Need inspiration for a cheap Easter vacation with the kids? We’ve got a great hotel alternative… hostels for families! We want to convince you that hostels really are for everyone!
Not only have we selected our favourite family-friendly cities, we can round off your family travel plans with some great family youth hostels which offer private and family rooms.
Also in our Easter Family Travel Series:
As a kid, Edinburgh gave me the goosepimpley tingles of excitement. The dramatic view from Princes Street across to the castle on its black rocky perch is thrilling for kids!
Edinburgh Castle: Head to the castle around 1pm Monday-Saturday to catch the booming field gun being fired from Mills Mount Battery.
Spin a Yarn: Edinburgh boasts its own Scottish Storytelling Centre. Events for families are hosted by professionals who really know how to tell a tale!
Historical Tours: With many gloomy passages, cobble stone alleyways and a complex network of underground tunnels, Edinburgh has a fascinating history. Teenagers will appreciate a ghost tour of Edinburgh Dungeons or Mary King’s close, while the young ‘uns will enjoy learning about Greyfriar’s Bobby – Edinburgh’s famous and heroic dog.
Arthur’s Seat: A manageable clamber to the top of Arthur’s Seat provides spectacular views of the city although the kids might prefer the last part of the walk – rolling back down the hill!
Day Trips: Further afield, a boat to Inchcolm Island makes a wonderful day trip including views of the fantastic Forth Bridge, a sandy beach, nesting seabirds and maybe spotting a few seals. In August, I’ve also spotted ginormous lion’s mane jellyfish from the ferry and smaller moon jellyfish washing up the beach on Inchcolm! Fascinating blobs for kids to spot en route.
Cheap Eats: Feeding a family on holiday can be a challenge but I suggest the Baked Potato Shop (56 Cockburn Street) just off the Royal Mile for hearty and cheap grub. Settle down on the curb with the other customers and dig in to your tattie and toppings. Other Edinburgh cheap eats include fish and chips aplenty – and we all know that kids love eating a novelty meal out of newspaper!
Hostels for Families Edinburgh: Awarded 5 stars by the Scottish Tourist Board, the Edinburgh Central Hostel is 10 minutes walk from Edinburgh’s main Waverly Station and Princes Street. Family’s can book quad, triple or twin en suite rooms each with secure key card entry. There is a bistro or guests can use the self-catering facilities – perfect for preparing a packed lunch! There is free Wi-Fi access as well as coin operated PCs, laundry facilities and plasma TVs in the lounge area. Ask at the travel desk for information about Highland tours and excursions further afield.
A four person rooms is €28.50pppn.
Discover other things to do in Edinburgh.
Friendly, safe and quaint, the city of Copenhagen offers a touch of the fairytale without the commercial overload. This is city life in the laid-back lane!
Vintage Theme Park: Tivoli Gardens is an adorable oldie world theme park with a number of rides. But it’s things like the Tivoli Boy Guards (a parade of redcoats with bear skin hats), the aquarium, the beautiful Glass Hall Theatre that really give this place its edge. The gardens will be particularly lovely in Easter when everything is in bloom.
Boat Trip: See Copenhagen from a different angle and hop on a canal tour. All boats go past one of the most photographed statues in the world: The Little Mermaid, popularised in the fairytale by local author, Hans Christian Andersen.
By Bike: Cycling is the city’s favourite way of getting around; Copenhagen is flat, attractions are within short distances and there is a very well-designed network of cycle paths. Go with the flow and hop on one of the Copenhagen City Bikes, a popular cycle sharing scheme. If you plan to venture beyond the city limits, you can take bikes on the slick S trains.
Museums: Our pick of the Copenhagen family museums has to be the Circus Museum offering plenty of hands-on activities for kids including dressing-up, workshops and shows. It’s located on the outskirts of the city.
Boating: Children over 15 will enjoy a kayaking tour of the canals, but families with younger children can opt to rent a rowing boat instead.
Waterfront: Complete with crooked quayside architecture, kids will love ogling the colourful boats harboured in Nyhavn. In fine weather, it’s a great place for alfresco dining and many of the canal tours depart from here too.
Hostels for Families Copenhagen:
With views of the skyline and harbour, Danhostel Copenhagen City is a 5 star hostel just 10 minutes walk from the station, Tivoli and all the main attractions in Copenhagen city centre. This family-friendly hostel is totally geared for children with a TV room, table tennis and cycle hire on offer. For families there are private 6 and 4-bed en suite rooms.
A six-person room is €175pn.
Surrounded on three sides by water, the marvellous geography of this glorious city can be admired over and over again from many hilly vantage points. Golden Gate Park has enough kiddie activities to keep all family members occupied for a whole week!
Street Cars: The historic cable cars are an adventure in themselves and make the hills easier on little legs. One of the best open-air rides is on a Powell-Hyde from Powell and Market Street to Fisherman’s Wharf, which take in fantastic views across San Francisco Bay.
Counting Steps: Kids will love counting and climbing the 163 tiled steps on 16th and Morgana, beautifully pieced together with mosaics of animals and birds.
Movies: For a fantastic trip to the pictures, the Castro Theatre is San Francisco’s magical movie palace. All shows open with the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ and you can catch sing-along specials of children’s classics such as The Wizard of Oz or The Little Mermaid.
Green Space: Golden Gate Park offers hours of entertainment and activities including the de Young art museum – voted Best Museum by California’s own Child magazine. The park is a good place to hire bikes, Segways or rollerblades and rowing boats are available to rent on Stow Lake. There is a whopper kids playground complete with historic carousel and the Japanese Tea Garden offers a moment of peace with an azalea-covered waterfall, lanterns, wisteria and illuminated bamboo.
Adventures on the Water: A trip to Alcatraz prison adds a thrilling twist to a San Francisco ferry excursion. The quirky waterfront town of Sausalito is also worth a 30-minute ferry ride for crooked pastel houses and maze-like streets.
Golden Gate Bridge: Everybody wants to venture across THE bridge. On the other side, head to the university town of Berkeley, where, in Tilden Park, you can hop on a steam train.
Waterfront: The highlight for most kids will probably be Fisherman’s Wharf area; a chance to scoff Ghirardelli chocolate and where you can cheaply feed a family on clam chowder. Continue along to Pier 39 for street performers and lounging sea lions which gather for most of the year by the docks – you’ll hear them before you see them!
Family Hostel in San Francisco
In the Downtown area, San Francisco’s exciting theatre district, Adelaide Hostel and Hotel can offer families private triple, quad and 6-bed rooms with daily cleaning. With your free breakfast you get fresh bagels, breakfast scones, fresh fruit , oatmeal, jams and Nutella – well, it is a holiday after all! There are also self-catering facilities, free internet kiosks, Wi-Fi and a cheap airport pick-up service. Your host Gerard, can organise a free city tour or an excursion to Yosemite National Park. After a weary day of sightseeing, you can curl up on the sofa for a spot of telly. This is our top-rated property in San Francisco so be sure to read the reviews of why travellers love it!
A six-person room is €35pppn.