We pit a budget family holiday in France against a blowout vacation in Thailand for the ultimate experience

From active surfing holidays and fine dining in France to amazing wildlife in Thailand, our Fabulous team have great ideas for your next vacation.

Moliets-et-Maa, France

Tested by Jude, seven (and mum, Acting Editor Gayle Schoales), who enjoyed sandy beaches and surfing in south-west France.

Often overlooked in favour of the Riviera, France’s Côte d’Argent is wild, unspoiled and beautiful.

Between the vineyards of Bordeaux and the old-world grandeur of Biarritz, you’ll find Moliets-et-Maa, a little-known gem for nature lovers, adrenaline junkies and foodies alike.

There’s also WiFi, board games, books, flowers and a welcome basket filled with chutneys and a bottle of local wine.

Nearby, fine-dining spot Dune has killer surf and turf with black Angus rib of beef and garlic king prawns, £22 (Dunemoliets.com).

Head to Meltin Beach Bar and Restaurant for, er, melt-in-the-mouth sea bream, £16.50.

From the villas, it’s only a 10-minute cycle to the nearest beach, Plage des Chênes Lièges – a stunning expanse of dunes and monster waves.

There are no amenities, so for buckets, spades and ice cream head to Plage de Moliets. Nearby Courant d’Huchet – a beautiful nature reserve where the river runs into the Atlantic – is a must for Insta snaps.

Or book a surfing lesson, £31, to learn the basics at École de Surf.

Kids still not tired? A two-hour skateboarding lesson should do the trick – Jude loved it, and the fab instructors will soon have your skater dudes half-piping (Ecoledesurfmoliets.com).

Phuket, Thailand

Tested by seven-year-olds Riley and Harris (and mum, Editor-in-Chief Sinead McIntyre), who found friendly people, amazing wildlife and out-of-this-world food.

An hour’s drive north of Phuket, Khao Lak is the jewel in the crown of the Andaman seaboard, with long, golden beaches, stunning rainforest and curries galore.

And we weren’t disappointed. Set right on the beach, pool villas have beds so wide they could fit 15 people, as well as WiFi, a mini bar and an outdoor shower.


A pool in the back garden is perfect for early morning exercise, and beyond is the beach.

Plus, tuck into the huge selection of desserts – the chocolate cheesecake is particularly yummy. It’s full-board, so you can pick from wine or beer at every meal.

And if you really love Thai food, book into speciality restaurant Baan Thai.

Feeling energetic? Book in or a spot of tennis or give paddle boarding a try.

For little ones, there’s a kids’ club, table tennis, table football, board games and discos.

Our elephant squirted us with water as a thank you. Plus, if you buy a photo, £7, the money goes towards taking care of your elephant and her friends.

Entry costs £50 for adults, £25 for children (Ecokhaolak.com).


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