A fantastic combination of coast and countryside, Normandy has much to boast about. Undulating countryside, beautiful soft sandy beaches, picture-postcard views and a rich cultural heritage – it offers the perfect family destination with plenty to do for everybody.
To make the most of your time here previous guests have reviewed dozens of activities in our unique Tried & Tested Directory so you can have the pick of the best toddler-friendly days out from day 1.
Here are just a few of the firm favourites as reviewed by previous Toddler Holiday guests:
Festyland – a back to basics theme park that offers lots of rides for children under 5, but with plenty of choice for older kids too. Conveniently situated just off the Caen ring road, this is a theme park experience at a fraction of the cost of the larger, more commercial sites.
Cerza Zoo – our guests rave about this safari park. From white tigers to rare hippos you can get closer than you probably want to imagine. A petting zoo and miniature train ride are often quoted as highlights. If zoos are your thing then you could also visit Zoo de Jurques and Zoo de Champrepus – all within easy reach.
The Chateau de Vendeuvre – a wonderful chateau to visit, with a fabulous garden. You can skip the interior (and its precious antiques!) and head straight for the magic water garden. Waterfalls, jets and fountains are all triggered as you walk by – the children just love it and it is a very cooling option on a hot day.
Aquatic Centre Falaise – as well as a 25m pool it features a leisure pool with toddler area, slides, wavepool, rapids plus an outdoor Nordic pool with massage jets. In summer there are sun beds, volley ball and an inflatable castle added outside.
William the Conqueror’s Castle Falaise – the birthplace of William the Conqueror, and a dream outing for all budding Knights and Princesses. No precious antiques so kids are completely free to let their imaginations run wild. Visitors can borrow ipads, which help reconstruct various rooms and there is a great collection of Knight-related accoutrements in the gift shop.
Miniature Train Museum Clécy – a must for all Thomas fans. An amazing model train set handed down from a father to son and now on permanent display. There is also a miniature train that offers rides around the grounds. Clécy is in the beautiful Suisse Normande, which is a mecca for all outdoor pursuits. If abseiling or hand-gliding aren’t your thing then, then why not just enjoy a bite to eat on the pontoons on the river and watch the world float by.
Markets – lots to choose from but our firm favourites are at St Pierre sur Dives (Monday morning) and Falaise (Saturday morning). Crammed full of local produce, they are ideal venues for stocking up for a family picnic. Every town has a weekly market, so ask where your local ones are and enjoy shopping ‘à la française’!
This could be a website of its own! Normandy offers miles and miles of clean, golden sandy beaches from the chic resort of Deauville to the haunting emptiness of Omaha beach. Here are just a few favourites:
Deauville – known as the 21st arrondisement of Paris as it is populated mainly by holidaying Parisians. This is as chic as it gets. Grab a coffee on the boardwalk and watch (the very glamourous) world go by.
Trouville – the older bohemian sister to Deauville. What it lacks in chic it more than makes up for in charm. Great beach, lots of activities from poney rides to play areas all set against a backdrop of Anglo-Norman architecture. A really family-friendly and totally French experience.
Merville – Franceville– park (for free!) a few steps from the sandy beach, entertain the kids in the beachside play area, try crazy-golf and grab an ice-cream or crêpe just a few metres away. Ticks all the beach boxes without having to move very far at all!
The D-Day Beaches – whilst the kids get down to the business of sand-castle building you can soak up the history. Lots of great museums and historic sites all along the coast.
Côte de Nacre – 15 kilometres of golden sand backed by rolling green fields of the Calvados countryside. Resort towns along the Côte de Nacre offer simple, old-world charm and you can easily feel as if you’ve been transported back to the beginning of the last century. Favourite spots are Luc-sur-Mer, Lion-sur-Mer and St Aubin.
Other classic Normandy days out include:
Honfleur – picture postcard perfect
The Bayeux Tapestry – 1066 and all that.
The Mont St Michel – awe-inspiring UNESCO world heritage site
Horse-riding – Normandy is a world-class horse-breeding region and horses are a regional obsession! Lessons and trekking available just about everywhere including on the beach.
And of course there are restaurants to be sampled at every turn and a trip to the local cider and calvados producers to fit in, shopping in Caen and Bayeux – the list is endless. No wonder the most common feedback we receive from guests is that a week just isn’t long enough to fit everything in – one of the reasons so many of them return………