Top Ten Family Activities In Northern France

October 29, 2020

If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s the importance of spending time with our loved ones. As we think ahead to a new year, with new opportunities, we thought we would share a list of some great places to visit in France to spend quality time as a family.

From cycling to sailing, history to harbours, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Northern France. Plus with a crossing time of just 4 hours from Newhaven to Dieppe, you can be there in no time. Whether you’re looking for a half-term break, long weekend or summer holiday, take a look at our rundown of some of the best things to do while you’re there.


1. Grab some local produce at France’s finest market

A good picnic is a must for any day out exploring and you can find a multitude of food at Dieppe market, voted France’s finest market 2020. Held every Saturday morning, fresh fruit and vegetables stand alongside home-grown honey and locally produced cider. Pick up some delectable delights for a picnic in the Normandy countryside.



2. Go wildlife watching

The Cotentin and Bessin Marshes Regional Park is a haven for a multitude of wildlife. Go wild bird watching or take a boat tour through the vast marshlands to discover the unique biodiversity of the area.

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3. Learn a new language

If you have your conversational French perfected, why not try your hand at speaking Breton, the traditional language of the region, at the Musée de Bretagne? Once you have that down, visit Thabor Gardens, the perfect place to explore and have the kids let off some steam.



4. Take a boat trip

See the colourful boats and houses of Honfleur, the pretty fishing port with a rich history. Take a boat trip down the Seine estuary or visit the largest tropical butterfly house in France before trying the local oysters and mussels, freshly caught by the bay.



5. Follow in the footsteps of the Impressionists

Head to the beach at Étretat and climb the chalk cliffs for amazing views from the top! Why not have each member of the family take a sketchbook and try to capture what the impressionist painters were so inspired by? You could even have a family drawing competition and the winner gets a crêpe au chocolat as a treat!



6. Cycle through the French countryside

With over 700km of cycle routes, Normandy is a great place to explore by bike. There are a multitude of routes to choose from but the Véloroute du Lin runs from Hautot-sur-Mer, near Dieppe, to Fécamp along an old railway line and is a great choice for a bike ride. Punctuated by charming former railway stations, vibrant flax fields and several river valleys, there’s plenty to see while you pedal. You will pass several villages and no less than 12 picnic stops along the route so there is lots of opportunity to refuel too.



7. Discover Normandy’s medieval past

A visit to Bayeux to see its famous tapestry is a must. The almost 70-metre long tapestry was painstakingly created over several years back in the 11th century and depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and The Battle of Hastings. A short film explains more and Bayeux Cathedral, where the tapestry is held is well worth exploring too.



8. Visit a fairytale castle

The abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel sits on its own island which rises from the sea like something from a fairytale. It has a long history and kids will love exploring the island and the castle itself, discovering its legendary roots and magical myths.



9. Try your hand at some watersports

With a multitude of lakes and rivers, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some watersports in Normandy. Whether you take a rowing boat through lush, natural landscapes, kayak the Normandy coastline or step onto a paddleboard, there are a range of watersports for the whole family to enjoy in the region.



10. Search for fossils on the beach

During the Jurassic period, Normandy was covered by sea which makes it a great place to find fossils. Take the kids down to the beach with a bucket and spade and see what treasures they find!


Set sail in 2021 with DFDS on our Newhaven – Dieppe route and be in Normandy in as little as 4 hours! Book your crossing here.

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