If you’re looking for summer sun for the whole family, Abu Dhabi might just be the golden ticket. With Etihad now offering direct flights from the UK, the perfect family holiday just got a bit closer.
The UAE’s cultural capital makes light work of travelling with little ones, with fun days out, places to explore and all the facilities you need to make a truly memorable family getaway.
Here’s a look at what’s on offer…
The resplendently white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque cuts an ornate figure in the heart of Abu Dhabi, and is a must when visiting the city. With its striking domes and shimmering marble courtyards, the mosque is a true architectural work of art. It takes its name from the late Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — the UAE’s first president — whose vision it was to build the mosque. Visitors of all faiths are welcome, but take note of the local customs — wear long sleeves and trousers, or take a scarf to wrap around yourself.
Despite the hustle and bustle of central Abu Dhabi, the tranquillity of nature is never far away. Seek out Sir Bani Yas Island, just over 100 miles from Abu Dhabi, where paradise awaits. A haven for nature lovers — the Arabian Wildlife Park is home to more than 10,000 free-roaming animals and takes up more than half the island — Sir Bani Yas abounds with spectacular flora and fauna, while colourful marine life teems in the surrounding turquoise waters.
After some winter sun? From private beaches to small islands and hotel beach clubs, Abu Dhabi doesn’t disappoint when it comes to kicking back on the sand. Head to Corniche Beach — in 2011, its bright golden shoreline was the first beach in the Gulf region to be awarded Blue Flag status — which sweeps for five miles along Abu Dhabi’s coast and is dotted with gourmet restaurants and great spots to relax with a drink and enjoy the view.
Abu Dhabi is without doubt one of the Middle East’s prime cultural hotspots, brimming with world-class galleries and museums. Start at the Salwa Zeidan Gallery, home to a slew of contemporary works, including installations and performance pieces, before making a beeline for the Etihad Modern Art Gallery, which is leading the way in encouraging local art to flourish in the region. Giants of the museum world — the Louvre and the Guggenheim — are also adding to the city’s burgeoning arts scene.
From music festivals to major sporting events, Abu Dhabi offers first-class entertainment that draws visitors from all around the globe. Some of the biggest names in pop have called into the Emirati capital to perform, including Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Lionel Richie.