Articles Parenting

Cherry Tree Holiday Park, Parkdean Resorts

cherry tree

I first visited a Park Resorts holiday park when my eldest was still a baby. It was our first holiday away with her and we went to Wales. My mum won the linked bingo and that covered the cost of the holiday. It was very quiet with few people joining in the Zumba or aqua aerobics, but we made the most of it.

Fast forward to 2019. We took my girls and my parents to Breydon Water holiday park during the Easter holidays and had a great time. As we were driving home, we went past Cherry Tree and my eldest declared that she’d love to try there next time. So, we did.

I booked for the whole load of us… me, him, my kids and his kids. Two adults and five kids. One galaxy. No roof rack. Our first family holiday. Cherry Tree is just outside Great Yarmouth, so not far to travel. Certainly, we could always buy something if we’d forgotten something important. 

We packed up the car mostly the night before and then slotted the final bags and loose items like the pool noodles in amongst the children and set off early. It only took us just under an hour, but a Friday to Monday stay meant we were keen to make the most of our time together. 

When we arrived, there were cars everywhere and I was worried that we would struggle to park. However, we spotted a space and after a momentous reverse park (yes, I am bragging about my ability to park the beast that is also known as Jack!), we were in. Now to keep the tribe contained. We spotted the park, so we took the children over there and I went to speak to reception about checking in. Officially, it begins at 4pm and we had arrived at 12, but she offered to ring us if our caravan was ready early. She explained that we could use all the facilities on site now. 

After a little while longer at the park, we headed over to the restaurant and ordered our food. They were so accommodating. I’ve recently been diagnosed with a whole host of food intolerances. The staff were brilliant and checked every ingredient for me. Although I know it’s a hassle, knowing that they didn’t mind and were meticulous over it all really made me feel a lot more relaxed. 

Once lunch was finished, I received a phone call to say that our van was ready. The excitement in the kids was now rising. A little time to settle into the caravan would be perfect. Wow! The caravan was just perfect. Amongst squeals of excitement, they explored and decided which room was whose (we were relegated to the pull out bed in the lounge – yippee!). 

Just as we’d begun to make our way over to our home for the weekend, the rain started to pour. At that moment, we decided the best activity to do that afternoon would be swimming. That added to the excitement. With only one swimmer out of the five children, we knew it would be a testing time. Swimming is such a valuable skill though and can be so much fun too. Pool noodles and swimming arm bands saved the day. My eldest doesn’t need any equipment and my youngest can swim unaided on her back, but not properly on her front. She’s only four, so I made her wear one pair of arm bands just to be safe. Both of the older boys had a pool noodle. The youngest girl, also four, had three pairs of arm bands and with a lot of encouragement, she was able to make her way around a little bit without fear. I’m a huge believer in the importance of being able to swim, so the boys are joining my girls for swimming lessons in the new term. 

Throughout the course of the weekend, there were regular activity sessions for the kids. They absolutely loved those, especially pretending to be superheroes and story time with Pipsqueak.

The excitement didn’t stop at using the pool… we had an amazing weekend filled with fun and laughter. Each evening, we went to the club house and enjoyed the entertainment in the form of Madness and Mayhem. Two nights, we had Bingo Beats (‘80s and ‘00s songs that you had to mark off on your Bingo cards) and we danced the party dances each night… the YMCA, Macarena, Agadoo and many more. Even Mr Grumpy was joining in!

Saturday, we headed off to Great Yarmouth. I’d booked into a restaurant called Chico’s in advance as they were able to cater for my dietary requirements in addition to the food sounding really appealing. They were amazing! The food was exceptional and the staff so attentive. 

No trip there is complete without a ride on the snails in Joyland. We bought a bag of tokens and gave them each five rides. We also had donkey rides all round (for the children, of course). We expected them to be shattered with all that sea air, but no… another night in the club. 

Sunday was a little more relaxed. We spent much of our time in the park. The Sunday carvery was great! If anyone suggests hiring the bikes for four, tell them sternly, “NO!” It was really fun going downhill, but almost impossible uphill. My asthma certainly got the better of me during that activity. Hiring them for an hour was also blatant stupidity. We then went on to play mini golf, which was fun too – first time for some and techniques definitely need to be improved. Balls flew everywhere. But it was fun and that’s the main thing. Oh… and no one got hurt! 

Later that evening, the eldest three were booked onto water walking. They went in zorbs on the swimming pool. It was amazing to see their confidence develop. Although they were only doing it for ten minutes, it was a pleasure to see them with huge smiles plastered over their faces.

Monday morning came round too quickly for everyone’s liking. We had breakfast in the restaurant, then headed back for a promised visit to the pleasure beach. After a few short rides, the rain poured and poured. We decided to head for home, happy in the knowledge that we’d enjoyed ourselves no end and that our first holiday as a family of seven was a real success. In fact, they’re begging to return for longer next year!

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