If you’d asked me ten years ago what my ideal holiday consisted of, it would probably have involved a hot beach on an island in the Med, or somewhere further flung if I could afford it and to take a decent length of time off work.
However, having children has changed my view of what an ideal family holiday is. Suddenly, there doesn’t seem to be a need to flee the country at every opportunity – maybe too much time spent in departure lounges with toddlers and children under the age of ten has cured me of that! Now I really appreciate the value of packing up the car and heading a couple of hours down the road to our destination.
With our picky eaters, self-catering is definitely the way to go, and the last couple of years we’ve opted to spend our summer holiday at one of those caravan holiday parks. Not that we have a static caravan, or could really say we’ve ever been true campers. In fact, the idea of staying under canvas doesn’t sound like fun to me. But what we do instead is book one of the mobile homes or cottages on the caravan park that are available to rent.
Staying in self-catering accommodation doesn’t mean that you have to be chained to the kitchen all week while you’re supposed to be relaxing. It just makes life easier for meals like breakfast and for making up picnics if you have your own kitchen. Of course, you don’t have to use it – you can eat out whenever you feel like it. My kids surely can’t be the only ones who find it hard to sit still in restaurants and we find that eating a couple of meals in our holiday residence makes for a more relaxing break overall.
The great thing about staying on a holiday park is that you get all the facilities and conveniences of staying on a campsite, without having to trek to and from the sanitation block in the middle of the night or to do the washing up! The kids have entertainment on tap – with kids’ clubs and lots of other families staying on the same site, so there’s always someone to play with on the adventure playground or in the swimming pool. These days, whichever holiday park you choose tends to have a heated swimming pool as standard, which gives you a great option on the days it rains. There are often other activities to get involved in too – like learning a new sport or quiz nights in the evenings. And having the kids occupied means that my husband and I can take it easy and actually get time to do those things you never do – like read a trashy paperback cover to cover!
The holiday parks I’ve considered booking always seem to be ideally placed for activities in the local area. Invariably, they’re in a picturesque spot where you would have to pay dearly to get the same location with a private holiday cottage, and it means that you can get to the sea, lake or mountains – whichever you’ve chosen to be close to – quickly and easily, whenever you feel like going ‘off-site’ for the day.
If you’ve never tried the holiday park option, and are a little unsure whether it would work for you, it’s worth booking a three day weekend as a trial run. That way, you’ll know whether it’s your cup of tea or not. My guess is that you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Although this is a featured post and I have been compensated for it, we do regularly visit Parkdean holiday parks and it’s a perfect post for my wee blog.