Why Dubai is the perfect place for a family holiday

WHILE Dubai may conjure images of glamorous beach clubs and glitzy hotels, it’s also an amazing place for a family holiday. In fact, there’s so much to see and do, you may find it hard to pack everything in. 

Not only is there year-round sunshine, rolling desert and beautiful (and safe) beaches, it’s got world-class theme parks, child-friendly hotels, restaurants and cafes, and entertainment galore.

From tots to teenagers, this is why Dubai guarantees a family holiday to remember…

Sun, sea and sand

Heading to one of the beaches that pepper the Arabian Gulf is a great way to start a holiday in Dubai.

The city has the perfect stretch of sand for everyone, from sporty sorts to aqua babies, and there are often marked safe areas for swimming. 

Much-loved Kite Beach has picture-perfect views of the Burj Al Arab and offers the opportunity to try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding and kitesurfing, while on JBR beach, families can take the plunge on a banana boat or go camel riding.

La Mer combines sun and sand with shopping and fun. Private cabanas and sunbeds are available to rent, plus there’s the Laguna Waterpark and plenty of great cafes for relaxing and people-watching.

Theme park fun

Dubai is also theme park heaven, and there’s something for children of all ages. Dubai Parks & Resorts is home to no fewer than three theme parks – BollywoodParks, Motiongate and Legoland.

Younger kids will love Legoland, where they can experience adventurous rides and rollercoasters as well as Lego building experiences and interactive play across different zones. 

Hollywood-themed Motiongate Dubai has zones based on films like Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and The Smurfs, while BollywoodParks is inspired by Bollywood blockbusters, with rides, stunt shows and performances.

IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world's largest indoor theme park, where big-screen entertainment like Marvel is brought to life with ‘thrill rides’ and ‘chill rides’, and kids can meet characters like Spiderman, Thor and the Powerpuff Girls.

There are plenty of water parks to cool off in, too. Thrill seekers should head to Aquaventure and Wild Wadi for adrenaline-pumping slides and zip-wires, while families with younger kids can enjoy gentler rides at Legoland’s Water Park. 

Back on dry land, Expo 2020 will have children entranced by dazzling shows and fascinating pavilions from around the world, and a huge range of foodie delicacies.

Local attractions

A family trip to Dubai wouldn’t be complete with a visit to the world’s tallest tower – Burj Khalifa. Pre book your tickets to head into the clouds and take in the impressive views.

If your kids don’t have a head for heights, stay on solid ground and catch the light show at the nearby Dubai Fountain – it puts on a water, music and light spectacle twice during the day and every 30 minutes in the evening between 6 and 11pm.

Amazing malls

Next door to Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall, which has tons to entertain kids under one roof, including the sprawling indoor playground of Kidzania, a VR Park and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo – packed full of marine life including sharks and stingrays.

At Mall of the Emirates, kids can try their hands at skiing or bobsledding at Ski Dubai, the first indoor snow sports resort in the Middle East.

Take in some culture

As well as the excitement of world-class attractions, Dubai has tons of culture, too. A great way for families to explore it is hopping onto an Abra, a traditional wooden boat, and taking a trip across Dubai Creek.

It’s a great way to see the spectacle of old and new Dubai, as you pass trade cargo and wooden dhows and see traditional houses, wind towers and minarets.

This way you can also travel to the city’s most famous and vibrant souks, including the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. Kids will be enthralled by the sights and smells – and be spoilt for choice on where to spend their pocket money.

Head to the desert

If you have time, a trip to the desert surrounding the city is bound to create magical memories for kids. Arabian Adventures do tours catered to all itineraries – from morning trips, to overnight stays. For a bit of splurge, you can even book a sunrise hot-air balloon flight.

Kid-friendly hotels

Children are welcomed with open arms to Dubai’s hotels – including Atlantis The Palm, Rove Downtown, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Polynesian-themed Lapita Hotel Dubai and JA Palm Tree Court – which cater for youngsters with family rooms, kids’ clubs, playgrounds, junior menus and babysitting.

Many of the hotels – renowned worldwide for top-class service – have their own stretches of golden sands.

Food and drink

Eating out is easy to do with tots in tow too, from laidback lunches at Social House in Dubai Mall and healthy bites at The Lime Tree Cafe & Kitchen to dinners at Beachcombers, overlooking the Arabian Sea, or even buffet-style dining at The Talk Restaurant.

Kids won’t even be bored while they wait for their flight home. Dubai Airport has a dedicated zone for families and kids, including a play area, TVs with kids cartoons and interactive games. And did we mention the Nutella cafe?

Dubai holiday deals

Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection – 3 nights in a deluxe king room, with free daily access to Motiongate, Bollywood Parks, Legoland and Legoland Water Park.
Flights from Heathrow, travelling between 1 Oct – 16 Dec – from £539pp, click here or call Southall Travel on 0208 843 4445

Jumeirah Beach Hotel – 3 nights on half board in an ocean deluxe room, with free daily access to Wild Wadi Waterpark, and kids stay & eat for free.
Flights from Gatwick, travelling between 7 June – 14 July, 2022 – from £749pp, click here or call Southall Travel on 0208 843 4445

Atlantis, The Palm – 3 nights on half board in an ocean king room, with free daily access to Atlantis Aquaventure and The Lost Chambers Aquarium.
Flights from Gatwick, travelling between 7 June – 29 June, 2022 – from £749pp, click here or call Southall Travel on 0208 843 4445

Dubai is following a high standard of safety and hygiene measures, earning it the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp. This includes the Dubai Assured programme, where inspectors visit hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions every 15 days.

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