Simple delights that made us want to stay

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Picturesque Isle of Wight resort kept everyone entertained so time flew for the whole family

The time had come to depart at the end of our holiday but my five-year-old son was nowhere to be seen.

We knew he hadn’t left the caravan but with the car all packed up, he suddenly disappeared.

Eventually we spotted him, hiding under the bed.

He had enjoyed such a brilliant time he was categorically refusing to leave.

He was willing to take his chances with the next family who turned up as long as he could stay, play and keep having fun.

There was space to run, play, explore and adventure - while feeling completely safe

The whole family reflected his sentiment, even though we weren’t quite small enough to imagine we could hide and stay.

It had been a brilliant holiday from the minute we drove onto the ferry in Portsmouth.

We stayed at Parkdean Resort’s Nodes Point Holiday Park, near Ryde, in the Isle of Wight.

All of us, two adults and three children, had made plans for the things we wanted to see and do on the island. There was lots within easy reach of Nodes Point including Goodleaf Tree Climbing, Dinosaur Isle and the Isle of Wight Zoo.

I quite fancied going to The Needles and exploring the many walking routes around the coast.

However, our big plans were quickly eclipsed because the children loved the resort so much we spent all our time there.

The weather switched dramatically throughout the week, with glorious sunshine one day and rain the next.

When temperatures rose we spent days on the beach, which was just a couple of minutes’ walk from our caravan.

It was absolutely beautiful. I even overheard one couple discussing how it was just like visiting the Mediterranean.

We collected shells, swam in the sea, ate fish and chips... all the things you do on a great British holiday.

In the evening the children loved spending, or wasting as I tried to say, their pocket money in the 2p slot machines.

It felt very much like the holidays I spent as a child with my own grandparents without needing to fly overseas.

There were all-weather sports courts for the older ones and an adventure playground for the littlies.

Most of all there was just lots of space to run, play, explore and adventure – with everything feeling completely safe.

Parkdean Resorts are deliberately designed for families and, while it might not be the poshest of options, it is a great break.

Children’s activities run throughout the day – starting with special breakfast events and ending with late evening entertainment.

There are discos, crafts, quizzes and everything a little heart desires.

The company also has its own character mascots who appear regularly to the kids’ delight.

In fact, any mention of Sparkie or Sparkle and my youngest son was very keen to be involved.

Importantly, that meant the adults could relax.

We chatted and read during the day, had a laugh and a drink in the evening – all while being able to keep an eye on the children.

Bliss – for everyone.

When the rain came we spent our time at the indoor pools which had water slides for braver kids and a paddling pool for tots.

They would have happily spent all day in there, if it wasn’t for the temptation of other activities.

There was always somewhere to be or something to join with, led by a very friendly and accommodating entertainment team.

Our caravan had everything we needed and was comfortable.

There were three bedrooms and a sofa-bed in the living room, so plenty of room for our five.

The kitchen was well stocked with equipment and there was a television, which even the children were far too busy to bother with.

We cooked all our own meals together, which was usually entertaining but occasionally prompted a squabble.

That meant we didn’t have to spend any more money than we usually would at home, except for quite a few holiday treats of course.

We bought rock for gifts and sent postcards, which not surprisingly arrived in Sheffield well after we did.

The children would have opted for Spain if given the choice.

I’m glad they weren’t because they are now converts to a different kind of family holiday – sun, rain and all.

Several of my friends have spent their breaks in Britain this summer rather than their usual exotic destinations. They all loved it and have avoided the great holiday debt.

As we were leaving we vowed to go back to the Isle of Wight for a proper look. This visit really didn’t do it justice – but we adored every minute.

Most importantly, we loved spending time together without the pressures of everyday life. You don’t have to spend a fortune on flights, hotels and restaurants to do that.

FACT FILE:

Parkdean Resorts’ Nodes Point Holiday Park St Helens, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 1YA

October half-term break: Arriving October 20, 2017 for four nights staying in a Carisbrooke chalet – £219

2018 break: Arriving March 5, 2018 for four nights staying in a Carisbrooke chalet – £109

Book: Call 0330 1234850 or visit Park Dean Resorts