Colourful Cottages – Picture definitely not taken during our stay…
I know that our time in Bavaria will run out before long, and over the next few months (or at a push a year) a move will be on the cards. And yet there’s still so much we have to see of Germany. Thankfully, we have a big list – typically consisting of picturesque towns, places with amazing scenery and/or beautiful wines to try to get to before we check out (funny that!)…
The Eifel happened to be on this list for its National Park Status – a region that Mr R had visited many moons ago, but that I didn’t know all that much about – apart from the fact that it’s quite close to France and Belgium, and sits between the Mosel and the Rhine (great for wine!) and that was about it. And then we were invited to spend a weekend with Lindner Ferienpark Nürburgring and my knowledge of the place grew tenfold in the space of around 48 hours.
It took us a little over 6 hours to get there from Munich with a couple of stops for the tiniest member of the family. At just over 340 miles, it’s actually closer to get to from the UK, and has a bit of a British fan base – undoubtedly attracted by a good few things – the demon driving to be had next door at the Nürburgring, a world renowned Formula One Track (more on that soon!), the massive array of outdoor activities on its doorstep, and the fact that it’s a great place to stay with friends and family.
One of my personal holiday park scoring systems involves the weather – is there enough to do when it’s terrible? Is the accommodation nice enough for everyone to be happy to be stuck in from time to time? And most importantly – are there enough things to keep children happy when they don’t want to be stuck in from time to time?… Not all too unsurprisingly given the time of year, the weather happily obliged to help me with this test for the entire weekend with gale force winds, sleet, snow and pretty much non-stop rain.
Thankfully all wintry conditions were very much left outside given the warm welcome we received from the friendly receptionist. This was our first visit to a German holiday park, and Lindner lived up to its child friendly holiday park reputation with a few welcome treats for the Small People.
As it was late, we opted for a very decent flammkuchen in the small bistro, and gave the (decent) buffet breakfast a run for its money each morning. Incidentally, the bistro also has a small shop selling all the basics you need without having to leave the park.
Our accommodation was equally warm and welcoming on a cold dark night, and was spacious and comfortable. Possibly a little too spacious in the lounge, and it could have maybe have done with more furniture to make it seem less sparse, but within half an hour unloading the gumpf that goes along with two children and a small baby, this was no longer really noticeable.
The kitchen was well equipped, and I liked the fact that you could choose to go down the self catering route, and/or eat at the on site restaurant (or nearby, there are several). I also liked that our cottage had two bathrooms given the length of time the Small Girl now spends in them, and that the house wasn’t overlooked so you could pretend you really were in the middle of nowhere. Under the stairs we found lots of things to make a stay with young children easier – stair gates should you need them, as well as a camping cot and high chair. It’s worth mentioning that pets are welcome (forget “an English Man and his Dog”, it really should be “a German Man and his Hund” so fond are they of four legged friends!), so if you suffer with allergies, do mention this when booking your cottage.
And so to bed…
The Lindner Ferienpark is nestled in the midst of an area of outstanding natural beauty. As it was dark when we arrived, it was a lovely surprise to open the curtains the following morning out onto the most glorious rolling countryside that is the Hoch Eifel. I think it’s fair to say that almost all of the 85 houses here have exceptional views.
Linder won a Holiday Park Special Award last year, and given the quality of the accommodation, the beautiful surroundings and everything else it has to offer, it’s not hard to understand why. As well as over 150 miles of nearby hiking and cycle ways to explore, there’s a Spa & Wellness Centre (no swimming pool though sadly), as well as a couple of great children’s activity centres. Divided for older and younger children, we investigated the house for the tiniest people first, much to the disgust of the Small Boy who considered himself far too old to enter such premises. Each room had a member of staff supervising various activities, and upstairs we found a soft play area and (for use in kinder climates) there’s a slide from the balcony down into the playground. On to the activity centre for older children next – here we found a giant crafting room with every tool imaginable, a games area, massive air hockey table, table football, and Small Boy’s particular favourite (not mine!) – an entire room dedicated to the Playstation. Despite the weather he also put the football and volleyball courts to the test. Meanwhile, Small Girl happily crafted alongside a very sweet helper, decorating some bark art, and getting stuck in to the paints.
Our time there was also spent at the nearby Nurburgring (more on that soon) and on the trail of some of Germany’s biggest volcanoes. Yes, you did read that correctly. Although the relatively low (compared to Bavaria) mountain range (still some skiing to be had though) reminded me a lot of the Lake District, as far as I know, the Lake District doesn’t have any slumbering volcanoes. We are an experienced family when it comes to volcano conquering, but this caldera at nearby Maria Laach doesn’t take much scaling. It was quite surreal to think that we were circumnavigating the top of a sleeping super volcano though, and apparently on a clear day you can see gas bubbles at the edge of the lake. Don’t have nightmares, this beast in’t expected to erupt for at least another 10,000 years.
The Laacher See Caldera
All in all we had a couple of really nice relaxing days. Don’t let our poor weather experience put you off – the park most definitely passed my “is there enough to do when the weather’s bad” bench mark test, which can only mean it’s even better in nicer conditions. The staff are friendly and welcoming (and most speak good English!), it’s set in a beautiful area with a lot of interesting stuff on the doorstep, and has more than enough to keep small people happy – living up to its child friendly holiday park status. Although parking is directly outside the cottages, the roads are typically car free, making it safe for bikes/outdoor play. It’s definitely a place I would consider getting a large crowd of friends together and spending the weekend.
Finnish barbecue houses
As is always the case when we stay somewhere, on leaving I asked both Small people what they particularly liked about our stay. Both children loved having their own rooms, given the fact that they quite often have to fight about sharing a bed in a hotel “family” room, this was a real treat. Small Girl also enjoyed the activity house and the fact that she could basically choose which craft to indulge in. Small Boy mightily approved of the activity house, and also gave high marks for the breakfast (which he obviously had to test every aspect of several times!) and thought it brilliant there were not only volcanoes on the doorstep, but racing cars too!
And the baby? He was just happy enough with two super relaxed parents for a couple of nights…. We enjoyed visiting a completely different part of Germany, the facilities that made our stay much easier with three children, and don’t tell anyone but I secretly enjoyed those storms too… We could well be back to see what it’s like in better weather.
*we received complimentary bed and breakfast for two nights in return for a review. All thoughts and opinions are very much my own.