Ideas for families

When I grow up

Kids have big imaginations, and there’s no better way to inspire them than a trip to some of Europe’s most influential destinations.

I want to be an Astronaut!

Kids are always thinking outside the box, and with technology moving at a rapid speed, more children than ever are becoming interested in space. Europe has some great space centres that are easy to travel to from Calais by car, such as the Euro Space Center in Transinne, Belgium, which holds daily tours as well as the chance to enter an American space shuttle replica!

The museum is great for kids, as it simulates space-flight and even micro-gravity. It plays host to a variety of space camps that teach children how astronauts are trained, with Earth Camp specifically focusing on the importance of our planet and how we need to protect it. The space center has lots to keep the little ones entertained, and you might even learn something new too!

Another great spot is Space City in Toulouse, France. Here the kids can travel into space with the amazing Imax experience, and see the most distant stars and planets in the planetarium. If you've got a strong stomach, take a seat in the Gyro-Extreme space seat!

I want to be a Princess!

For aspiring young members of royalty, a trip to a regal castle is the peak of any holiday, and there is no better place to go than Europe, home to the world's most beautiful castles. One of the most majestic is the Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany. Built around the nineteenth century, this Neo-Romanesque castle is grand in both size and style, and will leave all your little princes and princesses in awe. Surrounded by hills and mountains, the Neuschwanstein truly is magical, and was originally built to house the shy King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It is widely known to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle – where better to take the kids!


The rooms inside are incredibly lavish. Colourful carpets, walls and furniture are finished with gold detailing, and huge chandeliers hang from the ceilings. Other beautiful castles in Europe include the colourful Pena National Palace in Portugal, and Italy's Miramere Castle, a dream-like structure sitting on the Gulf of Trieste. Take the kids to see the castle's original furnishings, and if the weather is nice have a small picnic in the stunning park gardens, which are full of exotic plants.

I want to be a Zoo Keeper!

If your little one loves animals, then they might want to be a veterinarian or Zoo Keeper when they grow up. There are lots of great zoos and animal parks across Europe, so wherever your holiday takes you, it shouldn't be too hard to see some weird and wonderful creatures!

In Spain, Valencia Biopark encourages the conservation of the animals' habitat, and gives visitors a really immersive experience, as you walk through these eco systems, barriers are hidden so that you feel much closer to the animals, and the park educates its visitors on conserving the complex ecosystems that animals need to survive.

For an underwater experience, take the kids to Nausicaa in France, which is just 30 minutes in the car from Calais, and has everything from colourful fish in the Tropical Lagoon, to friendly stingrays in the stingray pool.

I want to be a cowboy!

There are some beautiful routes for horse and pony riding in Europe, so saddle up! Whatever your experience level, there are lessons that will suit. An old favourite for horse riders is Tuscany in Italy, the trails of which can take you through the quiet parts of Montalcino and San Gimignano, seen from the rare and beautiful view gained by being on horseback.

Horse riding holidays can last about a week, with rides lasting half a day and taking you and the kids through peaceful forest trails, with days ending in comfortable farm accommodation. France also has some great spots, and many companies show their horses online so that you can meet them before you ride! French Riding Holidays are based in Asprières in southern France, and have a great reputation with families.

I want to be the Prime Minister!

If your children are good at arguing their corner, they might want to be a politician! A trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg can be a really educational trip for kids who want to know more about how Europe is run, and you can take chamber tours which are suitable for all ages, as well as visiting the Parlamentarium, which houses engaging multimedia displays, describing how the European Union affects our lives. Displays include a 360 degree screen that puts you at the centre of parliament action, and a Tunnel of Voices that illustrates the many languages of Europe. Admission is free, so it's a great way to spend an afternoon!

Across Europe there are some wonderful parliament buildings that can be visited, in particular the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, which houses the National Assembly of Hungary, and is one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Europe. You can take a guided tour to see the interior, including the Holy Crown of Hungary and the building's beautiful stained glass windows.

Parlament - Parliament of Hungary

I want to be a Scientist!

Kids love to think outside the box, and for those who enjoy experiments, a career in science might be their dream job. London has the Science Museum, and Europe's selection of educational and often wacky science exhibitions are enough to take a trip abroad. In recent years, one organisation that has been breaking boundaries is CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) who are responsible for the world's largest particle physics laboratory. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the lab has some great exhibitions, and young scientists will be inspired by stories of discovering new particles, and scientists who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

Germany's Deutsches Museum is the largest science museum in the world, and has a huge section devoted to young children – the Kid's Kingdom. Here, there is a tonne to do, from building blocks to the House of Light, and there's even a giant guitar! This is a great place for young children who are learning about science for the first time. Other exhibitions focus on the Age of Humans, and how we have created agriculture, trade, transportation and utilised our environment to its full potential. The museum as a whole is incredibly diverse and informative, and a whole day can be spent exploring!