Activity holidays for single-parent families
From kayaking in Fermanagh to protecting turtles in Greece, there are lots of options
Dragon Boat racing as part of a three-day trip to Lusty Beg island this summer
Canoeing and camping in the Ardèche
Acorn Adventure specialises in active camping holidays for families in Wales, France, Italy and Spain. Accommodation is in tented “villages”, which are already set up, and all activities, meals and evening entertainment are included. Acorn runs a handful of trips exclusively for one-parent families, including a week in the Ardèche, southern France, the highlight of which is a two-day canoe trip along the Ardèche river gorge, with overnight bivouac camp. There will also be opportunities to try out abseiling, caving, raft building and rock climbing, and there’s an on-site swimming pool, volleyball court and riverside beach where kids can let off steam. Single-parent families are welcome on any of the company’s other holidays.
One Parent Holidays is an Irish company that arranges holidays in Ireland and abroad for single-parent families to travel together in groups, or on their own in child-friendly properties. There are a range of Irish trips planned for this summer, from an adventure week in Carlingford to glamping in Wicklow. A three-day trip to Lusty Beg island in August offers families the chance to try Chinese Dragon Boat racing, 4X4 off road driving, archery, kayaking, clay pigeon, and cycling trails around the island, all while staying in luxury lodges with one or two other families.
• Prices start at €285 for one adult and one child. oneparentholidays.ie
Watersports in Croatia
A quarter of all families travelling on Explore’s family adventures are single-parent families, and its best-selling family holiday is its Croatian Active Adventure, based on an island just off the Dalmatian coast. Activities include white-water rafting, sea kayaking and canyoning, and there are optional visits to the towns of Split, Trogir and Omis. Accommodation is in a beachfront hotel with swimming pool on the small island of Ciovo, near Trogir. The minimum age for children is 11 and the group size is normally between 12 and 18 people.
• From €978 per adult and €872 per child, excluding flights. explore.co.uk
Multi-activity weekends in the UK
If you’re not sure whether a full-on holiday with other families is for you, then PGL’s multi-activity weekends are a great way of dipping your toe in the water. The company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has several activity centres dotted around the UK, offering families of all shapes and sizes the chance to try out activities such as raft-building, zip wires, abseiling and archery in a safe and sociable environment. Single-parent families are well catered for, with a choice of rooms with no low-occupancy charges; and there are lots of opportunities to make friends at family quiz evenings, treasure hunts and team challenges.
• A two-night multi-activity weekend at Caythorpe Court in Lincolnshire starts at €195 per adult and €173 per child. Children under four go free. pgl.co.uk
Protecting turtles in Greece
Volunteering holidays can be a great way for families with older children to spend time together, while working for a good cause and meeting people from around the world. GVI has been running international volunteer programmes for more than 10 years, and has selected a handful of its projects to open up to families, including a turtle conservation programme in Greece. Families will be based near the village of Giannitsochori in the southern Peloponnese, where there is an endangered population of loggerhead turtles. Daily jobs include recording nesting activity on the beach and protecting hatchlings from predators as they make their first journey to the sea, but there will be free time to explore local nature reserves and archaeological sites.
• From €1,393 per person for a two-week placement. For each adult family member, a child under 18 gets a 25 per cent discount. Minimum age 14. gvi.ie
Walking on the Isle of Wight
HF Holidays runs a series of family adventures in Ireland, the UK and Europe that can be a sociable and good value option for single parent families, with children under 11 going free on all the UK breaks and children up to 17 half-price. Guided walks are tailored towards families with plenty of stops for games and activities. Accommodation is in country houses such as the cliff-top Freshwater Bay House, which is the base for the company’s Isle of Wight adventures. After gentle walks to Carisbrooke Castle and along the coastal path to the Needles and the seaside town of Ventnor, children can join in with the organised crafts, activities and beach games back at the house or go for a swim in the outdoor pool.
• From €565 per adult for a four-night break, full-board. hfholidays.co.uk
(– Guardian Service. Additional reporting by Irish Times writers)