Family Friendly Holidays on the Belgian Coast

September 24, 2014

There’s no easier way to get to the Belgian Coast than taking your car (and your family!) by ferry on a Dover – Calais or Dover-Dunkirk service. On arrival at the Dover port, with clearly marked signs for the car ferry port, there is a seamless arrival process waiting for passengers at the check in desk. Within a few minutes, boarding details for the ship are issued and friendly port staff are ready to usher you in the right direction to board the ship. In my case, they even helped us work out how to use the headlight stickers which are required for European driving. Certainly above their call of duty!

Once on board, we were treated to a fantastic view whilst we tucked into a delicious cooked breakfast and within two hours, we were swiftly making our way off the ship, driving in the direction of the A16 motorway. Instead of heading right, we took a left turn on the motorway and within 20 minutes had already crossed the Belgian border and were heading en-route to our destination, De Haan in Flanders. A further 20 minutes later and we were approaching our home for the weekend, Sunparks De Haan. After a quick check in, we were given keys to our weekend cottage. A self catering cottage, complete with a fully equipped kitchen, dining room and sitting area with TV. Our two bedroomed home even had a private garden patio and barbeque area. The resort had smaller and larger cottages and would certainly appeal to all age ranges, families and couples.

With a quick change, we headed immediately to the main attraction at Sunparks, its amazing domed Aquafun swimming attraction. Complete with water tunnels, wave machines and a lazy river, the resort catered for all ages. A baby pool was conveniently situated nearby as was the outdoor pool area with jet spa. The centre housed a large soft play area, a crazy golf area, two restaurants and a bar area. Bowling facilities for older children were available and the centre even laid on some complementary activities for small children like a disco and a balloon artist.

The best thing about arriving just 50 minutes after landing in Dunkirk meant that we made full use of the facilities during the day and after a sumptuous meal on site we all slept very soundly in our comfortable beds! The next day we hired bikes from the resort and cycled to the picturesque resort of De Haan. Once home to Einstein, its Belle Epoch style architecture is an attractive and impressive place to visit. After grabbing some Belgian Fries and a delicious waffle we headed for a walk along the beautiful sandy beach that hugs the coastline. In the background we could see the city of Ostend, famous for its connection with Marvin Gaye but also home to the new science attraction Explorado. Just ten minutes drive in the other direction was the resort of Blankenberge, home to the Sea Life aquarium and easily accessible by its 42 mile tram network, the longest in the world! In the evening, we took a 15 minute drive to nearby Bruges and marvelled in its exquisite beauty.

By the next day, we were sad to leave the resort but excited about the prospect of visiting the Plopsaland theme park, en-route to Dunkirk and on our return journey home. After a 30 minute drive to the amusement park we hit the rides. Ranging from dare-devil G-force rides like Anubis, there were rides to suit all ages. The park boasts an indoor park called Mayaland for young children, a miniature farm and its themed areas like “Viking World”. With hardly any queues and favourable family admission rates, this amusement park is one of the coast’s hidden gems! With some difficulty, we prized ourselves away from the park to drive for just 25 minutes, before checking in for our swift departure from Dunkirk to end our fabulous weekend at the Belgian Coast!

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