Travel: Stunning Magic of the Ardennes! the Great Escape STEVE WILLIAMS AND HIS FAMILY TRAVEL TO A WONDERFULLY PICTURESQUE AREA OF BELGIUM

Article excerpt

BELGIUM'S not an obvious choice for a family summer holiday destination.

But when you consider it's the producer of some of the world's best beer and the finest chocolate on earth then it's not such a surprising place for a break.

The Ardennes forest region in southern Belgium is a stunningly picturesque part of the world, and proved an ideal place for a get away from it all holiday.

We had enjoyed a number of campsite breaks in France over the years and were after somewhere we had not been before.

Our destination - the village of Dochamps - proved a perfect Alpine setting. Vacansoleil's campsite La Petite Suisse, appropriately enough, has a feel of Switzerland, dominated by rock, beautiful forests and streams.

It offers peace and tranquility for jaded overworked adults yet also has enough going on to prevent it getting boring for the kids.

The campsite itself has great outdoor swimming pool, complete with water slide, a playground and organised activities.

There's a bar and restaurant where the food is good local fayre.

On this site a knowledge of French, German or Dutch is useful - some of the staff speak English but not many. It didn't really bother us but of you're looking to meet fellow brits you will be disappointed. Your kids will, however, benefit from meeting bilingual youngsters as all the dutch kids spoke English anyway.

The mobile home we stayed in was big enough for two adults and a child to exist comfortably.

Away from the campsite, there are plenty of fascinating towns and villages to visit.

The location of the site means that you could easily do a three countries in a few hours trip, starting in with breakfast in Belgium hoping over the border into Luxembourg for lunch and arriving for an afternoon drink in Germany.

We went in late season and the weather wasn't great, it rained a fair bit so I would advise you to go earlier than late August. This is a fascinating part of Europe and well worth visiting.

Places to Visit

SPA

A traditional small Belgian town, steeped in history. European royalty have taken the waters to cure all sorts of ailments. You too can taste the famous spa water - and at only 1Euro a glass - but be warned it is an acquired taste, resembling blood.

LA ROCHE EN ARDENNE

A lovely small town and the nearest to the campsite. The chateau is a must see with an impressive night time light show. There is also a world war two museum marking the Battle of the Bulge. About 90 per cent of the town was destroyed in the battle and its story is told here. …