A couple of weeks ago our little family of 4 headed off on holiday down to France for a week at the Eurocamp Houlgate La Vallee Parc. I have to admit I had no idea what to expect from a Eurocamp holiday initially – I had seen the adverts and heard a few friends talk about it, but I couldn’t truly imagine whether it would be something I would actually like doing. Whenever we travel we tend to stay away from the resort style holiday, preferring to go off the beaten track and explore the place on our own terms. We chose Normandy because of its distance to the UK and the ease of getting there, it was also highly recommended by my sister who visited last year. We set off from Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries – (a little video here if you’d like to know what it’s like going by ferry) which went directly to Caen, a stress-free 30 minutes from the ferry port the other side. La Vallee is rated 5 star and is less than 1km from a beach.
I, of course, vlogged our whole trip to share our amazing memories, but I thought it would be useful for anyone else looking to go on a Eurocamp holiday to share exactly what you can expect when you book!
What to Expect from a Eurocamp Holiday:
Enjoy relaxed evenings and adult time:
Now, I know this is a strange one to start on – you’re going on a family holiday, why are you talking about the time spent without them!? Well the truth is, we all love spending time with our kids, of course! But it’s important to have a break from being Mum & Dad, to enjoy each others company as a couple, or perhaps with friends; it’s our holiday too after all! This is always one of my points of research when looking to book a holiday somewhere. A hotel in a resort means, what with young children’s bedtimes, you can find yourself restricted come the evenings, especially if they don’t sleep in a pram or you don’t want to disrupt a routine. Stuart and I absolutely loved our evenings out on our decking, drinking in the balmy evening sunshine as well as much vin rouge! Of course there is an entertainment programme which happens each night, but we much prefered taking this time as our own and enjoying our on pitch BBQ whilst watching the beautiful sunsets. You can also order take away meals such as pizza or fish and chips. The shop on site contained all the essentials like wine and bread – you can put your order in for fresh baguettes each day, yum! There weren’t any fresh vegetables though which was a shame but I think perhaps this was an out of season thing. There was a large Lidl just down the road though with everything you could need.
Spend quality time bonding as a family:
Ok, back to them! We all know, life at home gets hectic. Whether you’re a stay at home mum/dad, you work from home or you go out to work, it’s hard to maintain a good work-life balance so when you go on holiday you want to make the most of the time you have as a family. We enjoyed spending quality time at our Azure holiday home which was a great setting for lots of one on one time with the children and there were lots of activities we could borrow from the children’s club to entertain them back at our holiday home.
Learn a new life skill & make new friends:
Eurocamp holidays all feature kids clubs, these are run by dedicated reps who have a passion for teaching children new skills, as well as running fun and engaging activities. Unfortunately we didn’t realise until a few days in that there was a morning session for balance bikes but we soon went along once we knew. Henry went with no experience and after 3 short sessions he quickly began to pick up this new skill, one particular day an activity leader, Neils, really bought Henry on leaps and bounds to teach him the hang of it and kept him concentrated on the matter at hand when his attention started to slip. There are different aged groups and from the age of 4 they can be left without adult supervision. We haven’t ever used a kids club before, and we weren’t sure about leaving Henry, but the staff all made us feel at ease, and because we were staying with George anyway we got to take a peek into what the older children were doing and keep him in view – the perfect transition for us for next time! The sessions were brilliant, totally varied and really engaging using lots of props and well thought out themed activities.
A compact & modern home for the week:
We stayed in a brand new Azure holiday home. They are fitted to a very modern style and we had a 3 bedroom option; although the boys ended up sharing so we used the 3rd room to store all of our clothes. The kitchen had all the conveniences we should need and just enough space to make our meals up each day. The internal space is quite compact, there was a sofa and dining table in the main room, bathroom and toilet separately and interestingly no TV – this was actually really nice for us as we had a digital detox, but you may wish to prepare by bringing a portable DVD player or paying for the Wi-Fi on site. Each window opened up wide and had a bug net which I thought was a great touch as it meant we could let all the air in and keep any insects out! What totally made our time at our holiday home though was the outdoor space. We had a large decking where the boys could play and we had the confidence to know they couldn’t get out thanks to the stair gate fixing we ordered. We spotted the ultimate pitch though on the way to the tennis court, it had a beautiful green in front of it and all the activities on your doorstep – next time you’re ours 517!!
Become a kid again:
There’s so much to do on site at the Parc, and it’s hard not to get involved when you see your children having so much fun! There are little playgrounds dotted about, indoor bouncy castles, tennis, boules, basketball, swimming pools, flumes, disco, the list goes on! Not sure who the biggest kid of the group was…
Explore the local area:
As I’ve said, there’s heaps to do on site at a Eurocamp holiday, and we had a brilliant experience there as the weather was amazing and it was really quiet. Some people we met didn’t leave the Parc, and for good reason. However we simply had to go off exploring, this is us after all! The local area was stunning, absolutely stunning. Even when you come off the ferry the port town is beautiful. Roses adorn every single house, each street is made to look so effortlessly pretty. There are also a vast amount of clean, beautiful beaches, steeped in history of D-Day landings as well as pretty little villages and harbour towns. I couldn’t recommend this area enough and I wont stop telling people about it – whether they’ve asked or not! Here are just a few shots of our adventures outside of the parc.
Enjoy a warm welcome:
When you book your holiday you let Eurocamp know what time you’re due to arrive. This means the “couriers” will know when to expect you and have everything ready for you. They explain in full how things work around the parc – that you need a band to gain access in and out, where the on-site shop is, how to order take away meals, to the pool and how the permissions for the kids club work etc. It might seem a little overwhelming, so have a listen then head to your holiday home to digest everything and make a plan as to what you want to do first! My tip would be to order the welcome pack, and the essentials pack. This provides you with that first cup of tea and a biscuits for when you get there and also supplies things like salt & pepper and even olive oil for when you remember that you’ve forgotten to pack anything like that! Also all your washing up and cleaning bits you will need. Another tip is to order the bedding and towels – unless you have enough space to pack that in the car too. It was one less thing to worry about for us so we went ahead and ordered lots of things to be waiting for us at our home for the week!
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at La Vallee Houlgate Eurocamp Parc. I have recommended it to everyone because we came home feeling so relaxed, rejuvenated and happy. I will say it could be quite different if it was during the summer holidays, but we really loved every moment and we would love to visit again.
We were asked to review this Eurocamp holiday in exchange for an honest review. I really hope you love your trip as much as we did!