Last year, we took H on our first official family holiday. Gareth and I had been on weekends away and things before we had the boys but we hadn’t been away on a “proper holiday”. We chose Great Yarmouth as our destination. While it seems close to us on a map, it takes us nearly 3 hours to drive there and that was long enough. I was 23 weeks pregnant and the only designated driver so driving all that way was tough. We stayed at the Wild Duck Haven Park. We chose it because it looked beautiful, surrounded by woodland and, as the website said, had treehouses the children could explore and many woodland walks. We didn’t find it to be like this. The facilities on site weren’t great, in fact, the toddler pool was closed every day because the lifeguards didn’t want to man it alone. We spent a lot of our time off the park. We had 2 days at the seaside, doing the Sea Life centre and all the typical British seaside things. The other day, we went to the Dinosaur Adventure Park which was an hours drive from the park. Even though it was raining most of that day, it was my favourite day of the holiday.
So that was our holiday in 2016. This year, we wanted to go back to Yarmouth but we didn’t want to stay at the same park. We decided on the Seashore park this time because, as the name suggests, the sea is 30 seconds from the park. You could see the windmill farm from our living room window. The cheapest week was the week after the May half term but H’s birthday also fell on that week too. We umm’d and ahh’d for a while before booking it. I wasn’t too sure how H would take it, being away from home for his birthday but he was very excited that he was going on holiday to the seaside and stay in a caravan!
Obviously, we had A with us as well this year. He’s not a great sleeper anyway so I was really wary of how he would be. At home, we have the cotbed pushed right up beside our bed with the side off so if he needs to nurse at night, I just feed him and put him back. We brought the travel cot with us and that first night was horrendous. He had me up every hour. After that, we decided Gareth needed to share with H and me and A would have the double bed. Also because of A, we didn’t want to be rushing around all over the place so we decided on a more relaxed week. It’s a good job we did because we chose the week where it rained pretty much every day! I honestly didn’t mind it though because it was so cosy, hearing the rain batter the side of the caravan and watch the rough sea from the window. We braved it once to go swimming and that was awful! We arrived soaking wet and looked like we’d already been!
The facilities on the park were a lot better than at Wild Duck. The pool was great, the small pool was open all the time and it had a sprinkler and water slide, both of which H loved. We only used the restaurant once, for breakfast on our second day and after that debacle, we didn’t go back. The adult vegetarian breakfast came with mushrooms and tomatoes (which I can’t stand) and there was no children’s vegetarian cooked one. We asked if I could swap the two items I don’t like for extras of something else and if the meat sausages on H’s could be changed to vegetarian ones. We were told that they don’t do that so we had to make up a breakfast using the separate items, making it more expensive. And to top it off, when G’s came, it didn’t even have mushrooms on it anyway! But apart from that, the park itself was great.
We wandered around Yarmouth itself which was nice. A good variety of shops and we got a lot of our food for the caravan from the centre, meaning we didn’t have to go to a supermarket. We lived off chips, ice cream (Ferrero Rocher flavour!) and candy floss one day! We did the Sea Life Centre again and while we didn’t spend much time on the actual beach, being beside the sea and breathing in the sea air was perfect.
On H’s birthday, we went to Banham Zoo. It was an hours drive from the park and quite expensive (our local zoo only costs £25 for us to get in) but it was worth it all. The shows and demonstrations were free. We went to the one recommended to us and it was pretty amazing. The animals were running about freely on the stage and a bird flew so close to our heads, we could feel the air from it’s wings. We saw tigers, cheetahs, snow leopards, giraffes, red pandas and my favourite, a sloth! It was a great day and I would recommend it to anyone who is nearby. We finished off the day with a Papa John’s pizza and a mini cake. Henry had only asked for “sprinkles” for his birthday and I didn’t want to disappoint him..so that’s what he got!
I had an amazing time this year and I was actually really sad to leave. Even though it didn’t feel like a break (holidays with children are never relaxing!), it was nice to get away from mundane, everyday life. Next year, we might go back to the same park or try somewhere new. We haven’t decided yet! But it will never be boring with these 3 by my side.