With sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and a wealth of history that includes a good few battles, Normandy is a surprisingly good choice for family holidays – especially if the family in question likes getting out and about and exploring! If you’re up for an active break then there’s plenty to do, and the region’s pretty appealing if you’re after some hard-earned R&R too. To make choosing the right activities that little bit easier, we’ve put together some of the best things you and the family can do, and don’t forget our luxury chateaux and villas in Normandy make a great base no matter how old the kids are!

1. Take to the skies with Montgolfières de Falaise

Why go: Nothing fires children’s imaginations quite like, well, fire. And flying of course. Which makes a hot air balloon ride perhaps the greatest adventure experience for a family. With Montgolfières de Falaise, you will float high above the Normandy countryside, seeing how the landscape has been shaped by the Dives, the Ante and the Orne rivers – as well as by human hands. For adults, the ride offers a unique perspective on the area, with views of its forested hills, medieval towns and bustling cities from on high, while for kids it affords time to dream about a world of possibilities. Plus, take the opportunity to teach them about geography, meteorology, history and the mechanisms of flight.

Book: Call +33 2 31 40 79 03

Location: Montgolfières 1-11 2 avenue d’Hastings, 14700 Falaise

Montgolfières de Falaise - Normandy

Montgolfières de Falaise – Normandy

2. Play all day at Woody Park

Why go: For kids, the three most exciting words in the English language are ‘treetop adventure park’ (closely followed by ‘pass the parcel’), so you won’t have any trouble getting them to Woody Park. But with so many fun, child-friendly activities on offer, you might struggle to get them out again. As well as treetop rope courses, Woody Park offers an ‘Olympiad’ of unusual sports, from sumo wrestling in inflatable suits to Gladiators-style jousts (where players try to knock each other off platforms with pugil sticks). Our favourite? Human table football! There’s also paintball, mini golf and treasure hunts to enjoy, helping to make Woody Park the perfect family day out.

Book: Online at Woody Park

Location: 98 Avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 76400 Fécamp

Woody Park - Normandy

Woody Park – Normandy

3.Indulge your sweet tooth at Lait Douceur

Why go: If you’ve never heard of ‘confiture de lait’ (literally translated as ‘milk jam’) then you’re in for a treat. This deliciously thick and spreadable sweet caramel sauce, made from whole milk and sugar (hence the name) is a true Normandy speciality. And there is nowhere better to try it than at Lait Douceur. This craft producer near Cherbourg holds fascinating tours, workshops and private classes in making confiture de lait, as well as fruit jams, fondant chocolates, marshmallows and other sweeties. They explain the science and culinary expertise behind the sweets, offering insight into an important part of local culture. If nothing else, it’s worth popping in for some free tasters and to browse the shop.

Book: No need to book just show up!

Location: 24, Route d’Auréville 50390, Saint-Sauveur-Le-Vicomte

Lait Douceur

Lait Douceur – Family tours

4. Feel like a giant at Chemin de fer Miniature

Why go: There’s an easy way to make your children feel like giants; take them to a place where everything is tiny. Chemin de fer Miniature in Clécy is home to one of the largest and the most intricate miniature railway collections on the continent. With over 450 metres of railway plus 250 locomotives, 450 cars, 650 homes and several incredibly detailed throwaway features (from a large circus tent to an active crime scene), all accompanied by illuminating lights and realistic sound effects, it’s quite a sight. The exhibition is also surrounded by a park and gardens, with outdoor activities including a ride-on land train, a bouncy train carriage and various food stalls, so there is no way the little ones will get bored.

Book: No need to book just show up!

Location: Les Fours à Chaux Rue d’Ermington, 14570 Clécy

Chemin de fer Miniature - Miniature railway collection

Chemin de fer Miniature – Miniature railway collection

5. Delve into the deep at La Cité de la Mer

Why go: If your kids love science and/or history, La Cité de la Mer is a must-visit. Situated within Cherbourg’s 1930s cruise terminal, this extraordinary maritime museum is famed for exhibiting Redoubtable, the French navy’s first ballistic missile submarine and the largest sub in the world open to the public. But that’s just one of the museum’s many attractions. Our personal highlights include ‘Titanic, Return to Cherbourg’ (an interactive experience taking visitors through European emigration to the New World and learning about the legendary cruise liner that called at this very port in April 1912) and ‘Explore the Ocean Depths’ (where you can witness the history of underwater discovery through the people, the technologies and the marine life). The virtual underwater adventure is also fantastic fun for all!

Book: Online at Citedelamertickeasy

Location: La Cite De La mer Gare Martime Transatlantique 50100 Cherbourg.

La Cité de la Mer - Maritime Museum

La Cité de la Mer – Maritime Museum

6. Get snap happy at Alligator Bay

Why go: It’s a fact: the wall-to-wall reptiles at Alligator Bay result in ear-to-ear smiles from the visiting kids. At least, that’s our experience of France’s premier reptilian attraction. As the name suggests, alligators are the star attractions here, with over 200 alligators and crocodiles on display throughout the park. However, some of the crocs’ close cousins are also in evidence. One area of the park is entirely given over to more than 300 tortoises (kids can approach and caress giant tortoises from Africa), while the Dragons Maze is home to more than 150 lizards and snakes. But the highlight of the visit? That’s easy – watching the alligators being fed. It’s an incredible sight, and a useful threat if your kids misbehave.

Book: No need to book just show up!

Location: 62, route du Mont-Saint-Michel 50170 Beauvoir

Alligator Bay - France's reptilian attraction

Alligator Bay – France’s reptilian attraction

7. Head into nature at Le Parc de Saint Symphorien des Monts

Why go: There are times, especially on a family holiday, when you are in desperate need of a little peace and quiet. Normandy is ideal for this, blessed with a variety of soothing excursions ranging from clifftop cycling to woodland walks, and one of the best ways to get away from it all is by strolling around Le Parc de Saint Symphorien des Monts. Located just a few miles from Mont Saint-Michel, it is full of lovely plants and flowers, lakes, woodland and all kinds of wildlife (including deer, llamas, zebu bulls, camels and alpacas). Adults will enjoy the series of ever-creative, ever-changing artistic installations dotted throughout the park, while kids will love activities including pony rides and interactive games.

Book: No need to book just show up!

Location: Le Parc, 50640 Saint-Symphorien-des-Monts, France

Le Parc de Saint Symphorien des Monts

Le Parc de Saint Symphorien des Monts

Want more inspiration for an unforgettable family holiday? You’ll find tonnes over at our blog, so head on over and take a look at the best historic seaside towns in Normandy. Want us to help you sort out the perfect place for you and the kids to stay? Our concierge team is on hand! Just let them know the kind of thing you’re looking for and they’ll draw up a shortlist of suitable properties, and they can help you book if you’ve already spotted a villa or chateaux you like.

Looking for a full list of villas to rent this year? Check out our villa holidays page here.

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