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Keycamp en Francais - Oui or Non?

(12 Posts)
StrangewaysHereICome Mon 11-Jul-11 13:14:24

We're going for a last minute 2 week break in France - eek we normally stick to Norfolk! DH can get a discount with Keycamp. Has anyone been? We have 3 DC aged 6, 4 and 4 months. We've found a quietish one near the sea, I am just worried about a holiday camp type excursion. I fancied a gite myself for a more French experience but DH reckons Keycamp would be better for the kids. Are the caravans of a good standard (hope I don't sound like a snob!)?

I am unfeasibly excited about going on an adventure!!

Many thanks - oh and if anyone has any ferry travel with kids tips they would be gratefully received. The last time I went on a ferry I was at school on the French exchange!!

dreamingofsun Mon 11-Jul-11 14:48:16

there have been lots of threads on here, and the camping and holiday ones, with tips. which site is it? its a fantastic holiday for children and because of this we have done it for over 10 years (we too have enjoyed ourselves, not a sacrifice). Mine got bored in a gite. you can see reviews on ukcampsites. homes vary but get the largest you can. have you booked a cabin both ways on ferry. check what sort of trunks have to be worn in pool. french campsites are nothing like british ones - you have hedges and trees around your pitch. other holiday makers are similar to those at centre parcs.

i do know of someone who disliked it - but they booked a site with no facilities and caused a nuisance to their neighbours. lots of people do it every year.

Portofino Mon 11-Jul-11 16:53:01

We do this every year. In fact we are on one now (with full wifi grin)

DD has a whale of a time, kids clubs, loads of other children to make friends with. We tend to alternate between cooking - salad, BBQ, etc, eating out and takeways. Easy enough to pick up a roast chicken, or paella.

My advice is to rent the biggest/best mobile home you can afford. And depending on where you are going, Air con is a must and decking makes life a lot easier. We are currently in a Siblu 2 bed, 2 bath Excellence van. It is lovely and I was stupidly excited to find a washing machine!

StrangewaysHereICome Tue 12-Jul-11 21:39:06

Thanks for the replies! Well now I have come round to the idea of Keycamp, DH has backtracked and we are going for a petite maison in Vendee. Only prob is the ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo is a night crossing and there are no cabins left. Am I mad to even consider reclining chairs for the children. Poor DS will have to sleep in his pushchair - this is not going to be a relaxing start to the trip - in fact I think we will have to reconsider the crossing - back to the drawing board confused

MavisGrind Tue 12-Jul-11 21:43:27

I had a holiday with Key Camp in Normandy earlier this year with my 2 dc (4&2). It was a great trip, caravans was clean and well equipped, there was enough stuff on site to keep my chidlren happy and it was great value for money. We will go back again next year!

MissTinaTeaspoon Tue 12-Jul-11 21:52:22

We've done the Portsmouth-St Malo crossing a few times (Breton dh) with our now 3yo and it's been fine - but I really would be put off by a lack of cabin. I don't think dd would sleep in a recliner and I'd be worried about her keeping other people up or them keeping her up to be honest! Or her wandering off in the night whilst I was asleep. Can you change dates or route? Plymouth-Roscoff is great because one of the ferries on that route has a pool.
We usually get a cabin on day sailings too because it means you've got somewhere to stash your stuff and a quiet space to retreat to. We also make use of the kids films in the cinema, the soft play area and tv area next to the play area. Before checking in for the overnight sailing we usually eat at a retail park just off the motorway as you enter Portsmouth, there's a beefeater, pizza hut and tescos there and it breaks up the journey and means that once we board we can have a little walk around the ferry before going to sleep and by then dd's usually exhausted.

We have always found both Keycamp and Siblu fabulous but Siblu caravans and sites have been a bit cleaner in our experience.

Have a great holiday whatever you decide. smile

dreamingofsun Tue 12-Jul-11 22:20:09

rather you than me. we've done the crossing loads of times but always with a cabin both ways. i'd rather stay at home than do it without a cabin ... and i live for holidays. you will get no sleep all night and then have to drive for 4+ hours. Please don't tell me you are doing this on a saturday as the queues from st malo to vendee at the tolls are awful.

if its not too late i would consider other crossings - poole/cherbourg or caen - they are shorter so no cabin less of an issue. south brittany is much nicer than northern vendee and i don't think the weather's that much different. towns and villages have much more character and the countryside and beaches are much prettier.

when the kids were younger we did the portsmouth/st malo trip each year - probably about 12 times.

StrangewaysHereICome Tue 12-Jul-11 22:37:06

Aaaah I really don't think I can face a night crossing without a cabin!! I can see we will get NO sleep and that won't be good! Trouble is we have left it a bit late to book things and I suppose the weekend crossings are busier. I would love to go from Plymouth to Roscoff, my parents are near Plymouth so it would be much easier ...... but we have to go to my FIL's 70th in London the day before we go so it seemed easier to sail from Portsmouth. Ooooh it's all getting complicated!

Thanks Miss TinaTeaspoon and dreamingofsun for your advice, I really appreciate it smile

MissTinaTeaspoon Wed 13-Jul-11 07:28:32

What about doing Portsmouth-Caen? You'd have a bit more driving but they run a few ferries a day (including catamaran sailings although avoid those if any of you get seasick, we don't use them since a bad experience when they first started them, I was envy!) so you could go on day sailings if the cabins are taken.

dreamingofsun Wed 13-Jul-11 08:48:05

try other crossings from pool or portsmouth. as misstina says the cat ones we too avoid due to seasickness, but now more modern and very fast. portsmouth/caen or poole/cherbourg ferries i would look at. even if it means booking somewhere on route to vendee. to drive for 5 hours on the other side of the road in a strange country with no sleep is dangerous.

are you travelling on a sat as the french all travel on sats and so traffic horrific down to vendee. never seemed as bad going to brittany.

you might find starting/ending days of mobile home holidays more flexible and therefore easier to find a crossing with a cabin.

I can always remember feeling really sorry for the people who take sleeping bags and sleep under the stairways because they don't have cabins (and they were the lucky ones who got on quickly and bagged these areas)

BooToYouToo Wed 13-Jul-11 15:07:18

Could you go thru Eurotunnel? Longer I know but maybe look at the Sawdays website for B&B enroute?

We do both gite and mobile home. Gites with pools are lovely and relaxing then we add 3 nights campsite on the way back (Loire is lovely). Also the return would be midweek.

If getting a mobile home then try to get one with a deck, otherwise you feel like you are eating in a car park.

dreamingofsun Wed 13-Jul-11 16:55:24

we've never had decking and i've never felt like i was eating in a car park. we pitch a badminton net, so steer clear of decking as it takes up too much of the play area.

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