Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Our Al Fresco Holiday Review

When my blog post won the Tots 100  Al Fresco holiday competition, I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity of trying out a luxury holiday park in France for a week.  The experience started when I booked our break in a six berth luxury mobile home in the Yelloh! Village Cote de Nacre in Normandy.  The lady who dealt with our booking was just so helpful finding us the best dates, accommodation and the most suitable ferry crossings.  She even gave me some sea sickness advice!

Once all the details were finalised, we just had to wait for the day of our holiday to arrive.  I prepared myself with buying sea-sickness tablets and Sea-Bands, prepped the Sat Nav with European maps and got our pounds exchanged into Euros.

On the morning of the 14th July we made the long trek down to Portsmouth docks in order to catch the 2.45pm Brittany Ferries slow ferry to Caen.  I was actually filled with trepidation about this part of the journey as I am really sea sick and I was worried that Fred would be bored.  We had a cabin booked so we had a private area should I have needed to collapse in a heap somewhere.  However, thanks to the combination of Sea Bands and travel sickness tablets, I was nowhere near as bad as I have been before.  Also the Mont St Michel ferry was less a boat and more a resort at sea.  Plus, once we lost sight of England, we had blue skies and sunshine all the way meaning that the deck became a glorious sun drenched setting for relaxation.  Fred was kept entertained by a play area, a dance floor and a magician which made the crossing really fun for him.  The onboard cafe was really well priced and served a good veggie pizza!

Brittany Ferries

We arrived in France at 9.45pm to a gorgeous balmy evening.  The Yelloh! Resort was just half an hour away from the port and the Al Fresco Holidays rep (who was English) was ready for our arrival.  Our Vivaldi mobile home was spotlessly clean and well equipped.  We had ordered the bed packs giving us fresh, crisp linen and towels.  We made up our beds which were surprisingly comfy (although having sheets and blankets caused the kids to tie themselves in knots overnight!)  There was a double bedded room and two twin rooms in the mobile home, each room having storage and shelves.  The open plan kitchen, dining and living area was very homely.  We also had a separate shower room and (real) toilet.


The mobile home was comfy and cosy, but was a bit of a squeeze with four adults and two children in.  Thankfully though, the kids all get on really well and had a lot of fun together in their little house!  Their consensus was that it was a really "cute", "comfy and cosy", "homely" and "fun" place to stay.

Everything was very well equipped with everything from a bottle opener to saucepans, crockery, cutlery and even a BBQ outside.  The oven and fridge-freezer were both full size and their was adequate storage for food.  There is an Environmentally Friendly ethic to the park and you are encouraged to use water and electricity responsibly, recycle your waste (including glass, paper, cans, cartons, plastic and cardboard) and to walk and cycle where possible.  They even provided a recycling basket to carry your recyclables to the bin area.

The site itself is really impressive.  There is a tropical water park with an indoor area, slides, flume, lazy river and sunbeds.  (Just make sure the men don't wear swim's tight little speedos all the way in France or they won't let you in the pool!) The shop sells a variety of essentials including freshly baked baguettes which we bought every morning.  A play area boasted a massive selection of climbing frames, bouncers, swings, roundabouts and bouncy castles!  There was a take-away, a launderette, a restaurant, a bar area (with free wi-fi!!), an outdoor stage where entertainment took place and also a spa.  A shower block provided some very impressive shower cubicles with plentiful hot water which the girls used to avoid having to queue for the bathroom in the mobile home!

Thomson, France
The pitches were landscaped with palm trees, bamboo and other greenery.  A mix of mobile homes from various tour operators sat alongside campers in tents.  The atmosphere on site was very friendly and felt safe and secure. It was also very peaceful at night.

The swimming pool was a real hit with the kids and we spent many an hour lounging by the pool and swimming.  I have to admit that the outdoor pools were far too cold for me to get into, but the covered pool was great!  Meg and Kizzy were brave enough for the colder pools and enjoyed the slides and flume.  Freddy really enjoyed the water and Kizzy became a more competent swimmer during the week.

Thomson Al Fresco

There are a lot of sunbeds and we had no trouble finding space for us all to sit by the poolside.  It really was lovely in the sunshine.  Reps from the resort organised Aquafit and water polo games to keep the younger campers busy and entertained.

There was other scheduled entertainment laid on but we were too busy in the pool or exploring Normandy to really take part.  We were just so busy enjoying the sun and the local attractions!  The Al Fresco rep was on hand with advice with regards to places to go to (or not go to!) which was helpful.

Cote de Nacre is a resort where lots of French people go to, which implies to me that it is a well regarded place.  Many Dutch and German families were also enjoying holidaying there.  We didn't see too many other British families during our week.

The area of Normandy was absolutely wonderful.  We visited Bayeux and the D-Day Beaches, we went to a traditional (if not rather alarming) French circus, visited a fabulous Safari Park and explored the Calvados countryside and Operation Overlord coastline of the area.  It is an area steeped in history and very unspoilt.  We loved it!  It was also lovely to see the British flag flying proudly alongside other flags throughout the area, showing respect for other countries involved in WW2.


I would highly recommend both the resort and the area as a great holiday destination for families.  Getting there was certainly easy enough despite my reservations, and staying in a mobile home was comfortable and quirky!  We would definitely visit again!!  We would recommend the slow ferry if you have kids as the fast ferry (3 and a half hours) had no entertainment on board for them.  There were lots of bored and crying tots on board.


Al Fresco Holidays have luxury accommodation available at 56 of the best holiday parcs across Europe.  These self-catering holidays are ideal for families offering a great range of amenities, facilities and attractions.  Holidays Al Fresco style can be as lively or as relaxed as you want them to be.  Take a look at the website for details on the parcs and facilities available and to book your own Al Fresco holiday.

Huge thanks to Tots 100 and  Al Fresco Holidays for this amazing holiday!

*We were meant to review the independent spa but unfortunately due to illness, the lady who runs the spa was unable to open it during the week we were there.  I did however peep through the window and it looked really nice and new inside.  It offers various treatments, hamman and sauna, which would provide a lovely relaxing escape for the grown-ups.  It was a shame that we couldn't experience it for ourselves.

spa, Thomson


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