We stayed here for a week in April on a Touring Pitch. Two adults and one 4 year old. Overall the site is great, I hadn’t been before the refurb, but as of now it looks excellent inside and out. The shower blocks were clean and functional, entertainment teams great, beer fresh and cold, food fine, pool excellent and the pitches great. Highly recommended for families.
On arrival, we’d called in advance and asked if we go straight to the touring pitches. We’re told yes – but on arrival had no code to get through the barrier. Thankfully someone gave us the code to get in while my wife ran to reception to get our pitch details. The wardens came by about the same time and provided our pitch details. Bit frustrating for a start, but not really the sites fault.
Caravan space was great, fully serviced pitch. We were in and set up very quickly.
Toilet blocks were always clean, we did a day visit to Sandyballs and the toilet block was disgusting (including the sewers being blocked!) I’m glad we were only visiting! The showers are great, I think my only comment would be that even standing right back you get sprayed with water. They are a great size – but the heads point a bit too much towards the doors. Plenty of sink space available and we never really saw many others in there, so space wasn’t an issue.
The main building looks great with the refurb, while it may be a silly point, the quality of the beers on tap was outstanding. Clean crisp beer, cider etc. Prices a bit high (£4 for a pint) which does put a dent on things. But not a reason to rate them lower. The restaurant is nice, we went once for a full meal with starters. My starter wasn’t right, but we were too hungry to wait for it to be fixed. I did point it out to the staff – to be honest I’d have expected it to be refunded on the bill as a nice gesture. But it wasn’t the end of the world. Overall the pies were great and we enjoyed the food. Breakfast was a bit different though, while there is a breakfast menu at the cafe, you can’t actually order and eat there and have to go into the restaurant section. We found this out after ordering our drinks. It’s a bit silly to have a menu on the wall that you can’t supply. We went into the restaurant and even though empty had to try to get the attention of the staff to order (who seemed more keen to just talk at the time). When they came over, food ordered – there was quite a long wait. On two occasions we saw the Chef come out looking for service. Third time he got someone – but it did seem our food was waiting and the poached eggs on toast were warm at best. The food was fine, but service slipped. We also had lunch here – however at one point with just myself and my daughter, we were mid way through food & drinks and I had the “Daddy I need the toilet” moment. So, leaving our half eaten food and drinks also my coat on the chair off we went. We were about 3 minutes and come out to find the food taken away. I saw the waitress who’d got our plates (stacked on top of each other) and asked if she’d taken them. There was a first look of “Do you want them back” but it was clear that wasn’t an option. For me – problems happen, it’s how they are resolved that matters. It wasn’t deliberate and a simple accident. Within 10 minutes we’d got two completely fresh plates of food (that were actually nicer than the original – burger was more freshly cooked and plated differently). So again – nothing to knock them back for – it was resolved quickly and well.
The pool was great, lovely changing area, always clean and fresh. The actual pool was great, it did get very busy at times, but that’s to be expected. We’re really looking forward to trying the outdoor pool when it’s open. We’d go swimming everyday and never had any issues. The pool does have quite a bit of chlorine in so without goggles the eyes got sore quite quickly. But this is the same in most places.
Evening entertainment was great – our daughter loved it. The staff interaction was great from the entertainment team, after visiting Butlins earlier in the year, I was surprised how good it was. Only suggestion would be during some of the shows with the characters in costume on the stage when it’s just them singing a song or something. Get one of the entertainment team to engage with the audience. Multiple nights the characters are singing or talking, and all the kids just stood there and watched. . rather than engaging. The only other things to take note of would be the queueing and bingo. The queues would start about 18:00 and then the rush in. We never bothered queuing and in general found ourselves standing with no spare seats while our daughter went and played. The bingo was next – we’re not bingo fans, but it is taken VERY seriously here. The trouble being you have a kids show, then straight into bingo with a hyper kid and trying to keep the room silent. . .can be fun (not just for us). While the kids can have a kids bingo ticket – at the younger ages they get bored very quickly. You need to stay through it though for the kids house party after. Not sure if there is a solution – but I did find it weird to have kids entertainment, serious bingo, kids entertainment. . .
Wireless is available across the site – you will need a separate email address for each device you have to log on. Using just one meant making sure you’d logged off on something else. No issue and the wireless performance was fine for general use.
Lastly – the arcade, how much did we spend! I ended up supplying a large number of other kids with the teddies from the machine as we’d got so many in the end 🙂 The tickets system is good, they have similar in Butlins. However the actual number of tickets vs money spent seems a bit out of kilter. The prizes to trade in for were also quite expensive (ie little frozen egg for 99p in the shop but 160 tickets which can cost quite a bit more than 99p to get!) Most of the games are quite quick to play which can mean you burning through money very fast. Also did seem quite a few machines were broken (not ones we’d normally play on so not an issue) and it was very dark in there. . . but overall a good bit of fun.
The softplay area next door to the arcade was great as well, our daughter loved it.
So overall – the experience was great. Some minor hiccups, but nothing that came close to ruining the holiday. Even with these issues I’d happily rate the site as a 5 star experience. Some people will LOVE bingo and be glad it’s there, others happy with some of the niggles we found. We planning another trip back shortly and fully expect more to follow.