Following on from their last imaginary pirate adventure, kids always want to explore and recreate the worlds they have read about or seen on the big screen within their real life quests. If you think that trying to find a holiday destination similar to Berk, Hogwarts, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park and Arendelle, is pretty much impossible, you would be wrong - as long as you know where to look, there are plenty of little slices of adventure to be found everywhere.
Huelgoat's Enchanted Forest lies just off of the D764 in Brittany. The small town of Huelgoat is popular with both tourists and ex-pats because of its picturesque scenery and its location on the shores of a huge, sparkling lake which was artificially created in the 16th century in order to supply water to the silver and lead mines. Huelgoat's main attraction is its stunningly natural enchanted forest. Covering an area of around 10km with huge mossy boulders, daylight reaching through the green canopy and sparking clear fairy pools, you can walk through the forest from the town. If you follow the main path, you should come across the Chaos of Rocks, where the water plungers down for ten metres into a large cavern - there's even a (slippery) iron ladder which could be worth a visit down but be careful! Multiple stepping stones across the river, fairy pools, small bridges and even a Swiss chalet make up the rest of the forest. If you look carefully enough, you might even see the odd Fee or Korrigan fairies which are supposed to inhabit the forest.
Norway is an excellent place to go to inspire magical adventures within your children. Frozen was a huge recent Disney hit, and most of its inspiration was based on Norway's culture and architecture, including landmarks such as the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Bryggen in Bergen and the Akershus Fortress in Oslo. The fantasy city of Arendelle was actually inspired by Nærøyfjord, a branch of Norway's longest fjord Sognefjorden which has in turn been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For children not that interested in Frozen, why not visit the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo? The 'pirates of the north' terrorised the people of Britain for hundreds of years, raiding and pillaging lands as they passed through Europe. The Viking Ship Museum contains several large authentic Viking ships as well as genuine everyday artefacts in order to tell the life and history of these feared pirates. Norway also has annual pirate festivals in Kaperbyen, where onlookers can experience pirate tours, race boats, and watch Norwegian ships 'battle' in the harbour.
Dinosaur fans should head to Jordan, a small town in central-eastern Montana in the US. People can dig in the Hell Creek Formation where fossils of the triceratops, hadrosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex have been found, as well as loads of smaller animals. Alternatively, you can head to the Museé des Sciences Naturelles, which has the biggest dinosaur gallery in Europe - 35 skeletons and multiple interactive 'paleoLAB' exhibits make for an interesting tour. Even the youngest dinosaur lovers will enjoy the huge genuine dinosaur footprints left in the boulder over 200 million years ago at the Parco Regionale delle Dolomiti Friulane, Italy. Check out the tracks up close and in person and then head to the Museum of Nature South Tyrol where original finds, exhibits and other interactive features give visitors plenty to do.
The Efteling Amusement Park in the Netherlands doesn't sound like a great place to spend your holiday with over-excited kids but trust us when we say it's different. Based on the Grimm Brothers stories and other traditional fairytales, the park incites a magical feeling in both adults and children when they visit. Rides range from rides, a 4-D film cinema, theatres, and a fairytale forest.
Lapland is the original fantasy getaway. A magical, festive atmosphere enters the area around Christmas time, and if you book a small-group trip, you are more likely to miss the over-commercialised, impersonal money-makers. The trick is to examine every detail of the proposed itinerary, from how long you spend with Santa to which activities are included and how gifts are organised. You can do things like sleigh rides, snowmobiling or take part in wintersports.
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