Eurocamp France: A fun family holiday that will delight adults and children alike
At the bottom they both shoot off the end of the slide into the pool below, emerging from the water in uncontrollable fits of giggles.
As far as family holidays go, we’re off to a pretty good start.
In recent years, since Covid, our family holidays have consisted of travelling around the UK and Europe in the campervan we bought in 2020. However, as much as they adore our 1996 Mazda Bongo, this year the boys asked to go on a Eurocamp holiday again.
Eurocamp offers outdoor holidays across over 150 parcs in 10 European countries.
Our first Eurocamp experience was at Park Umag, a large, lively site on the Istria peninsula in Croatia, in 2019.
The boys loved the pools, swimming in the sea and the land train that ran around the site.
We even hopped on a ferry to Venice for the day for our tenth wedding anniversary.
However, even though we enjoyed the holiday, my husband and I agreed that next time we’d like to stay a bit closer to home so we could drive there and be able to take a few more things with us, like our paddle boards.
Four years later, in May half term, we find ourselves driving to Castel Camping La Garangeoire in the Vendée in France.
This family-owned site, in the grounds of a beautiful chateau, is small enough to easily navigate but big enough to have lots going on and it’s only a 15 minute drive to the beach.
The easiest way to get there is the overnight Portsmouth to St Malo crossing with Brittany Ferries. Our four-berth cabin is comfortable and there is plenty to keep the kids entertained on board. In the morning it’s just three hours to the campsite (no toll roads).
It’s very rare that we arrive somewhere and immediately relax so it’s a strange sensation to reach La Garangeoire and feel at peace the moment we arrive.
It could be the fact that the campsite is nestled in the grounds of a beautiful chateau. Or maybe it’s the fact that due to a well-timed inset day at the boys’ primary school we arrive on the Friday before half term when it’s particularly quiet.
Or perhaps it’s our Eurocamp Azure Lounge holiday home, which is like a little corner of luxury with its large decking area and outdoor sofas - something we’re not used to on a campsite in a 28-year-old camper van.
Whatever it is, we immediately get that holiday feeling. Even when the half term crowds arrive, it doesn’t feel too busy. Ok, the pool area is pretty full at certain times of the day but it never feels overwhelming.
The heated pool complex contains five different pools and three slides. There are Eurocamp sites with bigger water parks but this is perfect if you have younger children.
The site also contains four fishing lakes and a lagoon with a man made beach. Canoe and pedal hire are available on one of the larger lakes.
There are timetabled activities for adults, children and teenagers throughout the day should you wish to take part. Activities during our week include pony trekking, go karting, trampolining table tennis, painting and cheese and wine tasting.
There are free kids clubs - one run by the campsite and one run by Eurocamp.
My two neurodivergent boys tend to get anxious around kids clubs so they decline to take part but the children who are there look like they’re having a lot of fun.
The campsite is cashless. You can either pay by card or put money on wristbands given to each member of the family on arrival.
There’s a small but well-stocked shop, which sells the essentials, including baguettes and pastries in the morning.
In addition, there are also two bars, a restaurant and a takeaway on site. One of the bars backs on to a beautiful walled garden where our boys love playing on the bouncy castle. This is also where some of the evening activities take place, such as live music, games and crepe evenings.
For a relatively small site, there are lots of things to do for families, including a playground, a football pitch, bikes to hire, a mini golf course, tennis courts, table tennis tables and a games room.
It’s hard not to like Castel Camping La Garangeoire. It’s clean and well-run with lots of activities and facilities. With just 20 hectares of the 200-hectare estate dedicated to camping, it feels like we’re immersed in nature.
You could easily spend a week just on the campsite but there are plenty of places to visit nearby and reception has an abundance of maps, leaflets and advice on days out.
It’s worth noting that you can’t take your own paddle board on any of the on-site lakes but the huge Lac du Jaunay is only five-minute drive away where we spend a happy couple of afternoons paddle boarding.
Kids will also love Le Grand Defi forest adventure - think Go Ape - which is only a few minutes down the road. The boys love ziplining over the lake.
If you have kids, you can’t go wrong with a Eurocamp holiday as there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And if you’re lucky enough to spend a birthday there, its an extra special treat.
For more information about Eurocamp holidays, visit eurocamp.co.uk
Brittany Ferries sail direct from Portsmouth, Plymouth and Poole to destinations in France and Spain. For more information, visit brittany-ferries.co.uk