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We're back and, despite pretty foul weather at times, we had a great time. The Ibis Styles in Antwerp was excellent value for money at just over 70 euros for two interconnecting rooms in the middle of town, on the same square as the beautiful Centraal Station. We had a bit of an adventure trying to work out how to buy tickets for the trams and then identifying the right stop to get to the restaurant we had booked but we got there in the end albeit 2 hours later than our original reservation. Antwerp is a lovely city - we only scratched the surface in our 22 hours so plan to go back at some stage. We managed chocolates from The Chocolate Line, a look around the Reubenshuis and chips in the Grotemarket before it was back in the car and off to Het Vennebos.
The park at Het Vennebos is much smaller and therefore more easier with a 3 and 6 year old than Longleat center parks. It was also very flat so we would have definitely hired bikes if not for the rain. The 5 person bungalow we had was fine. It had 2 bedrooms with good beds, a comfortable living room with BBC1 & 2 amongst other channels as well as a clean bathroom and small kitchenette with no oven and it was reasonably up to date if not luxurious. It was clean, cosy (very good central heating and a fireplace) and absolutely peaceful. The subtropical swimming paradise was very good for young children (<10?) and I enjoyed swimming in the outdoor pool after dark in the rain as well as the lazy river. There's an indoor play centre, childrens' farm, a couple of playgrounds and the usual mini golf, table tennis etc. We didn't have time to look into the childrens activities but might do next time. My eldest loved the Puk and Pelle entertainment in the Plaza while me and DH enjoyed a Duvel beer and we all pigged out on the departure day buffet breakfast in the family restaurant on Monday morning before heading back to Dunkerque.
We went to Duinrell with the tent. The Duingalows look nice. It a big site and busy, but very well landscaped so it doesn't all close in on you. I was expecting chavsvillle central and was pleasantly surprised. DD (8) thought it was heaven on earth. I am torn between there and het vennenbos for Easter next year.
We stayed one Easter in the VIP accomm in Germany - Sonnenberg. It was really nice. Sunbed Sauna, washing machine etc. Though at Hoog Vaals we have only stayed in the basic accommodation - you still get a dwasher and senseo machine. There is so much to do we didn't spend much time indoors...
Ooh the accommodation at Hoog Vaals looks nice, especially the luxury ones (although I find the sunbed thing a bit strange and 1980s!). Will let you know what Het Vennnenbos is like and we'll def have to do the kiddie disco if there's one when we're there.
We looked at Duinrell but we had left it too late otherwise we would have had a 40% off second holiday with Eurocamp earlier in the half term week. They did have availability when we're going but apparently the waterpark and the amusement park close on 1 Nov. I think we might go next year - depending on the Landal experience!
I was planning to take our bikes but not sure how safe they'll be over night in Antwerp although they're not exactly valuable so will probably chance it. Is Belgium very much like holland in terms of cycle-friendlyness?
I love Holland. Everything is so well organised and clean. We live in Belgium so go often - have stayed at Duinrell - which is fab, and Landal Hoog Vaals a few times. Landal is certainly better value than the Belgian CenterParcs. Activities - they do things like kiddie discos, craft activities, birds of pray, animal feeding - it depends on the time of year. Het vennebos is on my list, so you will have to let me know what it is like.
We've been with Landal a few times - though not to that one. Check out the kids activities asap after you arrive as some you have to sign up for and they book up quickly. The breakfast package they do is good value for money - just book for 2 adults and they deliver you huge quantities of fresh bread/ham/yogurts/crossaints/cheese/fruit etc and milk, coffee etc
Antwerp is lovely. Lots of shops and restaurants. The Zoo is fab! Right next to the train station and a very manageable size for little ones.
We're off to Landal het Vennenbos via Antwerp in November. Any top tips from anyone?
We're staying at the Ibis Styles hotel for one night and planning to do a bit of sight seeing/window shopping in Antwerp the next day before the short drive into holland. Taking DDs 3 and 6 so it would be nice to look at some diamonds and check out some fancy chocolate shops. Sensunik restaurant in Antwerp looks good so if anyone's been there, I'd love to hear about it. At het vennenbos I'm thinking swimming, cycling and playing etc for a 1/3 of the price of a centre parcs break!