8 Remarkable Cities You Need To Add To Your Family Travel Bucket List
Updated: May 1
Start planning your next adventure now
I need a holiday, and I bet you feel like you do too.
Since we’re stuck inside for the foreseeable future, I’ve often found myself thinking about where I’d like to go once this lockdown finally comes to an end.
Stop number one is a spa for a bloody good massage.
But aside from that, I’ve been thinking of destinations I’d like to visit with Malaga Papa and our toddler on a family holiday.
I’ll save my list for a separate post. But if you’re looking for travel bucket list ideas, here are eight stunning cities you should add to yours.
The capital of Scotland has so much to offer. If you’re travelling with kids, you’ll find plenty of fun, educational, and historic things to discover.
The whole family will enjoy exploring Edinburgh Castle and its history. You can then follow this up with a trip to the Edinburgh Dungeons if you’re feeling brave and looking for a fun dive into Edinburgh’s murkier past.
Head to Dynamic Earth for a scientific adventure, exhibitions and more.
Or check out the Royal Botanic Garden if you want to introduce your little ones to nature.
If your children are older, you’ll enjoy a walk up Arthur’s Seat. This is Edinburgh’s extinct volcano that offers views over the whole city.
Finally, make sure you head to the Elephant House for a coffee or delicious hot chocolate. This café is where J.K. Rowling wrote parts of the early Harry Potter books so your kids are sure to love it.
Speaking of Harry Potter, it doesn’t get any better for Potterheads than a trip to London.
You can visit the Harry Potter Studios, which are on the outskirts of London. I was given tickets for my birthday one year and it was honestly the best birthday present EVER. I’m such a Harry Potter nerd.
If Harry Potter isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to discover. Check out a show in the West End, jump on a tour bus and explore the whole city, or wander around and use the Tube to travel longer distances.
Make sure you head to Buckingham Palace and say hi to Queen Lizzie. I’m sure she’s bored in that massive palace. Other symbolic sites include Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge.
There are also plenty of museums to see, with the National History Museum the pick of the bunch.
Madame Tussaud’s waxwork museum is sure to be a success with all members of the family. They have figures of the Royal Family, Marvel characters, football players and even E.T. on his bike.
Of course, your kids will LOVE a trip to Hamleys, the largest toy store in the world. Only the bravest parents would head here with the kids in tow. Prepare your wallets!
Malaga is the ideal family holiday destination so get it on your travel bucket list.
I had to pay homage to the city I now call home and which has lent its name to my blog.
Malaga has something for everyone. Sun? Check. Beach? Check. Mountains? Check. Museums? Check. Lots of restaurants? Check.
Malaga has the highest number of museums per head of the population of all the cities in Spain. If you’re looking for a museum that will appeal to you, your partner and your kids, check out the Automobile and Fashion Museum.
If you want to sample the city’s history, visit its Roman theatre (1st century BC) and the Alcazaba fortress (11th century) behind it.
For a more active day out away from the beach, head along to the Aqualand water park in nearby Torremolinos. Or check out Fuengirola’s Bioparc Zoo.
Malaga often hosts festivals and popup events throughout the year that you can enjoy, depending on when you visit. These include its August Fair, Easter Week, a jazz festival, culinary popups, and the city’s film festival.
Now, I’m not saying you should take your kids on a walk through the red light district, but there’s tons to do in Amsterdam.
You can go on a bike or boat ride around the city if you’re looking for some active tourism and some fresh air.
If your children love animals, visit Artis, one of the oldest zoos in Europe.
Both kids and adults will love the NEMO Science Museum. You can get stuck into all the interactive equipment on offer.
The Scheepvaartmuseum, or Amsterdam’s National Maritime Museum, will blow you away with its huge collection of seafaring models, maps, paintings and more.
For a more sobering, educational experience, visit the Anne Frank House and learn about this remarkable young girl. Make sure you book your tickets in advance as it’s impossible to buy them on the day.
“Barcelooooooona,” Freddie Mercury once sang. Now, I’m no Freddie Mercury but you’ll be going ga-ga for this Mediterranean city.
It’s a travel bucket list must if you’ve never been before.
The city’s hop-on, hop-off tour bus is the best way to explore the city’s landmarks by far.
Football fanatics will love the tour of F.C. Barcelona’s stadium, the legendary Camp Nou. It doesn’t look that spectacular from the outside, but just wait until you see inside the stadium.
If your timing is good and you don’t mind shelling out a fairly hefty price, you can go to a game.
Not a fan of football? No problem. You can visit lots of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece buildings: the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, and Casa Milà.
This city is also home to an aquarium and Tibidabo Amusement Park, if you’re looking for something a little different.
When night falls, head to the Magic Fountain for a colourful spectacle involving water, music, lighting and more.
If you feel up to a long-haul flight with your kids (yikes, the thought terrifies me right now) then Orlando, Florida is the ultimate family travel bucket list destination.
This place has more theme parks than I have minutes to myself in a day. Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Discovery Cove, LEGOLAND, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal’s Volcano Bay…
You get the idea. There’s something for everyone.
In addition to all of these theme parks, you’ll find several excellent crazy golf courses along International Drive. The whole family will love these and their wonderful scenery.
For a truly different experience for all the family, check out the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. You’ll watch knights jousting on horseback, among other forms of entertainment, before getting stuck into a hearty meal.
I loved going to this show as a 12-year-old, many moons ago. Clearly, it made an impression on me as I still remember it now.
If it’s something educational you’re looking for, the Kennedy Space Centre is the place to go. Marvel at mankind’s space endeavours and learn about space exploration.
If you’re after a really different holiday, Thailand is sure to hit the spot. And Chiang Mai in the north in particular.
The whole family will enjoy exploring the city’s colourful markets and checking out its famous temples.
The best of these is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which is located atop a mountain looking down on the city.
To get there, take a red truck taxi/bus/thing (I don’t know what they’re called but they look like a red pickup truck with the back covered, and they pick people up and you haggle prices with the driver). The driver will take you up the incredible, winding road to this temple. That alone was quite the experience.
In Chiang Mai you can also try cooking classes if your kids are a bit older.
Elephant Nature Park offers experiences you’ll remember forever. This park saves elephants from the country’s bad tourist practices (like circuses and tour operators that let you ride on them).
It has a whole range of packages available. You can feed the elephants, wash them in the river, and go on jungle walks alongside them.
You can also try other activities like river rafting.
Chiang Mai lights up at night, with its colourful Night Bazaar a great place for wandering every night. Haggle with vendors and take home some souvenirs of your trip.
Ok, so maybe this isn’t technically a city, but you should add a cruise to your list.
People often call cruise ships a floating city because of the huge variety of facilities they have on board.
Not only that, you get the chance to visit lots of cities while on a cruise.
Cruises are a fantastic way to get a taster of the places you visit along the way. They give you the chance to note down destinations to add to your family travel bucket list for a more in-depth visit in the future.
Added bonus: most cruise ships have childcare facilities available or babysitting services! So you can enjoy a night off if you feel like it and head to a fancy restaurant and watch a show on board.
If you want the full family-friendly option, go for a Disney Cruise, which has live shows, character experiences, parties, pools, and more.
They have kids clubs and spaces for all ages. Even teenagers!
So where will you be heading as soon as lockdown has lifted?
Let me know what destinations you’ve got on your family travel bucket list in the comments.
Look out for future travel posts where I’ll discuss specific places in more depth. Subscribe to my blog to get updates when these posts are uploaded.
There’s no time like the present so get planning your next holiday! You’ll need it after this lockdown madness.