I was so impressed, I've booked a holiday
BACK in May (the hottest May since records began) a four-day break at a water park in the Cotswolds seemed like a pretty terrific idea.
Back in June (the wettest June since records began) the idea didn't seem quite so terrific.
Come early July things still weren't looking too good but as it turned out the weather relented and our four-day break at Hoburne Cotswold in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park was a magical experience.
The water park has more than 130 lakes, created by gravel extraction, covering more than 40 square miles – twice the size of the Norfolk Broads and still growing – and is a haven for wildlife with its high quality spring-fed water: perfect for walkers, birdwatchers and photographers as well as outdoor enthusiasts (angling, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, jetskiing, horse riding, waterskiing, etc).
And if summer finally arrives, you could even spend the day lounging on the man-made beach at Keynes Country Park.
Hoburne Cotswold itself has four crystal clear lakes and an abundance of wildlife (the rabbits are fun to watch) while providing all the entertainment needed to keep the family happy – indoor water flume pool, outdoor pool, bar, restaurant, kids entertainers, adventure playground, crazy golf, tennis court, basketball and mini football pitch, sauna, steam room, etc.
We stayed in a top-of-the-range Carolina Lodge (purely in the interests of research, you understand) – four bedrooms (one with en suite), bathroom, shower room, veranda, lounge with fireplace, flat screen TV and DVD player, kitchen with microwave, fridge/freezer, oven, even a dishwasher.
There is a wide range of accommodation on offer, from lodges to chalets to caravans, as well as a smart touring and camping area. Prices when we went (July 9-12) ranged from 411 for our short break in the Carolina (685 for the week) to 201 (335) for a two bedroom caravan but there are offers around such as special touring breaks, midweek specials and 15 per cent reductions if there's just one or two of you.
If, like us, you're really taken with the place and the people, Hoburne has six other parks to sample – at Doublebois, near Liskeard; Torbay, near Torquay; Blue Anchor, near Minehead; or Hoburne Park, Hoburne Bashley and Hoburne Naish, all between Christchurch and Southampton.
And if you fancy something more permanent, take a look at the selection of new and pre-owned holiday homes available at most of the sites. At Hoburne Cotswold pre-owned homes start from 9,995 (subject to availability), so living the dream could be nearer than you think. For details visit www.hoburne.com
Finally, I can think of no better recommendation than to say that while we were there we booked with Hoburne for another week in September.
Who knows, we might get an Indian summer.