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Take your own bikes to Eurocamp

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What is it? We travelled by P and O crossing from Dover to Calais on a one-hour crossing and drove the 309 miles to Dol de Bretagne. You can also sail to St Malo (25 miles), and Caen (95 miles), or fly-drive to Dinard 26 miles away. A seven-night stay in a mobile home at Whitsun half-term costs from L372, plus supplements according to the standard of accommodation you book and includes a return midweek crossing from Dover to Calais for two adults and up to four children under 18. For more details see the Eurocamp brochure or visit www.eurocamp.co.uk

Where? With three girls aged 11, eight and seven, we needed a destination with loads to do. They all love outdoor activities and it was as much as we could do to drag them away from the campsite, which is great if you don’t want to do too much driving. The park scenery was pretty and green with beautiful rhododendrons, lots of trees, lakes and a pristine cricket pitch and a picturesque chateau. There are a lot of pitches on the site though so don’t expect it to be quiet – even the brochure warns it is “large and lively”. Our children loved the high ropes and zip wires best. The safety was impressive with every child harnessed and equipped with a safety helmet before mounting the ladders into the trees and plummeting across the lakes. Great for thrill-seekers and although our three were nervous to start with – they soon got over their initial fears. [high ropes.jpg] You can book a kid’s kit package for 17 Euros and this includes a zip-line session, megabooster trampoline and an adventure course in the treetops. A Family Pass will buy you a pedalo and crazy golf session for 2 adults and up to three children – so nothing exactly breaks the bank. We tried pony riding (riding hats available), but were a bit taken aback when we were asked to lead our kids´ ponies round the campsite as we had no experience of dealing with horses. One of them (hardly bigger than a Shetland!) proved very stubborn and we had to head back defeated, much to the disappointment of our seven-year-old! As a family we enjoyed eating out at the pizzeria (five pizzas, plus drinks usually came to around 40 Euros) and sitting at the bar in the evenings (lots of kids were running around and the atmosphere was very relaxed). A visit to Mont-Saint Michel Abbey, a World Heritage site is unmissable (and kids get in free so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg).Yes it’s a tourist honey-pot and incredibly busy and packed with souvenir shops, but if you can make the hike up to the Abbey you’ll experience just why it has been such a major centre for Christian pilgrimage since the 10th century. When we visited a service was in progress and the singing had a haunting and mystical quality. It seemed to make a big impression on all of us and hopefully will be a childhood memory the children will always have. [abbey.jpg] We enjoyed Breton crepes for lunch at one of the many restaurants on the lower reaches of the Abbey and the children liked buying trinkets in the numerous souvenir shops. Another day out was spent at the medieval town of Dinan, less than 30 minutes to the west of Dol along the D67. The children said it looked like the French town in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, with cobbled streets, a clock tower and the river Rance running beneath it. They loved the specialist chocolate shops and we all enjoyed browsing for gifts to take home, plus a leisurely lunch in the park beneath the old city ramparts Other places to visit include the port of St Malo (where you can book a day trip to the Channel Islands) and the seaside resort of Dinard. Combourg has a chateau built as a medieval fortress between the 12th and 15th centuries which is also well worth a visit. Cobac Park is a family theme park on the Voie Express 137 between St Malo and Rennes with roller coasters, boating, carousels and boating (13.50 Euros for children over 3 and 15 Euros for an adult). Our seven-day trip was packed with on site activities, but there was plenty of history and culture within striking distance to get that authentic French experience. Pretty much perfect for a family break we’d say and a place we’d certainly like to return to. [Jo Waters is a freelance journalist and mum to three daughters].

Description: “The high ropes were fantastic,” was one comment. “The zip wires were thrilling” was another. “I loved the pony rides best but Mont St Michel was also cool.”

2008-07-14 14:00:02.917

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