The ingredients for a successful weekend break with kids, I've discovered, are a comfortable lodge with a hot tub (my boys would still be in it today if it was an option), a wide range of organised activities for both kids and parents, overseen by well-trained, enthusiastic staff, a swimming pool with a flume, and stacks to do nearby. And, of course, the bank manager mustn’t frown (too much)…
Hoseasons' Go Active program, available at several of its parks, offers activities of the kind you’ll find at Center Parcs but at a more affordable level. The boys and I tried fencing, archery and body zorbing (which involves clambering inside a massive balloon-like contraption in a field), but other options included crossbow, football, kayaking in the pool, quick cricket, Water-walkerz, evening activities and sea scooters (powered submersibles).
An added bonus at Oakdene is its amazing location on the edge of Hampshire's New Forest. We spent a day cycling alongside cows and wild horses in the most beautiful setting – not an everyday experience for my London- born and -bred sons.
We were busy throughout our break, mostly thanks to the Go Active program, interspersed with spells in the hot tub. For those planning a longer stay, the New Forest and surrounding area have masses on offer, including a Go Ape! treetop adventure site, Beaulieu and the National Motor Museum, cycling and walking routes, dry-slope skiing and lovely beaches in Bournemouth and Poole.
The list of available activities – on and off-site – varies by Go Active park and by season, but we visited off peak and there was still plenty to keep us all fully occupied. Several months later Patrick, Joe, Dan and I still talk about our unique and unforgettable break.
Read more about Hoseason's Go Active holidays including our exclusive deals and discounts.