A few weeks ago we set off on a long drive from Manchester to France. I had never been on a driving holiday before having always travelled by plane with the girls or Eurostar when I went on a press trip last year. Driving in a foreign country is something that I always leave to Hubby but in the past, it has always been in a hire car. Taking our own car had loads of benefits though.
Being able to not worry about the weight of our luggage and how much the girls had packed was a real bonus and thanks to the Thule Tourer roof box I was sent to review we could really load the car up and not be squashed by our luggage. We were also able to pack the bare essentials for when we arrived which meant that we didn’t have to rush out to the shop straight away.
Taking the car also meant that the girls were able to be kept fairly happy watching dvds on our in car dvd players which made the whole journey very pleasant. Having never done it before I wasn’t sure how the passport control and security at the ferry terminal worked but everything was clearly signposted and we were able to get on with very little hassle.
As we were travelling with P&O I had also arranged to collect our Euros on board. I had done some research and the exchange rate on the ship was better than anywhere local to me so it was not only convenient but also great value too. Talking about great value, did you know that a ferry to France is really cheap? Our ticket cost just £35 for the car and all four passengers. The other thing that is cheap is the wine, I couldn’t help myself from stocking up when I saw they had my favourite wine, Barefoot White Zinfandel for just £18 for 6 bottles.
Driving from Calais to la Croix du Vieux Pont took around two hours but it was a nice drive along mostly motorway-type roads. We did encounter a toll which was slightly scary for our first time but you collect a ticket at the first booth and then pay at the end. It worked out around one euro per ten kilometres so we didn’t spend too much. When you come out of the toll make sure you go into the right lane, this will either have a person, a card machine or a coin machine depending on how you want to pay. If in doubt go to the person.
Once we arrived I was absolutely blown away by the lodge. We stayed in a four bedroom wooden lodge which can sleep up to 10 people. As there was only four of us we invited Alice and her family from LifeAsAlice who is one of the good friends I have made through blogging. Even with 8 of us in the lodge it was really spacious although a bigger sofa would have been nice. In fact, that is the only thing I could think of that could have been improved.
In the lodge we had everything we could have needed except a washing machine but who wants to do washing on holiday! (if you do in fact want to do washing on holiday there is a laundrette on-site). They even had a dishwasher so you didn’t have to do the dishes. The kitchen cupboards included everything you needed to cook in the kitchen and on the gas bbq outside and most of the items looked brand new.
We chose to visit la Croix du Vieux Pont as it was one of the Canvas sites that had the free kids clubs on during the Easter holidays. The kid’s clubs were split into different age groups and for both girls, we were able to sign them in and leave them to the activities with the organisers. They had lots of fun doing different things including trampoline basketball, Cool Detectives and a chocolate party.
As well as the kids club there were loads to do on-site including three swimming pools with water slides, a splash area, a boating lake, an outdoor beach, a bowling alley, a soft play area and so much more.
Although this is a holiday we had never considered before it is one we thoroughly enjoyed. Self-catering in a lodge allowed us to go to the local market to get some fresh local food (including rabbit kebabs!) and stuff ourselves with bread and pastries from the on-site bakery. The holiday was full of fun but at the same time, we were able to slow down and enjoy spending time together. Having Alice and her family with us was a great experience as we were able to share the childcare a bit more so that each of us got time to ourselves. I read more books in one week than I have in the last six months whilst sunbathing and the lads got to go and watch the football without feeling guilty. In fact, it was such a great experience we will have to look at sharing a holiday again soon.
The cost of going to stay in the Canvas 4 bedroom lodge in la Croix du Vieux Pont for the week we were there would have been £879 (plus linen packs and travel) which is a fantastic value if you are a large family or two families sharing like we were.
This is definitely a holiday experience I would do again and I hope to be able to visit some of the other Canvas Holiday sites soon.