The one for... a highland adventure: Inverness, Scotland
Hang out with Scotland's big fish / Image: Charlie Phillips WDC
If your little ones love creatures both mythical and aquatic, then they’ll adore a family trip to Inverness. The Scottish city makes a fine holiday destination: its proximity to the highlands means it’s the perfect base to explore Scotland’s famed mountain range, as well as an ideal jumping-off point to hunt down the mythical Loch Ness monster. Find Nessie with Jacobite Loch Ness Cruises, whose guided tours of the loch include live onboard sonar that makes the journey fun for younger types. You can also track down underwater denizens of a different kind with Dolphin Spirit, the amazing wildlife cruises of which introduce visitors to nearby Moray Firth’s population of bottlenosed dolphins.
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The one for... castles galore: Munich, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle will please little wannabe monarchs / Image: Adobe Stock
Parents of the Disney-obsessed would do well to choose Munich as their next holiday destination; here, tiny princes and princesses can live out their royal fantasies on the Bavarian stretch of Europe’s famed Castle Road. Running 1,200km from Mannheim to Prague, this magical highway connects over 70 fortresses and stately homes, and can easily be explored using Munich as your base. The highlight, no doubt, is the majestic, much-photographed Neuschwanstein Castle – a real-life Cinderella pile just 90 minutes drive from Munich. And there’s plenty to keep you occupied in the city, too – like the sprawling Deutsches Museum, the world’s largest science- and technology-themed collection.
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The one for… preteens and teens: Venice, Italy
You can't leave Venice without taking a gondola ride / Image: Adobe Stock
While the grandeur of Venice may go over the tiny heads of younger children, older kids will have a blast piazza-hopping through Italy’s canal city. It’s hard not to be impressed by the intricate architecture of the Doge’s Palace no matter your age – or to be creeped out by the dank cells of the piombi (former prison) in the palace’s basement. Nose around with Venice Kids’ Tours, whose ‘thrilling secret journey into the Doge’s Palace’ leads kids and parents through the hidden corridors of this mysterious Gothic residence. And of course, you’re never too old (or too young) for a gondola ride – or, for those on a budget, a vaporetto (water bus) journey does the trick just as nicely. Take one to the island of Murano, where kids can amaze at local glassblowers doing their thing in open workshops.
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The one for... little scientists: Stockholm, Sweden
Be amazed by outer space at IMAX Cosmonova / Image: Christopher-Robin Eklund/NASA
Little Bill Nyes will love all the nerdy activities on offer in Stockholm. Take the impressive IMAX Cosmonova at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, a planetarium-cum-cinema where films that explore our solar system are regularly shown in mind-bending super-high-definition. Keep those little cogs churning at the National Museum of Science and Technology – Sweden’s biggest, with stimulating exhibitions that explore innovation, energy, and the environment in an interactive way. You can also up your underwater IQ at the Baltic Sea Science Center, a modernist museum that plays double duty as an aquarium and educational space dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges facing marine life in Sweden’s seas.
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