I’m not actually sure if I want to write about where we stayed over May half term this year…it’s a perfect little secret that none of my friends had ever heard about and I’m not sure that I want to share!
Ssshh, don’t tell everyone but take a look at the Sunparks.com website…!
Last year we stayed for a weekend in Center Parcs in Woburn – we had a really lovely family weekend and my sons absolutely loved the pool area however it was very expensive and this year our budget was tighter, so I set about looking for a similar set-up but for a cheaper price…this is when I discovered Sunparks.
Sunparks has three locations in Belgium, all of which have the same style of swimming pool with water slides, rapids and wave pool, alongside a huge choice of family friendly activities and facilities. A quick look at the prices during May half term and I was sold!
The car was loaded, passports ready, Euros purchased and we were on our way…
Top Tip: be sure to check your if your car insurance covers your for driving in Europe and also your car breakdown cover – most do, but you might need to let them know when you are travelling.
We chose to travel via the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle (thanks to Tesco Clubcard vouchers, we got this for free!) which takes just 35 minutes and has up to 96 crossings per day. Check in and passport control are all passed in the comfort of your own car and didn’t take long at all. We had arrived a little early and were able to take an earlier train than planned and within no time at all we were in Calais, ready to take the 70 minute journey into Belgium and to the town of De Haan ann zee.
This was the first time that we had driven through Europe and both my husband and myself were a little wary; we should not have worried for one moment! The roads were easy to navigate, signs were clear and the main motorway much quieter than any in the UK that we use.
Top Tip: when driving in Europe you do tend to need a European car kit which includes a breakdown warning triangle, high vis jackets and more; we brought this one from Amazon.
Sunparks offers an advance check in online; no cars are allowed onto the site until 3pm but if you arrive beforehand you can use all of the facilities.
Top Tip: pack a bag that you can reach easily with your swim suits and towels and head straight to the pool!
The accommodation was spread around the park with the pool, restaurants and main facilities in a glass dome in the center. The comfortable holiday lodges sleep from 2 – 12 people and we found our lodge (a 2 bedroom Exclusive holiday house) to be clean, functional and perfect for our short four night stay. We were also very lucky to be in an ideal position, close to the main dome area.
A huge draw for this type of short-stay holiday for us was the on-site facilities and we tried quite a few:
We ate a couple of times in the Café du Jour; an inside and outside bar/restaurant with a reasonable menu (including kids choices).
The shop was well stocked, but see our Top Tip below…
Top Tip: bring as many essentials from home as you can, Belgium is very expensive even for the most basic food items.
There was a fun mini-golf area (just over 20 Euros for a family of 4) where my 7 year old son was delighted when he got a hole in one!
When it rained one afternoon, we headed to the inside bowling alley. We thought this was great value at under 18 Euros for a whole hour bowling (for up to 10 people) and the alley itself was very modern. The sports bar was also in this area, with a large screen and floor bean bags to lounge in, along with a games/entertainment room.
Kids World indoor games area was perfect for all ages with a three level soft play, two large trampolines (you did have to pay to use these but only 1 Euro for 6/7 minutes), a large climbing frame, bouncy castle and so much more…
And then the main draw, the huge swimming pool area…a lagoon style wave-pool, two water slides, a not-so-lazy river, rapids, indoor and outdoor pool, jacuzzi – you name it, they had it!
Plenty of deck chairs to sit and chill if you want a break from the water; we really thought this pool was fab! The changing rooms were plentiful and clean (there was always a cleaner busy working whenever we were there) and lockers were a decent size for families (2 Euros needed – refundable). My 7 year old sons absolutely loved this area and we had to drag them away…!
But a holiday isn’t a holiday for me without a little look around the local area.
De Haan was absolutely beautiful; so clean and tidy with simply stunning houses, everywhere we looked we saw another that we would love to live in! The small town had the most delicious chocolate shop (a must in Belgium, surely?!), bakeries and boutiques.
And for anyone who can persuade their family to go, Bruges is just a 30 minute drive away.
We spent our mornings on the simply stunning, almost deserted beach…
and our afternoons by the pool.
And our evenings were spent sampling the delights of Belgium waffles and Belgium beer – a perfect half term break!
Sunparks De Haan, see you in October half term!
Top Tip: if you book in advance you can receive up to a 20% discount on your holiday, which can be combined with a 25% Young Families offer (families or groups with at least one child under the age of 13) or Senior Offer of 25% discount (for families or groups with at least one person older than 55). Amazing offers!
Kelly and her family did not receive any compensation for this article; the holiday was paid for by themselves and all thoughts and photos are their own.