A guide to organising the perfect family holiday to Dubai

Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, is a city synonymous with wealth and opulence. But what you may not know is that it is also one of the best destinations to host your next family getaway.

family holiday to Dubai

With a wide range of family-friendly activities, numerous water parks, award-winning hotels, and a safe and welcoming atmosphere, what’s not to love? If you’re thinking of planning a family escape to Dubai, take a look at our guide below to find out what the Venice of the Gulf has to offer.

Making your way to Dubai

Don’t let the seven-hour flight to Dubai from the UK put you off. In fact, your holiday starts the moment you get on the plane. This is thanks to the incredible service from Emirates, who are more than happy to provide complimentary pushchairs at the airport as well as a variety of child-friendly snacks, age-appropriate toys, and delicious snacks.

The children will be having too much fun to even think about acting up on the flight. And since the time difference is only a few hours, your toddlers are unlikely to experience any jet lag. 

Dining out in Dubai

Mealtimes can often be difficult with children when on holiday. You may have picky eaters, messy eaters, or noisy eaters – or all three! Luckily, the local attitude in Dubai is very friendly towards children and they’re truly spoilt when it comes to choice.

Whether they prefer pizzas and burgers or would like to try something more adventurous, anything is possible here. There are food courts in the shopping malls also, allowing you all to grab something different and still be able to dine together as a family. Some places we’d recommend to eat with the kids include Wavehouse, Social House, and The Scene.

Choosing accommodation in Dubai

There are plenty of hotels in Dubai that cater to families of all ages. Among Dubai’s best hotels is Atlantis, The Palm. The majestic building dominates Dubai’s skyline, overlooking the serene waters of the Arabian Gulf.

What Atlantis, The Palm excels in is its variety of facilities and activities specially designed to entertain the kids. From the resort’s onsite aquarium, featuring more than 56,000 creatures, to Aquaventure Waterpark, a humungous attraction with over 105 record-breaking slides, you’re sure to make some fantastic memories.

Located toward the eastern crescent of Palm Jumeirah is the Aloft Hotel, an affordable yet luxurious option suitable for families with young children. Guests have direct access to a private beach location, two large pools, a games room, and plenty of eateries. 

There’s also a kids club meaning you can relax by the pool knowing the children are well looked after and having fun.

What to do as a family in Dubai

There’s so much to do in Dubai that it can be difficult to decide what to do first. Remember, you don’t want to become overwhelmed when the whole point of a holiday is to relax, so avoid cramming everything into one visit.

Try to take advantage of activities that keep the kids out of the heat, since their skin is much more sensitive. The Dubai Mall is home to numerous activities including the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, an Olympic-sized ice rink, and the ‘edutainment’ village KidZania, a make-believe town that allows kids to partake in role-playing activities. 

It’s fairly easy to spend an entire day in the mall, especially with more than 200 places to eat and closing times as late as 1 am.

We’ve already discussed Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm, but there are several other water parks worth your time in Dubai. Wild Wadi Waterpark, which has over 30 attractions, is a popular choice for families thanks to its variety of attractions including gravity-defying slides, water rollercoasters, and a lazy river.

You can even swim with dolphins, one of nature’s friendliest animals, at Dolphin Bay. Regardless of how old your children are, they’ll adore connecting with these intelligent creatures while learning about the importance of preserving their population in the wild.

Getting around Dubai

When toddlers are involved, you need to be organised, particularly with your transport to and from the airport. To save yourself some cash to spend later in Dubai’s malls, consider booking your Dubai airport transfer ahead of time

Airport transfers are generally much cheaper than hopping in a taxi at the airport and ensure you get the best availability. The last thing you want is to spend an hour waiting for transport with a young family in a hot country after being stuck on a plane for seven hours. Trust us, it’s a must to avoid temper tantrums.

Dubai is widely regarded for its efficient public transport system, which includes tram, metro, bus, and marine services. These can all be accessed by simply using a Nol card – a contactless payment method similar to an Oyster card. 

You can acquire one of these cards from any metro station, including some bus stations and supermarkets. From there, you just need to top up the card with credit and then you’re free to travel throughout Dubai with ease.

The only public transport system that doesn’t accept Nol cards is the Palm Monorail, which runs from Atlantis, The Palm to Al Sufouh Road, passing by several popular attractions on the way. If you wish to traverse the 5.5km line, you’ll need to book tickets beforehand. Passes are available for families though if you all wish to travel together.