Sunny holiday with a slice of history in Normandy
Mention to people you’re stopping at a campsite and some will conjure up images of you roughing it in the mud and being bitten by bugs in adverse weather. This couldn’t have been further from our experience when we enjoyed a family holiday in France at the Les Castels L’Anse du Brick campsite.
Slumming it was the last thing on our minds as this luxury campsite, which is only a 15-minute drive from Cherbourg, is set in a beautiful location with a spectacular sea views and is surrounded by a forest. We stayed in a caravan with stunning cliffs in the backdrop and a short walk from the fine sand beach.
The children loved the heated and covered indoor pool with its views of the sea as well as the outdoor pool with its slide. The site was incredibly well equipped for family activities with tennis courts, table tennis, football and a games room.
The static caravan itself was kitted out well and modern and comfortable for our family of four with two bedrooms, a shower and a kitchen looking out to the sea and cliffs.There was a restaurant and a pizzeria on site where you could either eat in or order pizzas to takeaway, but for the majority of time, we preferred using the barbecue to dine al fresco.
With so much to do in such a tranquil and idyllic setting, it would be easy to simply stay on site as an opportunity to escape modern life and appreciate quality time as a family.However, with so much to explore around the Normandy region, you’d be missing out and we discovered you could make your days as action-packed or laid-back as you wanted.
The highlight of our explorations was the incredible Mont St Michel, a magical island with an 11th century abbey which suddenly rises out of the mists. Known in France as “La Mervielle” – “The Marvel” – it is easy to see why as this UNESCO World Heritage site is simply captivating and catching that first breathtaking glimpse is an unforgettable experience.
Rising dramatically from the sea, it’s like a real-life Disney castle and is one of the most visited places in France. We enjoyed wandering through the cobbled pathways and climbing up stone stairs to the medieval abbey at the top of the Mont while taking in the striking architecture of this iconic island which only has around 44 inhabitants including the monks and nuns.
Visiting Normandy gave us the chance to give our children a real life history lesson as it is home to the D-Day landing beaches. There are many museums and memorials to remember the fallen servicemen and women of World War Two. We visited Omaha Beach the scene of the landings recreated in the film Saving Private Ryan.
Visiting the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum founded in memory of all those who lost their lives was a powerful and moving and experience. Looking at the golden beach today, it is difficult to imagine what occurred here and the courage and heroism of those who fell.
If you’re craving more history, Normandy is also home to the world famous Bayeux Tapestry which tells the story of William I’s conquest of England which culminated in the Battle of Hastings and the defeat of Harold in 1066. If you are seeking a destination for family sunbathing and building sandcastles, Normandy has miles of glorious beaches.
We were spoilt by having a lovely beach so close to the campsite with rock pools and picturesque hills and woods in the background. Unlike many campsites, Le Castels L’Anse du Brick is quiet and peaceful and an ideal place if you want to get away and have a break from the hectic demands of life.
* WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Brittany Ferries operates the longer routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth direct to Brittany and Normandy saving miles of unnecessary and costly driving. Travel overnight by luxury cruise-ferry in the comfort of your own cabin with en-suite facilities or be whisked across the channel in as little as 3 hours. Fares start from £85 each way for a car plus two. Book online at brittany-ferries.co.uk or call 0330 159 7000. For more information on Les Castels visit www.camping-castels.co.uk