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is­land.

But this lit­tle patch of par­adise is much closer to home on the lovely Mediter­ranean is­land of Menorca.

The qui­eter of the Balearic Is­lands, Menorca’s well known as a fam­ily hotspot. It’s only 270 square miles, but has 134 miles of coast and more than 70 beaches and coves.

Most of them are great for kids, with warm, clear, (fairly) shal­low water and ei­ther white or red­dish­gold-coloured sand.

The easily ac­ces­si­ble beaches are packed with tourists in the sum­mer months, al­though if you choose to travel at the end of the sea­son, dur­ing Oc­to­ber half-term, there are less peo­ple but it’s still won­der­fully warm.

Sandy strips like Son Saura and Es Talaier are vir­tu­ally de­serted year-round be­cause they’re only ac­ces­si­ble by foot or boat. But with two kids in tow, it’s not fea­si­ble to walk to beaches with­out fa­cil­i­ties, so we stick to the more pop­u­lar spots at Cala en Bosch, Son Xoriguer and Cala Gal­dana, which are packed – you re­ally need to get there early, or in late af­ter­noon, if you want a sunbed.

As well as the sim­ple plea­sures of sand and sea, at Cala Gal­dana we find ped­aloes with slides (from €15 per hour), plus beach bars and restau­rants sell­ing stan­dard fare like pani­nis, piz­zas, burg­ers and salad, The sum­mer hol­i­days may of­fi­cially be over, but there’s still time to book an Oc­to­ber half-term beach break. Head to Menorca, rec­om­mends that are just a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive than in the UK.

Best of all, there are sev­eral lovely shaded ar­eas be­neath the pine trees, mean­ing we can avoid fork­ing out €14 for two sunbeds, and five eu­ros for a para­sol.

But de­spite be­ing spoiled for beau­ti­ful beach choices, the truth is that my kids – par­tic­u­larly the youngest, Cris­tian, aged 11 – would be quite happy to sim­ply stay at our villa all day, ev­ery day.

The de­tached sin­gle storey prop­erty, Jas­min Villa, is about 1.5 miles from the cen­tre of Cala en Bosch, on a short but wide sea­side street full of sim­i­lar vil­las.

Our pri­vate, hedged gar­den is per­fect for bar­be­cues be­neath the Ro­man-style arches next to our il­lu­mi­nated pool.

The pool it­self, which mea­sures 7mx4m, is also Ro­man-style, with steps lead­ing into it. It’s big enough to swim – or play – prop­erly in, and ab­so­lutely makes the hol­i­day for both the kids and me. Be­cause if there’s one al­most uni­ver­sal rule for kids, it’s that if there’s a swim­ming pool, they’re happy. And if it’s their own pri­vate pool, you can dou­ble the joy.

My two spend hours play­ing in our villa’s pool ev­ery day – and I en­joy do­ing some se­ri­ous daily swim­ming too. Re­cov­er­ing on a sunbed un­der the palm tree in the gar­den isn’t bad ei­ther.

It’s great to spend fam­ily time here. The villa is roomy enough to es­cape the kids when nec­es­sary, but my hus­band and I are keen to ex­plore Menorca.

First stop is the ma­rina in the mod­ern lit­tle town of Cala en Bosch, on Menorca’s south-east coast. It’s just a 15-minute walk from our villa, and nearly all the is­land’s best bars and restau­rants can be found here. So on the rare oc­ca­sions we’re not bar­be­cu­ing, this is where we choose to dine out.

There are sev­eral fish restau­rants like The Aquarium and La Ma­rina, but I’m veg­e­tar­ian and they don’t cater for me, so we keep end­ing up at the cheery Fi­esta restau­rant, which sells ta­pas, Mex­i­can, Span­ish (in­clud­ing the oblig­a­tory paella) and even Brazil­ian bar­be­cue food, as well as piz­zas, pasta and burg­ers to keep the kids happy. Mains cour­ses start at around eight eu­ros.

There are shops and stalls of­fer­ing henna tat­toos and hair braid­ing, as well as leather goods and sou­venirs, all sur­round­ing the flashy boats bob­bing around on the ma­rina water.

It’s a very fam­ily-friendly, chilled at­mos­phere – il­lu­mi­nated by kids (mainly mine) shin­ing new­ly­pur­chased laser pens at ev­ery con­ceiv­able tar­get.

We do, how­ever, man­age to travel fur­ther afield than the ma­rina, and drag the kids round the lovely for­mer cap­i­tal Ci­u­tadella, which is just a 15-minute drive from the villa.

This his­toric town is nick­named Vella I Bella, which means ‘the old and beau­ti­ful’, be­cause of its Baroque and Gothic churches, ter­ra­cot­ta­painted build­ings and pretty squares. There’s also a quay with a va­ri­ety of water­side restau­rants of­fer­ing freshly-caught fish, and a great mar­ket with a vast amount of leather goods, par­tic­u­larly hand­bags, on of­fer.

We also ex­plore the nar­row streets of Menorca’s present cap­i­tal Ma­hon (Mao), on the other side of the is­land to the villa, but still only about three quar­ters of an hour’s drive away.

It boasts one of the largest nat­u­ral har­bours in the world, nestling be­low nar­row pedes­tri­anised streets, shady squares, and his­toric build­ings in­clud­ing the serene Church of Santa Maria, which was orig­i­nally con­structed in 1287, and the Arch de San Roque, the only rem­nant of the wall that once en­cir­cled the city.

And if all that his­tory gets a bit much, par­tic­u­larly for younger mem­bers of your party, there are plenty of pave­ment cafes and bars for re­fresh­ment.

But there’s noth­ing bet­ter than cool water for re­fresh­ment, and after Ma­hon, the kids go es­pe­cially wild for SPLASH Sur Menorca, which claims to be the best water park on the is­land, at St Lluis (€20 for adults; €12 for chil­dren).

SPLASH is cer­tainly a good size, with rivers, pools, Jacuzzis and six slides of vary­ing sizes, in­clud­ing the Black Hole, where you can drop into dark­ness (if you dare), and the big green Mul­tip­ista, where you race on ad­ja­cent slides.

In fact, my 13-year-old son Joel (not known for his ef­fu­sive praise of any­thing) grudg­ingly ad­mits slides like the Kamikaze, where there’s an al­most sheer drop into the water at the end, “aren’t bad”.

Me? I just about man­age to summon enough en­ergy to float around on a ring on the Slow River. My hus­band, on the other hand, can’t re­sist the slides and comes away with a huge bruise on his el­bow. Not the sort of thing you get on the Slow River, I smugly point out.

Ad­ven­ture dad does, how­ever, leave the go-kart­ing, at Castillo Menorca on the is­land’s main Me-1 road be­tween Cuitadella and Fer­reries, to the kids (I don’t think he would’ve fit­ted in one, to be hon­est.)

Our two have a whale of a time try­ing to over­take each other, and a few other kids, on the track (€15 for 10 min­utes in a medium pow­ered go-kart). And as they ca­reer round, I go hand­bag shop­ping in Castillo’s handy re­tail out­let, which is an­other part of the at­trac­tion, clearly de­signed with mums like me in mind.

It sells a vast se­lec­tion of bags, both de­signer copies and oth­ers, rang­ing in price from about €15, and there’s also a Lladro out­let sell­ing beau­ti­ful or­na­ments. Horses for cour­ses... That’s the phrase that sums up Menorca for me. Party an­i­mals aren’t the right horses for the Menorca course, but if you’re a fam­ily ‘horse,’ you’re on the right track. And if you’ve got kids and can get a villa with a pool, you’re on to a win­ner.

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