I’ve never been to Disneyland and it’s something that my mum still laments to this day. It’s the epitome of a kid’s dream holiday (although let’s not pretend that I wouldn’t pass out from happiness if I went as a 27 year old), but we couldn’t go and it was never an issue for me. My childhood certainly wasn’t short of holidays, it’s just that they weren’t all-inclusive beach resorts abroad – instead we headed to UK seasisde towns, where we stayed in static caravans and had the best time.
My love of exploring new places comes from seeing more of my home country than most people I know. From Bournemouth to Bognor, Scarborough to Skegness, I’ve seen them all. I didn’t feel like I was missing out because I wasn’t missing out. Our family holidays often included our extended family joining us, a car full of beach toys, SPF50 AND raincoats, and an unholy amount of food. Here’s the essential components of a classic caravan holiday, the way my family did them:
Cleverly utilising space
A caravan holiday is pretty much what inspired the idea of a TARDIS. You think you can’t fit much in there but that dining table folds out into a double bed, the shower is above the toilet, and you can attach a tent to the side for cold drink storage and a few extra kids. At first you think there’s only two children in this photo, but look a little closer…
This was the Shoreditch House of any caravan park. The kids club had treasure hunts, dance-offs, craft activities and a cracking disco. It allowed the parents to have a sneaky G&T because I literally wanted nothing to do with them because OHMYGOD OTHER KIDS MY AGE I WANT TO SHOW THEM THIS ROUTINE I HAVE FOR SPICE UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW. That would be why I’m wearing platforms in this photo…
My parents never took us away without the following: buckets and spades, racquets/bats of all varieties with accompanying balls, a frisbee, swimming costumes, probably a blow up paddling pool or five and a partridge in a pear tree. There was no chance we were going to get bored. And the Day Charlotte Hit A Shuttlecock For the First Time is legendary in our family history. Charlotte’s me by the way. Obviously.
We had sandcastles absolutely nailed. My mum was the absolute king of creating spiral staircases and always brought little mini flags to put on top of the turrets. My stepdad was amazing at constructing bridges. BRIDGES. And I collected pointless water for pointless moats because I wasn’t particular science-y and didn’t get why it would never stay full. At least I’m pretty, right?
Picnics and barbecues
My mum’s picnics are legendary. Tupperwares full of everything you could possibly imagine, sandwich fillings specific to everyone’s tastes (I loved BLTs with crispy bacon rashers) and there was always a box of hard boiled eggs. Weather wasn’t a factor; we had windbreakers, umbrellas, waterproof blankets and if it was truly horizontal rain, we’d just eat in the car. Or if we went on the playground roundabout for too long we wouldn’t eat a thing and then get in trouble. Oops.
Camping in the traditional sense isn’t always top of my travel list, but I have such fond memories of caravan parks as a kid that I’d gladly go back for a weekend in the UK soon. Only if I there’s a tupperware of boiled eggs for the ride.
This post is sponsored by Yelloh! Village but all embarrassing photos and cherished memories are mine.