Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Europe, from Scotland, on a budget

 

Q. I hope to have a family holiday this year with my husband, two sons (aged six and four), along with my 73-year-old mother in law. We are on a tight budget this year and are interested in France/Italy/Spain, however the internet is a mine field! We can drive if it's not too far. Can you recommend anything?

Caroline McDonald, Glasgow

A. If you're on a tight budget, cross Italy off your list - it's more expensive to reach, and prices are high when you get there.

Which leaves me with two suggestions - the more expensive option first. Go as early as you can in July (ie before the English school holidays) and get a cheap package holiday to Mallorca from Manchester (where prices should still be relatively low). The resort of Puerto Pollensa is just right for a family group like yours. Young and old are well looked after, there's a variety of good, cut-price excursions, and eating out is fun and good value. I wouldn't look any further than ThomasCook.com, Thomson.co.uk and Monarch.co.uk to find a reasonable deal.

Alternatively, load up the car, take advantage of the ferocious competition across the Channel, and make for Calais. Boys of your age are likely to be perfectly happy with camping, and there is no need to go more than a half-hour's drive from the port/Eurotunnel terminal to find a good location. Wissant has a fine beach and municipal campground if you have your own tent (www.ville-wissant.fr/spip/spip.php?article36). Alternatively, if you want a tent to be waiting for you go inland to Guines and a campsite that's available through Eurocamp (www.eurocamp.co.uk/sites/france-picardy/pc011-la-bien-assise.html) and offers a wide range of on-site facilities, including a couple of pools.

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