IF you’re a fan of rollercoasters, you’ll love Silverdale.
Winding single-lane country roads with bumps so big they’ll give you butterflies in your tummy, not knowing what you’re going to meet until its right there in front of you . . . it’s certainly a thrilling ride.
But the reward at the end of this white-knuckle drive is well worth negotiating the tight twists and turns.
Arriving at Holgates Holiday Park is like finding that little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s green, leafy and peaceful.
My husband, a keen golfer, immediately hones in on the nine-hole pitch and putt and our one-year-old daughter, Emily Rose, squeals with excitement when she spots countless kids splashing about in the huge indoor pool.
The fact that we seem to be in the midst of a mini-heatwave is enough to put a smile on my face.
But then I remember we’re spending three nights in a caravan – and my heart sinks.
Childhood memories of our family of five squeezing into a tin can not big enough to swing a cat come flooding back. However, when I see our Swift Chamonix it’s clear that we’re in for a far more glamorous break.
The Rolls-Royce of static caravans, it comes with a flatscreen TV, en suite bathroom, stylish and luxurious decor and balcony overlooking some of the most beautiful countryside you’ve ever seen.
This crash pad would give a five-star boutique hotel a run for its money.
Add into the equation that it’s just a stone’s throw away from the sweeping beach of Morecambe Bay and it’s enough to persuade me a staycation was the best idea we’ve had in a long time.
Holgates, with six holiday parks across Cumbria and Lancashire, is a family-run firm with expertise in the caravan field. After all, they used to manufacture the things back in the 1950s before diversifying into holiday parks.
Silverdale, the flagship site, this year marks its 60th anniversary – and it’s easy to see why this establishment has stood the test of time.
There’s no shortage of things to keep the kids entertained. As well as the pool and golf, there’s a bowling alley, games arcade, two soft play areas and playparks.
There’s also a restaurant, shop and laundrette . . . in theory, you could come all summer and not have to cross the entrance again until home time.
But the park’s location makes it the perfect base for exploring so it’s well worth venturing out to some of the local attractions.
Greenlands Farm, just a few miles down the road, is fantastic for kids of all ages. Open 362 days of the year, it’s a working dairy farm where you can get up close and personal with farm animals, from baby lambs to billy goats.
Little Emily Rose loves patting the cute bunnies and guinea pigs. And watching mum brave feeding the sheep, donkeys, chickens, horses and pigs (because dad was too scared!). Lakeland Maze Park, with two giant maize mazes, also kept us entertained for hours.
No holiday is complete without building sandcastles at the beach and we found a gorgeous stretch of golden sand a short drive away in Arnside.
We enjoy a picnic of pies from the Old Bakehouse on the promenade, while Emily Rose plays with her bucket and spade. The views across to gorgeous Grange over Sands are simply stunning.
While the baby and I walk off our filling feast at RSPB’s picturesque nature reserve Leighton Moss, the biggest kid in the family goes out to play.
My husband rarely misses the opportunity to squeeze in a round on the green and when he hears Silverdale Golf Club is open to visitors, he’s off like a shot. The old saying goes that your worst round of golf is still more enjoyable than your best day in the office, and that rings true as he hacks his way around, loving every minute.
The jewel in the crown is the 12th, known as the Pleatau, No. 24 in the book Britain’s 100 Extraordinary Golf Holes.
Before we know it, it’s time to head home – but I don’t think any of us are ready to leave.
Despite my initial reservations, caravanning has proved one of our most fun holidays to date.
And you get used to the rollercoaster roads after a while.
In fact, they simply add to the excitement.