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Best Family Holiday Games

Just occasionally it will rain on your family holiday. If you’re staying in a holiday cottage, then being house-bound is better than being room-bound in a hotel on a rainy day where the only option is to venture forth for a soaking or to find a suitable indoor attraction to entertain all ages. Fun – but your wallet will lose weight.

For those choosing to book family-friendly holiday cottages and - owners please take an inventory note - here is the list of the My Favourite Holiday Cottages Top Ten Board Games to play on holiday with your family.


Our Rules:

We have chosen Board Games that

1.     Can be easily set up (and put away).

2.     Don’t need lots of fiddly bits which, if any are lost, make the game unplayable (that’s why jigsaws, even if they were a game, would not be on our list).

3.     Can be played all day, or just for an hour while a shower passes by outside.

4.     Allow children to compete with adults on a level playing field (or the other way round) and be just as much fun for both.

5.     Don’t involve a screen or software.

6.     Don’t require a thorough understanding of a 10-page rule book and - preferably - are so universally popular that rules will be known already.

7.     Must be playable for four or more players.

And finally, our list of holiday board games you won’t be bored includes a blend of well-known games together with some new kids on the block. You’ll find plenty of online opportunities to purchase them through just Googling their name, but why not call in at your local Toy Shop to pick one up next time you’re in town and support your local High Street!


1.     Monopoly

If you’ve never played this fast action trading game before then you need to stay in more – or you’ve never needed to fill a rainy-day holiday. For many of us, this is the nearest we’ll ever get to buying the best bits of London (or other topical destination), be fined for speeding or going to jail. Play the full game, or if young children are involved, ease them in gently with Junior Monopoly.  Warning: Monopoly games can run for days. Try playing it with a strict time limit.  And the winner does the washing up.





2.     Bananagrams

This fast and frantic game is suitable for anyone who can spell words of three letters or more. It’s a bit like Scrabble with 15 letters where you don’t have to wait your turn.  Each game lasts for minutes only, but it’s easy to play it for hours. Be prepared to debate the legitimacy of some words. I mean, ‘scrat’ has to mean something surely! All part of the fun.






3.     Cluedo - Liars Edition

While the original golden oldie where aspiring sleuths compete to work out whodunnit (and where and what with) is still going strong, check our the new Liars Edition where you have to lie your way to the truth. A hilarious version when you'll need a good poker face.










4.     Trivial Pursuit

Play it with or without the board. A very popular general knowledge quiz game in which everybody else seems to get all the easy questions. Entertainingly educational. Impress children with your superior knowledge or be equally impressed by what they know and you didn’t. For the most fun for all, get the Family Edition









5.     Bank Attack

Your chance to grab £50million in one night – but only if you work together with your fellow players to crack the safe.










6.     Dobble

A game of speed requiring visual recognition and lightning reflexes. It’s a little like Snap only more than – and one game where youngsters can happily trash the oldies. It’s actually a card game, but we’ve bent the rules a little as it is so much fun.







7     Sequence

Based on a simple principle of getting 5-in-a-row, this strangely addictive board game has been a family favourite for generations.









8.     Frustration!

Only the ability to press a little glass bubble (the slam-o-matic) to ‘shake’ the dice is required to play this deliciously frustrating, slam-tastic game in which you race opponents around a board and pray you don’t get dunked in the process. If you need an excuse, it’s a good game to help the very young develop their counting abilities.









9.     Flamme Rouge

A cycle-racing game. Manage a team of riders in a race to the finish. Sounds easy but, oooh, you don’t know the half of it! Easy to play, juicily tactical and very pleasing, especially if you can time your sprint finish to perfection.



And one that breaks the rules, but what the heck…




10. A Pack of Playing Cards

(preferably Waddington’s for nostalgic purposes). Cards break Rule No. 2 (above) because there is often one missing. But, at little more than £1.50 a pack, we recommend that owners include a fresh deck within a welcome pack alongside the tea and biscuits. You’ll find children teaching you games in return for you introducing them to the delights of Gin Rummy, Whist and Chase Your Neighbour Out of Doors. Be prepared for much hilarity. Other brands of cards also work!