Tucked into inflatables, they scurry across the water like a trio of drunken hamsters. Our kids certainly know how to have fun.
We are at Sand le Mere Holiday Village on the East Yorkshire coast and our goal is to relax and unwind, but see and do as much as possible during our four nights here.
For days, our gang have been badgering to use the large L-shaped pool and the smaller one with a curled slide attached to a little fort, water spraying from nearby fountains and a large bucket tipping upside down from overhead at regular intervals. Being young at heart, we relent, of course.
When the other guests leave the pool, out come the aqua paddlers – small one-person boats operated with a circular hand paddle. My wife Laura and I jump into inflatable kayaks, racing each other like bumper cars on water.
But when the kids squeeze into two clear inflatable water walkers, the laughter takes off. Georgia, six, and Oliver, four, climb inside the “aqua sausage”, Jack, 12, in a giant ball, tumbling on to their backs repeatedly in a desperate attempt to stay on two feet.
Three and four-bedroom caravans and lodges dot the landscape at Sand le Mere. Two large lakes glisten amid the greenery.
A hot tub sits on the decking at the front of our lodge, next to a dining table and chairs. Inside, the wooden ceiling peppered with spotlights and wooden walls keep us cosy as we curl up on the two sofas in the living room. With a well-equipped open-plan kitchenette, it really is a home from home.
We take the few minutes’ walk to the heart of the village, the kids expelling more of their boundless energy in the outdoor play area, leaping around a wooden house, or playing on the swings and slides and the adjacent crazy golf.
In the restaurant, we keep a watchful eye on them, enjoying a few games of pool while we do.
A bar runs almost the entire length in here, leading through to the adjoining cabaret bar. Time for the evening’s entertainment.
“He clearly gets his dance moves from you,” says Laura, as Oliver shows his finest grooves in a bid to win the disco competition.
Almost everything is under one roof. From the restaurant, you walk through one door and in you’re in the cabaret bar, another and you’re in the amusement arcade, then a coffee shop, then the pool.
We explore further afield. “Hello mate, how you doing?” That, I’m afraid, is our knee-jerk reaction as a large stingray presses its smiling face to the glass lift taking us through the centre of a giant aquarium.
At The Deep, a sea-life centre beside the River Humber, sea turtles, sawsharks and groupers are darting here, there and everywhere, slicing through 2.5million litres of water.
We could be travelling through the ocean as none of us can see the other side of the aquarium. Unlocking more of The Deep’s treasures, we find the touch pool.
“It’s a bit spongy,” says Oliver, gently stroking a large red starfish in the small saltwater tank about three feet off the ground. “And this one is all prickly,” he adds, pressing his finger on to a sea urchin.
The sun is still shining next day, so we want to build sandcastles and feel the surf on our toes.
A long stretch of golden sand welcomes us as we arrive in Hornsea, a 30-minute car ride away.
We saunter along the front, with its chippies, ice cream outlets and shops selling hot donuts a pebble’s-skim from the sea.
As our bare feet sink into the hot sand, the water feels crisp and clean as it fizzes around us and, despite being mostly sand, there are plenty of stones to help enhance our creativity with a bucket and spade.
It’s a success. We’re relaxed. We’ve unwound. And we’ve seen and done enough here in Yorkshire to want a swift return.
Now, we just have to work on our opening line for the next time we meet a stingray.
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