutshell
Views are wasted on little ones so there’s absolutely no point feeling guilty about not bringing them to see the stunning landscapes of Norway.

As for getting them to appreciate the blissful silence of its soaring cliffs, forget it – it doesn’t take them a minute to figure out that these babies are God’s own echo chamber. Much better to leave them with friends or family and soak up the country’s sensory delights for yourself, taking a signature Norway in Nutshell tour tour by rail from Oslo to Bergen, stopping off for a cruise down Aurlandsfjord.

A totally grown-up playground, it’s perfect for restoring summer-weary souls. From 2,370 Norwegian Kroner (around €288) for a round trip from Oslo. A Ryanair flight to Oslo (Rygge) can cost as little as €19.99. norwaynutshell.com

Now, voyager
Take a seriously grown-up voyage on the Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s flagship (and how often do you get to say that about an actual boat?). It’s launching an elegant 12-day sojourn along New England and Canada departing New York on September 15th and taking in Newport, Boston, Bar Harbour, St John, Halifax and Quebec before heading back south. Billed as the most magnificent ocean liner ever built, the QM2 has all sorts of mod cons which, to be honest, the kids would love, including 3D cinema and planetarium.

But hey, massage the guilt away in its Canyon Ranch Spa – and see if they can do something about the stretch marks/grey hairs/wrinkles the kids have bequeathed you while you’re at it. From €1,399 (€1,746) cunard.co.uk


Do Dubai
Shopping with kids is tedious at the best of times so tackling the world’s biggest shopping centre, the Dubai Mall, would be simply insane. Let’s face it, in a place like this the only one storming round shouting “I want, I want” should be you. Of course there’s more to Dubai than shopping and skyscrapers, there’s also camel trekking and falconry, 4x4 rides through the desert, a Dhow Cruise, chic beach clubs, watersports and wildlife sanctuaries. There’s a waterpark too, Aquaventure, but out of deference to the kids the least you could do is avoid it. Or at least, not tell them. GoHop.ie goes to the top of the class for its short breaks in September – a month when temperatures hover around 33 degrees, heat that will set you up very nicely for the darkening school runs ahead. These include five nights at the three-star Citymax Sharjah Hotel, on a B&B basis, from €471pps, including Dublin flights, departing 3rd September. gohop.ie

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