Don't you just hate those people with kids who complain that doing anything more complicated than walking to the bottom of the garden is like "a small military operation"?

Yeah, we used to, too. Now we have become those people. Since the arrival of Child No.2, Barney, in March, getting anything done seems 10 times more difficult. So a foreign holiday was out of the question (don't you just hate those people whose babies cry all the way through a four-hour flight? Well, I didn't want to become one of THOSE people).

Anyway, going British certainly didn't feel like taking second best. Especially in beautiful Woolacombe, with a week at the Golden Coast Holiday Village - one of four parks in the area run by Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parcs.

When the weather's good, you can't beat a British holiday. But, as we all know, you can't guarantee the weather, and so Golden Coast offers loads of things to keep the little ones (and their parents) occupied even when the rain is chucking down.

We couldn't book into our lodge until Saturday afternoon, so we travelled down on Friday night and stayed at Westleigh House Farm, a bed-and-breakfast near Bideford.

Located on a working farm, it's a great base. Comfortable, friendly, a full English in the morning, and not far from the beach.

Incidentally, if you're ever in Bideford around New Year's Eve, make sure you pack some fancy dress costumes. The whole town dresses up to see in the New Year (and I do mean the WHOLE town - you'll stick out like a sore thumb in smart-casuals) and a great time is had by all. Indeed, it was a New Year's Eve in Bideford that my good lady wife and I were last able to try out our own fancy dress costumes (I made a very convincing Groucho Marx, in case you were wondering).

If you've got kids in tow, try a visit to the Big Sheep - yep, a sheep-themed tourist attraction. You can feed the lambs, watch the sheep race (and bet on them), and find out all you ever wanted to know about our woolly-backed friends, but were afraid to ask.

But I digress. We left the B&B in plenty of time to spend a few hours on Woolacombe beach before checking into our lodge. And what a beach.

This vast expanse of golden sands attracts all sorts of beach-goers. Surfers and kite-surfers were particularly well represented, with strong winds creating some impressive waves.

The wind didn't put off plenty of families from enjoying the beach - although the shop selling windbreaks was doing a brisk trade.

Best of all, there are sections for dogs, including spots where they can be let off their leads. I love watching other people's animals going mad in the water, chasing anything that moves and generally having a good time (as long as I don't have to share a car with them afterwards).

And if you go right, rather than left when you hit the beachfront, you can find yourself a cracking cove in which to worship the sun.

I often get the impression that many people see Devon as the poor relation of Cornwall. The cliche is that the latter becomes Notting Hill-by-the-Sea during the summer - thanks to the likes of David Cameron holidaying there - Devon becomes full of Brummies.

True, it probably has more than its fair share of visitors from the West Midlands (and, as someone who's Birmingham born-and-bred, I should know. We can smell our own), but is that necessarily worse than bumping into half of the Shadow Cabinet in the ice cream queue?

Some of the villages and coastlines around north Devon are the equal of anything anywhere else in the country, in terms of rugged beauty.

Nearby Saunton is a stunning beach, with a real Bohemian feel to it, Croyde is a living picture postcard, and Clovelly is almost too pretty for words.

Then there's Westward Ho! (don't you just love places with exclamation marks in their names?), Combe Martin...I could go on.

So, when the weather's great, you've got beaches - and you don't need much else.

When it isn't, Golden Sands is a bit of a godsend. We were able to keep Grace, our two-year-old, occupied with indoor swimming, soft play areas, Billy Beachball's Children's Club (she loved decorating biscuits nearly as much as she enjoyed eating them afterwards), 10-pin bowling and ceramics-making (there was definitely a touch of the Jackson Pollock about her plate design).

Too cool to sunbathe, but too nice to stay indoors? Then get yourself out on a brisk walk.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours attempting to trek from Woolacombe to Morte Point. We didn't actually get there, but got to walk along some lovely coastline and saw seals in the sea.

After a week of family-friendliness, we needed a bit of sophistication. So when we stumbled across artist Damien Hirst's restaurant (no, shark in formaldehyde wasn't on the menu) - 11 The Quay in Ilfracombe - we had to pop in.

It's like a mini-art gallery inside, and the staff are incredibly friendly. The food is superb - we shared a delicious seafood platter, full of lobster, crab, prawns and more. Great view of the harbour, as well.

All in all, a great way to round off a memorable week.