What do family holidays mean to you? For me, they have always been about exploring little-visited corners of the world, finding unique experiences and having quality time together with the whole family.
Some of our best family adventures have come in places where we least expected them: taking a cooking class in Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, learning about the folk artist Clementine Hunter in Natchitoches, Louisiana or meeting Hannu the reindeer herder in Finnish Lapland.
Finding these one-off experiences is not always straightforward, however, which is why it sometimes pays to get some expert help.
Luxury adventure travel specialists Black Tomato are renowned for delivering the kind of adventures you can often only dream about in some of the world’s most exciting destinations. Their itineraries and programs are designed with travel experts on the ground meaning you get authentic, original and, quite frankly, incredible experiences.
So, whether you want to go horseback riding through Patagonia’s wilderness, follow in the footsteps of historic Gold Rush prospectors in Canada’s Yukon or search for whale sharks in Madagascar, Black Tomato can make it happen.
Even better, they can make these once-in-a-lifetime luxury family holidays happen for families.
The best luxury family vacations
Table of Contents
Black Tomato create exclusive, private, tailor-made trips anywhere in the world including a series of luxury family travel adventures just for families. These collections, “Take me on a Story” and “Field Trip”, focus on the experience and not just the destination and give kids of all ages the chance to enjoy one-off experiences that travel can present us.
“Take me on a Story” brings famous children’s stories to life with creative, educational and interactive experiences set in destinations that reflect favourite childhood tales. These include Alice in Wonderland, which takes place in Oxford, UK; A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which is set in Iceland and Robert Louis Stevensons’ Treasure Island that unfolds in the British Virgin Islands.
The Story collection covers a range of ages with some better suited to young children and others to older children.
The “Field Trip” collection presents “purposeful” travel opportunities to kids. The series aims to inspire young people to learn new things or learn more about things they are already interested in.
Trips are divided into eight different school subjects from history and religious studies to sustainability and earth sciences. The experiences are fully bespoke and scalable ranging from half-day to multi-day programs, allowing kids to really learn through travel.
Aspiring physicists and engineers can take a private tour of CERN and future historians can visit Teotihuacan, north of Mexico City, to learn the secrets of the Aztecs. Budding anthropologists may spend the day with a Colombian cowboy and future filmmakers have the opportunity to learn how movies are made in Havana, Cuba.
The common theme through all of these adventures is to provide an engaging, exclusive experience and the chance to create once-in-a-lifetime memories.
So, forget theme parks, kids clubs and Walt Disney World Resort and choose from one of the luxury family holidays instead.
Disclosure: Created in collaboration with Black Tomato. This post may contain affiliate links. I have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy for more details.
Learn the way of the Ninja in Japan
Everyone wants to go to Japan right now. As one of the last countries to reopen its borders after the pandemic, the Land of the Rising Sun is seeing a boom in visitors. And for good reason, this fascinating country is a beguiling mix of old and new home to supersonic trains and superlative ramen.
It’s also the perfect destination for families and Black Tomato have the ideal itinerary. On this ultimate family tour of Japan you’ll learn to fight like a Sumo wrestler, uncover the secret to making tasty Ramen dishes, master the art of meditation and explore some of the country’s most beautiful temples.
This tour starts in Tokyo, one of the most vibrant cities in the world, where your private guide will show you what makes this megalopolis tick. Along the way you’ll watch the big guys training in their sumo stable, go manga mad in Akihabra and have a private marital arts lesson from one of the most legendary sensei in Japan, Yoji Yamamoto.
During the 10 days in Japan you will travel by bullet train to Kyoto, overnight with views of magical Mount Fuji, be buried up to your neck in warm volcanic sand (an old Kyushu tradition!) and much more.
Luxury hotels are a given with Black Tomato and are included in the holiday. Family rooms / family suites can also be arranged.
Enter the gladiatorial arena in Italy
The land of pizza, pasta and ice cream, makes for a perfect family holiday, whether you’re after city breaks or sandy beaches. Italy is also a great option for adventure with a fascinating history filled with gods, goddesses, myths and legends.
One of Black Tomato’s most popular field trips at gladiator school in Rome.
Gladiators are some of the most famous fighters in history; courageous warriors who entertained the Roman public coming face to face with one another – or with wild animals – in mortal combat.
At gladiator school – the first of its kind in Italy to teach this ancient sport – you will take part in your own private combat class with a gladiator using replica weapons, known as ‘rudis’ and find out if you have what it takes to emerge victorious.
Journey to the centre of the Earth in Iceland
The magnificent Snæfellsjökull Glacier rises 1,446m high in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west of Iceland and it was this 700,000-year-old stratovolcano that author Jules Verne used as the gateway to the subterranean worlds in his book Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
It’s not surprising, then, that Black Tomato have chosen Iceland as the setting for their Jules Verne-inspired adventure.
This story starts in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, where families meet their guide Hans: in Verne’s novel, Axel and his uncle Professor Lidenbrock employ a guide called Hans Bjelke, a Danish-speaking eiderduck hunter.
From the moment the adventure starts, kids have to decipher a series of ancient clues hidden in a book, a letter, and a puzzle to see if they can uncover a mystery as they travel through western Iceland.
This six-day adventure sees families travel through 8,000-year-old lava tubes, abseil into a magma chamber, discover black sand beaches, raft across glacial lagoons and snorkel between the walls of tectonic plates. It truly is an adventure for the entire family to enjoy.
Accommodation is included in luxury family hotels. These are not the traditional kids’ club and water sports kind of hotels, rather overnight stays are in beautiful, independent hotels such as the grass-roofed eco-friendly Torfhus Retreat near Selfoss.
Join an archaeological excavation in Egypt
Anyone with an interest in history, archaeology or Indiana Jones movies will love this Field Trip adventure. Some 30km from Cairo in Egypt, is an archaeological site where work is underway excavating the legendary necropolis of Saqqara where aristocrats (both noble and notorious) were laid to rest.
Saqqara is the largest archaeological site in the country and home to Egypt’s oldest pyramid. Families will have the chance to explore areas ordinarily closed to the public as they unearth the secrets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gain first hand experience digging, surveying and recording your findings and then study some of the sacred objects and mysterious artefacts that have been discovered, hidden for centuries in the Egyptian sand.
This Field Trip adventure is best suited to older children aged 16+.
A private introduction to the mysteries of CERN in Switzerland
If you can tell your atoms from your protons from your neutrons then you will love this Black Tomato field trip.
Located in Geneva, The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, otherwise known as CERN, is home to the biggest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world: the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC hurls beams of protons and ions at a speed approaching that of the speed of light, recording the events caused by the collision in a bid to understand more about how the universe began and what it’s made of.
Take part in an exclusive, immersive audio-visual tour with an expert guide; explore the Microcosm exhibition and learn more about the Large Hadron Collider from the scientists who built it; and experience the Particle Universe exhibition. This is way better than a classroom physics lesson!
Fall down the rabbit hole in Oxford, UK
Embark on a thrilling adventure down the rabbit hole with this magical family holiday from Black Tomato’s Story collection.
This five-night journey takes place in the heart of rural Oxfordshire and the places that inspired Lewis Carroll to write his enchanting story of Alice in Wonderland. Along the way families will take part in a series of adventures that will transport you deep into the heart of Wonderland.
Your base for this adventure is Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, one of the best hotels in the country. From here you’ll board a boat for a leisurely trip down the River Thames – it was while rowing Lorina, Alice and Edith, the three small daughters of the College Dean H G Liddell, up the Thames for a picnic near Binsey, that Carroll had the inspiration for his famous tale.
Other outdoor activities include a game of croquet under the watchful eye of the Queen of Hearts’, a curiouser and curiouser treasure hunt through the countryside to help Alice find her way home and an enchanting tea party with the Mad Hatter and friends.
To help get you into character, Black Tomato will arrange for you to visit a leading atelier where children will receive a bespoke made-to-measure costume to take home.
Join an anti-poaching patrol in Kenya
Travel really is the best education. After all, what better way to learn about conservation than on the ground.
This truly unique Field Trip allows young people the chance to spend the day with the dedicated anti-poaching team of Loisaba Conservancy, a 57,000 acre wildlife conservancy in Kenya, East Africa.
Every day, the team set out with their highly-trained sniffer dogs to help protect the critically endangered wildlife that call this region home including elephant, giraffe and rhino.
During this class you’ll get the chance to meet the specially-trained bloodhounds and learn about their highly developed olfactory cells (they have more than 200 million of these ‘scent receptors”), and why they are so suited to this job. Head out into the wilderness and learn just what it takes to keep this region and its wildlife safe.
This Field Trip is best studied to teens aged 16+.
Live the pirate life in the British Virgin Islands
Get ready to set sail me hearties on this swashbuckling adventure inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1882 classic, Treasure Island.
The beautiful British Virgin Islands are known for their white sand beaches, lazuline waters and their history of pirates. Although Stevenson’s tale is a work of fiction, at one point the secret coves and beautiful beaches for which the islands are so famous were a haven for pirates.
Pirates including Captain Kidd, Tempest Rogers, Captain Norman and even Blackbeard operated among the islands, plundering and looting on the high seas.
See if you have what it takes to live the pirate life with an exclusive sailing lesson (including how to avoid the coral reef!) before setting off in search of lost treasure.
Follow in the footsteps of Darwin in The Galápagos Islands
Located 1,000km of the coast off South America lie the Galápagos Islands, an incredibly special archipelago and the source of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
You can walk – or rather sail – in the famed naturalist’s footsteps on board a luxury yacht and spend six days discovering the islands that transformed our understanding of life on earth.
For kids this is a truly unbelievable adventure and an extraordinary way for them to get a better understanding of the way the natural world works – and how important it is that we preserve it.
Each of the 13 isles has its own unique character and the days are spent alternating between swimming with sea lions, searching for land iguana and giant tortoises, or trekking to the moment peak of the Sierra Negra volcano.
Future David Attenboroughs can even lend a hand to one of the initiative run by researchers at the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz.
As far as once-in-a-lifetime trips go, the Galápagos is hard to beat.
Ride with reindeer in Finnish Lapland
There are few places as magical in winter as Finnish Lapland. This really is a winter wonderland where the Northern lights dance across the sky, where huskies race across the tundra and where Father Christmas lives and works (yes, really!)
For your next luxury family holiday consider a five-night escape to Finland, starting in the wilderness of Finnish Lapland and finishing in laidback capital, Helsinki.
Relax in an outdoor hot tub beneath Arctic winter skies, chase the mystical Aurora Borealis by snowmobile through the forest, command your very own husky team for a sled ride across the snow before meeting Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen and maybe even the big man himself.