Family fun in Loire Valley: How to entertain kids in the historic French region

But this historic part of France offers a tranquil haven for those wanting to relax and unwind.

Its rolling hills and flowing river stretch for more than 170 miles and, in recognition of its soft, green beauty, it was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2000.

Brimming with style and splendour, the Loire also boasts many of France’s most impressive châteaux.

We arrived after a sixhour ferry crossing from Portsmouth to the port of Caen followed by a threehour drive through the French countryside.


Our final destination was Siblu’s Domaine de Dugny holiday park on the Loire’s northern bank, near Amboise.

This fun-packed four-star resort has all you need for a relaxing week away with the family and is also a fabulous base to discover what this region has to offer.

On site, you’ll find an indoor and outdoor heated pool with waterslides and mini lazy river, plus a spa pool and splash area for toddlers.

If you can drag your kids away from the water there’s also a football pitch, tennis courts, table tennis and crazy golf.


A daily kids’ club is available, plus there’s nightly live entertainment, an onsite bar and restaurant. Many of the well appointed, modern holiday homes include a private outside terrace and barbecue area.

The sophisticated cities of Blois, with its royal chateau, and Tours, with its cathedral and daily market, are right on the doorstep of the campsite.

Both are great for admiring beautiful architecture, pottering round the shops and hanging out in shady cafes.

If you really want to stoke the romantic imagination, Château de Chambord, a white limestone masterpiece with recently restored formal gardens, is a must-see.


Built in French Renaissance style, it is one of the largest and most recognisable châteaux in the world.

Château de Chenonceau, spanning the River Cher, meanwhile, is the most photographed castle in the Loire.

During the summer, its award-winning formal gardens are lit up at 9.30pm every day, making evening walks extra special.

Kids will love the nearby Beauval park zoo, which is home to more than 6,000 animals including lions, gorillas, giraffes and some very snappy alligators.

But the main attractions are resident giant pandas Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, who arrived from Asia in 2012.

Only 23 zoological parks in the world shelter pandas outside of China, so seeing them is quite a treat.

There are wildlife-themed displays throughout the day, including a show featuring 200 birds, including storks, pelicans and cranes which flap around the audience.

If you are up for travelling a little further, Disneyland Paris is a two-hour drive away. The park has just celebrated its 25th birthday and there has never been a better time to visit with new shows and attractions.

Among the latest additions for this summer is the new Marvel: Super Heroes United live show.

This super-production uses a huge stage with one of the biggest LED screens in Europe, incredible special effects and, for the first time in a Disney park, the indoor use of drones in some unbelievable aerial choreography.



Getting there: Brittany Ferries operates routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth direct to Brittany and Normandy.

Travel overnight by luxury cruise ferry in the comfort of your cabin with en-suite facilities, or travel across the Channel in three hours.

Portsmouth-Caen fares in September start from £159 each way for a car and family of four. Book at or call 0330 159 7000.

Where to stay: Late summer prices for Siblu Domaine de Dugny start from £265 for a seven night break from September 1 for up to eight people sharing a two-bed Elegance holiday home with terrace. Book at or call 020 8610 0186.


La Carabasse, Languedoc: Siblu La Carabasse in Languedoc is one of the best known holiday villages in the south of France.

It’s got a giant lagoon-style outdoor pool, al fresco entertainment venue and more than 25 different sports and activities.

La Carabasse is 800 metres from the nearest beach, where the park has set up its own beach bar.

The shops, cafes and restaurants of Vias Plage are minutes away on foot.

The deal: Save 50% on accommodation for seven night stays starting on July 29.

A three-bedroom Elegance holiday home with terrace and air-conditioning now costs £798, down from £1,596.


Les Charrettes, Charente-Maritime: Les Charmettes on France’s west coast boasts a huge pool complex with slides, splash fountains and paddling pools, children’s clubs and indoor and outdoor entertainment stages.

The deal: A three-bedroom Esprit holiday home for seven nights from July 28 now costs from £550, saving you £549.

Bonne Anse Plage, Charente-Maritime: For somewhere a little more secluded, head to Siblu Bonne Anse Plage, a forest-set holiday village with views across to the bay and cycle paths leading to big sandy beaches.

The park has a large outdoor pool with two huge waterslides, a paddling pool for toddlers, a climbing wall, sports pitches and adventure playgrounds.

The deal: A two-bedroom Elegance holiday home for seven nights from July 28, is from £704, saving £703.

Book all deals at or call 020 8610 0186. 

You could save up to 50% on Siblu holiday villages in France this summer: Save with Siblu hols

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