Balearic Islands or Blighty – which will you choose this fall?
Zafiro Mallorca, Mallorca
Lifestyle editor Catherine Bennion-Pedley found a haven for the children on the Spanish island.
the pillow: A pirate ship kids’ pool and inflatable bubble slide make this place a winner for little ones.
Set in a green oasis in the not-so-pretty 1960s resort of Can Picafort, Zafiro Mallorca will delight children under seven, as well as those with a stove and those on a budget – the spacious, recently renovated apartments have small kitchenettes too.
For lazier evenings, the main restaurant serves a plentiful buffet every night, while a playground – complete with bouncy castle – is located just outside.
The hotel’s mascot Yzzy, the pirate koala, charms children with her regular appearance, and the main pool is the perfect depth for learners.
You can enjoy free balloon animals and face painting in the evening, plus there’s an adults-only pool surrounded by Balinese beds, if you can convince the grandparents to come too!
Explores: The old town of Alcúdia is just a 25-minute drive away and has some light culture.
Walk between the medieval walls and then wander through the beautiful streets, and be sure to stop at the perfume shop Agua de Baleares to enjoy the scent of olive wood and the scent of black juniper (Aguadebaleares.com), as well as the foodie paradise that is Backos.
Majorca’s wine is excellent, so you can buy red and salmon-coloured Picat rosé here, along with other edible souvenirs such as olive oil, honey and cocoa-infused almonds.
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Plus, you’ll find stylish sandals made on the island at Audali Alcúdia, then have lunch at Basico Gastrobar with its hidden patio and tapas cuisine.
Order the pa amb oli (AKA bread and oil) with ham and Mahon cheese, £14, and the super-garlic prawns, £15.
Sip on a glass of red for £5 as you go. Later, visit Giovanni L for delicious gelato – we loved the kiwi and pistachio flavours, at £3 for two scoops.
do not miss: Alcudia Beach has wide, wide expanses of sand and shallow water, plus the sea is calmer than Can Picafort Beach, with its narrower stretch.
Would you like to go horseback riding with a petting farm on site?
You’ll find a warm welcome at Ranxo Ses Roques, a 20-minute drive away, with pony rides for £9 and a small play area.
One-hour excursions cost £25 per person (Ranxosesroques.com).
The tranquil wetlands of the S’Albufera Nature Reserve are also very close by – perfect for cycling and spotting loads of different birds, while there’s the Museu Sa Bassa Blanca sculpture park with its giant animal art.
Entrance costs £8 per adult, children under seven are free (Msbb.org).
Book it: A week’s self-catering stay for a family of four in Zafiro Mallorca with Jet2holidays from £449 per person, including return flights from the UK with 22kg luggage, plus resort transfers (Jet2holidays.com).
Polorian on the Lizard, Cornwall
Senior designer Jade Leighfield examined the coastal beauty of southwest England.
the pillowPerched atop cliffs with stunning sea views, this gem of a hotel combines vintage charm with a coastal atmosphere.
With tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor pool and a games room with air hockey and billiards tables, you won’t be bored.
But book the Elemis Coastal Trio – a back, neck and shoulder massage, a quick facial and a luxurious scalp massage – at the spa for pure bliss, for £75 for 60 minutes.
For the ultimate family treat, check into the Island Suite, which features three bedrooms, a kitchenette and a hot tub on the balcony, then take the hotel’s Nosmoke electric car for a spin.
Come evening, have a duck liver parfait with poached rhubarb, dill and orange, £9, and a 10oz rump steak, cherry tomatoes, portobello mushrooms and chips, £29.
For dessert, the white chocolate and pistachio tart is fantastic.
Explores: Take the coastal path at the end of the park and within 10 minutes you’ll reach Polurrian Cove, a secluded sandy beach ideal for picnics and surfing.
Walk a little further to Poldhu Cove and its beach café serving bacon, toasted ciabatta and cranberries, £6.95, and a huge #Poldhutastic hot chocolate topped with Reese’s Pieces over mountains of cream, £4.
Kynance Cove is a great 75-minute hike – or if you have young children, it’s just a short drive away!
Poldark fans will recognize it as Nambara’s Ross and Demelza Beach – and thanks to its white sand and turquoise waters, this spot is often voted by the National Trust as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
do not miss: Just a five-minute drive away in the village of Mullion is the Old Inn, a traditional thatched pub.
Order the Hunter’s Chicken £15 with Cornish Rattler cider (Oldinnmullion.co.uk).
Meanwhile, at Lizard Point – a 20-minute drive away – the panoramic views are something else.
Plus, you can even spy seals and dolphins!
Book it from £129 B&B.
Dogs are welcome for an additional £15 per night (Polurianhotel.com).