MY OVERRIDING memory of our trip to Normandy is the long, relaxing summer days with the best entertainment and fun that I’ve enjoyed on holiday, from playing football to climbing through the trees, the children on pony rides and the funniest and nicest entertainment team you could wish to meet.

La Vallee Campsite is in a beautiful seaside resort called Houlgate, which has a huge sandy beach with grand houses and it was the perfect base from which to explore the Normandy D- Day sites, if you can drag yourself away from the swimming pool.

At around two hours from Dieppe, after a relaxing crossing in a cabin on the ferry we were soon there, with plenty of our first day still left.

The mood was set for a joyful and hilarious holiday straight away. Only the French could do it like this; we were warmly greeted for what at first felt like an almost serious, very informative welcome meeting, the team explaining all the events and activities on offer to the English, French and those of other nationalities who visit. Then just as you are about to reach for the pizza and cider laid on for the little get together, you are told to get on your feet and get the first taste of the dance moves they used to Eddie Grant’s song Gimme Hope, Jo’anna, which will always now remind us of this lovely holiday. We had only been in France for what felt like five minutes when all those cobwebs were blown away.

And by the way our holiday home, as always seems to be the case with the the outdoor holiday specialist Eurocamp, felt brand new.

The bedrooms were roomy, the kitchen had everything you need and to my delight we had a barbecue that was ready for the merguez sausages, huge salmon steaks and the like which I would soon be getting from the local supermarche.

At the swimming pools the children were enjoying repeated rides down the waterslides and there was also an indoor pool.

Of the added activities the one which I will remember most is climbing through the trees. My four and eight year old children climbed up without a care in the world. I seem to have become vertiginous with age though and the man who kindly hooked me into my safety harness had to give me a gentle nudge to get me started on the zip wire.

I was hanging on for dear life despite the obvious safety of it all and the fact that I was barely 15ft up in the air. When it ended another one of those cool French beers was long overdue.

There was a children’s club running every day, with a chocolate party among the highlights.

It’s safe to say I did not join the children on the climbing wall but my daughter joined the football tournament with me to save me from the indignity of a grown man signing up on my own. We also enjoyed a few games of tennis on the free court and the children loved the bouncy castles next to the table tennis.

As we were so close to all the D-Day landing sites we had to drag ourselves away.

It is a good job we made the effort as the sites are unforgettable.

First of all Pegasus Bridge was nearby, I felt a sense of pride knowing British forces had landed there and successfully took and held the bridge, preventing the Germans from sending reinforcements.

Arromanche was amazing as you can see where the Allies used it as a crucial port to bring in supplies and men to help us win the war.

The American war cemetery and memorial near Omaha Beach provided one of those very humbling moments with the sheer number of graves of those who died.

The well kept lawns and huge memorial stand above the beaches. But it is totally unlike other historic Second World War sites like Auschwitz, for example, where it feels like nothing will ever grow and the feeling of hate and death still hangs in the air.

At the war cemetery maybe it was the bright sunny day when we were there but the feeling I got was much more positive, that those who died had not done so in vain, they had freed this beautiful country from the Nazis and I found it hard to look at the beautiful beaches and imagine the carnage the troops had been through.

The team at La Vallee soon had our spirits soaring again when we returned, particularly with the comedy show they put on for the last night, all the funnier for having got to know some of those involved, rounding off a great week.

Factbox

• Eurocamp was founded in 1973

• Now the largest operator of premium outdoor holidays in Europe, with more than 180 parcs across 13 countries including France, Spain and Italy

• Parcs are situated near the beach or lakes, in the countryside, by the mountains or in city locations

• There is a multitude of accommodation options, from holiday homes, lodges and bungalows to Safari tents

• Eurocamp’s Kids’ clubs cater to children of all ages

• With Eurocamp you choose when you travel; you can arrive and depart any day of the week, and there is no minimum or maximum duration

• You also choose how you travel; fly, ferry, train or Eurotunnel

• One single price, rather than per person

www.eurocamp.co.uk

Prices for travel with DFDS from Newhaven to Dieppe start from £49 each way for a car and two people. Bookings include access to a lounge with reclining seats, and private cabins with ensuite bathrooms are available for an additional fee. Prices vary according to demand and are subject to change.

Crossings on the route take four hours, with two departures a day each way from October to April, and three sailings per day from May to September. Customers are advised to check in at least 90 minutes prior to departure. Book at www.dfds.co.uk.