Images of rows of prison style barracks, themed entertainment, and dreadful food are what the mind conjures when you say the words "holiday park".
By the Hi-de-Hi! image belies the fact that these days, holiday parks can provide the perfect family vacation. To begin with, you get your own pad, complete with self-catering facilities and TV. Onsite entertainment includes vast soft play areas, indoor pools with crazy slides, playgrounds and petting zoos.
Holiday parks also make great bases for exploring a region. Nearly all of them are close to national parks and interesting towns or cities. So you won’t be stuck onsite. What better recipe for family bliss?
So who are the holiday park providers in the greater region?
Some 70 bungalow or chalet parks across Europe, in great locations for both outdoor fun and city sightseeing.
Online information includes the level of onsite ‘fun’ available at each park, so you can decide if you want a giant swimming pool with toboggans or a quieter play pool for smaller children.
Some have climbing walls and others extensive soft play areas. Invariably some have been updated more recently than others but the prices reflect this.
Nice touches: lamps and low lighting in chalets, plus you can take pets and hire bicycles.
Ages: all ages, but pick your park carefully to match the age of your kids.
The Butlins of Belgium, its tropical swimming pools with multiple toboggans, waterfalls and wave machines make for great indoor fun, especially for older children.
Some parks are in need of an update, but again prices reflect this, and locations are great for visiting cities such as Bruges and Antwerp.
Nice touches: bar and burgers by the pool.
Ages: teenagers will love this but there is room for smaller ones.
In more than 20 locations in Europe including France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, with a geothermally heated modern one near Disneyland Paris. You’ll pay more than the others, but you’ll have better quality, and you can choose to stay in a tree house, houseboat, cabin, cottage or hotel.
Nice touches: the swimming pools are out of this world and the treetop courses are pretty hair-raising.
Ages: a myriad of activities for kids of all ages including climbing walls and paintballing for older kids or family workshops where you can all get stuck in.
Offering the best of everyone else, Hoseasons Europe has partnered with other holiday parks such as Landal to offer sites in France, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and Czech Republic.
Accommodation can range from chalets and mobile homes (and camping in the summer months) but not every park has indoor activities so check online to see what you are getting if you plan to set off in the cooler months.
Nice touches: you can go pretty much anywhere in Europe and last-minute deals make it really good value.
Ages: with so many parks, there’s bound to be one that suits all your kids.
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