Six glorious weeks of summer holidays lie ahead - if you're a child. Six weeks of entertaining if you're a parent. But whatever your budget and whatever the weather, there are some great family-friendly activities.
Mention Bordeaux to most people and they'll struggle to picture anything apart from a tempting glass of red. In fact, most Brits travelling through France give this beautiful city a miss altogether as they hare down to the south.
Which is odd, because Bordeaux has had stronger links with our nation than perhaps any other French city, dating back to the 12th century.
In Paris you can have a perfectly wonderful weekend just wandering the streets indulging in the fine Parisian art of "flanerie" (strolling around). But if you are looking for a deeper connection to the City of Lights then I suggest you give your trip a soundtrack.
The Silicon Valley capital, San Jose, is now the closest gateway to the beauty spots, vineyards and cultural treasures of central California. But San Jose is also a great jumping-off point for the national parks of the west and south-west in a year when New Mexico, just two super-scenic states away, is attracting art aficioadoes to the landscape made famous by artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
There are two dozen of us standing on an otherwise deserted Norwegian beach in sub-zero temperatures staring up at the nocturnal sky. Not the standard finale to a short break. But then not every vacation programme holds out the tantalising prospect of a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
The lights - or Aurora Borealis, to give them their formal title - are a capricious beast.
There is nothing new about the New Forest. Covering 120 square miles in southern England, the region has a proud history dating back almost a thousand years.
Taking its name from the Latin nova foresta, it was designated a royal hunting ground by King William I in 1079. New laws ensure plentiful fresh meat for the Crown, as well as good sporting opportunities.