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The ultimate family holiday in Dubai for first-time visitors

Fri, June 23, 2023

For your debut trip to this spectacular city, these family-friendly experiences are sure to delight.

For your debut trip to this spectacular city, these family-friendly experiences are sure to delight.

Take in stunning views from Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Soaring 828m above Dubai, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building – and a phenomenal feat of engineering. Book tickets for At The Top, the 124th floor observation deck, for an unforgettable view and a super-fast elevator ride both up and down, all of which will have your whole family buzzing with excitement. You can also go even higher, to At The Top SKY on floor 148 – a premium experience including drinks and a personal tour.

Marvel at The Dubai Fountain’s epic displays

The Dubai Fountain

Witness the world’s largest dancing fountain, set at the base of Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai. The Dubai Fountain is a captivating water, music and light show, with 22,000 gallons of water shooting as high as 140m in the air at any one time. Stroll along the floating 272m-long boardwalk for a different angle on the aquatic extravaganza, or get even closer with a trip in a traditional wooden abra that glides across Burj Lake.

Have endless fun at Dubai Mall

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is an amazing experience for the whole family.

Dubai Mall is a family adventure in itself. Start at Dubai Aquarium and enjoy stunning aquatic sights and close-up experiences – especially in its famous underwater tunnel. Then head to KidZania for a world run by kids, followed by a visit to Hamleys toy store, skating on Dubai Ice Rink and even ekarting. Dubai Mall also has loads of food choices to keep the whole family happy – and if you get the time there are fantastic shops to explore, from haute couture at Fashion Avenue to the treasures of The Souk.

Experience thrills and beauty in Dubai’s desert

Have endless family fun in Dubai's desert.

A Dubai desert safari is must for anyone’s trip to the city – the sight of the majestic sand dunes is always awe-inspiring. There’s also plenty of fun to be had in the sand, as your skilled driver takes you on an exciting ride through the dunes, and to a camp where you can enjoy sandboarding, camel rides and more. You can also see Dubai’s native wildlife, explore Hatta’s mountains, fly in a hot air balloon at dawn, or even camp out at night and watch the stars.

Splash about with sharks at Aquaventure Waterpark

Aquaventure Leap of Faith

Aquaventure is the vast waterpark attached to Atlantis, The Palm – one of the biggest and best in the world, featuring 105 rides and waterslides, plus beaches and play areas for younger children. Take the Leap of Faith, a 27.5m slide through a clear plastic tube which passes through water teeming with sharks and rays – and even swim with (friendly) sharks and stingrays if you want to. And if you’ve worn off your energy, recharge on the pristine beach before heading back for another ride.

Get your adrenaline pumping at Sky Views

Sky Views Dubai

If your family hasn’t had enough of heights after your visit to Burj Khalifa, head to Sky Views Observatory, in the Address Sky View hotel, for more breathtaking high-rise experiences. Almost 220 metres above ground, you can walk along a glass-floored bridge between the hotel’s two towers, zoom down the glass-bottomed slide – and real dare-devils can take an Edge Walk in the open air, outside of the tower’s highest pod (complete with full safety harnesses, of course).

Enjoy adventures on Dubai Creek

An abra crossing Dubai Creek.

Dubai Creek is the city’s historic centre, and still buzzes with activity. Enjoy a fun trip across the water on a traditional abra for just AED1 per person (or book a private abra tour of the creek for AED120 an hour) then if you time it right, you can watch the dhows being loaded and unloaded at Deira Creekside. If you fancy some birdwatching, head to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see huge flocks of native flamingos in a beautiful natural wetland at the end of the creek.

Explore Old Dubai’s history and charm

Kids will love exploring Al Fahidi's old twisting streets.

A world away from the city’s modern skyscrapers, you can experience life in Old Dubai in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Kids will love the narrow twisting alleyways and hidden courtyards, as well as some of the tasty treats in the district – try traditional Emirati pancakes at Arabian Tea House. Then head to the Museum of Illusions for a mind-bending time, before arriving at Al Seef, a new creekside development packed with traditional features – and home to great restaurants everyone will love.

Be a Master Builder at Legoland Dubai

Legoland Dubai is amazing fun for the whole family.
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What could be better than a thrilling theme park based around everyone’s favourite building blocks? Legoland Dubai Resort (next to Legoland Waterpark) is a perennial favourite among adults and kids alike, thanks to great rides and interactive exhibits; ride a dragon, learn to drive, sail a boat, build your own Lego race car, and more. True Lego fanatics can also enrol in the Master Builder Academy, or design robots with Lego Mindstorms – and you can even stay in the Legoland Hotel for the complete experience. If you want even more theme park fun, check out the rest of Dubai Parks and Resorts.

Relax and have fun in City Walk’s urban spaces

There are always fun things going on at City Walk.

City Walk is designed to be just that – a great walkable district, packed with shops, restaurants and things to do, and perfect for a leisurely afternoon or evening. There’s also great fun to be had at The Green Planet, Dubai’s indoor rainforest, as well as at NoWayOut escape room, and La La Land play area for younger kids. You can also cool off watching the latest blockbusters at the district’s cinema, or enjoy the fantastic rooftop pool at La Ville Hotel – before heading to any of the dozens of great restaurants in the area.

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