Brittany’s already ahead of the curve when it comes to a great choice for a family holiday – it’s got some of the most inviting beaches in France, if not most of Europe. And while a day beside the sea is the perfect way to spend your time while you’re enjoying one of our wonderful villas in Brittany, it’s not the only thing to do. There are dozens of great family-friendly activities in Brittany, from adventure parks and aquariums through to surf schools and historic days out. We’ve picked some of our favourites for you below – the only question is deciding which one to visit first!
1. Skim across waves with 29 Hood Surfclub
Why go: The beaches of Brittany are not only great for a lazy day of reading and sunbathing, they are also ideal spots for learning to surf. 29 Hood provides lessons for kids from as young as five years old, so they can pick up the techniques from an early age. You can book a block of five lessons, which will take place over consecutive days, so that your family will be riding a crest into shore with confidence by the end of the week. The trained and qualified teachers talk their pupils through every stage, from paddling to standing to staying up. The cost also includes hire of the board and a wetsuit, so all you have to do is turn up and be brave as you paddle out into the swell.
Location: 433 rue du Musée de la préhistoire
Book: Online 29 Hood Surfclub
2. Walk through living history at Village de Poul-Fetan
Why go: Brittany’s past comes to life in Poul-Fetan, where a once-abandoned village has been lovingly restored and is now populated by costumed actors who act out traditional Breton life. It’s a museum with a difference, and one that is interactive enough to satisfy children. They can walk around the stone houses and arable farmland, attend classes in the Breton language, watch clothes being washed using traditional methods and observe draught horses plough the fields. Craft displays, such as spinning wool and making butter, are held daily and the food served on-site is all authentically Breton. Start in the ticket office, where the youngest visitors can pick up a games booklet to go on a treasure hunt through the village.
Location: Village de Poul-Fetan 56310 Quistinic
Book: Online Village de Poul-Fetan
3. Sail around the coast with Eulalie Paimpol
Why go: Without a doubt, the best way to properly see Brittany’s coastline is from the water, and a tour on board the Eulalie around the bay of Paimpol allows you to do just that. The wooden sailboat only takes up to ten passengers, so there is a feeling of exclusivity as the guide, Dominique, steers you around the Bréhat archipelago, regaling you with local knowledge as you go. Children will act as deckhands for the day, helping to hoist the sails and aiding navigation as you drift around the stunning islands. And should they have any questions (and let’s face it, they always do!), Dominque will be able to answer them.
Location: 38 Ch Francois Ollivier 2860 Plourivo
Book: Call 02 96 55 99 99
4. Gaze at underwater wonders in the Océanopolis Aquarium
Why go: This aquarium is split into three sections – tropical, polar and temperate pavilions – each based on a different ecosystem and containing some of the weirdest and most wonderful denizens of the deep. Look out for smaller creatures like the colourful clownfish and the bizarre lumpfish (identifiable, unsurprisingly, by their strange lumpy texture) behind the more obviously impressive seals and sharks. Kids love watching the comical, waddling penguins get fed and feeling the texture of different fish in the touching pool. Seeing jellyfish bob and glow is a memorably ethereal experience, as is walking through the tropical greenhouse, which recreates a typical Caribbean forest. The aquarium’s tagline is ‘emotions go deeper’, and Océanopolis certainly will invoke some emotions in your little ones – most notably excitement!
Location: 12 Rue du Moulin Blanc 29200 Brest France
Book: Online Océanopolis Aquarium
5.Uncover Arthurian legend in La Porte des Secrets in Brocéliande
Why go: Brocéliande Forest is a landscape shaped by mythology – a moss-covered woodland that children will recognise from the pages of storybooks. In it is La Porte des Secrets, an engaging museum hosted in the historic Paimpont Abbey, which reveals the mysteries of this legendary forest and its ties to Merlin and Arthur. Step through the door of secrets, and Pierre, the Ward of the Forest, will guide you around different rooms, which trace the stories of the forest through interactive displays and state-of-the-art projection. The shadow puppetry and the industrial forge are sure to capture the imaginations of both the young and the old.
Location: 1 place du Roi Saint-Judicael 35380 Paimpont France
Book: Online La Porte des Secrets in Brocéliande
6. Go on a jungle mission at Enigmaparc
Why go: Kids can become Indiana Jones for a day at this jungle adventure park where they’ll have to solve puzzles to get make it out. At the start of your visit, you’ll be briefed on your mission. Next, you’ll have to travel through different scenarios like Egyptian tombs and Celtic villages, solving the fiendish riddles and games along the way. Each new room, based on a different theme, offers new challenges, such as rope bridges, mazes and structures you need to build. The appeal for families is twofold, with the inventively designed rooms providing as much fun as the games themselves.
Location: Z.A du Bois de Teillay Quartier du Haut Bois 35150 Janzé
Book: No Need to Book Just Show up!
7. Explore an old paper factory at Moulin à Papier de Pen-Mur
Why go: The fascinating tour around this old mill will make your kids realise just how interesting something as everyday as paper can be. Housed in an ivy-clad stone building on the banks of a pond, this factory produces artisan paper using traditional methods. A master papetier will guide you and your group through the different stages of crafting sheaves of fine writing material. Watch pulp get mashed and cloth get cut, and see the finished products hang to dry between the rafters of a wooden attic. Who knows? You might be giving your kids a glimpse into a once everyday item, which – according to some predictions – may have fallen almost totally out of use by the time your little ones are old and grey.
Location: Site de Pen-Mur, 56190 Muzillac, France
Book: No Need to Book Just Show up!
If Brittany seems like the kind of place you and the kids can enjoy an amazing and memorable holiday together, you’re going to need somewhere equally amazing to stay. Luckily, our helpful concierge team is on hand to find you the perfect pick from our luxury villas in Brittany! But perhaps you’re looking for a bit more inspiration? You could check out these five amazing French holiday rentals for children, or if it won’t be a holiday without your canine best friend in tow, why not have a read of our blog on dog-friendly cottages in France?