And as our lucky holidaymakers discovered, you can experience it all in style.
Writer Michelle Higgins drinks up everything the Channel Island has to offer.
THE PAD: The four-star Duke of Richmond in St Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, got in early on the animal-print trend: think zebra-striped chairs, leopard-spot carpets and paintings of wild cats.
Meanwhile, the spacious bedrooms are dressed in soothing sea tones with sunburst mirrors.
For breakfast, expect an everything-you-can-think-of buffet.
EXPLORE: Take in the 12-mile-long island’s gorgeous countryside on a three-hour Land Rover tour, £59. You’ll also see a 4,000-year-old pagan statue and the house where Victor Hugo penned Les Misérables (Tourguernsey.com).
For a relaxing afternoon, head to dairy farm Meadow Court to meet Guernsey’s famous fawn-coloured cows and try the exquisite cheese made from their milk, entry £10 (Meadowcourtfarm.co.uk).
REFUEL: Enjoy a juicy local beef burger, £13, at JB Parkers, a short walk from the hotel, or book a wine-tasting sesh in the cosy cellar, from £35 (Jbparkers.com).
The Brasserie in the distinguished Old Government House – reclaimed and refurbished after the Nazis used it as an HQ – offers a varied menu from braised beef brisket, £23, to wild mushroom and truffle risotto, £19 (Theoghhotel.com).
DON’T MISS: At just one-and-a-half miles long, nearby island Alderney is a gem with unspoilt beaches and unusual wildlife. Take a guided walking tour of pretty St Anne, the only town, £6 for two hours (Visitalderney.com), or spy on an amazing gannet colony via a two-hour minibus tour, £15 (Alderneytours.co.uk). Return ferry tickets to Alderney cost £40 (Thelittleferrycompany.com).
BOOK IT: Doubles at The Duke of Richmond cost from £140 a night (Dukeofrichmond.com). Return flights from London Gatwick to Guernsey cost from £90 (Aurigny.com).
Isle of Wight
Fabulous’ Creative Director Mark Hayman sampled the best of island life with wife Margaret and their kids Cassius, 14, Elliot, 12, and Audrey, nine.
THE PAD: A caravan might not be the first thing that springs to mind when picturing your dream getaway, but this well-equipped, super-kid-friendly space is the perfect home away from home with an en-suite, flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi.
Nestled in woodland, Lower Hyde Holiday Park gives kids the freedom to roam without getting into (too much) trouble.
It boasts an outdoor pool with slides, a bar, restaurant and sports pitch, and is close to some beautiful beaches.
EXPLORE: Step back in time with a trip on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and channel your inner Poirot aboard the beautifully restored carriages, complete with uniformed train guards and bellowing steam engine, £29 for a family ticket (Iwsteamrailway.co.uk).
Opened in the 1840s, Blackgang Chine is the UK’s oldest amusement park, £74 for an off-peak family ticket (Blackgangchine.com). Bikes can also be hired for the day, £16 for adults and £10 for children (Routefifty7.com).
REFUEL: At the end of a jetty on the north-west of the island, The Best Dressed Crab In Town serves great, just-caught seafood. Choose the dressed crab salad, £14.20 (Thebestdressedcrabintown.co.uk). AJ’s Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop, just a stone’s throw from the caravan park, does cheap and cheerful cod and chips, £5.70 (Ajstakeaway.webs.com).
DON’T MISS: A tree-climbing course with Goodleaf Tree Climbing is great fun, whether you’re a little monkey like nine-year-old Audrey, or scared of heights like, erm… me! Two hours climbing costs from £28.50 per person (Goodleaf.co.uk).
BOOK IT: A lighthouse caravan costs from £419 for three nights and sleeps up to eight people (Parkdeanresorts.co.uk). Return ferries to the Isle of Wight start from £53 per car (Wightlink.co.uk). You can plan your trip at Visitisleofwight.co.uk.
Fabulous’ Senior Entertainment Writer Laura Bond, husband Nick and their children Rosa, four, and Eddie, two, hit the great Cotswolds outdoors.
THE PAD: Built around eight lakes and two rivers, these unique, sustainable holiday homes come with living roofs and huge expanses of glass to enjoy the beautiful views.
There’s a lodging to suit every family size and budget, and they’re all scattered around Lower Mill Estate, a private reserve covering hundreds of acres.
Get back to nature, but with all the luxe comforts you could possibly need.
EXPLORE: With miles of private footpaths on your doorstep, you can walk, run and cycle to your heart’s content. Entice the kids along with the Miss Mouse Adventure Trail and explore the wonderful wildlife and pretty wildflower meadows.
You can also hire bikes, from £25, and a host of watersports equipment. We opted for “katakanu” (two canoes strapped together), £38 for two hours watery family fun – perfect with our young children.
If you could do with a tad more unwinding, though, head straight to the estate’s spa and book yourself a relaxing massage, from £42.
REFUEL: Onsite restaurant Ballihoo’s Vegihoo Breakfast, £8.95, is a huge plate of tasty local produce.
Just a few miles away is Cirencester, where you’ll find restaurant/deli Made By Bob.
Opt for the wild mushroom and gorgonzola arancini, £9, or the smoked haddock risotto, £16.50 (Foodmadebybob.com).
DON’T MISS: Be brave and take an invigorating dip in the swimming pond full of lily pads and reeds. It’ll take your breath away (literally), but you won’t regret it.
BOOK IT: The three-bedroom Damselfly apartment, Lower Mill Estate, costs from £547 for two nights with Habitat Escapes. The apartment sleeps six and is dog-friendly (Habitatescapes.com).
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