We'd never stayed at a holiday park before, and had probably given the kids the wrong idea – they seemed to envisage Rusty the caravan from Rory the Racing Car. But our three-bedroom lodge was far from rusty. It was incredibly spacious and so well kitted out that it made our holiday very easy. The site facilities were also good – there are swimming pools (indoor and out), playgrounds for varying ages, a supermarket and lots of watersports.
We flew to Bordeaux and hired a car to take us to Camping La Réserve in the Aquitaine region of south-western France, but it is totally feasible to drive from the UK, with the advantage being that you can take your own bikes. This wouldn't have been our choice of holiday pre-children, but a few weeks on and the kids are STILL singing the club jingles and doing the routines.
The highlight for our children (4.5 and 2.5) was definitely the kids' clubs and evening entertainment, run by both English and French children’s entertainers, all of whom were really fantastic – working very long hours but clearly enjoying their jobs. The clubs run for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. The times are staggered, which I imagine is slightly annoying if your children slot into different clubs.
The beauty of La Réserve is definitely the lake beach, with lots of sand and gentle lapping waves. We spent hours building elaborate sandcastles with moats, then joining them all together. The local coastal beaches are great too; long expanses of golden sand, some with great dunes for running up and down. The waves were huge and the tides were strong, encouraging surfers and kitesurfers, which put us off taking the children into the water, although there were lifeguards on patrol. We travelled at the beginning of June and it was particularly quiet on the campsite, and the coastal beaches were practically deserted too, which was fantastic for us. But it also meant that many of the restaurants and shops were closed.
Would I go back? Well, if I wanted a holiday with a couple of hours' break from the kids to relax, I probably would. And if the kids were given the option they would be back there tomorrow!
Read more about family holidays in Aquitaine, France.