Imagine a family holiday that makes both parents and kids happy. Where there are beaches for building sandcastles and beachcombing; where art and culture doesn’t mean stuffy museums; where there’s accommodation to suit everyone and where you can explore by car, on foot or on two wheels – no matter how old the children are. And all this is accessible in a matter of hours with Brittany Ferry services from the UK to Roscoff and St-Malo, making the most of those long or short school breaks. If this sounds like the ideal family holiday, it’s time to set your sights on an escape to Brittany. Daydream now, travel later…
Home to big blue skies, fresh sea breezes and beautiful stretches of sand, Brittany’s coastline is the longest in France, an incredible 1,700 miles stretching from the oyster village of Cancale to the Quiberon peninsula. In some parts you’ll find dramatic sculpted cliffs and rugged rock formations, and in others you’ll be greeted by wide, expanses of buttery sand and secluded coves. So, where’s the best place to base yourself? Finistère is magical for families, with the Atlantic breakers offering amazing surfing conditions on westerly beaches such as Pointe de la Torche. Also on the Atlantic side is Baie des Trépassés, a good place for beachcombing. Younger children will enjoy Raguenez and Plage de Gwendrez, which both offer plenty of rock pooling opportunities. Finistère has facilities aplenty for kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and it's also where you’ll find La Pointe du Raz , France’s most westerly point.
To the east of Finistère is the Pink Granite Coast , where kids can take turns spotting a rabbit, a shark or a witch in the unusual rock formations. Nearby is the seaside resort of Perros-Guirec, a long-time favourite spot for families thanks to its three sandy beaches. Further east is the Emerald Coast and the chic seaside resort of Dinard, with Belle-Epoque charm and a fine sandy beach that makes for a great day out – and sitting across the estuary is St-Malo, a maze of medieval streets where pirates once roamed and a three-kilometre stretch of golden sand, Plage du Sillon. This beach is fully supervised and is just as good for paddling as it is for windsurfing and sand-yachting. Of course, you’re not confined to the mainland – there’s an astonishing 1,000 islands and islets off the Brittany coast. The aptly named Belle-Ile lies just off the coast and boasts 60 beaches of its own.
The region of Brittany is also bursting with geological, plant and animal curiosities and oddities, which make for some fascinating guided nature walks . Your guide will explain the landscapes and help children understand the importance of protecting these treasures, both on the coast and inland. When you want a break from surf and sand, travel back in time to some of Brittany’s most mysterious sights. The countryside is peppered with towering menhirs dating back to the Neolithic period . Locmariaquer is home to the Broken Menhir of Er Grah, an enormous stone that once stood 20 metres high and weighed 300 tonnes – kids will be wondering ‘how did it get here?!’ long after they return home. The Brocéliande forest , with its Arthurian legends, makes another magical escape.
One of the best ways to explore Brittany as a family is on two wheels – and remember that by bringing your car, you can bring your own bikes too. The region offers over 2,000km of cycling tracks , many of which are voies vertes or ‘green ways’ created from abandoned railway tracks. These are flat, paved, car-free and perfect for little legs, with only cyclists, roller skaters and the odd horse on them! If biking with older children or teens who are confident on roads, look out for véloroutes, itineraries composed of a mixture of green ways and minor roads. Try a section of the Nantes-Brest Canal , with locks and picnic spots en route, or the number 7 Roscoff-Concarneau from Guiscriff station, meandering through Coatloc’h forest.
Brittany has plenty of family-friendly attractions too, from farms where kids can groom the donkeys, feed the lambs and hunt for eggs in the hen house, to superb zoos and spectacular aquariums. The whole family can have a true Brittany experience on a bird- and dolphin-watching boat trip out to the Ile de Sein, or snorkelling with grey seals around the Trégor archipelago in the Bay of Morlaix. And when it comes to family-friendly accommodation, you can rely on Brittany to provide an incredible range, from campsites and farmstays to quirky hotels and self-catered chalets.
From travel to the port to exploring when you get there, taking your own car to Brittany offers the freedom and reassurance you need. Sailing with Brittany Ferries is a hassle-free experience, with various ticket types allowing you to choose the level of flexibility you need. The company is constantly reviewing and updating its health-related procedures to ensure that everyone travels safely. Fresh sea air is supplied in all public spaces – including cabins – and there’s plenty of space to roam around, wherever you are on board. We can’t wait to welcome you back to France again.