I’m pretty certain it can be a disaster however ours was a great success!
The first holiday is a daunting prospect for families in this situation. You’ve holidayed with your family on your own. It’s your rules for the week and you only need to compromise with your own brood. It changes when partners both come together with their own families. All of a sudden there are two adults who may have different rules.
Both my partner and I we survived our first full seven days together. Him with his daughter and me with my two teenage sons and daughter. It worked. I’m blessed in the sense that his parenting style is pretty similar to mine. But actually where children are concerned he probably has more patience than myself and I don’t believe that I’m overly short.
We had a brief holiday with everybody together last year – 3 days or so. But this year we went for the full 7 days. After much decision we decided against abroad and opted for a holiday in our country. A nice, large caravan in Heacham on the Norfolk coast. The holiday was not hot like a holiday abroad but we didn’t have rain and the children enjoyed it very much. We’d decided from the outset that this holiday was about keeping the children entertained and giving them a holiday to remember. Plus because I booked last-minute and was easy-going on destination. We saved £300 on the caravan park prices.
I was very much looking forward to my partner’s daughter joining us especially as she is the same age as my daughter. I couldn’t have worked that one out better if I tried. Both of us are of the mind that when it’s his weekend to have his daughter that he gets his quality time with her and I get my time with my children. Of course we all meet up during those weekends but it’s mainly spent with our own children. For us this set up has worked well and we haven’t changed it because “Why change what isn’t broken?” This set up has enabled us to build our bonds much slower and therefore hopefully stronger. Giving the children and ourselves time to adjust.
A beautiful sunset taken in Norfolk a few years ago. We were not disappointed this time around either:
Activities that we enjoyed during the week included:
- Walking the long 3-4 mile stretch from Heacham Beach into Hunstanton. The teenagers did most of the complaining on the way but I’m sure they will treasure the memory in years to come. I have typical teenagers, if they thought they could get away with playing on computers all day then they really would. There are times when I really have to make an effort to get them away from the computers. I find once they are away from them they do really enjoy joining in. We were all certainly the happy tired after the one hour and ten minute walk. But it wasn’t complete torture as we enjoyed a beach front meal, ice-creams, sweets and drinks.
- Arcades – yikes yes they are expensive but the youngsters mostly played on the 2p machines, with the odd go on the virtual motor bikes and plenty of games of Air Hockey. My eldest son seemed to have a real talent. I think he enjoyed bragging on skype about thrashing his brother at Air Hockey.
- The night-time entertainment on the Caravan site, each night we went to the night entertainment which included entertainment for children. It was a bit sameish each night but the girls both learned the dance moves to the songs. And for the adults we enjoyed a few alcoholic drinks. Well it was our holiday too.
- The fair in Hunstanton. I’m the sort of parent who struggles watching my children on fair rides. Shamefully I just can’t help it – I wish I was braver. Sure enough I enjoyed them when I was a child but I feel that worry as I watch my children spin around. The daughter proves braver on fair rides, she loves them, the more she spins the better. My partner’s daughter is the same.
- The shops in Hunstanton – perfect for seaside gifts, trinkets and of course rock. We also had great fun in a joke shop. The shop that I looked forward to was the crystal shop. Shockingly I think the youngsters enjoyed the shop just as much as me. I’m finding it fun as children get older as they do enjoy learning about new experiences. Both girls were mesmerised by the crystals and came home with little crystals. We actually ended up two days in Hunstanton just so we could go back. But we didn’t walk the second day.
- The Sea Life Centre in Hunstanton. We all adored looking at the rescued seal pups. One actually came straight up to the glass to greet us. So friendly with his big dark nearly black eyes. The Sea Life centre is something that children of all ages do adore. It was pricey but worth the few hours that we spent in there and we came home with real shark teeth.
- The beach. We spent plenty of time on Heacham beach, it’s pebbly and the tide goes out and in very quickly. I have the fond memory of us walking out to the sea and it must have taken us nearly half an hour to get to the sea at one point. After the walking I certainly felt it in my calves the next day. The youngsters were easily entertained with a ball, playing piggy in the middle right until the sun set. The sun sets in Norfolk are probably the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Especially while sitting on a beach eating a barbecue.
- Crazy golf – a British seaside holiday is not a British seaside holiday without a game of crazy golf. My eldest son won that too. My partners daughter was proving talented too however my own daughter was having a bit of a strop going around. However, she continued to play. I think she was just a bit disappointed as I learned that she likes to watch golf and cheers for “Rory.”
- Swimming. We did swimming every single day. Not many children get bored in a swimming pool.
- Table tennis. The site had table tennis. All four youngsters enjoyed playing table tennis.
- Pool. A great game to play that is cheap and keeps the youngsters entertained for hours. My daughter seemed much better at this than Crazy golf.
- Basket Ball. The site boasts a basketball court which is free to use. The youngsters seemed very happy with a ball for the week and shooting ball in the nets.
- Kayaking. We booked for the youngsters to have a try at kayaking. They loved it. At the end of the lesson they attempted the fastest lap. Both boys got on the leader board for top ten fastest lap. The eldest had to make a point of beating his brother. Luckily the younger son just enjoys taking part with his brother. They both made an excellent attempt. To be honest so did the girl’s even if they perhaps paddled the wrong way.
- Norfolk Lavender. If you have the chance to visit Norfolk then Norfolk Lavender is a must. Their Lavender ice-cream is divine and so is the rock – although it could be deemed as an acquired taste. But there is chance to learn about the history and see and hear about how lavender is distilled. The shop is great to visit too. Lovely scents, candles, plants, essences etc… For those who enjoy the outdoors it is a delight.
All in all it was an active holiday. We were on the go from 7 am until midnight. Both girls on the first day were up, dressed and raring to go. Everything was exciting, even spotting a cow. Nobody missed out on anything and we all had a fabulous time.
But it’s like any time you have a holiday. Once home, you want to book another. I’m not ready to book but… I’m having fun looking.