The world is big and there to be explored…every little corner of it has something beautiful to be unearthed and at Globalmouse we believe that there are some amazing sights that children will just love. Here’s our roundup of 50 places to take your children before they grow up.
1. Pompeii, Italy – one of the world’s best preserved Roman towns, Pompeii is a wonderful place to take your children and show them history first hand. Let them pour water from Roman fountains, walk in the grooves made by countless chariots passing over the cobbled streets and jump across the slabs of the world’s oldest crossings.
2. Realise how small we are and how beautiful the world is by kayaking down the Colorado river. This is such a great way to see this area, have some fun in the rapids and marvel at the Rockies all around.
3. There’s so much to see in China but walking a stretch of the Great Wall of China has to be top of the list. Our favourite part is at Jinshanling where you can really see the magnitude of this undertaking, gaze over the watchtowers and look on as it climbs and dips, snaking away into the countryside beyond. If you’re feeling particularly brave have a go at sliding down the Great Wall at Mutianyu. This is so much fun, if slightly fast at times but the kids will love it.
4. Find out stories and secrets from the Beefeaters at the Tower of London. To understand the Tower of London is to, at least in part, understand the history of England. From the markings of prisoners on the walls of the towers to the Crown Jewels and even the tools used to behead one of Henry VIII’s wives this is a fascinating place to visit and spark children’s imaginations.
5. It has to be done, even if like me you don’t like heights. Children will love the thrilling experience of climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is one for the over 10s and something to definitely get the heart pumping and a view to remember.
6. One thing I know is that most children like chocolate, so go to the spiritual home in Belgium to really savour it. Drinking hot chocolate in Brussels is an experience to enjoy and the only dilemma will be over which chocolate shop to try…maybe sample a few to make sure you get the best.
7. Horse-riding with kids is great fun but one of the best experiences is to stay on a ranch in Texas. Children will get so much out of the opportunity to talk and ride with real cowboys and cowgirls and find out more about the history of this tradition.
8. See the whales from the Hebrides, Scotland – forget SeaWorld, see these beautiful creatures where they should be seen, diving and arching in the waters off the coast of Scotland.
9. Children dream of being shipwrecked on a desert island so spark their imagination by doing just that – for a day. In the Cook Islands you can hire a boat to take you to one of the deserted islands within Aitutaki lagoon. Although far from being properly shipwrecked you can be left with a fantastic picnic and the boat owner will come and pick you up a few hours later. There’s something about being alone on an island that is unlike any other experience.
10. Watch the geysers in Iceland – Throw out those science books (temporarily) and learn about volcanoes and geothermal activity, bring your child to the land of ice and fire and watch their pure delight as the geysers in Iceland spout their boiling water high into the air.
11. Imagine the horror of being thrown in to the arena to fight with lions, the crowds cheering and jeering and a certain death awaiting you. The Romans are endlessly fascinating to kids and visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy is an awe-inspiring experience. See first-hand how large the space is and how well preserved and while you’re here take a wander up the Forum – with so many intact buildings it’s like stepping back in to history. Read about our trip to the Colosseum with children here.
12. Seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach in South Africa is really a spectacle to treasure. Just beyond Simon’s Town is the beautiful stretch of white sand with huge boulders – a wonderful place to see these endangered creatures.
13. Delighting in the experience of eating dim sum in Hong Kong is something kids will love. All of the little buns and treats – they’re a great way to bond as a family, trying all of the food together and dining with other families in this vibrant city.
14. Every child should have the opportunity to go rock pooling, it’s one of our favourite things to do and we love searching for crabs and shrimps in Cornwall, England but any beach with a few rocks will do. Don your wellies in winter or carefully clamber barefoot in summer – childhood memories should always contain rock pooling.
15. Visiting Father Christmas in Lapland is magical for children and there is nothing like seeing your child’s face when meeting the big man himself. Tracking through the snow in Lapland to find the log cabin where Father Christmas is waiting is a real one off experience and completely unforgettable.
16. There’s something about seeing the world’s largest river, the Amazon – flowing free and beautiful through Brazil that allows a unique insight. This river is hugely important to our planet and with such unique biodiversity it is a sight to behold.
17. Having an opportunity to visit the forests of Malaysia and see the resident orangutans first hand is the best way to see them. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal place for children to see these beautiful creatures in the wild and in their natural habitat.
18. Lego is timeless and something that bridges generations. Take a trip to the home of Lego in Denmark to really say you’ve been to Legoland. As well as the famous park there are often limited tours available to see the factory and talk to the designers.
19. To understand immigration both today and the history of this issue which is as old as time, a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a great way to help children. The Statue of Liberty is just breathtakingly beautiful and standing so tall and proud, it needs to be seen by children’s own two eyes.
20. Walk the Giants Causeway in Ireland and understand why this dramatic coastline has inspired artists, started scientific debate and create awe in everyone who see these basalt columns.
21. Pizza is probably the most child-friendly food in the world and originated in Naples, Italy. You can visit one of the world’s oldest pizzerias here and try the best pizza you will ever have tried. The classic Neapolitan using the colours of the Italian flag: tomato sauce (red), mozzarella (white) and fresh basil (green) is really the only way to taste it. Once you’ve tried pizza in Naples it will never taste quite as good again.
22. Morocco is a country of colour and spice and life. It’s a great child-friendly country with so many sights, sounds and smells to keep little ones spell-bound. Drink fresh orange juice in Jemaa El Fna Square in the centre of Marrakech and people watch – it’s a fantastic experience.
23. Go ice skating in the open air at Christmastime. Our favourite spot is to ice skate in the 1000 year old moat at the Tower of London but anywhere you can feel the cold air in your hair, holding hands with your child as the blades glide through the ice is magical.
24. The history of the Maya people can be really felt by climbing the Maya ruins in Palenque, Mexico. This important ancient city is well-preserved and you can clamber the steps to the temples set amongst the jungle.
25. The dark history of the Second World War can be hard for children to relate to but a trip to the beaches at Normandy can be a good location for children who are starting to understand a little about what happened during these years across Europe and the World.
26. Russia is, perhaps surprisingly, very family friendly. Take a trip to Moscow’s Gorky Park and hang out on huge beanbags, eat ice cream and freshly spun candyfloss and enjoy all the play equipment in this wonderful park.
27. The Florida Everglades are the perfect place to see alligators in the wild. Take an airboat ride and see if you can spot them in their natural environment.
28. London’s museums are some of the best in the world and many of them free of charge too. See the dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum and while you’re here pop next door to the National Science Museum too – both amazing places.
29. You haven’t really tasted pancakes until you’ve eaten them in the Netherlands. Visit Amsterdam and try the pancakes there to see why they are almost the Dutch national dish.
30. A trip to Uluru in Australia, particularly as the sun sets and sends it glowing pink is a must for any world list. Children can learn all about the unique outback wildlife and flora here as well as finding out more about the aboriginal people.
31. Understanding some of the unique flora and fauna of the world can be seen first hand with a visit to the world’s largest rainforest in captivity at the Eden Project, Cornwall. With thousands of plants and native creatures seeing the Eden Project’s captive rainforest is unlike no other.
32. Seeing animals in their natural habitat is so great for kids and the number one place to see the big 5 has to be in Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa.
33. Take a trip to Ecuador to see one of the World’s highest volcanoes. Visiting Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador is a wonderful opportunity for families who like to hike and seek out wildlife, all in the shadow of this impressive volcano.
34. There’s something about the fun abandonment you get from visiting a summer festival – it’s a chance to shake off the norms, wear what you like, see people being creative, different and fun. (If you’re looking for a UK festival check out our guide of top summer family-friendly festivals here)
35. Taking a boat ride on a real Viking ship in Denmark is a great experience for children, who can also join Viking expeditions and guided trips organised by the Roskilde viking museum near Copenhagen.
36. Standing in front of Tutankhamun’s tomb outside of Luxor or scuttling inside one of the huge pyramids of Giza, south-west of Cairo is the only way to appreciate the wonder of these amazing structures. Visiting the Pyramids of Egypt is one of those experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life no matter what age you are.
37. One of the best ways to appreciate the vastness, beauty and diversity of this world is to take an epic train journey. This could be through the Rockies, down the length of India or taking the night train in Russia. Train journeys give you an opportunity to meet local people, to connect with fellow travellers and to view the world in a very unique way.
38. Having a go at skiing is a really fun experience for kids but to ski in the Alps has a timeless feel that can’t be matched. There’s something about looking around at that mountain range and all of the art and literature they have inspired, that is both breathtaking and reviving for the whole family.
39. There’s a host places around the globe where you can stand on the equator line in several continents. The top choice has to be the La Mitad del Mundo, near Quito in its namesake country of Ecuador.
40. The horrors of the holocaust and the Second World War can be a difficult subject to broach with younger children but it’s an important part of history we must never forget. Learning about Anne Frank and her story is a really good way to start to explain to children some of what happened in this period. A trip to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is a very moving experience and one that allows kids a chance to realise that this history was very real.
41. All children should have the opportunity to spend a night under canvas – listening to the birdsong in the morning and feel the natural world all around. It’s a unique experience and a wonderful way to bring children together and celebrate the simple, and best things in life.
42. A visit the end of the world in Portugal is somewhere to give kids an insight in to how early Europeans must have felt when the world lay largely undiscovered. To stand at the spot where it was believed the earth ended and to look out over the water is to really appreciate why the Romans believed the sun hissed into the sea to be extinguished here and feel how those early explorers must have felt setting off for the unknown.
43. Fans of all things extra-terrestrial will love the array of spacecraft, exhibits and shuttle launch simulator all based at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex in Florida, where you can also take a tour of the spaceport.
44. Taking a husky dog ride is a fantastic and exhilarating experience. The rush as these beautiful creatures pull you through the white landscape is an unforgettable opportunity and such a great way to see snowy landscapes from a totally different perspective.
45. Spot howler and spider monkeys in Manuel Antoinio National Park in Costa Rica, where you can also see three-toed sloths, enjoy incredible beaches and hike on awe-inspiring trails through the rainforest.
46. Get back to the origins of the Olympic Games with a trip to Olympia in Greece where you can visit the stadium which would have held 20,000 people when they were first held in the 11th century. A huge array of ruined temples and excavations from the 5th Century BC are there to be explored and are wonderfully evocative of their origins.
47. Glamping is all the rage but go authentic with a trip to Mongolia to stay in a real yurt. It’s an amazing opportunity to get out into the wilderness, meet with Mongolian farmers and their families and get a glimpse into this nomadic lifestyle.
48. Wherever you are in the world there will be some amazing art close by. Take in an amazing piece of art either close to home or further afield – whether it’s Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ or the Mona Lisa, make art exciting for kids with a trip to a truly amazing art gallery. Don’t overwhelm them but learn about the one piece, why it’s important and make it fun to find in the gallery.
49. Visit the locations of Harry Potter in Oxford – and be inspired by the University it is set in. Go on the trail of Harry Potter and use it as an opportunity to enter the very real world of one of the greatest Universities on the planet.
50. Walk the Amazon canopy on the Explorama Field Station in Peru to get an amazing perspective of the rainforest from above. See the vastness of this jungle and realise how small as humans we really are. This is a chance to really understand why our planet needs protecting and the role we can play to look after it.