Holidays inspired by your family’s favourite musicals

Suzanne King

Travel writer and editor

Blame the kids all you like, but most of us harbour a soft spot for a good old sing-a-long. So why not go all out and ‘experience’ one yourself? Get the score on the best family-friendly holidays in ode to our favourite family musicals

Love The Lion King? Go on safari!

African sunset with silhouette of the animals

The landscapes of The Lion King might have been inspired by Kenya, but South Africa’s a better bet for a family safari. Not only do its reserves come with all the necessary Simbas, Timons and Pumbaas, many of them also have the huge bonus of being malaria-free zones. At Madikwe Game Reserve, on the Botswana border, you can go prescription-free, tick off all the Big Five game animals and find a family-friendly place to stay – many safari lodges don’t allow children under the ages of 12 or 16 but Jaci’s Lodges positively welcome young ’uns, with a games room, children’s menus, childminding services and shorter game drives for shorter attention spans.

Love Frozen? Head north to Norway

family having fun in winter running with sled

Do you want to build a snowman? Easily done on a Frozen-inspired trip to Norway, where winter through to late spring sees much of the country happily covered in a blanket of the white stuff, and the locals not only enduring the chilly season, but positively embracing it. Young children may not take to the reality of an Elsa-style ice palace, but for older offspring the chance to stay at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel is a real adventure, as is snowmobiling across the frozen tundra, dashing through the forests on a reindeer sleigh or husky-drawn sled or taking a sea trip in search of whales and (for the lucky few) polar bears.

Love Mamma Mia!? Hop over to Greece

Rock with famous church Agios Ioannis Kastri on Skopelos island Greece at sunrise where scenes of Mamma Mia movie were filmed Sun raises above Alonissos island

Never mind the A-list cast and sing-a-long soundtrack. The thing that really stood out in the Mamma Mia! movie was that gorgeous Greek island backdrop provided by Skopelos, chosen by the producers for its happy, photogenic combination of turquoise seas, green hills and white houses. You can visit some of the filming locations on a day boat trip from equally pretty Skiathos, the next-door island, which has all the ingredients for a classic sun, sand and sea holiday, including lovely beaches and some good family-friendly hotels such as the Aegean Suites Hotel. Alternatively, get away from it all on nearby Alonissos, a laidback, quieter island that’s surrounded by the protected waters of a marine park and home to great walking trails inland.

Love Enchanted? Let New York cast its spell

LoveEnchanted Let New York cast its spell

New York can make for a magical family city break, especially if you have young Enchanted fans in tow. Earn brownie points straight off by booking somewhere like DoubleTree Suites by Hilton or the Renaissance hotel. Both are right in Times Square, where the animated characters from Andalasia burst through into the real world. Then hotfoot it to Central Park, where you can spend a happy day working your way round the backdrops used for Giselle’s crowd-drawing rendition of ‘That’s How You Know’ – running up Cedar Hill, boating on the lake, picnicking in Sheep Meadow, and (what the heck) dancing and singing round the fountain at Bethesda Terrace. And to check off another iconic film location, head to Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side – already famous (a) for its pastrami and hot dogs and (b) as the site of that scene in When Harry Met Sally, it’s also where Enchanted‘s Pip the chipmunk performs his tabletop charade for Prince Edward.

Love The Sound of Music? Head for the hills

alpine summer meadow in austria view on mt sonnenspitz

It may be over half a century since Julie Andrews first sang her way through the Alps, but the hills around Salzburg are still alive with The Sound of Music fans following in her nunly footsteps. Maria devotees can sign up for coach tours of filming locations (and even hire a dirndl or lederhosen to wear while they’re at it…) but if you’d prefer something more adventurous, check out companies such as Inntravel and Headwater, whose self-guided walking tours and activity holidays will get you out there exploring the glorious mountain landscapes. It needn’t be too strenuous either, with luggage transported between hotels for you and the option of electric bikes for anyone who fancies a little extra help getting up any slopes.

Love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Go west!

LoveSeven Brides for Seven Brothers Go west

Original frontiers folk may have had the rough-and-ready lifestyle of Adam, Milly and co in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – but today’s travellers can enjoy a taste of the Wild West without forsaking any 21st-century comforts, thanks to a growing number of upscale wilderness resorts. Take the multi award-winning Brasada Ranch in Oregon (pictured), where you can spend your days being all gung-ho and active in the great outdoors (riding, rafting, fishing, you name it) then come back home to huge, luxurious ‘cabins’, complete with smart kitchens and hot tubs. They also lay on great child-friendly activities like Cowboy Cookouts, where kids get to dress up cowboy style, learn to lasso, shoot squirt guns and cook dinner over an open fire.

Once you’ve found a sing-a-long spot for your brood, get booking. Click ‘book your trip’ now

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