The top places you just have to take your children before they grow up, writes Amelia Hungerford and Natarsha Brown
101 aspirational experiences for your bucket list
The top places you just have to take your children before they grow up, writes Amelia Hungerford and Natarsha Brown
The top places you just have to take your children before they grow up.
1. Get high above the Grand Canyon
Count the rocky layers of America’s favourite canyon from a helicopter.
2. Spot Wildlife in Costa Rica
Toucans, sloths and monarch butterflies…there’s so much to see in these lush rainforests.
3. Cosy up to a Ray
Swim among the velvety fins of the local stingrays at Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island.
4. Set sail in the Arctic
Touch an iceberg as you journey across the Northwest Passage with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
5. Be a Disney VIP
Skip the line and be front-and-centre at your favourite shows with the help of your Disneyland VIP Guide.
6. Discover Darwin’s Galapagos
Frame the perfect shot of a playful sea lion with the help of a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor.
7. Take the tea train
Tumble down the rabbit’s hole with a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party aboard the elegant steam train, Belmond Northern Belle.
8. Master the art of Lego
Learn the secrets of the Master Builders with a private workshop in the Florida LEGO Model Shop.
9. Snooze with a Dinosaur at London’s Natural History Museum
Snuggle down under the watchful gaze of Dippy the Diplodocus on a Dino Snores sleepover.
10. Marvel at Uluru
Journey through the dunes of the desert and watch the sun set over Australia’s Red Centre from the back of a camel with Voyages.
11. Float along Lake Titicaca in South America
Drift on a raft among the reeds and discover how they are used to create the unique floating islands of the Uros Titino communities with Titilaka Lodge.
12. Evening at Petra
Follow the candlelit path through the Siq to the Treasury and listen to traditional music reverberating off the rose-red rock.
13. Masquerade in Venice
Be inspired by the secrets of Carnival on a guided tour and paint your own Venetian mask.
14. Visit the real middle-earth
Fly above New Zealand’s famous scenery before seeing how Bilbo and Frodo lived at Hobbiton.
15. See the Arctic sky dance
Seek our the Northern Lights riding along a horse-draw sleigh.
Learn the ancient Chinese art of kung fu with the monks of Shaolin Temple.
17. See how the locals live in Cambodia
Take a trip to a local Cambodian farm of a traditional buffalo cart at Song Saa Private Island.
18. Jodhpur from a new angle
Glide over the battlements and desert lakes of Rajasthan’s majestic Mehrangarh Fort on a zipline adventure.
19 Uncover the beauty of Sumba Island
Jump in the saddle and ride along the beach at sunset or picnic under a waterfall.
20. On the Dragon’s path
Track the Komodo dragon in its natural habitat with a cruise aboard Alila Purnama.
21. Rewind time in the Loire Valley
Play knights and damsels in distress or take a fencing masterclass in a 16th-century chateau.
22. Wander through the Hundred Acre Wood
Search for Winnie the Pooh and friends in Ashdown Forest, England, the inspiration for AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.
23. Indulge in Australiana
See the Aussie bush on a horseback trail ride by day and spot native wildlife by night at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.
24. Go beyond the beaches in Bali
Glide along the paths between the rice fields around Kelating village on a Segway with Alila Villas Soori and follow the cocoa bean on its journey from pod to chocolate.
25. Wrap yourself in the traditions of Japan
Don a formal Hatsuko Endo kimono and have your photo taken in Hibiya Park, then learn the ancient art of origami or making a Japanese glass windshime in Tokyo.
26. Spend a Christmas in London
Enjoy Christmas in London: ice skating at the Tower of London, having a private tour of Hamley’s seeing The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House and feating on Charlie & The Chocolate Factory-themed afternoon tea.
27. Dive into the Riviera Maya
Swim in a Mexican freshwater cenote and snorkel through an underground river, stalactites overhead.
28. Live like a Laird
Master the aristocratic sports of falconry, archery and polo of a renowned Scottish estate at Gleneagles Hotel.
Jump on a bike and see if you can beat your barge as it drifts down the Canal du Midi.
30. Toboggan the Great Wall of China
Ride the cable car up to one of China’s greatest icons and toboggan back down.
31. Get icy in Canada
Drift past a glacier on a stand-up paddle board or spot a bear at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort.
32. Know your Coral
See the coral reef by night with Marine Biologist Johnny Singh to guide you at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji.
33. Learn the way of the Maasai
Jump, dance and hone your survival skills at Warrior School; at Cottar’s 1920s Camp in Kenya.
34. Have a Roman holiday
Let the flour fly at a pizza-making class and then don a tunic to learn the art of gladitorial combat at the Colosseum.
35. Follow the waterways of Botswana
Cast a line from a canoe into the Okavango Delta’s waters while practising newfound Twana language skills with a guide from Selinda Explorers Camp.
36. Become a Big Apple moviestar
It’s time to get glam and strut your stuff on the red carpet at the premiere of your very own short film at Four Seasons Hotel New York.
37. Walk with a giant
Join the rescued elephants of the village and their mahouts on their daily jungle walk and learn all about them from the resident vet or biologist at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in Thailand.
Experience the raw and wild deserts of southern Morocco from a private camp.
39. Play with Orangutans in Malaysia
Discover the playful similarities between children and Orangutans at the Nature Reserve of Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort.
40. Journey into the centre of the earth
Descent into the crater opening of a dormant volcano in Iceland.
41. Visit Santa in Finland
Meet Old Saint Nick in his secret forest hideout surrounded by now and creatures of the Arctic.
42. Explore a tomb under the Great Pyramid
Leave no stone unturned as you explore one of the most powerful ancient civilisations in Egypt.
43. Release Turtles back into the wild
Combine environmental education, fun and ‘aww’ factor with the Turtle Protection Programme at Vomo Fiji where kids can release hawksbill turtles back into the wild.
Muster cattle, swim with your horse and ride alongside powerful African wildlife.
45. Take a cooking class in Tuscany
Learn how to make the perfect panzanella with a Tuscan cooking class at Villa La Massa.
46. Blow glass in Murano
Join a glassmaking class at Palazzo Giustinian on the charming Venetian island of Murano.
47. Joust into the Renaissance
Step back in time and witness the extreme sport that only the bravest of knights would dare attempt at Anne Boleyn’s home of Hever Castle.
48. Sail away in Croatia
Learn the peace of being under sail. Charter a yacht in the Mediterranean; the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia fits the bill.
49. Mini-me spa
Indulge in an ice-cream massage at Karma Resorts. Soothe your feet in delicious balms of mint, berry, cocoa, ginger, coconut and vanilla that are good enough to eat.
50. Take a private tour of Stonehenge
Walk among the normally out-of-bounds Stone Circles.
51. Choo choo to Machu Picchu
Take a panoramic train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes to discover the mysteries behind these enigmatic ruins.
52. Fly above the Taj Mahal
Board a helicopter and see one of the New 7 Wonders of the World with a bird’s eye view.
53. Meet baby Pandas in Chengdu
Meet the world’s most cuddly creatures at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.
54. Play a game of Polo
Explore the Berkshire countryside by horseback, where children 10 and over can indulge in a quintessentially English experience by competing in a game of polo.
55. Cruise the Canary Islands
Indulge your inner sailor and hop on board the Sea Cloud yacht.
56. See Dubai from the sky
Take a helicopter ride from Atlantis, The Palm, over the high-rises and desert surrounds of the UAE.
57. Race a car at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi
Strap yourself in and hold on tight as you race in a Junior Grand Prix at the world’s largest indoor theme park.
58. Night time Turtle spotting in Oman
Join a night-tour to spot these rare reptiles on the Ras Al-Jinz Turtle Reserve.
59. Take in a Broadway show in New York
A bucket list experience for both parents and children: marvel at the flashing lights of Times Square before watching a show on Broadway.
60. Eat breakfast with a Giraffe
Play peek-a-boo with the locals at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya.
61. Sky high in New York City
Climb to the crown of Lady Liberty for a rare panorama of the Big Apple.
62. Ski three countries in one day
Ski the Italian Dolomites, Austria’s Lech and St Moritz in Switzerland all in one day.
63. Rope swing into Nanda Blue Hole
Make like Tarzan and swing into the most famous blue hole in Vanuatu.
64. Michelin-starred dining
Feast on specialties such as Braised Bird’s Nest Soup from the children’s menu at the first Chinese restaurant to receive three Michelin stars: Lung King Heen, Hong Kong.
65. Picnic on a Maldivian sandbank
Get lost at sea with a picnic hamper and Niyama butler service.
Journey the entire length of the Mississippi from New Orleans to St Paul’s ala Huckleberry Finn.
67. Meet the real life ‘Aristocats’
Meet the feline family members of Le Bristol hotel in Paris, Kleopatre and Fa-Raon, as elegant as the hotel itself.
68. Visit Bhutan at it’s most vibrant
See the Paro Festival, one of the most colourful spiritual festivals in the world.
69. Soar over Spielberg’s Jurassic Park
Fly over the treetops and rugged coastline of Kauai and disembark at Jurassic Falls.
70. Sleep in a yurt
Experience the culture and people of Mongolia at the annual Naadam Festival.
71. Ski in the tracks of Hollywood legends
Strap on your skis and join the L.A. elite at Sun Valley.
72. Sleep in Sweden’s treetops
For a Jungle Book experience like no other, sleek amid the treetops at Sweden’s Treehotel.
Get lost in the romance of the desert on this Lawrence of Arabia-esque safari.
74. Let’s go fly a kite
Make your own kite with Shanghai’s Peninsula Academy Programme and fly it over the Bund and Huangpu River.
75. Dolphin watching in the Maldives
Sit on board the Four Seasons speedboat and watch the sunset surrounded by a pod of dolphins.
76. Sandboard in Sigatoka
Take a tour with Nanuku Resort & Spa Fiji and race to the bottom of these awe-inspiring dunes.
77. See the world in one journey
Soak up the highlights of the globe by private jet in one amazing round-the-world experience by Lakani World Tours. From Japan to India, Turkey, to Malta, there’s so much to see on an exclusive airborne safari.
78. Balloon over Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys
Drift over valleys dotted with pigeon houses, orchards, vineyards and the otherwordly fairy chimneys of Turkey
79. Relive the golden age of safari on foot
Will you spot the Big Five on a Zambian safari with the experts at Sanctuary Retreats?
80. Step back into prehistory in the Philipines
Take a subterranean journey through the Puerto Princesa Underground River at the Palawan Islands.
81. Sleep in an ice hotel
Step into Queen Elsa’s shoes for the night and stay at Hotel de Glace in Quebec, Canada.
82. Walk the Harbour Bridge Climb
Climb Sydney’s most iconic tourist attraction and take in views all the way to the Blue Mountains.
83. Spot penguins on Macquarie Island
Take a subantarctic cruise to the ‘Galapagos of the Souther Ocean’ and spot the enigmatic royal penguins.
84. Ascend to Bhutan’s sacred tiger’s nest
Witness the majesty of the World Heritage Site of Taktsang Monastery.
85. Take a train into the heavens
Take the Jungfrau railway from the heart of the Swiss Alps to Europe’s highest station at 3454m altitude.
86. See Shakespeare at the globe
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” Watch Shakespeare performed as his fans once did in Elizabethan times at the Globe Theatre in London.
87. Dress for dinner at Ballyfin Demense
Bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘dressing up’ and partake in your own period drama for the evening at this Irish manor.
88. Whale watching from a private yacht
Get up close and personal with the humpback whales on the Gold Coast in exclusive style.
89. Hot air balloon over the Atlas Mountains
Soar over the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains on a hot air balloon ride with La Mamounia in Marrakesh.
90. Chase butterflies through the Amazon
Visit the buterfly farm at the Treehouse Lodge in Peru’s Iquitos
91. Come face-to-face with a Congolese Gorilla
Brave the Congo’s untouched Virunga National Park to track the endangered mountain gorilas before flying to Kenya’s Serengeti for more wildlife watching. Suitable for teenagers only.
92. Experience the vast Australian wilderness
Head for the Kimberley and see the Top End with a helicopter flight, beach 4WD tour, wilderness picnic or guided hike.
93. Ski around Japan’s ‘snow monsters’
The ice-covered trees of Zao Onsen Ski Resort, known as snow monsters, are lit at night for an enchanting vision of powder.
94. Go glamping at Big Sur
Experience the natural beauty of California’s Highway 101 and the rugged coastline of Big Sur from a yurt.
95. Enter a Bavarian fairytale
Marvel at the romantic wonder that is Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind countless Disney castles, including Sleeping Beauty’s home at Disneyland.
96. Bike through Catalonia in Spain
Feast on tapas as you cycle around Costa Brava on a Butterfield & Robinson Tour.
97. Follow a secret passage in Florence
Spot the ugliest Renaissance baby as you cross the Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi through the infamous secret passage, the Vasari Corridor, usually closed to the public.
98. French royalty for a day
Make like Marie-Antoinette and romp through Versailles’ royal gardens with a stay on the edge of the park at Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace Versailles. Croissants and macarons essential.
Browse our selection of great family accommodation options around the world