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27-Feb-2016 17:10

We also enjoyed the crazy golf, mucked around on the beach-volleyball court and, on a couple of wet afternoons, used the indoor sports centre for tennis, badminton and 10-pin bowling.

(As in the English villages, most of these activities cost extra.) Our two-bedroom, two-storey villa was cheerily decorated (nautical prints) and decently equipped, but it wasn’t up to the standard of accommodation we’d had at British Center Parcs.

True, the weather can be just as iffy on Holland’s North Sea coast as it is at home, but we hedged our bets by booking into a Dutch holiday village that was near the beach but also within easy reach of Amsterdam – and had a range of indoor facilities if the rain set in.

The village, Center Parcs Zandvoort holiday park, has a number of similarities to British Center Parcs – even though the European villages are operated by a separate company.

With a wave pool, Roman-themed pool and sizeable children’s pool, it was easily the best thing about the village, and was far less crowded than I remembered the pools being in British Center Parcs.

The lifeguards, like all the staff and most of the Dutch people we met, spoke excellent English and our only gripe was the request to put armbands on Edward and Arthur, our five- and eight-year-old boys, even in shallow water.

There was rather too much bare breeze-block showing on the outside, and its outdoor area – a plastic table and chairs next to the car park – was unappealing.

Virtually all the other guests were Dutch or German – we came across only one other British family.

Like the British villages, ours was car-free, except on changeover days, and many people got around on bikes – you can rent them or bring your own.Another similarity was the free-access indoor swimming-pool complex, just a short walk from our villa.