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Fabulous family holidays
Snorkelling with turtles in Barbados.
Best for... Little ones
:: Truro, Cornwall
If the weather's good, a trip to Cornwall can be one of the best family holidays you're likely to have. Sandy beaches with an ocean made for boogie boarding, fish and chips by the quayside and some of the best ice cream you've ever tasted - what's not to love?
The key to a family holiday in the South West is to have a good base: a nice big property that's not too pristine, so you're not panicking about the kids' mucky fingers and beachy feet.
Trethurffe Manor near Truro is a grand six-bedroom cottage, nestled in vast grounds - perfect for family and friends. It's well located for exploring west Cornwall, and within easy reach of craggy cliff-top walking trails.
If you don't want to head out for the day, the house is big enough to lose yourself in a book upstairs, while the kids play table tennis or pool in the games room.
:: Trethurffe Manor, Truro, Cornwall. Prices from £1,250 for seven nights. Visit www.holidaycottages.co.uk.
Best for... Value
:: Bluestone, Pembrokeshire, Wales
If you like the idea of a Center Parcs but hate the thought of a commercial holiday camp, head for Bluestone national park resort in Pembrokeshire.
Modern lodges and holiday cottages are set within a complex containing everything you could possibly need - including a water park, a spa, a choice of scrumptious restaurants and a pub with live music. With a good selection of shops on site, it's also possible to stay in and cook at your apartment.
The grounds are spacious, so families don't feel on top of each other, and there are lots of good outdoor activities on offer. The large play areas and Lego Room will keep tiny tots entertained for eons, while big kids of all ages should try out the Steep Ravine, where they can zip through the forest on wires suspended 40ft in the air.
For something a little more tranquil, head to the serene Well Spa, where you can indulge in a tempting treatment and wash away any worries in the outdoor hot tub.
:: Bluestone, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Family lodges sleeping four available from £519 for a four-night midweek or weekend break in August and £399 for September. Visit www.bluestonewales.com or call 01834 887 962.
Best for... Water babies
:: Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, Croatia
Set on Croatia's Adriatic coast, this luxurious 5-star resort is great for a relaxing family holiday.
A world-class spa, 13 restaurants and bars, plus a promenade of shops can all be found in the vast grounds, among fragrant pine and citrus trees.
The resort's contemporary design is geared towards maximising the astonishing sea views, with local artworks used to decorate communal spaces.
The deluxe residences, with up to three bedrooms, are perfect for families and feature a kitchenette, lounge/dining area, bathroom and spacious balconies.
There's a private pebble beach, which is a secluded spot to relax in, plus plenty of child-friendly swimming pools. A good range of activities are available for children of all ages, while adults can wind down with yoga and Pilates classes at the award-winning spa.
It's easy to forget the resort is just a 20-minute drive from Unesco World Heritage site, Dubrovnik. But guests are invited to explore at their own, slow pace.
:: A two bedroom residence (sleeps up to five) with garden view starts from 298 per night (about £260). Visit www.dubrovniksungardens.hr. Flights with easyJet start at £109.98 return. Visit www.easyjet.co.uk.
Best for... An educational treat
:: The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino, Greece
Whether the kids are very tiny, reaching the stage where this is the last family holiday they're going on, or somewhere in between, they'll all enjoy a stay at the Westin Resort.
Located in the Navarino Dunes, close to the Ionian Sea, The Westin has a number of good kids' clubs.
The Cocoon Care Center is especially designed for children aged eight months to four years, with the aim of encouraging social development as well as fun, while SandCastle, suitable for ages up to 12, has more of an educational focus, with activities designed to teach children about the Greek islands. They can learn about Messinian pirates, Greek gods, rare species and local culture.
But it's not just the young people who get to have all the fun. The Westin has its own golf course and offers private lessons for players of all levels, with a video analysis system used to improve technique.
The Sports Centre has a good selection of bowling lanes, a full-sized basketball court and a water park. Squash and badminton lessons are also available at the Navarino Racquet Academy.
If that all sounds a bit energetic, head straight to one of the brilliant family restaurants, including a bright 1960s-style American Diner.
:: Deluxe Garden View Rooms start from £159 per night with breakfast. To book, visit www.westin.com/costanavarino. Aegean Air flies from London to Kalamata from £327.80 return in September. Visit www.aegeanair.com.
Best for... Splashing out
:: Elegant Hotels Tamarind, Barbados
With more than 70 miles of bright crystal blue coastline, Barbados is an underwater playground for big kids and water babies. In fact, there's almost as much to see below sea level as above.
Better still, you don't need to go deep-sea diving in search of the island's colourful wildlife. Simply snorkelling in the calm, bath-temperature waters will bring kids into close contact with families of hawksbill and leatherback turtles.
If you fancy exploring the sea without getting wet, get deep down aboard the thrilling Atlantis submarine, departing from Bridgetown harbour. Passengers peer from portholes during the 45-minute narrated trip that takes you to depths of 150ft, floating past exotic marine life and a shipwreck.
For adventure on dry land, buckle up for an Island Safari in a zebra-print 4x4 - suitable for children over four - and tick off the most picturesque locations on the pear-shaped island, which stretches just 21 miles long by 14 miles wide.
If you don't want to venture far from your sea view balcony, Elegant Hotels Tamarind on the west coast is a family-pleaser. The supervised Flying Fish Kids Club hosts a range of fun-filled activities for smaller guests (aged four to seven and eight to 12), while the Teen Lounge provides a cool hangout with large-screen Wii, game consoles and disco nights.
:: A Pool Garden View Room at the Elegant Hotels Tamarind starts at £158 per night, including breakfast, taxes and service charges. Call 0800 917 3534 or visit eleganthotels.com. British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Barbados from £627.40 return including taxes. Visit www.ba.com/barbados or call 0844 4930787. For more information on Barbados visit www.visitbarbados.org.
Best for... Thrill seekers
:: Dolomites, Italy
Far less touristy than the Alps, but still just as beautiful, the South Tyrolean Dolomites will appeal to more adventurous families.
The four-star Hotel Oswald, with generously sized rooms, is a great base for exploring the area by foot, bike or even paraglider.
Pack some sturdy boots and seek out the glorious L Muline Mountain restaurant, taking in magical views and lovely food. Also worth a visit is the highly recommended Restaurant Antica Osteria, in the Piazza San Antonio in Ortisei.
A further hour or so away, Alta Badia is no less a wonder. Styled as if inspired by the Heidi books and set in the valley, the Hotel Ciasa Antines offers a relaxing indoor pool and leisurely bar.
Be sure to obtain a Mountain Pass Alta Badia, which allows you to use the chair lifts and cable cars to tour eight mountain huts, each serving dishes created by local Michelin-starred chefs. For a gentler introduction to the local Ladino cuisine, try the speck, goulash and strudel from the Maso Alfarei, a local mountain farm.
It may not be the obvious choice for a summer break, but there are plenty of reasons to visit the Dolomites out of ski season - especially if you have kids in tow.
:: Double rooms at the Hotel Oswald start at 90 (around £76) per person, per night for half-board. Visit www.hoteloswald.com. Double rooms at Hotel Ciasa Antines, La Villa, Alta Badia, start at 72 (about £60) per person for half-board. Visit www.altabadia.org. Flights with Thomson Airways from London Gatwick to Verona start from £120 per person. Visit www.thomson.co.uk.