Summer Holiday to Holland with Eurocamp #AD
When we were little I had no idea what went into organising the family holiday each year, we were just told near the time that we were going away, cases were packed, we jammed ourselves into the car with our pillows and cuddly toys, ready for that years adventure. I have no idea whether we visited the same park twice or my parents booked a different one each time, but what I do know is that we pretty much always went to France, sometimes quite far down and it often involved the ferry from Dover and long car journeys with the French countryside rushing past the windows. I remember service stations at the side of the road with picnic benches and funny toilets, stocking up in huge hypermarches and the smell of pine trees. But we'd always arrive at the campsite excited and ready to explore, and the memories of those holidays even though they have all kind of merged into one, definitely stayed with me and I'm so excited to show the boys the same experience.
We've been away with Eurocamp for the past three years, the first year in Spain, the second when we collaborated them last year when we visited France and this year we decided to take the plunge and visit somewhere completely different, Holland.
There were a few factors that made us choose this location, and that mainly being travel time and distance. Whilst we'd love to explore more of France it's very easy to under estimate how long it takes to get to different areas, especially those further down in the South. Rohan doesn't travel very well for long distances, so driving 6-8 hours a day wasn't really possible for us. So we looked around at France and the only parks that were a maximum of three hours drive was the park we visited last year, and whilst we loved that one we wanted to try something new. So se widened our search after realising that actually from Calais it's possible to drive straight up and into Holland in a few hours.
We've never been to Holland as a family so it was exciting to discover a new place altogether and do something a little different (for us!) We didn't really know what to expect, but went on the park first and foremost because it looked like it offered everything we were looking for. It still made me feel a little anxious though and not knowing whether it would be the right sort of atmosphere and place for us, but I'm so glad we did as it definitely exceeded any of our expectations! I guess really it would have been good to read a real and honest review and like the one I'm about to write so you can get an insight into choosing the right park for you.
So other than the initial attraction of the driving distance of the park from Calais what attracted us most to the park was the fact it was set in a woodland area, that it had it's own theme park on site and entry was included in our stay. It also has it's own huge water park complex, which is an additional cost, but very reasonable and worth it. We also really liked that it was within easy driving distance of Amsterdam, meaning we could go in and out in one day with under an hour travel time (by car). It was also on the coast and there was a beach a short distance from the park, which in warmer weather would have been lovely to spend a few hours at. Whilst the park doesn't have any kids clubs we thought that actually there would be enough to do there without having Theo go off to an activity, but on the other hand it would be nice to give him the opportunity to go off and socialise with other children.
We were staying in the Avant range of holiday homes, which gave us three bedrooms, one shower room, a kitchen and living area with a large table and a big covered decking out the front with a table for outside eating. We've stayed in a few different styles over the years but I think this is my favourite layout. I liked that there was quite a lot of space in the the living area of the holiday home and the bedrooms whilst small (which you expect), felt like they had lots of storage space. All of the appliances were pretty modern and clean, the beds were also comfy which is a big factor! We did had to visit the reception again as the floor of our holiday home wasn't very clean (Rohan had been on it for about 5 minutes before his hands and feet were pretty covered!) but they did send someone round to clean it for us shortly after. We were also missing our BBQ which did take a day or so to turn up. Other than this we were really pleased with the service and had someone pop round to check everything was ok throughout the week, which was different from last year and we really appreciated it. I feel like we've been lucky that the accommodation we've stayed in has all been fairly new so in good condition.
The next morning we all got ready for a little more exploring and more importantly to check out the water park. The weather was supposed to be really warm so we figured spending the day in water was a pretty good idea. Entry to the water park wasn't included with the stay, which is a little different from other Eurocamp parks we have stayed on previously, but once we got inside we realised why, as it was it's whole own big park, rather than a pool or two with a couple of slides. We opted for the whole day as we wanted enough time to explore as we didn't really know what to expect and I'm pretty glad we did as we ended up spending around 4 hours in the pool! We all had such a great time trying out all the different slides and pools that it had to offer and we were just blown away at how clean and well thought out the whole place was. There were lots of different areas for Rohan to play in and as the day went on his confidence just grew and grew. He went on a few little baby slides and just enjoyed floating around and all the pools, especially the ones for younger children were all really warm. There was such a great range of slides for all the family, including some pretty fast and scary ones that only the adults could go on! Theo is lucky as he's tall enough to go on most of the rides and our favourites were the ones you could go on together on a giant doughnut float - they were so much fun!
So after our waterpark adventure we headed back to the holiday home for lunch and a well earned nap for Rohan. Rob headed off to the supermarket in the nearby town to get some supplies whilst Theo and I hung out and played with the lego. When Rob returned we decided to have a little bit more of an explore around the site and get our bearings a little more. The whole site is really well laid out though, with a central park area just before that the Theme park and Aqua park are around. There's a main reception building, the shopping and restaurant complex which has a take away and snack bar, buffet style restaurant, supermarket and in the basement a large pub with a bowling alley, arcade games and lots of seating. We had a little look around all of these, played in the arcade and having a little pre dinner beer in the pub!
First of all we went for a walk around the Theme park, which closed at 6pm, but is still open to walk around. The whole site is set in a forest so it made for a pretty nice evening walk to take in the surroundings. We made our way back to the main park (which is less than 5 minutes walk from the holiday home) and played for quite a while, again marvelling at how brave and confident Rohan was. There was a good mix of things for younger and older children to enjoy. The one thing we did think about the park was that there wasn't particularly many areas where kids could go off and meet other children, we didn't really find any smaller parks or sports courts that kids could start games together, and that's one thing that we found a little lacking. From memory that's what I felt like we always quite enjoyed about Eurocamp, going off with our new friends and making up games on site. I think it would be great it you visited with a larger group of family or friends and then let your children go off that way. It did all feel very safe and well looked after though, so if Theo had met friends then I would've felt ok with letting him go to the park on his own. But then again I feel like there was so much to do on site that Theo never really expressed the need to go and meet other children and felt like he was having more than enough fun just with us!
Overall the whole site was just so well laid out, very clean and organised and it just felt like a pleasure to be there. The fact that the whole park was in a forest was just lovely as it felt natural, open and spacious.
After our exploring we headed home for a BBQ (in the rain!) and a sit on the decking with some beers in the evening. It was a pretty great start to our holiday!
I've made a little video of the first few days too!
Our accommodation and ferry crossing was gifted to us by Eurocamp in exchange for a review. All my thoughts, words and images are my own.