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going on holiday with an only child - what works best?

(16 Posts)
poodlerockin Mon 21-Feb-11 22:07:51

DD is nearly 4 so a bit young to invite a friend away with us for a week or two.

So we probably need somewhere with entertainment for DD and other children to play with so she doesn't pester us to death BUT also somewhere we'll enjoy too.

We don't have a big budget so only looking within UK, camping or cheapo accommodation.

What do all you parents of one child do?

CMOTdibbler Mon 21-Feb-11 22:10:01

I think camping is great - we went camping at Gullivers in MK last year, and ds spent all his time playing with other children while we drank relaxed

DumSpiroSpero Tue 22-Feb-11 10:01:19

At the risk of getting shot down in flames - one word Butlins.

We took DD for the first time a couple of years ago when she was 4. It was 'treat' courtesy of the in-laws and to be honest I saw it as anything but - we went over Easter weekend and I fully expected it to be the Seventh Circle of Hell.

It was great - the entertainment was good for her and us, we went half board so no cooking/washing up all week, the water world is totally geared up for little ones that can't swim and the redcoats were fantastic.

Everything is laid out so you can keep an eye on them whilst allowing them a bit of freedom to have fun with the redcoats and other kids i.e. in the evening you can get a table near-ish to the stage (bit of queuing involved but worth it) and they can go on the dance floor in front.

We booked to go back before leaving and did the same last year so are off again in a few weeks time.

We go to Bognor which is not too far from us and also has a brilliant new spa so if you can get your OH to take over for a couple of hours you can enjoy a bit of Mummy time (or even couple time if your DD would be happy to go in the Creche grin)

DumSpiroSpero Tue 22-Feb-11 10:08:09

The other place we've been for the last couple of years is here.

You pay a bit more as it is a Camping & Caravanning Club site but it is well worth it - huge pitches, friendly staff, private beach, impeccably clean, and whilst you appear to be in the butt-end of nowhere EAstbourne Marina is less than 10 minutes drive away with shops, restaurants and a multiplex if it chucks it down.

Hastings is about half an hour's drive and has all sorts of amusements, crazy golf, museums and a Blue Reef aquarium. Herstmonceaux Observatory is also a lot of fun (DD was nearly 6 when we went last year - but it has lots on interactive stuff a 4 year old could do and is not earth-shatteringly boring for parents!).

Hope you have fun wherever you end up.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 23-Feb-11 12:21:58

Can't open your link, Spiro, but that camp site does sound good. We're hoping to do more camping this year. We went to Butlins Bognor on a Brownie weekend and the facilities were fab - especially the water world. After all, one can always tunnel out leave the site in search of alternative entertainment.

Children will (I think) seek out other children even if there aren't any organised entertainments. We usually go self-catering in gites in France but always made a beeline for local playgrounds. DD always managed to make a friend within minutes of arriving, even if she and her friend could not actually have a conversation!

Ragwort Wed 23-Feb-11 12:27:50

We've done a lot of youth hostelling with our only child - there are always other children to play with; you can do self-catering (or some YHs have restaurants - very reasonable) - the rooms are quite basic but perfectly adequate - we also camp a lot but YHs much better when it rains grin.

poodlerockin Wed 23-Feb-11 22:35:10

Thanks for your help people

I don't think I could face Butlins for two weeks DumSpiro. Would possibly consider it for a weekend though, as DD would probably love it.

I didn't consider youth hostelling Ragwort I'll definitely look into this. Are there other younger children there out of season (ie. not school holidays)?

I think this is the other problem because we're going away when most children are in school as it's cheaper. But it'll be the last year we can do this as DD goes to school in September.

eons26 Wed 23-Feb-11 23:00:20

Do you have any good friends with dcs similar ages? We go away with another family. It works out quite cheap if you split the cost of a holiday house together. DCs play all the time, we take turns to go out in the evenings.

If not, would agree camping is good. All the dcs just seem to hang around together and play.

poodlerockin Wed 23-Feb-11 23:18:07

We go on holiday with friends for long weekends but not for main summer holiday, as friends usually have completely different plans (and budget!) to us.

maltesers Wed 23-Feb-11 23:20:57

We go skiing.
Little one can go into ski school and make new friends and u can ski too.

DumSpiroSpero Thu 24-Feb-11 16:24:36

The campsite is Norman's Bay Pevensey. You'll be able to find the details if you do a Google search.

We don't do Butlins for a fortnight (God forbid) - 4 nights is plenty - then we do 4 nights camping in the summer hols. TBH I'm just as happy to do days out and come home as most of the holidays I'd like to go on aren't small-child friendly, and most of the ones that are I wouldn't want to go on grin!

Hopefully will do a week camping this year though as looking at going to Somerset which is a bit of trek for 4 days.

Hi Maud! <<waves>> (or should that be Claude hmm?)

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 02-Mar-11 00:00:34

We've been to Norman's Bay. Loved it, even though the fish and chip van ran out of fish.

::wonders whether Spiro was there at the same time::

GoInky Wed 27-Apr-11 23:49:54

We tried cottages, which didn't work as people in neighbouring cottages tend to be quite private in my experience. We did hotels, also not very good, children sit at the table and eat with their parents, rather than mix up. Camping is really good and works best for us, and I happen to love camping! However last year we did it out of season, and it was terrible, as there were just no other children around, and DS was soooo lonely. I guess we will either have to go in season or find friends to go with. Going with my sister was heaven, she has kids the same age, and took a caravan the other side of the caravan park, I would take all children early morning to the beach, she would join for an adult chat 2 hours later with coffee and biscuits, when our husbands surfaced we'd make plans for the rest of the day separately, one day my DS wanted to go with them, one day one of them wanted to come with us, one night they had a sleepover, it was ideal. However my brother in law thought he didn't want to start a tradition...something else this year.

Takver Sat 30-Apr-11 19:26:39

We went on a Field Studies Council family holiday last year, going back again this summer - suits us as we're all interested in nature/outdoors activities, there are plenty of children for dd to socialise with and adults with similar interests for us to chat to as well. Plus all the food, activities etc are organised, all we have to do is go along, chill out & have a nice time, so more restful than camping!

miacis Mon 25-Jul-11 17:32:51

campsites are the biz for onlies and their parents. We often go with friends in this country but also went by oursleves to other, bigger more organised ones like Butlins that have activities for littlies or clubs for older ones. We now always do eurocamp in France with DD 8 who usually makes pals with other children around the campsite.

Have games and things with you to entice other littlies eg whirly tennis, blow up boat etc - not as sinister as it sounds. Also watch out for parents of other onlies who may be just as desperate keen on finding a pal

Rowgtfc72 Tue 26-Jul-11 18:03:34

We camped at Pentewan Sands Cornwall this June. There were quite a few kids there. On day two dd, who is 4, appeared with a small boy and said "this is Kyle he is 4 too "(she has never been backwards at coming forwards and can sniff out other kids at a hundred paces !) She had a great time and made friends with lots of kids. Have booked to go back next year!

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