Fast forward more than 500 years and the Poole family set off from London on a journey of discovery themselves — to explore the lesser-known Costa where Columbus set forth.

We’d been to Spain many times, but we had never been to Costa de la Luz, just seven miles from the Portuguese border and on the Atlantic, not the Mediterranean coast.

It was also our first time at one of TUI’s Family Life resorts.

The TUI flight to Faro and the hour-long transfer were easy and hassle-free, but what you are immediately struck by is how much quieter this part of Spain is.

After a hectic summer, some space and downtime — free of petty annoyances like heavy traffic, busy airports or long queues — was just what our family needed.

And it’s a feeling that stayed with us throughout our holiday.

Family Life is an all-inclusive TUI brand which promises large family rooms, buffet-style restaurants (with a separate buffet for the kids), kids’ clubs for three-to-11-year-olds, a teenagers’ hangout and family entertainment.

At Islantilla, me, my wife and the three kids (aged between four and ten) had two adjoining rooms with a pleasant view over the beach.

It was clean, bright, with modern furniture. We were lucky enough to get one decorated like a circus which my son, Rafe, aged eight, said was the highlight of his trip.

My wife loved the selection of salad bits at lunch and dinner. Every day there was a different theme, with live cooking and always offering a plentiful and wide range of good quality meat and fish.

It was always fresh, the staff always friendly and the facilities were always clean. There was never a fear of getting ill.

This resort has 478 rooms, so is not sprawling compared to some of the other TUI resorts, so we always felt safe to allow the children to roam semi-free around the pool area.

There are two main pools, although they were a little cold for the children until late afternoon.

But sunbeds were always available even at 10am for the five of us so we never felt that holiday stress of whether to get up early to put out the towels.

Behind the pools, the kids loved the lawn area for kicking a football about.

There is also a daily football match on a five-a-side court at 4pm which our boys really enjoyed.

Mummy and Daddy also loved the San Miguel on tap and may have enjoyed a few too many rum and Cokes a bit too early in the day.

But given the cosmopolitan nature of the clientele from all over Europe — many Spaniards were staying here when we visited — the atmosphere was never too boozy or out of control.

The jewel in the crown of this little resort, however, is the beach. It is huge and it is empty.

And it is literally steps away from the resort across a public promenade, where sunbeds under umbrellas await. We spent hours there every day until the sun went down.

But be warned about one thing in this part of Spain — the Atlantic is COLD. Take wetsuits for little ones.

Next to the resort is a small watersports cabana, where we hired pedalos and went on a catamaran, it also has jet skis and banana boat rides at reasonable prices.

And at night we loved walking up the promenade to the nearby town for dinner, to play on the beach rides or to resist the temptation to buy Arabella, aged five, another cut-price LOL toy from the hawkers.

During our week-long stay we did look about for places to visit, but Cadiz is too far to drive to and there is little else really eye-catching to do.

We did go one day to a huge waterpark Aquashow about an hour’s drive away in Portugal — a great day.

Go: Costa de la Luz

GETTING / STAYING THERE: TUI offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at the 4-star TUI Family Life Islantilla on the Costa de la Luz in Spain from £530pp.

Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Luton on May 9 and transfers.

To book go to or visit a TUI holiday store.

But the charm of the place is in its small-scale seclusion.

A lack of choice or lack of FOMO made us relax more, especially for a family of five for whom just getting to breakfast is a military manoeuvre.

The Family Life at Islantilla gave us back our peace — and so much more.

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