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Travel: Eurocamp in Holland

Duinrell theme parc. Pic: Comp

Duinrell theme parc. Pic: Comp

  • by SANDRA DICK
 

HERE is what they don’t tell you about being a parent until it’s too late, or perhaps they do tell you but being so stupidly in love with our offspring, we choose not to hear.

No one mentions that overnight your lovely first born will evolve into a man-child, with 5ft 10ins frame, size 10 feet and the inability to talk coherently.

Or that even though this son of Satan is barely a teenager, in his opinion he’s far too grown up to possibly do anything that might be remotely ‘fun’.

And while he’s a hate-filled, Xbox addicted, grunting, eating machine, his annoying little brother still wants to spend hour upon hour at a funfair, sliding around a water park and playing crazy golf.

It means choosing the family summer holiday is guaranteed to leave one child in a strop while the other smugly marches around, knowing he will have a great week and his rival will suffer throughout.

Feeling doomed to fail, at least we were clear that the tight confines of a hotel room weren’t for us. Having enjoyed the flexibility of a mobile home holiday park in the past, it was a case of picking up the Eurocamp brochure and figuring out where on earth to go.

Spain in high summer can be too hot, Italy is stunning but the holiday parks felt too much of a fiddle to get to, and likewise France. Holland caught our eye - cheap and easy to reach and a bit of a change from the normal, it felt worth a gamble.

Duinrell Parc near Wassenaar, 36kms from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport and not much more from the Hook of Holland’s ferries, isn’t a big name on the typical holiday map, which is surprising, as it boasts a rather good indoor water park, free funfair on site and is handy for the stunning beauty of Amsterdam and Delft, the two-wheeled bustle of Leiden and the cityscape of Den Haag.

Eurocamp’s mobile homes on site range from the Miffy-themed three-bedroom with decking – designed with toddlers in mind, it even featured an outdoor playhouse, mini-table and chairs and toys – through to Tardis-like models that can comfortably sleep eight.

Our three-bed Esprit model turned out to have a roomy double bedroom, another with two single beds and one with bunks – ensuring that vital teenage space was not invaded by the scourge of other human beings.

There was a good size shower room and while the lounge/kitchen could have been more modern and better equipped, the outdoors decking meant plenty of space to dine alfresco.

A plus point was finding the Eurocamp homes were just yards from the tightly secured front gates, handy for the main restaurant, bar and supermarket complex and a short walk to the free on-site funfair and its adjoining water park.

The stroppy teen soon had his eyes on a speedy, pedal-driven go-kart, available to hire for 12 Euros a day and ideal for whizzing around the site, alongside a range of bikes (from 6 Euros per day) which are perfect for heading further afield into Wassenaar and beyond.

A few fast spins later and back in touch with his inner child, he dropped the teenage angst to try out the free rides at the funfair.

The glimpse of a grin revealed him pleasantly surprised to find white knuckle-style attractions that wouldn’t be out of place at Alton Towers, while there was plenty to keep his less daring ten-year-old brother happy too.

A trip to Duinrell’s Tikibad water park didn’t disappoint either, with shockingly fast flumes and daredevil chutes alongside two outdoor pools, just 3.50 Euros for park guests for two hours, compared to 14.50 Euros for everyone else.

We saved cash on supermarket essentials by taking a ten minutes stroll to the pretty commuter town of Wassenaar – complete with ubiquitous windmill and pretty canals. Although it is not going to give Ayia Napa any competition, it has enough restaurants and bars to ensure a different place to visit every night.

Duinrell reminded me a bit of a Centre Parcs break and we could easily have chilled for the week within its boundaries. However, in the name of adventure we broke out for a half-hour, 3 Euros apiece bus ride to the bustling university town of Leiden.

A snapshot of Amsterdam in miniature, we meandered through its busy shopping heart, before a gentle boat trip through its fascinating waterways which kept both boys happy.

Next was Delft, a reasonably easy 22km bus and train journey. The home of the famous blue and white pottery, it was breathtakingly pretty with picture postcard views at virtually every turn.

However, our day trip to Den Haag, aka the Hague, was less successful and we rued our attempt to take in this major culture, art and commerce hub in an afternoon. Result: two wound up parents and two crotchety kids.

A safer option was our final day’s bike ride from Duinrell towards Wassenaar’s beach. At least the map said there was a beach, but after hours of pedalling past endless sand dunes, we quit and fell victim instead to the charms of a pancake restaurant.

Huge sweet pancakes and mugs of hot chocolate hit the spot but not for the first time in Holland we found the service unbearably slow, to the point that we gave up waiting for our bill, threw down some Euros and cycled off. Not quite Grand Theft Auto V, but daring enough for a middle aged mother and her two sons.

Back at the camp – thankfully without a police siren to be heard – we packed and headed off. Duinrell had suited us just fine this time around, taking us another family holiday closer to the day when our boys will really be too grown up to spend a week in the company of their very uncool parents.

• Seven nights from 20 April 2014 for a family of two adults and up to four children staying in three-bed Espirit mobile home with decking at Duinrell parc will cost from £336, accommodation only – including a saving of £189. Fly-drive and ferry packages can be arranged though Eurocamp at a supplement.

For further information on Eurocamp, call 0844-406 0552 or visit www.eurocamp.co.uk

 

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