Sometimes, when the pressures of work build to boiling point, I take a few minutes out, imagining I’m running down the sand dunes onto Cresswell beach, feeling the sand underfoot and breathing in those seaside smells of salt, seaweed and expectation.
For me, nothing beats the simple, unadulterated pleasure of our Northumberland caravan holidays at Golden Sands which have a sense of charm all of their own.
Perhaps it’s because they rekindle childhood memories of caravan holidays…
Some of my happiest memories when I was growing up were spent in a caravan. Whether it was the riotous board games involving the entire family(I was always the competitive player, especially in Monopoly); the freedom of being allowed to roam around the caravan site, making new friends and the seemingly endless summer holidays. Even the sound of the rain pattering on the caravan roof imbibed a feeling of cosiness and I would simply curl up with a good book.
It’s vivid memories like these that I hope my children will grow up with thanks to our caravan holidays today.
This Easter, we’ll be packing up the car (complete with our two sons plus dog) and heading for Golden Sands Holiday Park where we’re renting our own self catering caravan for a week. There’s no headaches about luggage constraints, jamming liquids into clear plastic bags for security – and hey, if we’re an hour late setting off, it’s not as if we’re going to miss the plane!
The journey to the caravan is all part of the holiday experience. There’s the speculation about whether new friends made on last year’s holiday will be there, how many eggs everyone is going to find on the Easter Egg hunt and so on.
Although the park is just 30 minutes away from where we live in Newcastle, as we drive through the park gates, it really does feel as though we’re a million miles from the stresses of everyday life.
The park is right on the sea front a few minutes from the little hamlet of Cresswell and is surrounded by beautiful beaches. There’s the little one right in front of the park – which the kids can tear along with their kites, there are rockpools to explore and the sort of sand that makes the best sand castles.
Now the kids are older, we’ll be taking Fred the dog for walks along nearby Druridge Bay where there’s mile upon mile of wide-open beach. Avid watchers of Springwatch and Autumnwatch – a visit to Cresswell Pond is a must for us, where I’ll be channelling my inner Kate Humble and looking out for rarities like Avocets which – like us – first nested in Cresswell in 2011, the most northerly site in the country.
While the kids are out with their new pals on their bikes or taking part in children’s activities (the park runs these in school holidays) and the Other Half is ensconced with the iPad, I like to nip out to nearby Morpeth and hit the shops.
Then, if we’re feeling sociable it’s off to the clubhouse for a drink while the kids mix with their friends. Or if we’re not, it’s time to curl up on the sofa and relax – yes caravans have sofas these days, as well as central heating (ours even has a bath!).
Roll on Easter – we’re carrying on caravanning.