My husband Alex and I had both enjoyed windsurfing in the past and have been meaning to give it a go again for ages, but for one reason and another it was one of those things that we’d never really quite got round to. I wasn’t really interested in spending hours falling off a board into a freezing cold lake, for example. So when we were offered the chance to go to Mark Warner’s Corsican resort with its easy access to water sports and nice, warm Mediterranean sea, we were all delighted.
It felt like about 1,000 years since we last went on a fully-catered holiday so while I was perhaps most excited about the prospect of not having to cook, clean or go to the supermarket for an entire week, Alex was over the moon to be getting back on a windsurfer and Toby, 12 and Olivia, 10, very excited about the range of activities offered by the various on-site kids clubs.
The childcare element was amazing. Children are divided into small groups according to their age – Livi, then aged 9 was a Junior and based in the enormous childcare centre and Toby, aged 12, was in Kidz Club which had an outdoor hut as its base. Every morning and afternoon there were three different activities for each group and children could join in or not as they liked. Every day at least one or two of the activities were water-based – sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, sea-swimming or games in the swimming pool – and the vast majority took place outside. As the resort is fairly compact we would see the children around even when they were with their groups so could watch them going out on the water or playing beach cricket, have a chat or sign them out if they wanted some time out (which they almost never did.)
Meantime Alex and I set about relearning to windsurf. The waterfront is staffed by an army of buff young men and women who are happy to give advice and help you with your equipment. The real beauty of it is that you can try out as many boats, boards, sails or kayaks as and when you want. If you find a sail is too big or a board too small, you can swap it for another.
My first day didn’t go brilliantly and I started to wonder what I had ever found fun about windsurfing. But I stuck at it and throughout the week it got easier and by the end of the week I was spending more time on top of the water than in it, even if my legs were pretty bruised from all my falls.
While most of the clientele are fairly sporty – as well as watersports there are also tennis, aerobics and biking programmes and there is even a triathlon towards the end of the week – there is no compulsion to do anything you don’t want to do and if you want to spend all week lying on a lounger, that’s fine too.
We had two large, newly-renovated air-conditioned rooms with enormous bathrooms overlooking the sea.
The food was excellent and plentiful – breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinner generally a la carte. There was a children’s high tea available for the younger children and the older ones could eat with their parents or their groups as they chose. There was also an evening programme of activities (or a film for the younger ones).
I think what we all enjoyed most about the experience was the flexibility. The children adored their clubs (especially Livi, who was totally in love in love with her group leader Charlotte) but liked that they didn’t have to be there bang on 9 every day and Toby, as an older child, was allowed to sign himself in and out. Having access to so many water craft in such a safe environment was brilliant – the safety boat was a constant presence (I was regularly towed back when I couldn’t make my board go in the right direction) and it even meant I could let Toby go out kayaking on his own as he was desperate to do (while I secretly watched and fretted from the shore of course.) Even the pool had a lifeguard so we didn’t always have to supervise the children when they wanted to swim.
Holidays with the family, especially young children, can sometimes be tiring and stressful. This one, because everything was done for us and the children were happy and occupied without feeling like they were spending the whole week apart from us, really wasn’t. A Mark Warner holiday is ideal for any family who wants to spend time being active with their kids, with the knowledge that they’ll also get the chance to spend time as a couple.
Disclosure: We stayed as guest of Mark Warner.