I’m not a camper.
My first and only experience was on a dads and lads excursion in Wales (my sister and I were the only girls) and all I remember of that trip was the camper in the next pitch accidentally setting his hair on fire.
It was one of my colleagues at Boots where I was working as a 20-year-old student who first told me about their annual family jaunts to France and would regale in their adventures visiting quaint villages and adoring the beautiful landscapes.
My girlfriends and I had just booked our first trip to Ibiza – I knew where I would rather be.
Camping in France. No, not me, never.
That was 10 years ago exactly and as my husband and I finally completed our game of car boot jenga packing for our first family cross channel getaway, a week-long stay in Lesconil, Bretagne in Brittany, I laughed out loud.
See truth have it - I was actually excited. Excited at a vacation we weren’t actually meant to be having this year, excited for some precious family time but also for a different kind of holiday.
After last year negotiating airports with a toddler and baby in tow was cross country travel by road the way to go?
There is a lot of faff in holiday prepping - this time it was comforting to know I wasn’t confined to luggage allowances and the prospect of a few hours flight with a small being trapped between my legs in a desperate escape routine. Never mind that ‘please don’t let them be in front of us’ expression of fellow holiday makers.
With just ourselves to suit if there was space in our Kia Sportage it was coming. As we pulled out of the drive on our road trip to Plymouth, without as much as a row, this holiday was already onto a win.
The great thing about this type of holiday is the fact it really does start from the very beginning.
Neither of us had ventured on a ferry since we were children ourselves and so our mini voyage on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven, an overnight crossing to Roscoff, was eagerly anticipated for us as much as our daughter and son (ages three and two)
It really was plain sailing. Checking-in, boarding – easy – our accommodation (an outside club cabin) - ideal.
The kids were wide-eyed from the minute we drove on-board. The modern ferry is the definition of ‘family friendly’ – from play areas to live entertainment, to walks on deck and a sleepover on a boat. It was a highlight of their trip.
The crossing set the tone for the week as we were equally impressed by the time we arrived at the Yelloh Village L’Ocean Breton. Drive time an hour and 45minutes from Roscoff.
The water park, spotted from the car park was an instant hit, with demands to go swimming before we had checked in.
The ‘little holiday house’ as named by Georgia was a three-bedroom cottage (static home) boasting a private decking area overlooking idyllic gardens and countryside, complete with modern kitchen, two bathrooms and all toddler essentials.
As well as on-site pitches, for the more daring camper, the village also offers more unique accommodation with yurts and cobanes on stilts, even a tree house.
We pretty much spent the week outside, enjoying on-site play parks, walks and go-karting, Lesconil beach was a five minute drive and enjoyable even for a cloudy day.
However for the most part it was glorious and the children were most content in simply being able to venture to one of the three pools the minute they’d finished their breakfast
The rural setting was idyllic and the slower pace of life provided a welcome break from our frantic weekly routines at home; our sole task most days was popping to the local bakery to pick up a fresh baguette, a selection of cheeses and cured meats.
We had lunch al fresco and barbecues – there was nowhere we needed to be and with children tucked up in bed, evenings spent overlooking the gardens from the terrace with a drink in hand.
We did of course venture outside the confines of camp to experience some culture - a drive to the city of Quimper with a visit to the Cathedral of Saint Corentin.
I’d be lying if I said the children enjoyed this particularly and I would have loved to spend more time browsing the pretty shops but you can’t have it all.
Having also made our trip right in the middle of Euro season and as football lovers it was only right to soak up some of the home competition atmosphere though admittedly sat with French holiday makers watching France vs Iceland was a bit of a low point.
Our French adventure on reflection was one of our best holidays in recent years and although not strictly camping per se, well worth the faff and effort.
Nicola Jaques’ family holiday to Brittany was organised by UK camping specialist France Break.
A week staying at the five-star Yelloh! Village L’Océan Breton in early July, with accommodation in a three-bedroomed mobile home (sleeps six) costs from £640 or around £107 per person when fully-occupied.
A week staying at May half-term costs from £483 or just £81 per person.
For further details and bookings, call 0131 510 6944 or visit www.francebreak.co.uk