The truth about kids on holiday

When the going gets tough...they rather enjoy it

Share

Simple pleasures. According to VisitEngland, who have released a list of them just before our last Bank Holiday this summer, what most parents really like doing on a family holiday are things with an “old-world charm”. And quite a lot of calorific intake. In ascending order, the poll, taken from 2,000 parents, reveals that the top three holiday activities rated by mum and dad are as follows: picnicking in the Lakes, having tea in Devon, and eating fish and chips in Blackpool.

Very enjoyable activities they are too, only I fear that VisitEngland has rather cleverly skirted round the issue of the children of the 2,000 parents. For as we all know, simple pleasures that children desire on holiday are somewhat less straightforward than Pooh Sticks (number 17 on the list).

I am currently on holiday with my four offspring, and although they all like eating chips, and can be tempted by Pooh Sticks, what they really enjoy doing, no matter where they are in the world, is as follows: violent play with their siblings; competitive play, ditto; but above all else, shopping.

The idea of “going for a walk” for no particular purpose is a non-starter. Last year, I managed to get my lot around a six-mile Cornish walk by telling them that they were going on a treasure hunt. After an hour, the suspicions began to be aired. “Wot’s the treasure then?” they demanded. “Look about! It’s all around you,” I trilled. “The wonderful Cornish coastline is your treasure.” They stomped along in silence.

Of course I am as dictatorial as any parent, and essentially try to choose trips which interest me, shops or no shops. Once I took my lot as far as French Guyana, a hot, humid and scary place and former penal colony – and the setting for the film Papillon and the imprisonment of Alfred Dreyfus (on Devil’s Island). This was a challenge. No hotels, no shops, no restaurants, no tourism to speak of, torrential rain and a lot of insects. Biting ones, too. Indeed, it was the moment when I was attacked by an enraged colony of large black ants that is the favoured memory. Was this due to Brechtian-style alienation working on our trip, or merely that in terms of simple pleasures, children rather relish seeing their mother suddenly rip off her trousers and hop up and down, slapping her behind with abandon?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Emily Thornberry  

Left-leaning patriots unite! Let's get straight about Ukip

Katy Guest
Gary Catona has worked with a number of high profile singers including Stevie Wonder, pictured  

High pitch: In search of the next Whitney

Simmy Richman
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin