The tropical destination of the United Arab Emirates is an accessible and luxurious destination for family holidays – enjoy a short flying time from the UK, and superb shopping in this forward thinking country.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a Middle Eastern destination which is a big draw for tourists. It has a flying time of just less than seven hours, from London, which is shorter than flying to many of the tropical destinations favoured by tourists, and yet is still has all those things you could possible want from a holiday. Sun, sea, sand and luxury hotels. While the Middle East has been popular for years as a tourist location, it hasn’t been well known for family holidays, but Dubai and the surrounding areas has been changing all that, offering some fantastic resorts that really are child friendly.
The weather in the UAE is remarkably unchanging for most of the year, and the temperatures are usually above the twenty degree mark, even in winter. The best time of year to go is during our winter months, when it’s not too hot or unbearable for kids. This area used to be known for its pearl fishing, but when the country hit oil the industry changed completely. Pearls are still relatively common though, and you can find plenty on sale in the boutique shops of the larger cities.
The capital city of the UAE is Abu Dhabi, but the city with the greatest population is Dubai. Both of these locations offer families a great mix between traditional beach holidays and the delights of a city break. They are both modern locations with plenty to see and do, and the outlying landscape offers plenty of activities of its own – such as the Wild Wadi water park, which is a great place for fun kids activities, and perfect for cooling down on a hot day. Abu Dhabi itself is a unique city, which is shaped like the letter T and stretches into the waters of the Persian Gulf, and Dubai gives access to the famous sand islands known as the Palm Islands, constructed entirely by man (and machine).
The Gulf of Oman is considered to be one of the world’s best diving locations and families can head out into the clear waters to experience the fantastic tropical wonderland first hand. There are plenty of operators who provide boat tours, cruises, scuba diving and snorkelling expeditions in the area.
Whilst the renowned Burj Al Arab may not be the most accessible hotel on a family holiday, the hotels here are often well known chains in luxurious locations. Many of them offer private beaches and kids clubs or crèches to give adults the chance to enjoy a little free time.
The UAE is known for its shopping, and the BurJuman Centre is one of the best known locations for designer brand goods. It is home to a cinema complex and plenty of eateries, so if you’re looking for a taste of home, you can find it here. It’s also worth mentioning that as a general rule, travellers aren’t charged customs duties for personal items, which means that most shopping can be tax free.