‘You choose’, we said to our grandchildren Laz, aged six, and Eliza, aged four. We were planning a three-day trip to test drive our new motorhome. We’d been caravanning together many times, but motorhoming was new to all of us.
They had a choice of three Lincolnshire destinations – a city (Lincoln), the countryside (Wolds) or the seaside (Skegness). We outlined their comparative delights.
In unison, at the top of their voices, they replied: ‘Skegness!’ There was no consultation, no hesitation. I think they’d discussed it with friends at school – most families in our neck of the woods have been to ‘Skeggy’ at least once.
Driving across the Wolds to the coast was a nightmare – gale-force winds, buckshot rain, and a steering wheel with a life of its own. The kids, though, were happy as Larry in the back – their headphones on, their eyes glued to the tiny screens of their individual portable DVD players. Why hadn’t they been invented when our kids were young, my wife and I asked ourselves.
We arrived at the campsite at lunchtime, with the kids getting cranky with hunger, to find that pitches hadn’t yet been vacated. It wasn’t a problem, though – we fed and watered them as we waited in the queue, which we couldn’t have done in the caravan. When we'd pitched (which took all of two minutes), the rain was still bucketing down, so Laz lay on his bunk to read while Eliza sat colouring in at the table. Later we walked behind the kids as they pedalled their bikes through puddles along the prom, stopping for a drink at a seafront pub as they bounced themselves breathless on a bank of trampolines outside.
We spent the next day on the beach. Walking out onto the great expanse of sand makes you realise why the resort grew up where it did. It was a sparkling cold and sunny March day, and the kids dug holes, built sandcastles and sailed boats, muffled up in their parkas and wellies, against a backdrop of wind-turbine-construction on the horizon, They found a pink starfish with 13 arms, and when a whelk they were examining grew legs and ran away we discussed hermit crabs and their similarity to motor-homers. That evening we had proper seaside fish and chips for supper, watched Toy Story on DVD and went to bed. So far, so good.
Our second day was too dull and windy for the beach, so we took the bus into Skegness itself, making a pocket-money-spending expedition to the town centre then dodging showers in Botton’s Pleasure Beach. The latter’s rides, stalls and sideshows haven’t changed since I was young, and kids still love them.
Returning home the next day, our grandkids revelled in sitting at a table with all their stuff rather than being cramped in the back of a car. And when Eliza was caught short, all we had to do was stop while she used the toilet in the van. They didn’t once ask if we were home yet.
We asked whether they’d enjoyed motor-homing, and if they’d liked Skegness. Both, they said. We had to agree with them. And they had a question of their own, one that was oft-repeated over the following weeks: ‘When can we go again?’
Read more about Lincolnshire family holidays and breaks.