What is it? We travelled by P&O Ferry from Dover to Calais on a one- hour crossing, then drove the 210 miles to Duinrell in three and a half hours through France and Belgium. You can also travel from Harwich to Hook of Holland (26 miles) or Zebrugge (139 miles) or do fly-drive to Amsterdam ( 22 miles away).Our two-bedroom Eurocamp mobile home cost L571 for a seven-night stay at Whitsun week, for two adults and up to four children, including the Dover to Calais ferry crossings. Prices range from L260 for a tent at the beginning of May to over L1,017 for a week in a mobile home in peak July/ August weeks. For more details call 08703 338 338 or visit <a href=”http://www.eurocamp.co.uk”>www.eurocamp.co.uk</a>
Description: Okay, the weather wasn’t brilliant (the Netherlands has a very similar climate to the UK), but luckily there was so much to do on this campsite it didn’t matter too much. Accommodation includes static tents, mobile homes and bungalows. We stayed in a Eurocamp mobile home, which was comfy and well-equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. The pitch was wider than other sites I’d stayed on with a broad deck, which meant loads of room for the kids to ride their bikes. [inside_of_caravan.jpg] The Duinrell site has so much there on tap, you’ll find your kids are exhausted and sleep like logs – and you may even get a lie-in! Holly, 10, Annie, seven, and Phoebe, six, were just worried there wasn’t enough time to cram everything in. The adjoining theme park had everything from non-scary rides suitable for toddlers to heart-stopping white-knuckle water plunge rides and roller coasters for adrenaline-seeking teenagers (and adults). Think Alton Towers or Chessington without the huge queues and mortgage-your-home entry fee. Refreshingly, the queues weren’t as long as at UK theme parks and the beauty of the free entry was that you could go back as many times as you wanted. I’d say it was more suitable for older children and teenagers, but there was a high buggy count in the theme park. Favourite spot for toddlers and parents seemed to be the indoor carousel ride (free!), which is surrounded by tables where coffees and ice creams are served. Our girls were big fans of the stalls selling mini-Dutch pancakes sprinkled with icing sugar and chocolate sauce and loved watching the chefs cook them on the griddle in front of them. There are also other restaurants selling pizza, chips and mayonnaise and a Greek fast food place, plus an Irish Pub, bistro and buffet restaurant. The site also had a well-stocked supermarket with reasonably priced food if you wanted to eat in. The only place we weren’t that keen on was the buffet restaurant which we thought was overpriced and lacked atmosphere. The indoor Tiki Water Park (with some of the longest rides in the world according to the campsite leaflet) was a godsend on our two wet days; you get up to two hours free to ride the Lazy River, flumes and plunging slides. There’s even a sauna if Mum or Dad want to sneak off. [kids_on_rides.jpg] The campsite has 1,500 pitches and a mixture of Dutch/ British and German visitors, with English widely spoken. But you don’t have to stay confined to it – it is adjoined by a nature reserve that provides a welcome escape. Our cycle ride to Wassenaar beach, a clean and spacious stretch of sand with bars and cafes, was one of the highlights of the trip. Despite the winds off the North Sea, the girls played for hours building a mega-sandcastle/fort with moat and decorated it with seashells. On a wet afternoon we ventured into The Hague to see Maurodam, a sort of Holland-in-miniature theme park. It’s supposed to be one of the “must-sees” in the area, but we weren’t that impressed. It’s incredibly well-crafted and immaculately laid-out, but to be honest, a quick hour and you’ve done it. The thing that made it for us was a temporary visiting Chinese ice zoo with fantastic ice sculptures and an ice slide. The kids loved dressing up in big thermal coats to venture inside and face the freezing minus-8 degree temperatures. Amsterdam is only 22 miles away, we drove to a Park and Ride site just outside the city, and paid five Euros to park all day (this bargain price included two return train tickets to central Amsterdam). Children’s fares were a very reasonable two Euros each. The train ride was made all the more exciting by the fact that it was a double decker! The acid test: would we go again? Like a shot! The kids want to go back next year with a gang of friends and I could safely recommend it to their parents. Even if it rains you don’t have to sit in the caravan listening to the rain drumming on the roof – non-stop entertainment is right on site. Jo Waters is a freelance journalist for a variety of publications and has three daughters aged 10, seven and six.