Remember when you were young and care-free, and a weekend break with your partner involved lazy mornings in bed and slumming it in Paris or Berlin? Kids are a blessing, but they also can complicate your married life and leave no time for romance.
Valentine’s Day may be falling out of fashion as people reject how commercialised it’s become, but it’s still a good reminder to spend some time with your significant other and celebrate your relationship. If you’ve started a family together, that’s even more of a reason to take a week out of your busy schedule and get your romance on.
So do you find a childminder, or take the kids? There’s no reason not to let them celebrate with you, so here are five fantastic, family-friendly vacation ideas at budget-friendly prices — from an NCL cruise to a good, old-fashioned camping trip. Pack the champagne, grab the kids and tell your husband or wife to bring their nice clothes. It’s time to celebrate your life together.
Camping in the Sunny South of France
Camping trips with your kids are great, and if you’ve expanded your family to include a furry canine friend, he can come too! Camping is perfect for younger children as it’s cheap, cheerful and gets them out in the nature and away from their computer games. In February, though, you’d have to be mad or extremely hardcore to want to camp in the UK. Luckily, the South of France is just a ferry and a drive away from the South of England and lets your kids experience a whole new culture.
Because temperatures are still a little chilly, you may want to opt for a caravan park rather than a tent for a bit more comfort, or just delay your trip until half-term in April — but make sure you book it for Valentine’s, so the romantic spirit is still there.
An NCL Cruise to the Snowy North
In February, your children are probably still feeling bitter about the lack of white Christmases in the UK. Childhood is a great time to enjoy snow, before you grow up and realise that it’s cold, wet, slippy and inconvenient. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who still find it magical even when it’s bringing public transport to a halt, a holiday in Scandinavia is the perfect way to rekindle your love of snow and make your kids’ winter.
NCL Cruises are perfect for both children and adults — and grabbing some great NCL 2017 cruise deals means you can afford to take a break without breaking the bank. With some wonderful options for keeping your children busy on an NCL cruise ship (cinemas, arcades, live entertainment, and making loads of new friends), you and your partner can sneak off for some alone time. An NCL cruise from the UK to Scandinavia will also guarantee that you stay warm and dry between time spent exploring, so you won’t have your romantic atmosphere brought down by complaints of cold feet.
A Cultural Weekend in Rome
Rome is the perfect European city to visit with your children if they’re a bit older, as there’s enough here to keep them busy whatever age they are. After all, what teenager doesn’t love pizza and pasta? It’s close enough to the UK that you can visit just as a weekend city break, or you can take longer and really explore the history and culture. One of the most romantic European cities, if your children are a little older, they can enjoy the living history of the streets while you and your partner enjoy a bottle of wine and a delicious meal at a candlelit restaurant.
You won’t need your suntan lotion, but you’ll still get more sun than you would in the UK. Off-season, the hotels will be cheaper and the city won’t be overrun with tourists, meaning it works out cheaper all round. To visit, take advantage of budget airline flights or book a last-minute cruise and stay deal, where hotels are included in the cost.
An Azamara Cruise to the Mediterranean
If you’re desperate for a little more sun than a holiday in Rome or the South of France can offer, head down to the southernmost part of the Mediterranean. There are some fantastic Azamara cruise deals on at the moment that will take you straight to the sun and a Vitamin D top-up to keep you going through the rest of the winter.
You and your partner can enjoy the romance and history of the Greek islands, while your children can run around the temples and beaches. If your family are Game of Thrones or Star Wars fans, why not choose an Azamara cruise that takes you to Dubrovnik? Walking through a living film set is bound to get everyone excited, and the beautiful, romantic architecture and cobbled streets don’t hurt, either.
A Cosy Cottage in Cornwall
When was the last time you explored the UK? With so many fantastic worldwide destinations and cheap travel options, it’s easy to forget to appreciate our own country. From adventure parks, to windy beach walks and hot chips covered in vinegar, there’s plenty in Cornwall to keep you and your kids amused. Holiday cottages are the perfect option for a long weekend — and you can take advantage of the off-season to book one last-minute.
Try to find one with a roaring fire. If you’re from the city, your kids will appreciate the novelty and they’re undoubtedly romantic to snuggle up in front of at the end of a long day. Pack the Scrabble board and pick a dog-friendly cottage for your canine companion and you’ve got the perfect family UK holiday.
Whatever you choose to do this Valentine’s Day, make sure you take time to appreciate your other half. Whether it’s just a few nice words, a quiet meal in, or an NCL cruise, it’s healthy in any relationship to take time to remember to be a couple.