Here at Oliver’s Travels, we handpick all our villas in Aquitaine so you can be sure you and your family find the perfect place to stay – whether they need a high chair or 24/7 wifi access for those important Facebook updates. Either way, getting out and exploring is the ideal way to take some fantastic family holiday memories back home with you, so we’ve found seven of the best things to do with kids in Aquitaine to delight kids and adults alike.

Centre Équestre Marina - Aquitaine - France

1. Trot away the day at Centre Équestre Marina

Why go: It’s no secret that there’s something about the sight of a furry, cuddly creature that makes kids’ eyes light up. At this equestrian centre, which has access to trails in both the Landes Forest and along the ocean, 10 docile ponies await your little riders completely equipped with horse gears, saddles, and Custom Scrim. Kiddies under six can safely try out trotting on a leading rein while older children can opt for beginners’ lessons or play cowboy for the day on trekking outings. Adults can, but don’t have to, watch from afar; they can also saddle up for an adventure on one of the stable’s graceful Anglo-Arab steeds, which are equipped to carry full-sized humans.

Location: 55 Rte de Baleste, 40200 Mimizan, France

Cordouan Lighthouse - Aquitaine - France

2. Climb the Cordouan Lighthouse

Why go: For many children, lighthouses are something they recognise from the pages of storybooks and are synonymous with adventure, danger and even mystery. With Cordouan Lighthouse, the journey alone is reason enough to come. Kids will love boarding the boat for the exciting trip out to the remote sandbank where the lighthouse is located. And the adventure doesn’t end there. After disembarking, they’ll have to wade through shallow water to reach France’s oldest still-in-use lighthouse. Once they arrive at the tower, they can scale the 301 steps to reach the top. Parents will need to book a visit with one of the licensed companies that depart from Le Verdon-sur-Mer, Meschers-sur-Gironde and Royan ports.

Location: 12, rue Saint-Simon 33390 Blaye , France

Teich Bird Reserve - Photographer Jacques Gillon. - Aquitaine

Credit: Jacques Gillon

3. Spot feathered fliers at Teich Bird Reserve

Why go: You may think of birdwatching as something enjoyed by older generations but tots, tweens and even teens will find it surprisingly fun. Think of it as a real-life game of ‘Where’s Wally’ that will help sharpen your children’s observation skills. Group tours can be organised at the Teich Bird Reserve, which is located on the shore of Arcachon Bay. During these excursions, you and your sprogs will be provided with binoculars to use as a guide to lead you around this avian honeypot, helping you to identify the different species you see. Depending on the time of the year when you visit, you might see such species as white storks, white-spotted blue throats and grey herons.

Location: Rue du Port, 33470 Le Teich, France

Petit Train de la Rhine - Aquitaine - France

4. Ride the Le Train de la Rhune

Why go: From Thomas the Tank Engine to the Hogwarts and Polar Expresses, children seem to go loco for locomotives. Tiny trainspotters will be pleased as Punch with a journey on the Petit Train de la Rhune, an old-world funicular that chugs its way up a 1920s-era track to the summit of a Pyrenees peak. The journey lasts just 35 minutes – short enough to not strain junior attention spans. Expect far-reaching views of the Basque Country at the top and be on alert for pottoks (the sturdy Basque ponies that roam this region) as well as majestic griffon vultures, a foreboding bird of prey known to frequent these skies. Check the forecast before you depart for the train; the summit of Rhune is at 900 metres and cloud cover can spoil the vistas.

Location: Col de Saint-Ignace, 64310 Sare, France

Kid Parc - Aquitaine - France

5. Enjoy a play day at Kid Parc

Why go: With tot-friendly rides and paddling pools, this amusement park is sure to elicit whoops from your youngsters, particularly if your nippers are still in single digits. The rides, among them spinning cups, carousels and mini-roller coasters, are fun but still tame enough to appeal to the meeker members of your family. Kids will have a blast jumping around on the trampolines, toying around in the play areas and splashing in the shallow pools. There is also a miniature train here, which circles around part of the park, as well as dining and picnic areas for when hunger inevitably strikes. Bringing your whippersnappers here is one way to ensure a complaint-free day.

Location: 131 Route des Lacs, 33470 Gujan-Mestras, France

Ecomusée de Marquèze - Aquitaine - France

6. Peer into the past at Ecomusée de Marquèze

Why go: This fascinating open-air museum, which comprises a series of historic timbered houses, has lots for younger visitors. A vintage-style train clatters through the site, and there is a scattering of old farm buildings here waiting to be explored. The houses are decked out with period furnishings and designed to represent the homes or workplaces of different tradesmen. Inside each are costumed actors who relate tales of 19th-century life in Landes. Bulking out the child-oriented activities are traditional games like ‘Palet Gascon’ skittles as well as word games, puzzles and workshops (weekends and school holidays only) where little boys and girls can learn how to spin wool, prepare pastries and other fun old-style pursuits.

Location: Route de la Gare, Sabres 40630, Aquitaine, France

Chateau de Bonaguil - Aquitaine - France

7. Storm the castle at Chateau de Bonaguil

Why go: Many chateaux in the South of France are simply grand manor houses that, though undeniably beautiful, do little for young imaginations. This magnificent medieval stronghold, however, is the real deal having functioned as a defensive structure. Despite being partially ruined, Chateau de Bonaguil is still captivating and awash with tunnels, soaring towers, caves, staircases, dungeons and battlements for curious young besiegers to nose around. Be on the lookout for the centuries-old graffiti, which brings youthful visitors even closer to its military past.

Location: 47500 Saint-Front-sur-Lémance, France


Looking for more things to do with kids in Aquitaine? Find out how the locals make the most of their city in our authentic guide to Dordogne. There’s also our top ten family-friendly villas in the South of France if you’re looking for somewhere to stay that the whole family will love, and if you’re looking for something specific just ask our concierge team for help.

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