I love a good British holiday so much so that I haven’t been abroad for 13 years; even before that I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been on a plane. Don’t feel sorry for me though, this is a choice not a misfortune. We have just returned from a family caravan holiday in Swanage and it was such a fabulous week that it once again proved to me that British is best (for my family at least). Here are 3 reasons why:
Britain is closer than abroad
I am simply not interested in leaving the country enough to go through such a long travelling experience. It took us 5 hours to get to Swanage (Longer than necessary but we had Good Friday traffic and a faulty Sat Nav to deal with). Even so my husband and I agree it’s still a bit far. I absolutely loved Swanage but one of the advantages of living on this little Island is there are so many lovely British seaside resorts all within a couple of hours of pretty much anywhere .
When I think about going through the effort we went through only to find you’re just at the airport it gives me a headache. You then have to check in, wait 2 hours, get on a plane, eat shit food, get off the plane, wait for your luggage and then get on your transport link to get to said destination. Quite frankly that does not sound like a holiday to me! There is of course the option of going by ferry or car but unless you live in Dover and you’re going on holiday to Calais it still makes me feel exhausted just thinking about the time it takes.
The year my husband and I got married we did up an old VW camper van (not the one you probably have a picture of in your head now, it was an LT28 and looked more like a giant loaf of bread than a cool surfer van). We planned on making our way to Europe but after breaking down 5 times in 4 days we settled on Devon and loved every moment. As I felt this way before I had kids, now with 3 little ones in tow those feelings are heightened.
Take our most recent holiday drive, there were moments of hell. Like when all 3 children were crying at the same time or when the 6 year old was screaming with a belly ache, or when we got lost because me, the husband and the Sat Nav all had a disagreement. All these things made parts of the journey stressful but the saving grace was that we all knew it would be over soon! Despite our long(ish) journey we left at 11 and by tea time we were in our caravan, unpacked and ready for our adventures to begin
When is a caravan not a caravan?
When you think of the word caravan you naturally associate it with camping. These days though they have nothing in common with canvas. The static caravan’s we stayed in were not brand new or state of the art but by god they were lovely. They were warm, clean, cosy, and comfortable. They had absolutely everything you could need for a self-catering family holiday.
We actually went back to the same place (or opposite to be exact) that my husband and his family used to go when he was a kid. Back then they didn’t even have a toilet in the van, these days it’s no different to a bungalow.
The children loved it, they jumped straight in and found their room claiming their beds and making a home. The husband’s parents and sister’s family were also on the same site and their caravan’s, although different were equally perfect and fit for purpose. When we all got together there were 6 adults and 5 children (although one of the kids is taller than me), we all were able to comfortably share the living space and enjoy a meal in each other’s company. Yes it was cosy but we didn’t feel squished. In fact I was more comfortable entertaining that many people in the caravan than I would be in my own home as the space is designed so well.
Politically I am pro-European, but when I spend my money I like to know it is going back into the country and building up our economy. The British seaside resort is iconic and was a big part of my childhood. I want my kids to experience the same magic. Chips on the sea front, crabbing, body boarding, donkey rides are all part of the traditions that are a joy to pass on.
Most people I know go abroad do so for one reason; the sunshine and I get it. I love the sun as much as the next person; it lifts my mood and means I can physically do more activities. This is Britain though and if there anything more traditional than a donkey ride it’s complaining about the weather, we love it!
For us, this week was quite mixed in weather, one night hurricane Kate swept through and made a few of us a little nervous in our rocking vans during the night. Thankfully though thee kids slept and all we found the next day was an overturned patio chair on the grass. We had some lovely dry and dare I say even sunny days. It may not have been bikini weather but I don’t own a bikini anyway so I didn’t mind. If you did own one though you could have always worn it under a coat!
If you’re looking for culture and history then Britain is rich for pickings, from fossil hunting to castle adventures there is so much to explore on our fair isles, it’s not all about fry ups and fair grounds.
So to conclude I am not saying I will never go abroad again, there is so many corners of this beautiful world I would love to explore and maybe one day I will. For now though I will be keeping my holidays British. This may mean I am not very well travelled but I am an expert at crabbing (well I managed to catch the only crab of the holiday so I’m not sure that constitutes an expert but I do like to gloat)!
We stayed at Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park and I would genuinely recommend it to all my readers. The caravans are clean and well maintained, the staff are friendly and the facilities are good. The kids favourite bit was the swimming pool which we certainly took advantage of. My only pointer would be if you book in for a meal double check the booking, we made a reservation for Easter Sunday but somehow our name didn’t get written down and so we turned up for Sunday lunch and had nowhere to sit. They squeezed us in the bar which wasn’t the best of situations but the waitress was so attentive and the food was delicious so we soon got over it.
Swanage is a fantastic destination for a family holiday, there is so much to see in and around the area we hardly scratched the surface. We will definitely return but maybe we will try somewhere a little closer next time.
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