Through the eyes of a 4-year old

On the few occasions that Dubai has ever come up in conversation, I have to admit that I’ve always pictured young couples on honeymoon, luxurious hotels and an intense heat that means you spend the whole holiday floating on an inflatable with a cocktail in your hand. It’s just never crossed my mind that it could be a destination that a child would enjoy. It was only when I recently joined in with a Twitter party hosted by @tots100 and @visitdubai_uk (#DXBDreams) that I found myself extremely excited by the prospect of taking our 4-year old there for a holiday. Fellow bloggers were tweeting about the things they’ve done whilst on holiday in Dubai, and it all sounded wonderful. In fact I was so inspired that I found myself browsing hotels and attractions on travel agency websites, and had to remind myself that we weren’t in a position to press the ‘book now’ button.


1st try at kite flying

The first thing that I know our daughter would absolutely love, is a day spent on Kite Beach. She has been asking about ‘mummy’s old kite’ leaning up against the coat rack for a good few months now, and a few weeks ago we actually had enough wind for her to take it out. Seeing her run around shouting ‘Look! It’s flying, it’s flying!’ with a high-pitched, over excited voice was such a wonderful reminder that children love even the most basic things. The fact that Kite Beach also boasts outdoor trampolines, a play area, and a chance to collect shells is just the icing on the cake. I would have to remember to pack an extra suitcase for all the ‘treasure’ she would want to bring back though. We recently spent two nights on a pebble beach in Selsey, and have two buckets full of shells and stones that simply had to come home with us.

The second place I think we would all love to visit is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Now I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with aquariums after I did a sponsored shark-dive for charity – despite having a massive fear of water! The sharks didn’t actually bother me. I was hugely uncomfortable with the way my lips shrivelled with the taste of salt water, that every breath in the mask felt unnatural and forced, and that I couldn’t simply say ‘get me out!’ I distinctly remember looking at my husband through the thick wall of glass which made up the tank, and staring into his eyes as he looked back at me with that look – he just knew I was hating it. I would personally love to visit the Dubai Aquarium so that I could put that terrified memory to rest, and replace it with the wonderful feeling you get when you see your child experience something wonderful for the first time. Our daughter would stare at the world’s largest suspended tank simply waiting for a mermaid to swim past, or skip through the 48-metre tunnel trying to count every fish. It would be a fantastic relief from the midday heat, and a beautiful way to introduce our little lady to life under the sea. One thing is for sure though – mummy won’t be going for a snorkel or scuba dive this time!


A natural superhero

Having taken our first trip to a theme park when our daughter was just under 3 years old, I think she is definitely ready to experience something on a much larger scale. The new IMG Worlds of Adventure looks right up our street, and I can’t wait to see some more photos once the place opens in a few months. It sounds absolutely amazing, and I’m sure we would spend at least a few hours in the Cartoon Network zone – especially on The Ride of Ooo with Finn & Jake. I love that theme parks offer a safe, fun and jam-packed break from reality, although I’d want to make sure we all got a good night’s sleep beforehand. Theme parks are always so exhausting!


I don’t think any trip to Dubai would be complete without at least one visit to Madinat Jumeirah, although if I had it my way I think this is where our hotel would be located! The resort just looks utterly incredible, and I can happily see myself floating down the waterway on a traditional abra, as I build up an appetite for lunch. Our daughter would be happy talking about all the sights, sounds and smells and I would love to take her to an Arabian spice market so she can see all the different ingredients we talk about in the kitchen. Every photo I’ve looked at looks truly beautiful. I can almost smell the cinnamon already.


Drifting down the waterway to your dinner reservation (photo borrowed from

The wonderful thing about holidays through the eyes of a 4-year old is that they honestly don’t really mind where you are or what you do. There is still so much for them to see and learn and I believe the sooner they can appreciate other cultures the better. Everywhere is a new experience for young children, but I can see now that Dubai would be a truly amazing place for a family holiday.


This post is my entry to the Tots100/Dubai Dreams blogger challenge. Why not share your own Dubai Dreams for a chance to win a holiday of your own. The best reader comment on the winning blog post will also win their own family break, so comment below and keep those fingers crossed!


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19 Responses to Through the eyes of a 4-year old

  1. mummyfever says:

    I think Dubai would make a wonderful family holiday destination. Kite beach must be wonderful. My dad used to make us stunt kites when we were young so this would bring back some fabulous memories.

    Good luck with your entry x


    • Sophia Payne says:

      The photos of Kite Beach look amazing don’t they. Like a more modern, colourful version of the ending in Mary Poppins! I can just imagine all those strings leading up to the sky – what a sight! Aww how cool your dad made stunt kites for you. Ours were more bits of brown paper and string so I’m not sure they would have survived any tricks! Good luck with your entry too. x


  2. Sharon Parry says:

    I think your four year old would love it – just as much as you do. Dubai is becoming one of the great family destinations of the world and now families with kids of all ages want to go there. It’s totally unique and changing all the time. Good luck 🙂


    • Sophia Payne says:

      Reading about all the wonderful things to do in Dubai has really opened my eyes. I never knew it was such a good place for families! You are right – it is so unique and ever-changing. Hopefully one day we’ll get to see it for real. 🙂


  3. My reaction was like yours when my husband suggested we visited, but the boys loved it. Their customer service is by far the best we have ever had and they were so good with the children. Such welcoming and lovely people and so many things to do. I really wish we had been able to go out to the dessert as that would be amazing, but you can’t do everything you want in one visit. I hadn’t realised they were opening a theme park too. Reading these posts is really making me want to go back!


  4. I took my children to a kite festival here in Northern Ireland. It was fun, but it did rain most of the time. I would love to visit Kite Beach when their festival was on, I’m sure we would all love it.
    The aquarium also sounds like a fabulous adventure, as does Dolphin Bay. I honestly think the biggest problem when visiting Dubai would be fitting in all the things you wanted to do.
    I love the idea of taking my children to the spice markets and on a desert safari. Letting them get a feel for the authentic Dubai, so they could have a better appreciation of cultural differences.
    This really is a dream prize. Good luck with your entry.


  5. Kite Beach sounds lovely although I bet their kites are out of this world compared to ours – then again the whole place is really x


  6. I would love to take my grandsons on a Dream Trip to Dubai – a clean, safe, family-friendly holiday destination, with plenty of activities to choose from for any age range. As well as relaxing on the beautiful golden sand of JBR Beach with its warm, calm and shallow waters we would all enjoy a dune- bashing safari followed by a camel ride and BBQ dinner in a Bedouin desert camp.

    We would visit the Dubai Museum in the Al Fahidi Fort to learn about life from a bygone era as a contrast to the amazing architecture of the modern city which we could view from the front or rear carriages of the driverless Dubai Metro system and then take it all in from the At The Top observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

    The free and impressive Dubai Fountain water, light and music show can be watched from one of many waterfront cafes just outside the Dubai Mall. The malls in Dubai have many family attractions to choose from. The boys could try ice-skating, helped by the ‘penguin pals’, visit the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and also see the giant 155 million year old dinosaur skeleton (DubaiDino), all in the Dubai Mall.

    The boys love theme parks and this summer Dubai will open the world’s largest indoor theme park – IMG Worlds of Adventure with four themed zones inside including Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard. This will be completely enclosed and temperature-controlled with 1.5 million square feet of entertainment space!

    Our only problem will be going home with so much more left for us to see and do in beautiful Dubai.


  7. Carmen Bateman says:

    Our family loves Dubai and believe it is the best family holiday destination ever! An inspirational place, with so much to see and do, not just its year round sunshine and gorgeous beaches. The warm, unsurpassable hospitality you receive will guarantee it a place in your family’s heart. Dubai has the World’s best of everything, including horse racing, water parks, cuisine, shopping mall – complete with ice rink and aquarium inside, tallest building and must see musical fountain. There’s no poverty, and the public transport is easily accessible and inexpensive. Go for it; the entire holiday will be the best family thrill ride they’ve ever been on! You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by what excellent value it is.


  8. My little girl has just turned three (today) and I think that she would love every single one of these experiences too. Dubai really does sound like the most magical place for a fun packed yet relaxing family holiday and not at all like I expected it to. xx


  9. Richard Beesley says:

    Dubai looks simply amazing. So much to do, so many different worlds all wrapped up in one gorgeous place. Looking at what Dubai has to offer, I’ve been really impressed by the range of family-friendly options – theme parks, indoor fun sessions, skate parks – as well as sports, stunning beaches, and entertainment.

    What I hadn’t realised was how much variety there is in Dubai in terms of food and culture. Our son is a huge foodie, despite being only 10, and would love visiting some of the restaurants and tasting the new flavours.

    As a family we would love to be able to visit Dubai, and experience just a taste of what is on offer. Our elder son loves nature, so would enjoy the different wildlife on show. And dad… well, quad-biking in the sand dunes would suit him perfectly. As for mum… of course Dubai is a shopper’s paradise! And I’m sure we would all enjoy a tour of historic Dubai, as well as the many museums. There truly is something for everyone.

    The hardest part will be choosing what to do. It really does seem that Dubai has it all, a wealth of opportunities to explore and experience.

    Dubai really is the city of possibilities and I want to ‘Discover All That’s Possible In Dubai’.


  10. hellobabysteph says:

    Dubai has been at the top of my bucket list for many years now and reading you post has made me want to visit so much more!

    Souks, skyscrapers, sand and sea, Dubai really has something for all the family and the possibility of visiting this incredible city is making me super excited.

    I’d love the opportunity to win our perfect family holiday in Dubai; a holiday for the four of us, that combines unlimited opportunities for fun and adventure. We’d be able to
    escape the ‘day to day’, making memories and recharging our batteries. And it would give us the chance to simply spend our days together as a family, enjoying each other’s company before Jack starts school in September.

    There are so many amazing adventures we’d like to experience, but our top 3 would have to be:

    1// A day of aquatic fun at Atlantis’ Aquaventure Waterpark to cool off in the Dubai heat. Aquaventure caters for all the family with its record-breaking rides and slides for thrill seekers and the Splashers’ Children’s Play Area, which is a haven for little ones with water cannons, slides and climbing frames.

    2 // A once-in-a-lifetime experience at Dolphin Bay. As there’s no age limit, we could enjoy this amazing experience as a family and I can only imagine the joy on the children’s faces when they get up close to these amazing creatures!

    3 // Experience the heady heights of Burj Khalifa. We couldn’t visit Dubai without venturing up the tallest building in the World, and although I’m afraid of heights, I’d still feel compelled to visit the observation deck on the 144th floor. As long as I don’t stand too close to the edge, nor look vertically down, I think I’d actually enjoy it.

    I’m now off to spend the day daydreaming about Dubai and all it has to offer…

    Best of luck with your entry!


  11. I think this is all so very true
    Dubai would be perfect – it is for me too
    Good luck with your entry and if you win
    Make room in your case, and please fit me in!


  12. zoe says:

    Wow the Dubai fountain looks absolutely amazing! I would love to go to Dubai just to see that yet there is so much more all in one place – it is almost too hard to imagine so I will have to go there to find out for myself 🙂 The beautiful beach beckons me, incredible concerts and entertainment, retail heaven and then relax and unwind by trying out traditional spa therapies at the hammam! The food in Dubai looks divine and I bet it is delicious. My husband would love the adventure sports, golf courses and falconry. There is something here for everyone. Dubai is my dream destination.


  13. Kite flying is such an escape and how much more incredible would it be seeing all the colours and shapes of kites on Kite beach. i didn’t know about the IMG worlds of adventure – sshh don’t tell my son he is a huge Finn and Jake fan adventure time (but I don’t like it!) – But the great thing about Dubai is that there really is something for everyone so even if there is something I don’t like (I have to admit that seems to be possibly the only thing I won’t like), there are a thousand more things that I would like. Perfect for all ages and family in all its forms – couples, kids, grandparents, just the ultimate paradise location full of relaxation, adventure and fun!


  14. My nearly 3 year old would love kit beach too!
    My dream is for me and my family to swim with Dolphins in Dubai (it makes me tear up at the thought!). I would love to do it in a much more natural setting than in a swimming pool and I have heard there are some amazing places to swim with them! I would love to visit Atlantis too as it would be a brilliant day for everyone (and I am a big kid). I also wouldn’t mind chilling on the beach with my boys, building sandcastles too. Just heaven!


  15. Oh my goodness you’re brave doing a sponsored shark dive! That would be right up my daughter’s street (she wants to be a marine biologist when she’s older!) – the thought terrifies me though. I think I’d much prefer to stay on the other side of the glass in the aquarium and just appreciate the gorgeous creatures from a safe position instead. Lovely post about the wonderful things you’d do in Dubai, I found it so difficult to create our list as there is just so much to see and do which would appeal to families. Good luck with your entry.


  16. robyn297 says:

    The Aquarium sounds awesome, my two were mesmerised by a local aquarium a few weeks, I can just imagine how they would love the vastness and variety.

    For me though, I would love to go fabric shopping and looking for interesting spices at the Souks, I know my husband wouldn’t enjoy that, so its great that he could possibly go off on safari or dune bashing and we would all be happy.


  17. thesoupdragonsays says:

    Sounds like you woul dhave a fab trip with your 4 year old. I think my ten year old would like many of the same things. A super hero theme park and aquarium. I love the idea of spending time relaxing and watching the world go past while having a great meal, so maybe I should look at a holiday in Dubai?


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