Updated January 31, 2023
Published January 24, 2020
No plans this February half term? If you want to get away, it’s not too late to pick up a last-minute bargain. In fact, there are plenty of deals waiting to be snapped up, especially if you don’t have your heart set on seven days in the sun. Why not settle for five or whisk the kids away on a quick city break instead? It pays to be a little flexible, after all, and you can always put the extra cash towards splashing out on a summer getaway.
With that in mind, here's our round up of eight excellent destinations for three-, five- and seven-night February half term holidays.
With all the familiarity of home combined with a quick flight (it’s just an hour from London), a holiday to Jersey is ideal for a no-fuss, last-minute escape with the brood, especially if you have younger kids in tow.
This tiny Channel Island has plenty to occupy the little ones, from Jersey Zoo to the action-packed aMaizin! Adventure Park. And if the weather gets a bit blustery, you can head indoors to the interactive Maritime Museum. This year, between February 13 and 17, a gang of Viking warriors invade the museum for five days of family fun - ideal if your half term falls that week. Alternatively, consider hiring a car to hop between the island’s castles with ease and to brave its best beaches, which are only made more atmospheric under winter’s haze.
The compact Danish capital is surprisingly kid-friendly, with a mountain of playgrounds and museums to keep young minds curious.
Kids go free at the National Museum, which is home to the dedicated Children’s Museum, an interactive and educational dive into the history of Denmark. Prefer to get walking? The guides at Scandikidstours turn the streets of Copenhagen into a playground with walking adventures designed for children between six and twelve. On the street art tour through Nørrebro, kids can even tag their own name onto one of the city's walls. Further afield, you’ll find the Experimentarium, a hands-on museum where science is brought to life, and an Aquarium, which happens to be the largest in Northern Europe.
If you’re travelling with younger children, check out the Copenhagen Card. For every adult pass, up to two kids under ten can be brought along for free – that includes admission to most major attractions and free public transport.
Ancient sights are at the heart of holidays to Rome; there’s the Colosseum and the Forum, of course, plus a clutch of grand ruins from the height of Roman rule. Dotted between them, you’ll find Renaissance churches, old castles and museums brimming with works from the greats. In February, there’s barely a full queue between them, so it’s a great time to explore and fly through the bigger attractions with the kids.
If history gets a little, well, old for younger ones, try a pizza making class designed for kids or check out the Explora Children’s Museum.
If you have a few more days to play with, head further south to Sicily. Though February weather isn’t exactly ideal for seaside days (expect highs of 12C), this island will keep you busy with its fascinating mix of grand cities, well-preserved historical sights and trove of charming villages. Why not hire a car and explore the east coast? Tick off Messina, Catania and Syracuse, then head west to Agrigento, the gateway to the impressive Valley of the Temples.
Food and bric-a-brac markets are the beating heart of many Sicilian towns, and are an exciting sight for kids and adults alike; look out for early-morning fish markets where sellers fight to be heard over the throng.
The Costa del Sol is a coastal playground for families of all ages, and February is the time to make the most of it away from the sand. Meet exotic animals at Bioparc Fuengirola zoo, see the dinosaurs’ closest living relatives at the Crocodrilos crocodile park and get up close to some 1,500 butterflies at Mariposario de Benalmadena.
Keen for a day trip? Head to hilltop Ronda, recognisable for the Puente Nuevo bridge that spans the El Tajo gorge. If you want to get off the beaten track, tour the traditional Andalusian whitewashed villages in Ronda’s surrounds or journey to the Smurf-blue town of Júzcar.
Malta’s magical mix of picture-postcard beaches, eons of history and unique culture make holidays to this tiny island irresistible. But even better, temperatures in February can skyrocket to 16C - perfect for a bit of winter warmth. Visit pint-sized capital Valletta, the UNESCO-protected Megalithic Temples of Malta and tour Malta’s other islands, Gozo and Comino, on a boat trip.
For little ones, consider a day at the Esplora science centre or a trip to film-set-turned-attraction, Popeye Village – the purpose-built town at the centre of Robin Williams’ musical Popeye movie.
A classic British holiday destination, Majorca’s appeal runs year-round. Between its stunning natural landscapes and vibrant cities and towns, there’s always something to do here.
Base yourself in capital, Palma, for things to keep you occupied all week. For culture cravers, there’s the Cathedral of Santa Maria (Le Seu), the 14th-century Bellver Castle with panoramic views of the city and coast, and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. Theme park thrills, meanwhile, are the order of the day at Tirolinas Go!, an adventure park that invites kids and adults alike to climb, swing and zipline through the trees.
Fancy a day out? Take the old wooden train north to Sóller. The journey itself is the adventure – trundling through beautiful countryside and over bridges and viaducts – but the town is worth the stop too. Combine your ticket with the old tram to the port for the quintessential view of the region’s orange groves.
If short-haul winter sun if your priority for the half term break, consider Spain’s Costa Blanca – if you’re lucky, temperatures can reach highs of 17C. It’s a great time to explore a different side to this classic Spanish costa, one without the summer crowds, though keep in mind that most of the big adventure parks are closed in the off-season.
Instead, get in touch with nature at the Algar Waterfalls near Benidorm, take in the views from the mountaintop Santa Bárbara Castle in Alicante, or strap on your walking shoes for a stroll along the cliffs at Cap de la Nau.
On warmer days, beaches will be yours for the taking, but if you’re after a dip, beware – waters are a chilly 14C this time of year.
Have a comment or question about this article? You can contact us on Twitter or Facebook.