By Trudi-Rose Edwards
It’s no secret how hard it can be for parents to find a perfect holiday for the whole family. Arranging something for yourself can be difficult enough, add kids into the equation and it’s virtually impossible (Is Disneyland too babyish? Will the kids be bored on a city break?) And one particular ‘breed’ of teenager will be particularly difficult to please: The Geek.
We’ve all been there, something new will spark your interest (be it a book, a movie, a T.V. series) and suddenly you’ll spend all your free time devoted to it. Well, geeks do this to the power of ten. When they’re not binge watching the latest series of ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Breaking Bad’ they’re researching it; reading up on the actors and directors, writing their own fan fiction, discussing plotlines with fellow fans and digging up every single piece of trivia they can get their hands on.
It’s an obsession and it’s going to take more than a family holiday to separate them from their beloved laptops. Luckily, here are five gloriously geeky holiday destinations that parents can enjoy and will satisfy your kids’ (and possibly your own) inner nerd.
Geek Appeal: Dubrovnik has become something of a place of pilgrimage for fans of the hit T.V. show Game of Thrones thanks to several locations in the city being featured heavily throughout the series. Fans of the show can explore the city and find their favourite ‘King’s Landing’ locales. Better yet the city offers a three hour tour of the city for ardent ‘Thrones Fans’ led by a local expert who will share a love for the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens. For more information on themed tours visit www.viator.com
What’s in it for you? Dubrovnik is one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful cities in Europe and is a refreshing change from some of the more typical Mediterranean destinations. There are plenty of walking tours of the city but exploring it for yourself can be just as, if not even more, rewarding. One of the best ways to see the city is to hike up to the top of Mount Srd around 413 meters above the city. It’s a demanding but enjoyable walk and there is a cable car service available for a small fee. More information at www.croatia.hr
Geek Appeal: For anyone who’s a fan of Tolkien or Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy, New Zealand is a must visit destination. The whole country is featured prominently in both movie trilogies but the true Hobbit heaven, ‘Hobbiton Movie Set’ is situated near Matamata. Fans can take a guided tour around the movie set visiting the famous ‘Hobbit Holes’, ‘Green Dragon Inn’ and several other structures built exclusively for the films. It’s a must-see for fans of all ages and likely to convert a few sceptics along the way! Visit www.hobbitontours.com for more info on booking your Hobbit themed tour.
What’s in it for you? New Zealand is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Sports fanatics – extreme or otherwise – will be spoilt for choice with rock climbing, horse riding and water sports being offered virtually all over the country. If you’re staying in the North Island you’ll have the chance to visit Wellington and Auckland to satisfy your cosmopolitan needs but if it’s nature you fancy head down to the South Island and discover one of New Zealand’s biggest attractions the Fox Glacier, where you can combine the thrill of walking on the Fox Glacier with the excitement of a helicopter ride by taking a ‘heli-hike’. For more information on ‘heli-hikes’ visit www.foxguides.co.nz
Geek Appeal: Over the last ten years or so Cardiff has become something of a mecca for fans of all things Doctor Who. Since the television show’s revival in 2005, fans have been flocking to the South Wales capital with the hopes of spotting Daleks, Cybermen and even the eponymous Doctor himself, not to mention check out the numerous filming locations in and around the city. Perhaps best of all is the Doctor Who Experience at Cardiff Bay, labelled an ‘interactive journey through space and time’ it lives up to expectations. Visitors can take part in the interactive experience, visit the exhibition hall and buy official merchandise from the store. For more info on how to please a fan of the Doctor visit www.doctorwho.tv
What’s in it for you? Cardiff is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city which makes for a perfect family break to take with older children. There’s definitely something for everyone from catching a game of rugby at the Millennium Stadium (the home fans will make you feel more than welcome) to some retail therapy at the St David’s Shopping Centre, one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK (and home to the largest John Lewis outside of London) Other attractions include Cardiff Castle , a medieval castle situated smack, bang in the middle of the city centre and Cardiff Bay, a trendy and stylish hotspot and a hubbub of activity. Cardiff is certainly a city not to be underestimated! More information at www.visitwales.com
Geek Appeal: Leavesden, which is just 20 miles north west of London is the home of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Visitors can visit the authentic sets used over the course of the eight film magical franchise, reliving the magic of the movies and going behind the scenes. It’s a bucket list entry for all Potter fans and they will not be disappointed: in addition to the tour of the studios, fans can ride their own broomstick (with the help of a greenscreen) sample magical treats such as Butterbeer and Chocolate Frogs, and buy their own authentic souvenirs from the gift shop. Tickets are available at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
What’s in it for you? Leavesden is just outside of London so you’ll be spoilt for choice activity wise. To avoid endless queues and waiting times why not try some alternatives to the usual London tourist traps. Teens will love the vibe at Covent Garden and the bright lights of Leicester Square and a perfect way to round up a great family trip in London is to go and see a musical in the West End, family favourites include Wicked, Matilda the Musical and The Lion King.For more musical theatre news and info, head over to www.londontheatre.co.uk
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Geek Appeal: San Diego is home to the annual San Diego Comic-Con. A four day event that was originally set up as a conference for all things sci-fi, today it covers a broad range of pop-culture from superhero films to the latest games console hits. It truly is geek heaven. Be prepared for people dressed up as their favourite Star Wars character or wielding their weapons from Dungeons and Dragons. Perhaps most exciting of all is the prospect of meeting the stars of popular films and T.V shows at the meet and greet. Guests from the last few years have included the cast of the Avengers, Game of Thrones, Superman vs Batman and the Hunger Games. For more info see www.comic-con.org
What’s in it for you? San Diego (often dubbed America’s finest city) is something of a hidden gem. Often overlooked by its Californian neighbours Los Angeles and San Francisco, it’s a city with something for everyone. The city boasts beautiful beaches and parks, a warm climate virtually all year round and a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere than other parts of America’s West Coast. A trip to San Diego Zoo will be worth your while, it’s the home of 4000 animals including America’s largest population of Giant Pandas. Another must see is Balboa Park (where the zoo is located.) The park features several museums many of which feature Spanish-Colonial architecture which makes for a unique urban park experience. More information at www.sandiego.org
Pic credits: MACALL B. POLAY/HBO. Croatian National Tourist Board, Visit London Images, Pawel Libera, Brett Shoaf