Miserable out, isn’t it?
I confidently predict that, like me, you’re currently browsing through travel websites and dreaming of being somewhere other than soggy, grey England. Seriously – how does it get dark so early in November?
But perhaps my favourite destination for family relaxation was Brittany – close enough to drive to, easy to get to without the hassle of an airport, with warm, safe beaches and the chance to try out all that French food and wine. Well, it would be remiss not to…
At the very end of the summer, we spent a glorious week at La Pont St Gilles, a campsite in Benodet, Brittany. We stayed in a 2-bedroom mobile home with Keycamp, which was everything we expected based on previous trips with the company – spotlessly clean, well kitted out with the essentials, and spacious enough for our little family.
Benodet is a 90-minute drive from Roscoff, and if you book the overnight ferry, then the journey is relatively painless. The campsite itself is great – there’s a pool that our three kids (aged 7, 8 and 10) had to be pulled away from – although do be prepared that unless you queue up before the pool opens, you won’t get a seat or lounger, it’s floor space only after 10am. Not that this bothered us, especially – we were far too busy doing THIS sort of thing:
When you’re not swimming, there is an on-site bar, restaurant and take-away, and evening entertainment at the parc, which is fun, and doesn’t run too late if you have younger children you’re trying to settle. It feels very safe, and not intimidatingly large. For the most part, though, we cooked dinner on the barbecue, and chatted outside our little mobile home, and enjoyed spending time together.
The very best thing about our week at Benodet? The location. La Pont St Gilles is just moments from a rocky beach that makes for amazing rock-pooling – we found fish, crabs, mussels and more, here, and you can watch the paddle-boarders sail by in the mornings, too. Walk down a sloping road for 15 minutes and you’re smack in the middle of Benodet itself, with lots of beachside restaurants serving a variety of seafoods and French dishes. There’s plenty here that’s suitable for children, and ours were especially entranced by the local delicacy of waffles and crepes, topped with Nutella and cream. There are also some AMAZING mussels to be had in this part of the world. Mmm….
Brittany is perfect if you’re the kind of family that loves beaches, open spaces and historic towns. What it lacks in theme parks it more than makes up for with wide open beaches, perfect for days spent burying one another in the sand. The sea on Benodet beach is startlingly clear – the children could stand in the water and watch shoals of tiny little fishes swimming around their legs. That’s pretty magical.
A little further afield you’ll find the quaint walled town of Concarneau. This is a must-visit if you’re in the area – there’s a lovely market in the main town square, and then you head over the bridge into a walled town. You’d expect to find tourist nonsense, but in fact there are narrow, cobbled streets packed with all sorts of interesting shops, including a dozen or more interior shops, owned by small designers, selling amazing French accessories. We also found some brilliant toy-shops selling hand-made wooden toys, and you can’t turn a corner without coming across an ice cream stand or pancake seller.
Our other recommendation is the town of Quimper, a little further afield. This ancient city has some modern stores but cross the river to the old part of the city and you can wander through cobbled, pedestrianised streets and browse the hundreds of creperies, along with some really lovely fabric, interiors, art and pottery shops (the town is famous for its blue and white pottery, which can be personalised with your name). There’s also a cathedral, which has some pleasingly gothic decoration that will appeal to the bloodthirsty, younger members of the family.
Our Brittany Story…
Details: A 2 bedroom mobile home sleeping up to seven people costs from £850 per week during August. Ferry crossings from Dover to Calais are included (supplements are payable if travelling from other ports). Our accommodation and travel expenses were covered by Keycamp for the purposes of this review. For further information on this holiday and other Keycamp breaks, please see the Keycamp website.