A couple of weekends ago we were lucky enough to stay at Parkdean Sandford Holiday Park in Dorset in their Ashmore Plus D28 luxury caravan. Now I have stayed in a few caravans in my time, but I have never been fortunate enough to stay in one as comfortable and as warm as this – I felt utterly spoilt! In fact when I woke up on our final morning, lazing in the double bed feeling all warm and cosy, I happened to read a facebook message from a friend saying how she had barely slept all night as the caravan she was staying in (in Cornwall) was freezing, and wondering why modern caravans did not have heating! I could not help but feel a little smug at this status of my friend, as I lie looking at a radiator in my room!
During my stay I took a lot of photos and therefore I am going to write two posts covering our weekend break at Sandford: this one being more of an over view of the site, the accommodation and facilities and the second one will be about what Burton and Jenson got up to while we there, so more of a focus on what a parkdean holiday can offer children.
As you can probably already tell the caravan was just amazing – seriously it was modern, comfortable and warm (yes I keep on refering to that but it does make a BIG difference to me as many a previous caravan holiday I have spent trying to keep warm at bedtime/in the night and when I needed to use the bathroom!). The Ashmore Plus D28 is the park’s newest caravan for 2014 and can sleep 6-8 people with its 3 bedrooms and space in the lounge. It comes with double glazing and central heating which made it ……well warm!
What struck me as soon as I entered the cararvan is how contemporary it is in its fittings and design and also how well equipped it is too. It really is like a home from home and offers a well thought out self catering accommodation which has a roomy kitchen for cooking and prepping family meals, a large dining table and a big stand alone fridge/freezer – not the under the counter type with a top shelf freezer drawer which I have only ever seen in previous caravan holidays. And check out the extractor fan and hood – again excellent as it means that you can diffuse the singed aromas and smoke from a cooking with the fan and not with having to open all the doors and windows!!
The sitting area was very inviting and the boys soon made themselves at home! We had no need to use the fire but again I was impressed by how modern it was as again, reverting back to my previous caravan holiday experiences, the fires were very old fashioned and had fake black coals or logs with a mantle shelf!! There were a lot of curtains to open and close, but I just brushed that off as some arm exercise (any excuse to eat some chocolate biscuits *ahem) !!
The sleeping quarters and two – yes two – bathrooms were separated from the livng area of the caravan by a door which was great as it made the caravan more homely still, being able to shut the two areas off from each other. It also means anyone who retires to bed early, can shut out the noise from the TV more easily too. The bed was comfy and roomy for two and there was plenty of cupboard and wardrobe space in each of the three bedrooms, oh and they were warm too! The boys enjoyed sharing one of the twin bedrooms and neither of them fell out of bed while we stayed! Plus I was also very impressed with the large walk in shower (which easily accomodates two boys!) and based on previous occasions, I was expecting the water to be a bit tepid and the water flow a bit weak I was very pleased to be able to shower in hot and fast flowing water!! Towells and bed linen are supplied which saves on luggage space.
The caravan also has a decking area which allows for an outdoor dinng area perfect for some al fresco eating, and the table and chairs can be located through the french doors leading out from the lounge. Each caravan also has a parking space right outside, so you do not have far to carry all that lugagge!
Sandford Holiday Park is set wthin a country park and it feels like you are miles from anywhere to be honest, with the greenery all around and I was struck by how peaceful it was too. During our short break, as we walked around the site I saw a couple of squirrels and the boys spotted some rabbits!
The site is big and holds various models and types of caravans (aswell as lodges and a camping site too) and there is a caravan for every budget. The site is well maintained and looked very clean and tidy, and the staff were friendly and extremely helpful. The site is well equipped with an on site shop which is well stocked and was not over priced, two swimming pools (an outdoor and indoor one) which are manned by lifeguards, an amusement arcade, a fish and chip shop and plenty of outdoor adventure playgrounds for children, which again were well equipped and looked clean and well kept. The Star Plaza is where you will find the reception, bar, dining and entertainment areas and the best chance of wifi signal too!
We were impressed by the range of food available at the Arena Bar & Courtyard Restaurant . As we were only staying the 2 nights we decided to eat out both nights – I mean we were on holiday afterall and also more practically, I did not see the point in buying a load of food to cook with for just a weekend (although I did cook a brunch Saturday morning and we ate breakfast in our caravan both mornings). There is a fantastic kids menu (more about that in my next post) and the OH and I were impressed by all the starters, mains and desserts on offer and all reasonably priced too. The restuarant staff were attentive, helpful and welcoming too. Based on two kids meals, a starter, two mains and a dessert our evening meal for 4 cost us approximately £35, and it was really nice too – even the boys ate all theirs which is quite rare on meals eaten out of home (and in the home to be honest!).
We actually stayed on site for the day and a half that we spent at Sandford Holiday Park and found lots to do to occupy us and the boys, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Day or night there is entertainment on site with a kids club and offering activities in the day time and a show each evening (more about this in my next post), and for adults there is a late bar with bingo, live music and such like. Of course being based in Dorset there are planty of amazing places to visit outside of the holiday park too, various National Trust owned sites, Peppa Pig World, beaches, wildlife centres and so on. More information can be found here. Had we been staying longer we would have explored the area more, in particluar for me Weymouth, Lyme Regis and Corfe Castle places I used to visit a lot as a child. However, having just spent all day Friday at Paultons Park (aka Peppa Pig World) the boys were quite tired on Saturday so we just spent the day swimming, cycling (we took our own bikes with us), going on a nature hunt and the boys enjoyed playing in the adventure playgrounds.
I know that my stay at Parkdean Sandford Holiday park was a review trip BUT nevertheless it has opened mine and my OH’s eyes up to the possibility of staying on a caravan holiday. I have to be honest it has never occured to us to do so before, but we both agreed that we were impressed by the site and how much we all enjoyed our stay. Therefore, we would (and hopefully will!) book a longer holiday ourselves because it was just brilliant! Oh and did I mention how warm and cosy the caravan was……..??!!
We were fortunate to have stayed in the Ashmore Plus D28 at Parkdean Sandford Holiday park for free for the purpose of a review, which included free entertainment tickets and a complimentary meal on our first night. I can honestly say that our short break was superb and I really do reccommend it (and I am not just saying this because this is a review). I have in fact been reccommending Parkdean to my friends and family since we arrived home, because it really was a great place for a holiday. Therefore, all comments made here are my own and completely honest.
You can also find a pinboard about our holiday on my pinterest
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