Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

  • Isle of Wight Festival – the festival Island

    Date: 2011.10.14 | Category: Bestival, Features, Ferries, Festivals, holidays, Isle of Wight Festival | Response: 0

    Often considered a quiet, family holiday location in the southern part of England, the Isle of Wight was put firmly on the map in the late 60’s with a series of music festivals that attracted some of the biggest names of the time including Bob Dylan.

    Running between 1968 and 1970 the Isle of Wight Festival attracted huge attendances, some of the biggest the UK had ever seen, with the 1970 Festival in particular estimated to have attracted 600,000 festival goers. Such was its success that the Government passed legislation to prevent future gatherings of over 5,000 on the Island without a permit/license!

    The Isle of Wight Festival disappeared from the calendar for decades but in 2002 it made a welcome return from a base at Seaclose Park recreation ground on the outskirts of Newport. The Charlatans and Robert Plant headlined the revived 2002 Festival and its success has seen the Festival take place every year since. In the last decade the Isle of Wight Festival has been graced by the biggest names in rock and pop including Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, Stereophonics, Coldplay and so many more.

    In 2012, the Isle of Wight is filling the traditional Glastonbury weekend (which is taking a year off) of 22, 23 and 24th of June and although it is too early for acts to be confirmed it is sure to be a great array of stars in Olympic year. Even better news is that the organisers have confirmed that layout changes at Seaclose Park, Newport include more space for campers and improved views, better sound and more space in the main arena plus even more toilets.

    The Isle of Wight Festival is not the only one on the island, with one of the better known others being Bestival that has been running annually since 2004. The 2001 Bestival attracted acts including Pendulum, The Cure, Bjork and Primal Scream. And, of course for jazz fans, there is also the annual Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival.

    So if you are a music lover or just want to feel the Festival vibe this summer head for the Isle of Wight. Getting there is easy as Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries run regular crossings between Southampton and Cowes for passengers on foot, bike or car.

  • Travelling with Children – How to get the most for your money

    Date: 2011.07.29 | Category: Features, holidays, Your Travel Essentials | Response: 0

    Travelling with the whole family can become very expensive very quickly if you aren’t careful about what you are spending your holiday budget on. A little planning and preparation before you go can end up saving you a lot of money, something we are all keen to do in the current economic climate. Saving money on your family holidays doesn’t mean having to go without anything; a little research can mean you can still have a fantastic holiday all without breaking the bank. Here are some top tips on how to get the most for your money when travelling as a family:

    Plan, Plan, Plan

    The most effective way to save money when planning a family holiday is to do your research. There are plenty of great deals to be had if you take a little time to find them. Price comparison sites such as travelsupermarket are set up just for this service. Don’t make your decision at the first travel agents you visit, shop around, many have great ‘child go free’ offers that can really help to reduce the price. When you are discussing your holiday with the travel agent make sure you ask if what they are offering is the lowest possible price, there are plenty of added extras that can be removed to make the overall price cheaper, not having the meal on short flights and taking your own packed lunch for example can save up to £15 per person!

    Take out Travel Insurance

    Now I know what you’re thinking, if money is tight why do I want to pay out for travel insurance? Well if you don’t and something was to go wrong whilst you were away you could end up with a far greater bill than the cost of taking out travel insurance. There are some great family travel insurance policies out there that that can be cheaper than buying insurance for each member of the family individually as many offer free child cover. For great travel insurance deals from

    Plan your meals

    Work out what is best for you food wise before you start looking for your holiday, if you are the type who likes to explore and try new restaurants all inclusive is probably not the best option for you. If you don’t mind staying in the resort complex then all inclusive deals can end up saving you a lot of money as you don’t have to worry about paying for the children to have ice creams and drinks during the day, the costs of which can soon mount up. When you are travelling to and from your destination is another time when costs on food can be a lot more than you initially expected. Take a packed lunch with you, meals and snacks at airports and service stations are significantly more expensive than anywhere else and children can become over excited and irritable if they eat too many sweets whilst travelling. Instead take their favourite packed lunch and a few treats to have throughout the course of the day.

    Pack their own hand luggage

    Allowing your children to pack their own hand luggage will give them a sense of responsibility for the journey and ensure that they have things to keep them occupied for the entire duration of their travels. If you ensure their backpack is filled with pens, paper, colouring in equipment and one of their favourite toys this should keep them entertained without having to pay for expensive toys and games that are available to buy at airports. The sense of being in charge of their own things will make children more interested in their own special hand luggage they have with them than being distracted by the new toys in duty free.

  • Legoland Windsor is looking for Heroes this Easter. Legoland is open for Easter 2011 with great new family activities. Save 10% booking online

    Date: 2011.04.12 | Category: Easter, Features, holidays, Places to go, Windsor | Response: 0

    Legoland Windsor is ow open for 2011 season and they have a superb range of exciting activities to help parents keep their kids entertained this Easter.  So what is happening this Easter….

    Ninjago spins in to Legoland Windosor (11-22nd April)

    From the 11th April until the 22nd, the Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzo comes to the Beginning area.  See if you can beat the Legoland Master of Spinjitzu in the spinner competition to win fantastic Lego prizes. Pose for a photo as your favourite Ninjago apprentice, play the new Lego Minjago video game and see the amazing Lego models.

    Save 10% by Booking Legoland tickets ONLINE>

    Hunt for Wally (22nd-25th April)

    So where is that Wally? Search for him in Minland or Pirate’s landing.  Join the Easter Hunt to find as many Wally’s as you can!

    Save 10% by Booking Legoland tickets ONLINE>

    Save 10% by boking tickets online

    Currently you can save 10% on your day entry tickets to Legoland Windsor or 10% on the superb Merlin passes that includes entry to other major UK attractions. Find out more by click below….

    Save 10% by Booking Legoland tickets ONLINE>

  • Top ten sunshine escapes in Europe for a great family holiday

    Date: 2010.10.13 | Category: Features, France, Holiday Parks, Italy, Spain | Response: 0

    If you are looking for some inspiration for your 2011 holiday then why not take a look at the list of top sunshine escapes put together by our holiday partners Eurocamp.  So whether you are looking forward to happy days on the beach, exploring new and exciting destinations, sampling the local cuisine or just lazing by an amzing pool you’re sure to find the right holiday park for you.

    Les Mouettes, Brittany, France

    • Fantastic new pool complex
    • Close to ferry ports
    • Golf and driving close by

    Cypsela, Costa Brava, Spain

    • One of Spain’s best parks
    • Superb facilities
    • Windsurfing nearby

    Les Grottes de Roffey, Dordogne, France

    • Lovely pool complex
    • Great park for walkers and nature lovers
    • Fishing and abseiling nearby

    La Baie, Brittany, France

    • Beautiful beach a stroll away
    • Quad biking nearby
    • Great for walkers

    Koningshof, Holland

    • Indoor and outdoor pools
    • Lakeside fishing
    • Close to Amsterdam

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Kids clubs make a family holiday! Make sure your park has everything you need to keep the children entertained

    Date: 2010.09.18 | Category: Features, Holiday Parks | Response: 0

    If you are planning your family holiday then high on  the requirement list is a place that will entertain the children.  As, whether they are 5 or 15 every parent knows that a relaxing family holiday will turn in to a stressful headache if your children are ‘bored’!

    Help is at hand for many parents at some of the family holiday parks in the UK, France and the rest of Europe with organised children’s clubs and activities.  So what can you expect from a holiday park kids club and are they worth seeking out on your holiday.

    Eurocamp and Keycamp have well established childrens clubs at a number of sites in France and Europe.  The clubs have been developed over the years to bring together kids of similar ages, likes and abilities. And as result, they have built a number of different clubs ranging from Base, to keep the teenagers entertained, to Tumble Tots and free swimming lessons for toddlers! Importantly the clubs are run by the Eurocamp and Keycamp couriers who have all been police checked and trained to look after and entertain your children in a safe environment.  Here is a run down of the Eurocamp and Keycamp clubs:

    • Fun Station 4 All (ages 4-12).  There are plenty of activities available to keep everyone entertained and a great way to make lots of new friends. Where numbers allow, kids will be split into two age groups. 4 to 9 year olds in one group and 10 to 12 year olds in another group. This will allow 4 to 9 year olds to focus on Fun Station activities more appropriate to their age group whilst older kids will do an Energy session.
    • Leo’s Fun Station (ages 4-6). Leo’s Fun Station is so much fun it’s not long before everybody’s taking part and enjoying all the fun activities including face painting, dressing up, playing pirates or setting off on Leo’s nature trail. And dont forget to keep a look out for Leo the Lion as he may pop in to join in all the fun!
    • 7+ Funstation (ages 7-9). At this age kids love joining in and are more confident about making new friends without mum and dad around. There’s a real mix of activities on offer from arts and crafts to sports plus discos, talent shows and so much more. 7+Fun Station for kids aged 7 to 9 years is perfect for making lots of new friends and having tonnes of fun
    • Energy (ages 10-12). With cool activities and a constant change of pace Energy is just the thing for kids aged 10-12 years old. This free club will keep them happy, active and entertained at all times whilst making lots of new friends at the same time.
    • Base (ages 13-17). Base is a chance for teenagers to meet new friends and hang out with in a relaxed environment. There is no fixed structure to Base stucture to Base sessions as teenagers have a choice of which activities they would like to do, which guarantees a good time even if they just want to sit back and chat. Base couriers help to host activities as well as get-together like pizza evenings and beach parties.
    • Mini Fun Station (ages 6 months-5years). Mini Fun Station is especially designed for pre-school children aged 6 months to 5 years old. It offers free supervised fun in a relaxed and sociable environment. There are indoor and outdoor activities all run by our fully trained couriers who ensure our tiniest tots are well taken care of. All children must be accompanied by their parent/guardian, which is a perfect opportunity for you to meet other parents or just sit back and watch whilst your little one has loads of fun and makes new friends.
    • Soccer Station (ages 5-16). Soccer Station is especially for football mad boys and girls aged 5-16 years who want to learn new soccer skills, kick a ball around and make loads of new friends. The coaches are FA qualified and trained and selected by partners King’s Camps. Each session is split in to 3 age groups with a maximum number of players in each to ensure everyone is involved and picks up new football skills. Soccer Station is pre-bookable so make sure you book your place early to avoid being shown a red card!
    • Tumble Tots (ages crawling-5). With Tumble Tots, Britain’s top provider of active physical play for young children, they offer you the chance to enjoy the Tumble Tots experience free on holiday. There are 4 groups catering for specific age ranges, ensuring all children are taking part in activities suitable to their age group, including Gymbabes sessions for babies from 6 months. All sessions use brightly coloured equipment designed to develop skills in balance, agility, climbing and co-ordination, and include fun rhymes and action songs which ensures everyone is taking part in all the fun!

    We have had children attend many years of Leo’s, 7+ Funstation and Energy and can say that they have been brilliant and the children have seen it as one of the most important part of their holiday…. in fact keeping them out of the clubs so we could actually see them turned out to be the real challenge!

    The clubs generally run morning and afternoon for 2-3 hours.  You simply arrive before the beginning of the club to sign your child in and then leave it all to the courier…. within minutes your children are playing and having fun.  And, for you, its a few hours to chill out, relax, unwind etc… you have to stay on the park but a few hours freedom to do your own thing means that you to can enjoy your holiday.  The value of this free time is not to be underestimated and for both children and parents some time apart makes the time together even more fun.

    Clubs are also organised by other Euro holiday park operators including Canvas Holidays and Siblu.

    Canvas Holidays runs FamilyExtra, an exclusive family activity programme as well as:

    • Hoopi’s (ages 4-11). Hoopi’s children’s club is available on selected campsites for children aged between 4 and 11. Hoopi Club meets 6 days a week at Hoopi’s own tent – once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Club activities are designed to suit both younger and older children, ranging from sports and games for the boisterous to more sedate activities for when all their energy is used up.
    • Activities for 12-18 years. FamilyExtra offers a great place for teenagers to hang out and try something new. Our FamilyExtra staff organise a weekly programme of sporting and social events for teenagers aged between 12 and 18. They can take part in exciting pool based activities such as canoeing and snorkelling, and even learn to walk on water without getting wet with WaterWalkerz. Back on dry land, teenagers can try out action-packed sessions like Circus Skills, Disc Golf, Movie Maker and Aeroball.

    Siblu offers four clubs, ranging from 1 year olds up to 14 year olds.  These clubs are great for providing the space for children to meet up, do some fun activities and make some new friends of varying different nationalities.

    Click on the links below for more information about the different children’s clubs.

    • 1-4 year olds (bubbles). If you’re 1-4 years old Bubbles is the place for you. With non-stop play and fun, Bubbles the baby whale knows you’ll just love it. Enjoy toys, games, waterplay and sandpits, all with new friends.
    • 5-9 year olds (pirate club). Ooh ar me hearties! Leave your parents at home and come and join the fun with Max, Patch and Lili from Crystal Island. From art attacks and treasure hunts to water fights and sports competitions, the fun never stops! But don’t forget that Pirate Pong might be just around the corner.. Are you ready for the adventure to begin?
    • 5-12 years olds (club max). Live life to the max at our siblu selection parcs with Max the Mouse’s very own club. Maximum fun guaranteed, from art attacks and treasure hunts to water fights and sports competitions. So what are you waiting for.. let the adventures begin!
    • 10-14 year olds (barracudas). Calling all teens! Chill out, relax and get ready to take a bite of the action. Meet new mates and then join them for team tasks, sports, competitions and more, or be a star yourself at a Barracudas talent show.

    So where do you find kids clubs?

    Family holidays in France with Kids Clubs and/or toddler friendly: Alps, Brittany, Burgundy, Cote d’Azur, Dordogne, Gascony, Jura, Languedoc, Loire Valley, Normandy, Paris, Picardy, Riviera, Rouissillon, Royan, Vendee

    Family holidays in Spain with Kids Clubs and/or toddler friendly: Costa Brava, Costa del Sol, Costa Dorada, Costa Verde

    Family holidays in Italy with Kids Clubs and/or toddler friendly: Adriatic Coast, Corsica, Italian Lakes, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany

  • Using Broadband Internet on your holidays in Europe – your options

    Date: 2010.09.15 | Category: Features | Response: 0

    If you are travelling abroad for your holidays then I am sure that you have heard all the horror stories about using UK internet devices in Europe. If you haven’t then beware of turning on your iphone or mobile device without researching exactly what your charges are… even downloading your e-mails could leave you with a big bill.  This year the EU forced operators to be more open and honest to prevent you returning to big bills but it still pays to be cautious.

    If you are planning to stay at a holiday park in Europe, here are some WiFi options other than using your current mobile device:

    • Many parks now have free Internet access on site.  However, our experience has been that these free services tend to be little domestic services made available to all via a public bar… often the quality of the service leaves a lot to be desired and is not greatly secure for your private data.
    • In the last year or so there is an increasing number of holiday parks offering paid for Internet services via a third party supplier.  We used such a service at Bonne Anse Plage and found the service – once connected very good.  On the system we used we were presented with various payment options from 1 hour, 3 hours, 3 days, 7 days etc… it wasn’t cheap but at least you had the choice completely up front.
    • T-Mobile have recently announced that the use of their Broadband phone and laptop broadband ‘dongle’ can be used in Europe via a Euro Internet Booster that you purchase when you log on in Europe (you don’t go live until you buy so no rip off up front costs). The costs stack up ok with the Euro parks typical costs at £1 for15 mins, £5 for 2 hours, £10 a day, £40 a month.  Find out more>

    So far we have tried out the first 2 options with varying success.  More reliable was the paid for service but it is limited to the park you are staying at – if you want to use the Internet away from the park or are staying at different parks – then the T-Mobile service sounds well worth a go, if you do not trust your current network.

    If you do use this service or others, then let us know how you got on.

    Find holiday parks with Internet Access

    If you are looking for a holiday or caravan park with Internet WiFi in France: AlpsArdecheBrittanyBurgundyCote d’AzurDordogneGasconyJuraLanguedocLoire ValleyNormandyParisPicardyRivieraRouissillonRoyanVendee -

    If you are looking for a holiday or caravan park with Internet WiFi in Italy: Adriatic CoastCorsicaItalian LakesSardiniaSicilyTuscany -

    If you are looking for a holiday or caravan park with Internet WiFi in Spain: Costa BravaCosta del SolCosta DoradaCosta Verde -

    If you are looking for a holiday or caravan park with Internet WiFi in Portugal: AlgarveSan-Pedro-de-Moel -

    Netherlands parks with InternetAustrian parks with InternetCroatia parks with InternetDenmark holiday parks with InternetGermany parks with InternetLuxembourg parks with InternetSlovenia parks with InternetSwitzerland parks with Internet -

  • Polperro and Looe – picture postcard Cornwall

    Date: 2010.08.24 | Category: Features, Places to go, Review 4 star | Response: 0

    If you are visiting Cornwall this year then a trip to the towns of Polperro and Looe are a must for anyone wanting to experience the traditional ‘picture postcard’ beauty of the Cornish fishing village.

    Set just a few miles apart these fishing villages can be found on the south coast of Cornwall near Liskeard and Plymouth.


    With a large car park for tourists set on the edge of the town its easy to arrive and set off into Polperro on foot.  The walk gives you plenty of time to look at the pretty streets and marvel at the houses perched all the way up the cliff sides.

    As you wander along you also have time to choose from the great range of Cornish pasties, Cornish ice creams and, of course, the Cornish cream teas… for research purposes, we tried many of these out and confirm that they are worth the effort!

    You can get short boat trips from the harbour so that you can appreciate the great views from the sea.

    While there is not lots for the kids to do, Polperro is a small village that can be easily walked and we found that the choice of ice creams easily distracted the children while we explored.

    Coast walk from Polperro to Looe

    You can follow a great coastal footpath that works its way along the top of the bays.  It is well worth doing to really appreciate the scenery of this rugged coastline and please allow plenty of time for the walk, as the path meanders its way following the coastline, and make sure you take drinks and appropriate clothing. Although you can walk there and back, we walked one way and caught a local bus back…. definitely not one for a pushchair though.


    Either a lovely walk or a short drive takes you from Polperro to the picture postcard Looe.  Again you are welcomed by the sight of cottages perched all the way up the cliffs that surround the town.  Looe has a bigger shopping centre with all the holidays momentoes you could ever want. And, of course there are lots of places to try the pasties, ice creams and cream teas.

    On the practical side, their is a big car park on the way in to Looe – but don’t rely on a quick get away as the car park exit can be a bit busy towards the end of the day!  We also found that Looe had a lot of the UK banks so it was a good place to to top up our cash reserves.

    Day trip details

    • Polperro: 1-2 hours exploring (including time for Pasties etc)
    • Looe: 1-2 hours (including holiday momento shopping)
    • Good for couples and families
    • Overall: 4 stars

    Where to stay

    We stayed in a holiday park in the Newquay area and traveled to Looe and Polperro by car – about a 55 minute drive. However there are plenty of great places to stay closer including:

  • Top 10 Family Holiday Parks in Europe

    Date: 2010.08.23 | Category: Features, Holiday Parks, Latest News | Response: 0

    If you are looking for some inspiration for your family holiday then check out this list of favourite family holiday parks. Click on the images to see more about the park and check availability.


    Vendée, France VN011

    •Kids’ clubs galore to enjoy
    •Super pool complex
    •Close to lovely beach
    •Also available with Keycamp and
    Thomson AlFresco

    Château Des Ormes

    Brittany, France BN013

    •Suberb parc & facilities galore
    •Amazing pool complex
    including wave machine
    •For families of all ages
    • Also available with Keycamp and Thomson AlFresco

    La Grande Métairie

    Brittany, France BS019

    •In a lovely rural setting with
    something for everyone
    •Kids’ clubs galore to enjoy
    •Tonnes of local activities including jetski & horse riding

    Bonne Anse

    Royan, France GR011

    •Excellent pool complex
    •Lovely beach close by
    •Pine forest setting – ideal for walking & cycling

    Marina Di Venezia

    Adriatic Coast, Italy IA022

    •Direct beach access
    •One of Italy’s best parcs
    with so much to do
    •Take a ferry trip to Venice

    La Baume

    Riviera, France RV014

    •Kids’ clubs galore to enjoy
    •Magnificent pool complex with
    waterslides a plenty
    •Tonnes to do including archery, bicycle hire and tennis

    St. Avit Loisirs

    Dordogne, France DR019

    •Action Station to enjoy
    •Super pool complex
    including lazy river
    •Kids’ clubs galore

    Le Vieux Port

    Gascony, France GA013

    •Direct beach access
    •Amazing pool complex
    •Ideal for active water lovers


    Holland HL012

    •Theme park and Tiki
    Water Park on site
    •Ideal for families of all ages
    •Visit nearby Amsterdam

    Bella Italia

    Lake Garda, Italy IL019

    •Lovely lakeside setting on
    Lake Garda
    •Kids’ clubs galore to enjoy
    •Visit Peschiera, Verona & Milan

    This family holiday park top ten was compiled by our travel partners, Eurocamp. Do you agree with the selections, are your favourites missing?  Why not tell us and we can add them to the list.

  • Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall

    Date: 2010.08.16 | Category: Been there, Features, Places to go, Review 5 star | Response: 0

    One of the UK’s premier holiday attractions, the Eden Project is a fascinating and fun,
    5 STAR family day out in Cornwall.

    So what exactly is the Eden Project?

    First and foremost, it’s a garden – an amazing, incredible garden.  Discover plants that have helped humanity since the dawn of time explained in fun and engaging ways.

    Trek through steamy jungles, past shacks, waterfalls, and plantations – including the largest rainforest in captivity with a tree canopy 50 meters high.

    Travel to the Mediterranean without leaving the UK – perfumed citrus orchards and olive groves, all enclosed in a second Biome, transport you to warmer climes.

    Then you can marvel at the cutting-edge architecture and art.  Such as the world-famous Biomes which include the largest  greenhouse in the World. Explore the Core, a stimulating education centre, with a roof built the same way plants are.  See World-class art installations right across the site making Eden a huge gallery.

    And, of course, it’s a living example of regeneration and sustainable living – learn how they turned a clay pit in to a paradise.

    Fun for all the family?

    Whatever your age you will find plenty to entertain you at Eden.  During the School summer holidays the Eden team run lots of kids entertainment, which while we were there included building a den from items such as poles, ropes, canvas, tarpaulin, material and whatever else you could scavenge!  Also water challenges – including pumping water along family made river valleys.  The children had great fun at these and then sat down and watched and took part in the fire starting demonstrations for over 45 minutes.


    You can eat at the restaurants at Eden which are reasonable value for a major attraction.  However, if you are there after 4.30 in the summer you can also enjoy a barbecue which is superb value and well worth doing.  There was also a band playing to entertain you.

    Plan your day

    Before you visit Eden it is worth checking the website to see what is going on to make the most of your day.  It is well worth knowing that after 3.30pm there are reduced rates for adults and children go free – this made a saving of £30 for our party of 5! Not only did it save money, parking and wandering around the attraction was so much easier later in the day.

    Couple of other tips.

    • Don’t forget the sun lotion as it can be a major sun trap.
    • Its a long walk back to the car once inside, so make sure you take everything you need when setting off.


    St Austell, Cornwall, South West England

    Where to stay

    Caravan and holiday parks close to Eden: St Austell, Cornwall, South West England

    Self catering and cottages close to Eden:  St Austell, Cornwall, South West England

    Lodges close to Eden: Cornwall, South West England


    • Value for money: 5 star – especially after 3.30pm
    • All family entertainment: 5 star
    • Parking: 5 star
    • Overall: 5 star

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