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SPLASH HIT: The pool at Vauxhall

Id love to – hes less than six inches away. I have never been this close to such a beast, close enough to hear his low contented snuffling, to see the ripple of his fur as he breathes.

He has a large enclosure and a lady friend, Dua, but often chooses to lie here, on this platform, enjoying the company of passing humans.

There are two steel fences preventing him enjoying that company too much, but its still a magnificent experience.

Thing is, if anyone had ever told me I would get up this close and personal with a rare Sumatran tiger, the last place Id expect to do it would be here – in Norfolk.

“Peter Taylor-Whiffen”

You dont need to head abroad for a fantastic family holiday.

Were at Thrigby Hall, a small and charmingly landscaped wildlife park, where all the animals seem happy and relaxed in their environment.

Were very happy and relaxed in ours, too – were staying at Vauxhall Holiday Park on the edge of Great Yarmouth.

There are six of us in the caravan. Our two kids have each brought a friend to entertain them, but there was no real need as theres so much to do.

For nine-year-old Charlotte and her bestie Chloe, theres an activity centre called Louies Den and an adventure playground with zip-wires.

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SADDLE UP: Donkeys on Great Yarmouth beach

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Kallum and his pal Kieran hang out in the snooker hall, the sports court and teen venue The Hideout.

All come together to enjoy the arcade, mini-bowling, crazy golf and fantastic linked indoor and outdoor swimming pools with rapids, slides and fountains.

The entertainments great too – the girls loved the discos and talent contests in the V-Arena, and theres an adults-only V Lounge too.

There are some big names on the bill – Liberty X, East 17 and former X Factor champ Ben Haenow are all playing Vauxhall this year.

The caravan itself is fairly spacious, being a six-to-eight-berth home, with two double/twin bedrooms at each end, and even two loos, making it ideal for two families who might want to share.

If you prefer fewer bedrooms and more living space, no problem – some of these vans are double width and double length, making them, well, enormous.

The kitchen is well-equipped, but theres no need to cook as the excellent Reedcutters restaurant offers everything from sausage and mash to salmon, as well as fajitas, burgers and pasta.

And if you want to eat on the hoof, theres takeaway fish and chips, pizza and an ice-cream parlour.

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IDYLLIC: The beach at Great Yarmouth

Want to explore? As well as being handy for Thrigby, Vauxhall is close to Great Yarmouth.

If youre after rides, this is the place to come – the famous Pleasure Beach has enough rollercoasters and other things that lift, drop or spin you to keep you entertained for a whole day.

Vauxhall is one of about 70 parks run by Parkdean Resorts in wonderful locations across England, Scotland and Wales.

As our kids fell asleep on the way home, we could just make out the low contented snuffling of our own wild animals, and realised that you dont need to head abroad for a fantastic family holiday.

Its all right here in Britain. Even the tigers.

FACT FILE

A THREE-night summer break at Vauxhall Holiday Park, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, arriving July 20, is £189.

A seven-night summer break, arriving July 21 for seven nights, is £479.

A three-night autumn half-term break arriving October 26 is £119.

All prices are for breaks staying in Mallard 4 caravan, sleeping up to four.

To book visit parkdeanresorts.co.uk or call 0330 123 4850.

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