| 12.9°C Dublin

Take the fear out of family holidays

Holidays with young kids are very different from the carefree holidays of old. Parents are lucky if their bums make it on to the sun lounger, and at the end of your week away you may wonder if you're any more rested than you were before you left.

Family holidays should be wonderful experiences but if you find them hard work, here are six of the best child-friendly hotels.

>UK Bedruthan Steps Hotel, Cornwall Ocean views, stylish rooms, good food and a spa and a vast kids' programme that may include swimming, flying kites, bouncy castle, magic show and games room. Families can enjoy lessons in surfing or crafts before teatime in the children's dining room. Fresh baby purees, kids' menu, a teen den and family playroom are all available, this award-winning favourite. www.bedruthan.com

>LANZAROTE, Princesa Yaiza Despite beachfront access, your kids will prefer Princesa Yaiza's own Kikoland play area. With two family pools, kids' clubs, an indoor playground, musicals, magic shows and acrobats in the evening, all hosted by Kiko the duck, there's no time for boredom. The family suites feature kitchenettes, and sleep two adults, two children and a baby. www.princesayaiza.com

>CYPRUS, Almyra Imagine a chic boutique hotel where kids are first-class citizens. The pool is canvas-shaded on hot days and heated in winter and there's a superb creche and clubs for guests aged six months to 16 years. The Baby Go Lightly pre-order service means everything from nappies to formula, jigsaws to walkers can be in your room on arrival. A beautiful adults-only spa and pool make this an indulgent choice in Paphos. www.almyra.com

>FRANCE, Chateau Rigaud, Dordogne A stylish chateau available for weekly hire in the summer, or shorter breaks year round. Stocked with baby monitors, bouncers, buggies and toys, and there's a games barn, adventure playground, heated pool and creche, where activities might include baking and woodland trails. www.chateaurigaud.co.uk

>ITALY, The Forte Village, Sardinia Sardinia's Forte Village boasts a Citta dei Bambina -- a kids' city -- with pool and fun activities. From pizza making to puppet shows the schedule is lively. Junior footie fans can take part in the Chelsea FC Soccer School and the resort boasts bowling alley, go-kart track and climbing wall. Best of all is the kids' restaurant -- a supervised, parent-free zone accessed by a toy-train shuttle service!


>GREECE, Grecotel Kos Imperial You can't argue with a hotel whose kids' club has its own restaurant that serves free lunches, ice cream and drinks to the kids all day. The pirate-ship playground and kids' pool are fun, while activities include rehearsals for a play they'll perform at the week's end. www.grecotel.com/kos