Family holidays..

(63 Posts)
Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 06:54:27

Aibu to ask you all where you go and how much you spend?!

I haven't really enjoyed our family holidays over the last couple of years. We've hired a cottage and also went on a Mark Warner holiday - both in Europe.. 2 young dc.

Both holidays were exhausting, at times fun, at times stressful. Travelling to Europe (let alone further afield) with children is a schlep.

The holidays we'd really like to do seem completely unreachable financially. And I'm not talking about Necker Island - more like a really lovely hotel in France or a beautiful hired cottage in Devon. £1000 for a week is our total budget. I can't really get my head around spending more than that when there's so many other pulls on our money. Eg we need a new car in the next year.

I'd just like some inspiration I think - I'm baffled by "holidays" as my idea of a holiday pre dh and dc was flying long haul to stay with friends or camping in Cornwall! I've never been a fan of beach holidays but our dc just want to spend a week in a pool.

BellaVita Sat 30-Mar-13 07:08:09

We are going to Cyprus today - one week half board (same cost as bed and breakfast), we will probably eat out though, cost £2,700. DH, me, two DS's 15 and 13.

In August we are going back to Mexico for two weeks. Flights have cost £3,400. Spends will be about £3000. We have a timeshare, so only have to pay for the flights however our maintenance fees are around £1500 per year on top of the flights.

Last year was Mexico, year before was Hawaii, before that Malta, before that Las Vegas, before that Florida 3 times, we have also done Portugal, New York, Canary Islands.

When mine were smaller, we stayed by the pool a lot!

SunnyRandall Sat 30-Mar-13 07:21:01

We are having four nights at Bluestone this year. £250 including breakfast in the restaurant and packed lunches for dc. Detached lodge. In May. It's all we can afford this year after moving house and needing a new car. However i am ridiculously excited about it.

Last year we had a week in August and it rained solidly for six days. I vowed never to pay August prices for the UK ever again.

Dc are 6 and 4.

SunnyRandall Sat 30-Mar-13 07:22:06

Oh that price was with an offer code. And will take about £150 spending money.

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:25:20

sunny that's an amazing deal!!

Tailtwister Sat 30-Mar-13 07:27:37

We have 2 DS's (2 and 5) and ime the best way forward is to take the path of least resistance. By that I mean choosing something which is on their level. No hotels (too many other guests to annoy with early morning noise), no very nice cottages where you'll be stressing about carpets. We went on a few yurt holidays last year and they were great. Camping in a way, but still with beds and showers and the means for a nice coffee in the morning. The kids loved it and were knackered by 7 so we had the evenings to ourselves. I think it was around £500 per week in the peak season.

ChoudeBruxelles Sat 30-Mar-13 07:28:30

We're going to south of France in July. It's cost about a grand for accommodation, flights and car hire.

Tailtwister Sat 30-Mar-13 07:28:48

Oh and we've been on a Featherdown Farm holiday too. Not for everyone I know and some say expensive for what you get, but it's the kind of thing which suits DC down to the ground.

whattodoo Sat 30-Mar-13 07:30:50

I convert all my tesco club card points into air miles and every few years blow them on a fab holiday (usually have to add a bit of cash).

In between years we generally do haven or similar in UK - cheap, simple and they have a pool and activities for DD(4).

SunnyRandall Sat 30-Mar-13 07:31:56

I know! I think it was about 25% off the normal price. And included the breakfasts which are about £8 for adults and £5 for dc per day. Last year we went to the pool only for a day and it was almost £40 and that was with us pretending dd was younger than she was.

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:31:57

bella enjoy your holiday! Sounds like you have the sort of family holidays I'd like to have but just can't get my head round paying so much!

I'm not stingy in other areas - it's just that a holiday isn't something tangible... I know it's about family time and memories etc. But the expense! <shuffles off shaking head>

drinkyourmilk Sat 30-Mar-13 07:32:14

Go camping. You enjoyed it pre dc and its prefect for kids. Cheap enough too that if you have bad weather you can do soft play or something and keep to.budget

Mawgatron Sat 30-Mar-13 07:33:09

Bells, I think the op said total budget was a grand.
I'm def not jealous of your amazing holiday destinations <quietly sobs into hands> wink

twinklytoes Sat 30-Mar-13 07:33:36

we've changed our holiday focus too like Tailtwister.

it's easier and less stressful if the children are going to enjoy the holiday. So for the last five years we visit a Park Resorts site, rent the gold+/platinum caravans (so we've got space, central heating etc!) and the children have activities to do, access to a pool and the evening entertainment is sorted. DH and I aren't over keen but happy the children are happy.

we're paying full whack this year (£600 for 7 days in august) but previous years we've got the holiday paid by tesco clubcard vouchers.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 30-Mar-13 07:33:53

We are gong for pricey holiday cottages this year.

We upped the budget for our properties last year and stayed in the most amazing places, first one on the Anglesey coastal path and second on the Llangollen canal right next to Chirk aqueduct. Well worth the extra money and we spent less in terms of doing stuff because the dses are a bit older and we mostly walked. Our biggest cost once there may have been tea shops. Can't do a long walk without tea and cake can youconfused

So this year a week in a stunning property on the Northumberland coast is £1000 and a bit and the next week is a bit less in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Mawgatron Sat 30-Mar-13 07:33:56

Bella ( bloody iPhone)

Kt8791 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:34:11

Sunny have u been to bluestone before? We are in the SMS situation having just bought a new house and car and expecting dc3 anytime but feel I do need some sort of holiday. We also went away last August and it rained for most of the week:-(

twooter Sat 30-Mar-13 07:34:14

You can do keycamp for that if you stay in a tent. Our kids love it.

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:38:42

tailtwister I like your style. Googling featherdown...

SunnyRandall Sat 30-Mar-13 07:39:18

Kt8791 we haven't stayed at Bluestone before but have been to the water park.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 30-Mar-13 07:39:31

We camp and we've done it once for our main holiday but never again!

We spent more just to get out of the tent and certainly the second week, the site was heaving and queuing for the showers or having to get up at stupid o clock to beat the rush got old very quickly. We had pretty good weather too, so no complaints about that.

I love camping and am happy to do it for a few nights but I want a bit more comfort and luxury from my summer holiday if I can afford it.

chickydoo Sat 30-Mar-13 07:40:33

We are going to a Villa in Turkey
Villa was expensive around 3K for 2 weeks, flights & food are on top.
Not a cheap holiday, but I can't wait!

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:40:43

doyouthink PLEASE can I come too? (Not with dh or dc grin)

JollyYellowGiant Sat 30-Mar-13 07:45:59

When we were younger we went to France a lot. Usually we drove there. We sometimes camped and sometimes stayed in a gite - gite de France website has loads of options.

It is also possible to fly and hire a car but we haven't done that often.

If you are willing to be flexible about how and where you cross and have time to look for good deals then it is very possible to do this cheaply and have a wonderful time.

It is always hard work though. Having kids is whether you are at home or somewhere else. I think you probably need to resign yourself to the fact that until they are much older (and leave home...) it will be knackering rather than restful. But so much fun. They will remember it.

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:46:13

Thank you all for your replies. I have enough airmiles to get to Sydney but not enough for a family of 4 to do a key camp holiday in the school holidays. Ridiculous. I do have enough to take oldest dc (age 6) to Disneyland Paris. Which I would hate but she would be in heaven. Worth it for a couple of nights?

Don't think I could handle haven etc. I looked at centre parcs and couldn't believe how expensive it was! Eye watering! Camping generally would be perfect (if we had some sunshine). But all the good sites seem booked up! I feel so disorganised.

JollyYellowGiant Sat 30-Mar-13 07:48:24

We are going to a cottage near Oxford this year as I will be very pregnant and not able to fly. As it is I'm a little worried about the 8 hour drive!

StanleyLambchop Sat 30-Mar-13 07:48:34

We have booked cottages in Devon for less than £1000, try May half term it is alot cheaper than August . there are also loads of owners who don't use agents, if you book direct with them it can be alot cheaper. We are not that far geographically though so the petrol is not too bad. I imagine if you are a far way off then that will start pushing up the price. I hope you find someone nice though, Devon really is great for families!

JollyYellowGiant Sat 30-Mar-13 07:49:02

Cottages4you is a good site for UK cottages.

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 07:52:23

jollyyellow that's what we did last year. 2 weeks, 2 gites in France all for £1000. First week was great, second week not so good - bit isolated, no other children around and lots of rain!

Maybe we should try again but just for 1 week...

Urbanvoltaire Sat 30-Mar-13 07:53:24

Hire a static caravan in a lovely campsite in Fife (went there for all my childhood holidays). Train to Edinburgh then hire a car, approx £750 all in. Kids 6&11, still ok to share a room. It's good value for money IMO & I'm tight! It's like a home from home if on a smaller scale.

Bonkerz Sat 30-Mar-13 07:58:25

We book two holidays a year. Generally first week of summer holidays and either feb half term or oct half term. This year it's July and October. We. Have paid £220 for each holiday. One in north Wales on a site in a caravan (3 bed all mod cons) and another in South Wales on a bigger site with loads for the kids to do. We tend to go to a different part of country each year. Last year we did Norfolk and year before that Devon. It suits us as kids love the activities (4 aged between 12-1) and everything is on hand so older ones can go off round camp alone.

maddening Sat 30-Mar-13 08:05:21

4 nights in a cabin 50yds from the beach in Anglesey £250 plus petrol and food. Loved it.

charlieandlola Sat 30-Mar-13 08:06:11

Keycamp, booked months in advance is an option. May half term much cheaper than summer.

maddening Sat 30-Mar-13 08:06:49

Under the thatch has nice properties

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 30-Mar-13 08:10:05

the west country (and the lakes) are really expensive compared with the rest of the UK
you can get a cottage on the Llyn, or the Gower for half the price, and the beaches are amazing.

this year we are going to North York Moors (again!). £650 for a really well-appointed 3 bed cottage in August. Beautiful part of the world with Whitby, Robin Hood's bay, York all within an easy drive. The beaches are great if we get the weather, but there's lots to do around York/Pickering if we don't. we save tesco points and other vouchers to get money off days out while we're there.

SweepTheHalls Sat 30-Mar-13 08:12:55

I feel your pain, I too remember the lovely holidays! We have found that camping with friends with kids the same age has solved it. They have a fantastic time in the day ( which to be fair so do we) we let them stay up until they fall over! Then enjoy spending the evenings drinking wine with our friends every night. Until we can go snowboarding again, this is is sorted! 5 mini camping hols in different areas of the country booked for between May and September, so no one holiday is a huge deal if it goes pear shaped!

Portofino Sat 30-Mar-13 08:20:13

Could you try a Gite complex in France. The benefits of self catering/ having your own space, but with other kids to play with.

We have so many places we want to go in the UK that we are staying home again this year, with an expensive (for us) day trip each week of the school holidays. Much easier to bribe the DC with the day trip than a holiday I find grin

We will be having a long weekend camping with some friends in August - I couldnt go for longer than a long weekend no matter how much the kids love it.. I try but god I hate camping when sober! blush

AllOverIt Sat 30-Mar-13 08:29:17

We're off to Devon on Monday, for 3 nights. It's our friend's apartment so free, but will need lots of spending money.

We go camping in France for the first two weeks of the Summer. It's about £1800 including all spends so pretty good for a family of four. Think I've only queued for the showers on a couple of occasions so never a problem really.

In between we're off camping in Devon for May half term, then we're camping for other weekends in between. They cost about £100 per weekend including site costs and spending money.

ComingtoKent Sat 30-Mar-13 08:33:05

When my ds was younger we had a few holidays at Sands Resort in Porth near Newquay. It wasn't very expensive, especially outside school holidays, and is just brilliant for kids - and to give parents a break. Loads of activities, clubs etc all included and it's right on the beach so brilliant walks and rock pooling on your doorstep. I saw an offer for it recently on Groupon I think, which made me check out the website and it looks like they're still offering the same standard as we enjoyed a few years ago.

Also my ds absolutely loved (whisper it) Butlins and we got several cheap deals there using the Sun £9.50 holiday vouchers. Again, great for younger kids and tolerable for adults for a weekend.

Nowadays, ds is doing A levels and I get to go on holiday just with my new partner - we had a wonderful cottage in France last year (Owners Direct website) with its own private pool. The cottage slept four and cost 800 euros for a week in August - fantastic value. Obviously we spent a fortune on good food and wine while we were there, but the house and pool were so fab we mostly ate by the pool.

GeekLove Sat 30-Mar-13 08:34:22

I recommend cottages4u and English Country Cottages. I would get one with an indoor swimming pool and a games room as even of the weather is pants you won't be stuck for things to do.

malteserzz Sat 30-Mar-13 08:35:00

We've been put off uk holidays as the weather is always so bad and you end up spending loads on entertaining the kids ! Somewhere like center parcs is expensive but at least you can spend the day in the pool and there's lots to do in the rain !

DiscoDonkey Sat 30-Mar-13 08:39:45

We had a lovely little apartment over looking the beach in Cornwall last year (during August) that cost just under £600. It was a small place but room enough for four people and we couldn't have asked for a better location.

BarredfromhavingStella Sat 30-Mar-13 08:39:48

We're doing Tunisia at the end of August, £2200 for the 4 of us for 2 weeks AI in a two bedroom room-one of us is an infant though so he's only £40 of that grin

We did eurocamp in Italy a couple of years ago & it cost a fortune!!

CatsRule Sat 30-Mar-13 08:44:12

We're going to a caravan in the north of Scotland this year for £300. All we will need is diesel and food.

Previously we went camping and plan to again with ds. He is only a year and we'd need a bus to carry all his luggage including the camping gear! That's why we're not doing that this year but hopefully next year. Plus we need a bigger tent. We also find all the palava of going abroad for sun holidays stressful. Although we'd love to drive to France to go camping.

mamageekchic Sat 30-Mar-13 08:52:57

Disneyworld for us in 2 weeks time!!! Just under £2.7k for flights/hotel/car hire then £500 on park tickets for disney and hoping to get away with £1500 spends. Planning a week in Portugal/Tenerife for later in the year, probably September, budget is £1k ish for flights and accommodation then £700ish spends.

2 adults and 2yo DD

jojane Sat 30-Mar-13 09:07:41

We are off to london for a week next week. Sharing costs with MIL. Out share of 2 bed apartment it £350, train was £100, using various vouchers/ Tesco/ 2-4-1 etc so with a couple of meals out etc etc spending money will be £3-400.
Will book to go to legoland for 2 days in sep/oct and stay in legoland hotel again which will be about £500 including meals.
MIL and other family live in north Devon by the beach so will spend some time there in the summer so cost will be minimal
Might try a few day camping in the summer if we get nice weather
Other than that will be lots of day trips as we are buying a new car in a couple of months

ENormaSnob Sat 30-Mar-13 09:37:47

For your budget I would look at sites such as onthebeach or travel republic for a cheapy holiday to the sun.

Or keycamp/eurocamp/canvas holidays and look at the super tents on the big sites for a week.

Montybojangles Sat 30-Mar-13 09:42:43

If you can bear to wait until a week or so before you can get some reagama regains for self catering on this site. We do it, adds to the excitement of wondering where in the country you will end up. Been to places I wouldn't have thought of and discovered lovely places.

MichaelaS Sat 30-Mar-13 09:54:15

We like to go on uk short breaks and stay in premier travel inn type places. You know what you're getting and it's consistently reliable. Eat a huge breakfast and don't buy lunch! We raid those local information stands and do cheesy days out. Walking in parks or on the beach is good for little ones. It's all pretty cheap compared to proper resorts or abroad. Local transport is fun for small boys.

sleepdodger Sat 30-Mar-13 10:06:20

Our best family holiday by far was when it was placing priority with dc on basis if they're happy we're happy
Went to Cornwall place called sands, there or bedruthen steps do rooms with sep bits for kids, a high tea, totally geared for kids (id say 95 percent guests had them) soft play indoor and outdoor pools table tennis etc and clubs crèche etc
We payed 500 for 4 nights dinner bed and breakfast off peak for 3 of us. It was amazing dh and I used listening service and had lovely rare unheard of dinner together and sex every night wink

Hawkmoon269 Sat 30-Mar-13 10:27:35

sleepdodger You win the prize for most tempting idea yet!!! I know exactly where you mean... Going to see what deals might be done grin

CocacolaMum Sat 30-Mar-13 10:33:57

This year will be our first family holiday since 2006 when we went to Florida. This year we are going to Majorca all inclusive and I think it was £3400 for the 4 of us for 2 weeks. I am not usually into the whole all inclusive thing and favour a bit of adventure but frankly we had the lump sum there and just wanted it paid for so we didn't have to worry about taking lots of dosh to spend while we are there.

I am so excited!!!

RubixCube Sat 30-Mar-13 10:43:46

We do little breaks in the uk as i need to get my passport sorted out.I found it's better to privately hire a static caravan as you see what you are getting than to go through the actual parks themselves Haven,Park resorts etc oh and p.s We have always had lovely weather smile

RivalSibling Sat 30-Mar-13 10:46:21

Youth hostels are good for short stays - you can get family rooms.

JollyYellowGiant Sat 30-Mar-13 14:43:22

I agree that camping in France would be a good option. Keycamp or eurocamp would give you loads of other children and the facilities would be lovely. Not the space you get in a gite though.

merrymuzzie Sat 30-Mar-13 14:59:17

I went to Bluestone - 149 for 4 nights, including buffet breakfast for all and children's lunch and dinner. We got a 3 bedroom detached lodge which was georgeous (and it only rained 2 days!)

MissPB Sat 30-Mar-13 15:10:34

I feel your pain OP - I can't bring myself to spend much more than a grand on a holiday (excluding spends). Have a look at - the prices are so so reasonable.

Also Have a look at places that are not typical for British holidays - Germany is much more reasonable than France - and they have fabulous pool facilities, lake swimming etc.

Good luck!

Toasttoppers Sat 30-Mar-13 16:24:47

I'm retry tight but would rather stay t home than scrimp on. Holiday.
The best holidays have been Normandy and Majorca but top holidays have always been in the States. Have stayed in holiday cottages in various bits of the UK. I think if you can e rally accept that the weather can be rubbish then the UK is fine or a holiday.

Toasttoppers Sat 30-Mar-13 16:25:29

Sorry posted by accident , mega typos.

rocknrollchicken Sat 30-Mar-13 18:33:46

We are skint but fortunately have a toddler and a childminder who is taking her holiday a week before the main school hols. I booked really early and got a lovely 2 bed cottage on the coast in Cornwall for £395 (the next week it rockets to £795!).
When i was a kid we never went abroad but were quite content with holiday cottages in Devon - I loved crab fishing, and quaint pubs and lovely beaches....even if it did rain most years!
Me and my ex went camping all around France pre child and we would def go back with our DD as the campsites were really lovely, had great facilities (even the remote ones) and were dirt cheap. I would never go to Disneyland even if I had the money as it looks like hell on earth.

charlearose Sat 30-Mar-13 18:40:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

When ours were younger we went on Esprit holidays and drove to the Alps for the Summer. We went for the childcare.
Now they are older ( 5-11), we do road trips and stay in villas or BnB equivalents for a couple of days in between drives. The kids really enjoy these kinds of holidays now smile

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