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You CAN take the family away EASTER FOR UNDER pounds 500; HOME or away, it is possible to take the whole family on holiday for pounds 500 this Easter...

CORNWALL

SIGN up older kids for highenergy activities at the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay near Newquay in Cornwall.

You can have a go at dozens of adrenaline sports, from surfing to waveskiing to kite buggying. Sessions with equipment rental and tuition start from pounds 7pp (go to www.watergatebay.co.uk).

The beach is a three-mile stretch of white sand and there are family events such as sandcastle competitions throughout the year.

Stay atWaves on Watergate Bay, bright and breezy holiday apartments sleeping four.

HOLIDAY INFO: Easter breaks from pounds 15pp per night or pounds 420 total for the week are on offer through Beach Retreats, go to www.beachretreats.co.uk

ACTIVITY UK

BUILD your own raft and have a go at canoeing downriver when you take the family on an action-packed holiday with PGL this Easter.

There are seven PGL adventure centres across the UK, from Caythorpe Court in Lincolnshire and Dalguise in Perthshire down to Little Canada on the Isle of Wight.

Each runs a huge variety of family bonding activities, from orienteering to mountain biking. They also provide full board which means there are no hefty credit card bills when you arrive home.

HOLIDAY INFO: To keep within your pounds 500 budget, you can spend two nights in one of the centres with full board, instruction and equipment plus evening entertainment for pounds 458 for a family of four. Single parents don't have to pay a supplement when sharing a family room. Go to www.pgl.co.uk or call 08700 507 507.

KENT COUNTRYSIDE

FOLLOW an Easter trail in search of chocolate bunnies and make animal masks in the craft marquee when you take the kids on a day out to Leeds Castle (Entry pounds 16.50 adults, pounds 9.50 kids, under fours free - tickets valid for a year).

Or explore the secret wartime tunnels at Dover Castle (adults pounds 10, kids a fiver, go to www.englishheritage.org.uk). There are dozens of Easter events and attractions across the county this Easter.

Make your money go further by swapping expensive hotels for youth hostels which have great family rooms, many en suite, at a fraction of the cost.

HOLIDAY INFO: Stay at the YHA Margate for pounds 15 a night adults and pounds 11.50 per night kids, taking a week's stay for a family of four to pounds 371. The hostel is a converted hotel on the beachfront at Westbrook Bay. Go to www.yha.org.uk

PEMBROKESHIRE

TAKE the kids on countryside rambles to see the spring lambs by day then watch badgers in the paddocks at sunset from Fron Haul, a barn conversion in Pembrokeshire.

The barn is in five acres of pastures and just a 10-minute walk from Ceibwr Bay. The bay is quiet with regular visits from Atlantic seals.

There's a ruined Celtic fortress and smugglers' cave. The village of Moylegrove is within walking distance and if the cook goes on strike you can order dinner to be delivered to your cottage by the barn owners.

HOLIDAY INFO: The barn sleeps four and a week's rental starting April 4, 11 or 18 costs pounds 373 through Coastal Cottages of Pembroke - go to www.coastalcottages.co.uk

JERSEY

JOIN in the island's biggest Easter egg hunt and enter Dad in the egg-andspoon race when you take the kids on a budget holiday to Jersey.

The day out is at Gerald Durrell's amazing zoo and conservation centre (Sunday April 12, 10am - 4.30pm, go to www.durrellwildlife. org). Stretch your budget to staying at the two-star Norfolk Lodge hotel on the outskirts of the capital St Helier. The hotel has an indoor pool and playroom for kids.

HOLIDAY INFO: Channel Islands Direct's holiday at Norfolk Lodge gives three nights' B&B for a family of two adults and two kids under 12 for a total pounds 419. The price includes tickets on the fast ferry from Weymouth or Poole. Go to www.channelislands direct.co.uk or call 0844 493 7486.

IRELAND

A 50-ACRE amusement park opens on St Patrick's Day in time for Easter at Tramore, Ireland's most popular holiday resort.

There are rides, arcades and a boating lake and the park will be open daily during the school holidays. Then take the tots to Tramore's Copper Coast Mini Farm, a gentle pet farm where kids can play with the spring chicks and baby rabbits (www.copper-coast.com).

Take a ride on the Suir Valley Railway, a miniature railway steaming along 12 kilometres of track (www.wsvrailway.ie).

Discount entry to the tropical Splashworld Leisure Centre in Tramore is on offer when you stay at Pebble Beach Holiday Homes in Co Waterford. The holiday homes overlook the town's 5km sandy beach and have their own play area.

HOLIDAY INFO: A five-night Easter holiday at Pebble Beach Holiday Homes for two adults and up to three kids costs a total of pounds 325 through Irish Ferries Holidays - applies to arrivals between April 4 and 17 and includes ferry crossings. Go to www.irishferries.com or call 0870 517 1717.

COSTA DORADA

KIDS' clubs with arts and crafts for tots and dancing and beach games for older children giveMumand Dad a well-earned break.

Playa Montroig is a large park in leafy surroundings overlooking the beach. It's along the Costa Dorada so within easy reach of Port Aventura and Barcelona for days out.

A large lagoon-style heated pool gives you a taste of the tropics (don't be fooled into thinking the Med's warm enough for a dip in April - it's not!).

The park also has mini-golf, tennis and a fitness centre and beauty salon. There's a big open-air theatre with family shows and about 10 bars and restaurants. A good choice for extended families as the three-bed holiday homes sleep eight, including four adults.

HOLIDAY INFO: A week in a threebedroom mobile home from April 8 costs pounds 467 with Dover-Calais ferries. Book through www.eurocamp.co.uk

COSTA BRAVA

KIDS will discover their inner gladiator when you take them to the Roman ruins at Empuries near Camping Kings holiday centre on the Costa Brava.

And even the most reluctant museum-goer will like the wacky paintings at Salvador Dali's museum at Figueres.

April daytime temperatures can reach a very pleasant 20 degrees along the Costa Brava, but if the wind comes up the camp has a big heated pool, bowling, minigolf, table tennis and a games room.

The camp is in the woods about 200 metres from one of the Costa Brava's best beaches, Playa de la Fosca. There are no evening shows early in the season but you can take the kids to Girona to watch the Easter parades.

HOLIDAY INFO: The holiday through Vacansoleil costs pounds 350 per family including ferry crossings (if no ferry is required, the price is reduced by pounds 90). Go to www.vacansoleil.co.uk or call 0333 700 50 50.

TUSCANY

WARM up in the Italian sunshine this Easter when you take the family to Camping Norcenni Girasole Club. The holiday centre is in the hills above the little town of Figline, about half-an-hour's drive from Florence.

Admittedly it's a long haul to Tuscany from Calais, but you can break the journey in both directions at cheap French chain hotels such as Formula 1 - where a family room averages pounds 28.50 (go to the English language site www.hotel formule1.com).

The holiday camp has a heated swimming pool (April is too early to swim outdoors in Tuscany), a mini golf course, fitness centre and spa. Pass on the cooking at one night to eat in the converted Tuscan farmhouse restaurant.

And ignore the posh wineries to follow locals to village supermarkets where you can still pick up a good bottle of plonk for about pounds 1.20.

HOLIDAY INFO: A week in a two-bedroom mobile home sleeping a family of six costs just pounds 239 from April 4 or 11. This price includes return ferries - go to www.venueholidays.co.uk or call 01233 629950.

BRITTANY

THE Atlantic weather may be unreliable in April but you can still make a splash when you take the kids to Ty Nadan Park in Brittany this Easter.

The country park surrounded by woodland at Arzano has a big indoor pool centre with waterslides and shoots.

Sign the kids up for riding lessons, go fishing or canoeing on the quiet river Elle or hire mountainbikes for rides through the forest.

The park is close to the Channel ports so is ideally suited to young families who don't want to spend too much time on the road. The mobile homes sleep up to eight so Grandma and Grandad might want to come along for the Easter break.

HOLIDAY INFO: A seven-night stay in a three-bedroom mobile home from April 9 costs a total of pounds 397 per family including Channel ferry crossings. Book through www.eurocamp.co.uk

VENDEE, FRANCE

SWAP the costly Cote d'Azur for the much cheaper French Vendee, where early season discounts mean an Easter holiday is no more expensive this year than at the same time in 2008.

Shopping locally for wine (l'excellent Chateau Plastique) and regionally grown cheese and produce will also take the sting out of the euro. Spend 10 days in a six-bed holiday home at Le Rocher, a seaside village near Longeville-sur-Mer in the Vendee. The house has a terrace and barbecue for lunches in the spring sunshine. There's a sandy beach for castle building and dunes and pine forests for long family rambles. Watch the yachts race around the harbour in the sailing resort of Les Sables d'Olonn, just half-an-hour's drive away.

HOLIDAY INFO: A week's rental this Easter arriving April 8 costs a total of pounds 330. Book direct with the owner through www.holidayfrance direct.co.uk and take advantage of 20 per cent discounts on Brittany Ferries' channel crossings. Quote holiday home reference LV002321 or call direct to Mrs Lindsey Berthome on 00 332 51 33 29 65.

CAPTION(S):

Let's go surfing now... ride the waves in Cornwall; Activity break... the kids will love PGL's adventure parks; Follow the bunny... on an egg trail at Leeds Castle; Barn storming... stay in a barn in Pembrokeshire; King of the swingers... visit Gerald Durrell's zoo in Jersey; Seaside sense... a family holiday on the Costa Dorada won't break the bank; Irish smiles... holiday homes on 5km of beach in Tramore; Fit for royalty... Camping Kings resort on the Costa Brava; Carry on camping... in style in the hills above Florence; Make a splash... head across the Channel to Brittany; Shabby chic... Vendee is cheaper than Cote d'Azur
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 8, 2009
Words:1782
Previous Article:INSIDE GUIDE.
Next Article:TRAVEL UPDATE.


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