Planning your next family getaway? Looking for something a little bit different that won’t break the bank?
Then I may have just the thing!
If you follow me on social media you’ll know we spent the August bank holiday weekend on a Kingswood family adventure holiday – and what an adventure it was!
Designed for children aged six to 17 and big kids of all ages, the two-night all-inclusive residential breaks focus on a shared family experience at camps in four locations across the UK. We were invited to see what it’s all about at Kingswood’s Bembridge camp on the Isle of Wight – and what unfolded wasn’t what I was expecting at all!
Our Isle of Wight getaway with Kingswood adventure holidays
Having fun, taking on new challenges, getting active and exploring the great outdoors – together. That’s the thinking behind Kingswood’s family adventure holidays, which are all about rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in with a group of families you’ve never met before.
They’re also about a shared family experience – meaning you’ll be sharing not only the activities but accommodation and meal times with families you’ve never met before too. And it’s fair to say I was a little apprehensive about the prospect! On arrival we were greeted by Kingswood’s red squirrel mascot Kingsley, before being shown to our home for the next two nights.
We stayed in one of Kingswood’s Adventure Lodges, a set of communal safari tents with bunk beds, wooden floors, electricity, loos and showers.
Some of the lodges have their own kitchenettes and fridges, and remember they’re communal – so you could well be sharing with another family!
The lodges are grouped around a communal family yurt boasting a wood burning stove, fridge, sink, tea, coffee and juice and a seemingly endless supply of games and biscuits. The lodges are completely enclosed and away from the road, meaning you can sit on your veranda and relax while the kids amuse themselves with the games either in the yurt or on the grass in front of your tents.
If you think you’ll be able to put your feet up on a Kingswood adventure, think again. Two-night adventure weekends include an action-packed schedule of up to 11 activities ranging from zip wire and archery to body boarding and kayaking, starting from 9.15am in the morning and ending at 9pm at night.
We spent our first morning learning how to body board on the nearby beach a short walk from the camp. Kingswood provide all the kit including wet suits and waterproof shoes, so there’s no need to worry about spending money on gear before you go, and you’re split into smaller groups for one-on-one tuition.
As with all the activities, don’t worry if one member of your family doesn’t want to take part or is too young to do so (our younger two were too little to take part in body boarding so spent a fun morning on the beach building sandcastles instead). The team leaders were also on hand to help entertain them with balls and games too.
After body boarding came kayaking – again, all the kit is provided along with full safety instructions – and after a brief lesson on technique it was out on the water enjoying a view of coastline from the sea!
Bottle rocket building
Bottle rocket building was probably the simplest activity we took part in, but the one the kids have talked about the most since. The challenge was simple: build a rocket that flies the furthest out of a bottle and cardboard and beat the other families.
After building our rocket, we were shown how to half fill it with water and use a hand pump to launch it into the air – bags of fun even though we came last!
A bit like bottle rocket building, the aim of the scrapheap challenge was to beat the other families by creating ‘armour’ out of cardboard and paper to stave off a water bomb attack. This time we were put into groups of three families, and it wasn’t long before this one was chosen to be our guinea pig. As you can see, he thoroughly enjoyed himself!
Camp fire & fire lighting
A close second to bottle rocket building came the campfire and fire lighting, where the kids were shown how to light a fire with flint before roasting marshmallows and making smores on the fire.
This was one of my favourite activities, because after an action-packed day it was finally a chance to sit down!
Food is served in Kingswood’s canteen-style diner where three buffet-style meals are served each day with a choice of hot and cold food, a salad bar, water and juice and tea and coffee.
Most dietary requirements are catered for (one family in our group had a child with a severe nut allergy, and go on Kingswood holidays specifically because they know the food will not only be safe but offer a wide variety). Think family favourites including pizza, pasta, baked potatoes and beans (and yes there is a fry up in the morning in case you were wondering!)
How much does it cost?
Our two-night family adventure weekend in Kingswood’s Isle of Wight camp cost from £109 for adults and £89 for children over the August bank holiday weekend (prices correct as of August 2019). Prices vary depending on the camp and the time of year – 2020 weekends haven’t been announced yet but keep your eyes peeled here to be the first to know! The centres are open to schools and groups throughout the year, and as camps for kids and families at weekends and in the school holidays.
Our Kingswood family adventure wasn’t what I expected and wasn’t the sort of holiday we’ve ever been on before – and we loved it! It was a chance to leave the tech at home and spend quality family time together, as well as meet new people and make new friends.
There was so much packed in that we felt like we’d been away for a week rather than just a couple of days, and we really felt like we got away from it all. I thought it was great value for money considering everything that was included, and I loved the fact all the thinking was done for us: our team leaders came and got us in time for each activity and meal time and delivered us back to our lodges afterwards – a welcome tonic after a summer of dreaming up ways to keep the kids entertained. We were genuinely sorry to leave!
My top tips:
Take flannels – the kids get filthy! And if it’s hot don’t forget insect repellent – you’ll need it!
We were gifted a two-night Kingswood adventure weekend in exchange for this post. As always all opinions are my own and based on our own honest experience.