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10 great things to do in Normandy with kids

Posted on 05 June 2015 by Dan Johnson

There are many wonderful activities on offer in Normandy for families with kids. Here GRETTA SCHIFANO of mumsdotravel.com picks her favourites.

Bayeaux Tapestry

Normandy must sees

The Bayeaux tapestry dates from 1067 and is actually an embroidery. It’s a kind of Medieval comic book showing William the Conqueror’s invasion of England and his 1066 defeat of his cousin Harold. The tapestry is around 70 metres long and is displayed at the Centre Guillaume-le-Conquérant in Bayeux. There are English audio guides (both adult and child versions) to help you to understand the tapestry.

Picture credit: Jorisvo / Shutterstock.com

William the Conqueror’s Castle

William the Conqueror, future King of England, was born at Falaise Castle. When you visit the 11th century castle you’re given an iPad to add an extra dimension to your tour. Each castle room has a ‘time gate’ over which you hover your iPad to see images and information for that location. You then point the iPad at any part of the room to reveal what it would have looked like in the 12th century.

Mont St Michel

Normandy must sees

Mont-St-Michel is a spectacular medieval walled town perched on a granite outcrop in the sea close to the Normandy coast. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited tourist attraction in France outside Paris. You can’t drive onto the island – you cross a bridge on foot or by shuttle bus to get there. Once on the island you can explore its gothic buildings and steep cobbled streets, enjoy the spectacular views and browse its many souvenir shops.

Picture credit: Kanuman / Shutterstock

World War II

There are many great WWII museums and memorials in Normandy but the Juno Beach Centre by the D-Day landing beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer is the best one for kids. The Longues-sur-Mer German gun battery is free to enter and is a great open space for kids to run around in. The Normandy Tank Museum at Carentan has a collection of WWII US tanks, planes and other military vehicles. If you book up in advance you can ride in some of the tanks.

La Cité de la Mer

La Cité de la Mer, close to Cherbourg’s ferry port, is a fantastic family attraction. A vast Art Deco ocean liner terminal houses a range of exhibits about man’s exploration of the seas. Highlights include the largest submarine on public display in the world, Europe’s deepest aquarium and a virtual tour through the depths of the ocean.

Sandy beaches

Normandy beaches

Normandy has huge stretches of golden, sandy beaches which are perfect for children. Arromanches is a pretty seaside town and is also home to one of the WWII D-Day landing beaches: the remains of the famous Mulberry harbours are still visible in the sea there. Cabourg and Deauville were popular with Parisians in the nineteenth century and have huge beaches with promenades. Nearby Trouville has a swimming pool right next to its sandy beach. For a quieter beach go to Saint Jean Le Thomas just across the bay from Mont St Michel.

Picture credit: Deauville Beach, Ekaterina Pokrovsky  / Shutterstock

Animals

At Cerza safari park you can explore on foot or take the safari train to see lions, alligators, giraffe, zebra, wolves, turtles and other animals. Champrépus zoo and gardens is home to more than 50 animal species including penguins, lemurs and lions. At La Roche d’Oëtre in the Suisse Normande children of three to ten years old can go on pony or cow rides. Haras du Pin is the top national equestrian stud in France and on Thursday afternoons during the summer it puts on a musical equestrian display: Les Jeudis du Pin.

Festyland

Festyland is a theme park just outside Caen and it’s good for younger kids. It has more than 30 pirate, prehistoric, Viking and William the Conqueror themed rides and attractions. In 2015 the new Kaskade giant rubber ring ride will speed visitors along a 185-metre course of whirls and splashes.

Summer track sledding

Summer track sledding involves sitting on a sled and whizzing along a metal rail. There are two summer sledding tracks in Calvados. The Luge sur Rail at Clécy has a 650 metre-long track and is open to anyone of 1.3 metres tall and above. The Normandie Luge at the Souleuvre viaduct is a one kilometre-long sled run which is open to anyone of three years-old and above.

Monet’s garden

Normandy attractions

Inspire your children with a visit to painter Claude Monet’s gorgeous, waterlily-filled gardens at Giverny. The Impressionist artist lived here from 1883 until his death in 1926. Monet created the gardens and used them to inspire his paintings. Take some paper and crayons along with you in case you or the kids are feeling creative!

Picture credit: Suchan / Shutterstock

Do make sure that you check the opening times of these attractions before you go to any of them!

For holidays to Normandy, find out more about our Domaine de Litteau holiday village: www.siblu.com/litteau

If you are interested in owning a holiday home in Normandy, take a look at our dedicated website: www.sibluvillages.com/villages/normandy/

For more ideas for visiting the region, see our Normandy holiday guide.

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