When school broke up for summer at the end of July, we hadn’t booked a summer holiday yet. What a surprise! We hadn’t intended to leave it so late but, as usual, other family, school and work commitments took priority and our holiday ended up way down the to-do list.
As we’ve already had an extravagant holiday to Florida this year, we decided to limit our search to relatively inexpensive options. My husband has yet to be persuaded that sleeping under canvas constitutes a pleasurable experience and as we don’t have our own caravan, we plumped for holiday parks, which can be a good, economically viable option for a family of five.
The weather we’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks has been amazing and did make the UK quite a tempting option. I’ve just been sorting through my 9 year old’s school text books and noticed he’d quoted Butlins at Minehead as his ideal family holiday.
Yep, if it was just up to the children, the back to back entertainment, gregarious redcoats and negligable travel times would make Butlins the obvious choice.
But my husband and I were keen to travel a little farther south so we decided to look at Eurocamp and KeyCamp Holidays in Europe. Keycamps operate mobile home and camping holidays in France, Spain, Italy, Sardinia, Croatia, Portugal, Slovenia, Holland, Austria and Switzerland. We haven’t ever holidayed with them before, but their range of children’s clubs from tots to teenagers and their activities from scuba diving to sailing, cycling to horse riding, windsurfing to canoeing suggest that their holidays could be ideal for families.
Eurocamp is the market-leader in self-catering holidays to Europe, with 174 holiday parcs across 12 European countries and islands. They specialise in holidays for families and have great facilities for families with younger children. We’ve had 2 holidays with them at a total of 5 different parks and all but one of them has exceeded expectations. Their holidays offer activities ranging from canoeing, cycling, horse riding, windsurfing and diving to simply playing in the pools and water features. My 9 and 7 year old love joining in with activities at their kids clubs and this year, given the chance, my 4 year old might even be brave enough to join them!
As we’ve been on this type of holiday before, we had a pretty good idea about what works best for us as a family. We wanted to go far enough south to have a good chance of guaranteeing some decent weather, working on the basis that the heatwave was bound to end at some point. We didn’t want to put three little boys and ourselves through a long, tedious car journey, nor did we want the expense of flying, so the Southern Brittany and Vendee regions of France seemed the logical choice. I was quite keen to book with KeyCamp as we haven’t used them before, although we’ve seen their accommodation on the Eurocamp parks we’ve stayed at, but they didn’t have a suitable caravan on the dates we wanted. It just so happened though that we found a good deal through Eurocamp once again. As we’d booked our accommodation through them, we received a subsidised ferry price as well as a 5% loyalty discount, so the price was a bit less than we’d anticipated – always a bonus!
We’ve had several great European holidays with Eurocamp – both with our immediate family of 5 and also with 2 grandparents in tow and now we’re looking forward to another.
Taking 5 Top Booking Tips.
- Consider booking your ferry through the holiday park company. In our case it was considerably cheaper to book through Eurocamp than to go direct to the ferry company.
- Think carefully which ferry route suits you best. It’s not necessarily economical on time, accommodation or fuel to just go for the cheapest ferry route.
- Check the holiday company’s website for available discounts. For example you can save up to 30% by ‘parc hopping’ with Eurocamp and on ‘Flexi-stays’ with Keycamp.
- Do a search for on-line promotional codes. We got £50 off just for entering a relevant code even though we were booking a last minute summer holiday.
- If possible, try to avoid the school holidays. Even if your children are school age and they have an odd inset day tacked onto the start of end of their holidays, it’ s well worth making use of it. Prices are calculated daily and the parc price can plummet to less than a third once term time starts.
So, that’s us sorted for this summer. I’m sure a review will appear on this site at some point! How about you? Are you going away and do you have any suggestions for a reasonably priced family holiday for 5 or more?
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links but opinions and general lack of organisation are all my own!