SURFS UP: Polzeath beach in Cornwall
Now, in the weary dad role, Im ready to pass the baton of the great British staycation to my children.
Sharing happy memories from my youth and making new ones with them is a great recipe for ensuring precious family time is all the more meaningful.
Our home for the week is Hengar Manor, an impressive 18th century house, dressed in finest wisteria, overlooking a golf course.
Set in 35 acres of parkland, reaching to Bodmin Moor, its a perfect location for evening walks or a spot of fishing on one of the four well-stocked lakes.
QUAINT: Picturesque Padstow harbour
But its the childrens adventure activities which really set this place apart.
On its Go Active kids programme theres a choice of archery, fencing, zorbing, den building, crossbow and golf, for £6 a session, all organised by a team of enthusiastic staff who are even adept at doing “The Floss”.
And if you fancy doing your own thing, theres a swimming pool and spa.
When its time to wind down, pay a visit to the on-site Tavern bar and grill, which serves up pub grub, plus theres a family room where the kids entertainment, featuring comedians, magicians and singers, kicks off every evening at 7pm.
Our accommodation, a luxurious open-plan Willow lodge on the estate, is clean and comfortable, with granite worktops in the kitchen and a 37inch TV, DVD player and stereo.
The private hot tub on the outdoor decking, however, is the major highlight and we pile in at all times of the day, as well as after dark.
Hengar is a 20-minute drive from Cornwalls north coast and some of the countys most fabulous beaches.
On the first day we don our wet suits, grab our bodyboards and head for Polzeath, a cracker of a bay with endless sands, funky eateries and expert life-guard teams.
Cornwall village RAVAGED by flash floods
While Britain was battered by storms, the coastal village of Coverack in Cornwall was ravaged by extreme flash flooding. Roads have been swept away, and two people were air lifted to safety PA A driveway is swept away by the flood waters
The surf is up but gentle enough for our seven-year-old to gain her confidence on a board and build up her appetite for an ice-cream. Other stunning beaches are nearby Harlyn Bay, great for rock pooling, and slightly further afield, Fistral and Watergate Bay at Newquay.
We also take a trip to Padstow to sample Rick Steins famous seafood. Getting a table in one of his restaurants can be difficult in high season but you can always join the queue at his fish and chip eaterie on the quayside, where you can enjoy a local beer or a glass of fizz with your fried delights.
The Eden Project, with its futuristic Mediterranean and tropical biomes containing thousands of plants, is within easy reach of Hengar.
This summers theme is space travel and visitors can experience playing golf on Mars and riding a moon buggy.
Also nearby are the fascinating Lost Gardens of Heligan.
They have survived a chequered past, having been lost and won, let go and renovated over centuries and through wars.
After being rescued again, and lovingly tended for 25 years, the gardens are a stunning collection of native as well as tropical plants thanks to the unique microclimate in this valley.
For something with a slightly faster pace we head to Adrenaline Quarry in Liskeard, which boasts The Zip – dubbed the “UKs maddest zip wire”.
At 490m long, 50m high and reaching speeds of 40mph, the twin parallel wires whizz daredevils across the flooded depths of the old quarry, with sheer cliffs rising on either side.
Theres also a giant swing which launches over the quarry from a great height and the Total Wipeout-style aqua park with slides and an inflatable assault course.
Participants are kitted out with wetsuits on arrival, so no need to bring your own.
We also have fun competing on the huge go-karting track.
Any disputes about who is the fastest are soon settled with a digital print-out of our fastest lap times.
Unfortunately we didnt have time for my wife to participate in axethrowing.
A notice at the park says: “We have no excuse whatsoever for this violent, hilarious, satisfying and ultimately senseless activity.
“Axe-throwing is not a skill that will serve you well later in life and the world will not be a better place for it.”
Excellent! Poldark fans, meanwhile, will enjoy a visit to the atmospheric Bodmin Moor with its rugged wilderness and open skies. Also on the doorstep theres Bodmin Jail, where visitors get to explore the life of an 18th century prisoner, as well as Tintagel, a medieval fort with links to the legend of King Arthur.
Both enable our Horrible Histories-loving daughter to get to grips with the past.
I have a feeling this trip, like so many of my childhood Cornish holidays, is one which will be cherished and re-visited for many years to come.