“WHAT’S a green list, Daddy?” asks my inquisitive four-year-old son Teddie.
We’re driving home from Great Yarmouth and it’s just been announced on the radio that Portugal has been taken off it.
“It’s a list of places you’re allowed to go to,” I reply, somehow expecting a small child to understand a sentence I barely comprehend I’m saying.
“Like Great Yarmouth,” he shoots back with that gloriously unknowing child-like wonder.
And it hits me that while we grown-ups groan about not being able to jet off abroad for sun and sand, our resilient kids can get a holiday that makes them happy right here at home.
Never before have we all needed a Great British holiday so much — and never before has the Great British holiday needed us.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better destination for our first family escape in almost two years than the bustling, bouncing seaside resort of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
It is a children’s paradise.
Our home from home just south of the Norfolk Broads is a brand-new three-bed lodge with hot tub at Parkdean Resorts’ Cherry Tree Holiday Park.
Quite frankly, we could have spent the whole five days at the park, with its heated indoor and outdoor pools, restaurant, playgrounds, entertainment for all ages and activities from football to jet skis.
But the main attraction of this gloriously retro seaside resort — a nostalgic throwback to the simple holidays you remember as a child — are the bright lights and big wheel on its Marine Parade looking out to the North Sea.
Accompanying its miles of sandy beach is some of the most lovable old-school entertainment that is so magical, Teddie and his twin Reggie, whose legs normally “hurt” moments after stepping out of the car, don’t even notice the mile-long walk between the Pleasure Beach theme park and Joyland kids’ adventure park.
And that’s because almost every step in between is just as enjoyable.
Vegas for kids
Forget the hour-long queues and sky-high prices at the country’s biggest theme parks.
The queues here are small, the attractions are all child-friendly and one ride to the next is little more than a few skips away.
We stop for lunch at Sara’s Tearooms, right by the beach.
A charming family-run restaurant that somehow silences the noise of epic fun surrounding it with scones that are, to quote our eight-year-old daughter Frankie-Beau, “the best in the world”.
Then it’s straight on to Great Yarmouth’s version of the London Eye, then the Sea Life centre and Joyland adventure park.
We have dinner in its American Diner, dip in and out of the arcades to put more change in another claw machine, admire the Model Village and have a round of crazy golf.
There is so much to see and do in Great Yarmouth — and boy, do we try to get through it.
We visit quaint nearby villages for ice cream and slushy drinks, as well as a Thrigby Hall wildlife park.
Then there is another theme park, called Pleasurewood Hills, and a wonderful evening at a Pirates Live show in the Hippodrome.
We even take a boat for a spin during a two-hour hire from Martham Boats on the Broads. While we do retreat to the easy entertainment in our holiday park at the end of each day, every morning we are lured back to the area that becomes our hub — that Marine Parade.
It is like Las Vegas for kids — a proper Great British seaside resort.
My partner Kayleigh and I adore the nostalgia of the penny slots, eating rock, drinking Coke floats (remember them?) and munching on candy floss.
But what we REALLY love is seeing the permanent smiles on the faces of our children, for whom this is all new and exciting.
This is all the fun of the fair — as it should be, as it used to be, revived and revitalised.
And we haven’t even made it to the beach yet!
Forget your green, amber and red lists. Put Great Yarmouth top of your to-do list for this summer.
GO: GREAT YARMOUTH
STAYING THERE: Four nights’ self-catering in a Thurlton caravan at Parkdean Resorts’ Cherry Tree Holiday Park is from £179, based on two sharing and arriving September 20.
Three nights’ in a Reedham + Lodge is from £699, sleeping six, arriving September 24.
See parkdeanresorts.co.uk or call 0330 123 4850.
MORE INFO: great-yarmouth.co.uk.
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