Family holidays: Third generation

Family holidays: Third generation

Juliet Dennis champions the benefits of taking the grandparents on holiday, after sharing a summer break in Cornwall

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There was a time when going on holiday as a large family group was the last thing I wanted to do. But now I’m a mum of two, it seemed the perfect choice for a holiday.

Not only could we enjoy some precious family time together, it also gave my husband Nick and I a breather from the kids while the grandparents could enjoy quality time with their grandchildren in a relaxed environment.

For agents with clients wanting to combine family time with a chance for a real break, having a holiday with extended family could be the answer.

But finding accommodation, particularly at the right budget, isn’t always easy. For us, as parents of two-year-old twins, a holiday park in north Cornwall ticked all the boxes.

We could book separate caravans so we weren’t living in each other’s pockets, and there were plenty of play areas, a nearby beach, stunning countryside and tons of fun places for children to visit, as well as a good quota of pubs for much-needed nights off.

As we headed out of London, Joe and Nina were bursting with excitement that their grandparents were coming too.

PARKLIFE


We chose Sandymouth Holiday Park, near Bude, based on recommendations about its toddler facilities and the fact we didn’t fancy loitering around airports or the prospect of inflight tantrums.

We could take what we liked, as long as it could fit in our car’s roofbox. Trikes, scooters, soft toys, puzzles, building blocks – they all came with us. After all, if the kids were happy, so were we.

Sandymouth is a compact caravan park compared with many other parks and we travelled just out of season so it was quieter. The views were superb and the staff friendly.

I hadn’t stayed in a caravan for ages but it suited our rather tight budget. Our caravans were clean and had all the essentials. The bedrooms were small but it didn’t matter as we weren’t in them much. And staff replaced twin beds with travel cots for Joe and Nina within minutes of being asked.

Even on overcast days, the kids were eager to get to the nearby beach and make sand castles. Our son’s fear of walking barefoot on sand vanished and he couldn’t spend enough time on the beach.

Back at the site, the Pirate’s Ship climbing frame was a hit – it was sometimes a battle to get them to leave – as was the children’s disco and the swimming pool, perfect for when we wanted to stay at base.

Third Generation

GNOME FROM HOME


Our best day was a trip out to the Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden in north Devon. As the name suggests, this is a garden full of gnomes.

Hundreds of them, in all shapes and sizes, greet you along a path around the garden, some enjoying a Jubilee-themed tea party, others fishing and taking part in the Olympics.

Joe and Nina could hardly contain their giggles at seeing Mummy, Daddy and their grandparents in the gnome hats we were invited to wear. And that was before we made it to the fairy garden next door. For anyone with toddlers, this is a must-see, and the cream teas are simply divine.

Another hit was Launceston Steam Railway. I will never forget the look on granddad Richard and little Joe’s faces – both beaming with delight as the engine purred into life and the horn blew. The railway ended at a play farm, the brainchild of a couple who clearly know what young children enjoy. As well as the animals, there were toy cars and go-karts, a large slide, sandpit, trampolines and cafe.

GRAND DESIGNS


Being on holiday as a group meant we could split the costs and the cooking, and the pressure to entertain our children all the time was eased. Nick and I even had a day to ourselves to visit the village of Clovelly in Devon, where we discovered The Bush Inn in Morwenstow, a perfect hideaway for a sneaky meal-for-two.

Perhaps we’ll do this ‘holidaying with the grandparents’ thing again.

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