South Korea has become one of Asia’s most dynamic, energising and - let’s be honest - achingly cool destinations for a family holiday, with the country’s cultural profile rising ever higher on the global stage. From K-pop to K-drama, tech to fashion, South Korea is at the cutting edge, making a visit to the country ever-more enticing, especially for teenagers. As most people’s entry point, Seoul is the obvious focus, but there’s so much more to discover around the rest of the country, and the widespread family-friendly attitude makes for a relaxing welcome for kids of all ages.
Enjoy the delights of Seoul’s colourful streets, from wide outdoor spaces to an array of Insta-ready indoor settings, snacking on dumplings along the way. Head south to Busan for beach bliss, hop over to Jeju for unspoilt island paradise vibes, and immerse yourself in festival fun in Gyeongju.
We couldn’t have asked for more from our family holiday - South Korea fully delivered, and we’ll definitely be back to explore more.
Lionel - Indonesia specialist
Seoul has been described as one of Asia’s most family-friendly cities, offering a full-volume, vivid introduction to the whole spectrum of South Korean life. It has everything from K-drama filming locations to traditional temples, with plenty in between. Explore the irresistibly-named Dream Park’s flower meadows, look around Seoul Forest’s deer park, and investigate the Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Gardens. Hop on the city’s buses and subways to explore the striking street art of Ihwa Mural Village and visit traditional tea houses, artisan workshops and museums celebrating everything from kimchi to optical illusions. Ascend the Namsan TV Tower for spectacular views over the city, and wind through the bustling Myeongdong district scoffing street food treats at every turn.
South Korea knows how to throw a party, and there are dozens of festivals throughout the year celebrating everything from seasonal changes to Buddha’s birthday. Along with Seoul, Busan and Gyeongju are especially well known for their colourful galas, and you’re likely to find a festival brewing whatever time of year you visit. The Cherry Blossom and Spring Flower festivals are gorgeous whirlwinds of floral exuberance welcoming in the warmer weather. Families can join the locals at picnics amidst the blossoms and wander through gardens full of giant floral sculptures. Other celebrations include the autumnal lantern festivals, which bring light to the darkening evenings with elaborate parades, and the internationally-renowned Busan Film Festival, which is a must for cinema buffs.
Away from the capital, South Korea has a thriving beach culture and there are plenty of coastal resorts perfect for some dedicated family R&R. Jeju Island takes you well away from the bustle for some proper coastal exploration and a few hours of bliss relaxing on Hyeopjae Beach, while Busan is a vibrant city packed with art and culture right next to the coast. Some of Busan’s highest profile beaches can get pretty crowded during the season, but there are some out of the way gems, such as Dadaepo, which have a much more chilled vibe. If you want to head into the hills, South Korea’s beautiful National Parks offer craggy peaks, lush greenery and hidden dells for peaceful walks and forest exploring.
In South Korea, rain definitely doesn’t stop play, and the cities are full of fantastic indoor attractions where you can while away the hours. Seoul aces the indoor amusement stakes, with hundreds of options including the Gwacheon National Science Museum (with its ever-exciting dinosaurs and a proper planetarium), and the Children’s Museum’s four floors of hands-on fun. If you’re keen for your family to take a few skills home, you can even learn to create traditional bibimbap rice bowls in an all-levels cookery class! To the north of the capital, the Animation Museum has thousands of items of animation memorabilia from around the world to explore, and the nearby Toy Robot Studios offers an immersive vision of the future.