The best May half term holidays still available to book in the UK and abroad
On April 12, the government is expected to announce that domestic hotels will be open – and international travel is likely to be allowed from May 17 onwards. Although the number of holiday bookings has increased in recent weeks, there is still some availability here at home and around the world, for families looking for the long-awaited time away.
If you are looking beyond the UK, then Greece and the islands that have effectively managed the spread of Covid-19 – including the majority of the Caribbean – are likely to be at the top of all lists.
Country Life Travel Editor Rosie Paterson gathers her favorites.
In the UK
For a kid-friendly half-year break in rural Oxfordshire, take a look at this Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-inspired vacation. The beautiful itinerary was created in collaboration with the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons hotel.
The children will have the opportunity to follow in Aliki’s footsteps (of course in a custom-made suit) and learn how to feed in the hotel’s fantastic forest and turn their flora into products.
Families as a whole will enjoy an interactive afternoon tea and be invited on a guided river cruise and an aristocratic storytelling session at the History Museum.
Reservations open on April 8. five nights from .2 8,250 per person.
Vacation rental company Unique Homestays still has a few properties to rent for half a week, but you need to act fast.
Options include Tapestry, in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, an ancient limestone farmhouse surrounded by 320 acres of countryside. Ideal for large households or families filled with grandparents: six bedrooms sleep 12 comfortably and a mid-range cleaning service is included, although children may be more excited to hear about the sunken trampoline in the garden.
There is also a large double Aga and a seasonal swimming pool. Two well-behaved dogs are welcome, but be aware that sheep, deer and rabbits all make regular appearances.
From 99 2,995 per week or 3 2,395 £ per short break.
Innovative travel agency Black Tomato has two excellent half-life routes to win. First up – their signature Blink pop-up accommodation at Jura in Inner Hebrides, Scotland.
The idea gets its name from the phrase: “it flashes and you will lose it”. In short, the company builds luxury, temporary accommodation, which then disappear without a trace and with minimal environmental impact, as soon as you leave.
Activities include food, fishing, sailing, marine wildlife and a trip to an RIB to see the third largest whirlpool in the world. Other activities, such as guided hiking and yoga classes, can be arranged upon request.
Guests will spend two nights in a dedicated castle before being transferred to the camp, which features a private chef, comfortable beds and a private bathroom.
Four nights from £ 5,000 per person, based on a booking of four people.
Villa Quatre in southern Corsica, France is available via SJ Villas. The charming wood-carved house can accommodate 14 people in seven bedrooms and is a fun five-minute ride in a golf cart away from the beach.
A speedboat with a captain is available for rent during the day – essential for exploring the steep coastline. Nearby you will find a golf course and tennis courts, as well as Bonifacio restaurants.
Back at the house, there are two huge wooden decks with outdoor seating, infinity pool, home cinema, gym and Turkish bath. Cleaning service included.
From 16.3250 € per week.
Villa Fos on the island of Corfu, is available through The Villa Collective and brand new in the rental market this year.
A 50-minute drive from the airport, in the northeast of the island, Fos features a private chef, heated infinity pool, unobstructed sea views and convenient mooring. It can accommodate ten plus two children and there is an elevator that connects all three floors, for easy access to wheelchairs.
The White House, where Lawrence and Gerald Durrell lived back in the 1930s, is now a popular tavern a few minutes’ walk away, as are some of Corfu’s best beaches – Gialiskari and Agni.
From € 18,000 per week.
We do not know how, but there is still availability at Villa Dionysus, a design house on the Ionian island of Paxos – via The Luxury Travel Book. Suitable for families with older children (Dionysus was the Ancient Greek God of wine, after all).
Although located on the west side of the island (excellent sunset view), it is just a 15-minute drive from the picturesque fishing villages of Longos and Lakka and the equally beautiful beaches on the east coast.
The furniture is a mix of vintage pieces from the 1950s and 60s, including five bedrooms for up to 10 people. A separate annex, with its own kitchenette and terrace, can accommodate two more people.
From 16,900 £ per week.
Villa Azura – a Moroccan meets Caribbean-style rental – on the island of Antigua is available via CV Villas.
The obvious choice for single families who need some warm weather: sleep six and are a 10 minute walk from Long Beach (arguably the best swimming spot on the island). And there are regular, direct flights from London throughout May, often for a fraction of the peak cost.
A tropical enclosed garden, four-poster beds and outdoor showers will ensure you feel a million miles away from locking life. There is also a rooftop terrace for a star and, if it is not raining, a comfortable room with a TV. Cleaning service included. Chef service on request at an additional cost.
From 7 3,766 per week.
Red Savannah takes care of Grasshopper – a property designed by Oliver Messel in the heart of the magnificent Mustique.
Even from its central hilltop location, guests are just minutes away from Macaroni Beach, Cotton House Beach, the island’s tennis courts and equestrian stables and, most importantly, the world-famous Basil’s. Bar.
Five bedrooms, which can collectively accommodate groups of six or eight, are scattered in the extensive gardens in separate, yellow daffodil rooms. All bathrooms have been recently renovated. Housekeeping and chef service included.
From 7,946 £ per week.
From deciduous forests that are not filled with leaves, to a windswept pebble beach at the top of the hill and a river bank, our flora can give
Credit: Strawberry (Photo by BSIP / UIG via Getty Images)
From apples to strawberries, this is where the fruit in your garden will be ready to choose from.