We have returned from a triumphant family holiday in a caravan at Parkdean Newquay. It’s a success as it took some persuading to get Hubs to consider a holiday in a caravan. I have fond memories of staying in them as a child on family holidays to Devon. My husband never has. When you live in Northern Ireland, holidays usually involve a flight. If you’re going to get on a plane you may as well carry on going and head to Spain or Italy or similar.
Now we have Small Boy I was keen to give it a try. For one thing, like many families expensive holidays are a luxury. We want something cheap, cheerful and entertainment. We want a family holiday which means we get some fresh air, our toddler enjoys himself and we don’t have any stress.
Self catering holidays in the UK give a degree of flexibility with young children. You can eat when you like, sleep in as long as you like, and have a lot more storage for taking toys and games. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be stuck in one room with a child for a week. You also don’t need to battle with airports. If anyone is ill, you can pack up the car and go home.
Why Parkdean Newquay
We chose Parkdean in Newquay for several reasons.
It was reasonably priced. We booked through the Sun Holiday voucher scheme, but paid to upgrade. We opted for a Charlestown extra wide caravan which meant we had a little more space. I’ve priced up the same accommodation for the same period next May and for five days it’s coming in at between £220 – £270. That is good value in my book! The Charlestown caravan comes with a double bed, two single beds and sleeping in the lounge. It also has a flat screen TV, soundbar, microwave, gas oven and hob, fridge – freezer, hairdryer and all your basic kitchen utensils.
The Park was also listed as having a good range of basic facilities – three swimming pools, a games arcade, small shop, bar and grill, kids entertainment and a pitch and put golf course. We knew we wanted to be out and about a lot, but with entertainment passes included we at least wanted to know there were activities if we wanted them.
The final reason we opted for Parkdean Newquay was the location. Cornwall is a great holiday location. We have stayed in Bodmin in the past so we knew that the area would offer lots of family fun. Newquay is well placed for lots of attractions, whether that’s Padstow or the Eden Centre. Go to both, by the way!
You could say that the resort had a lot to live up to. I must admit I had a minor panic the day before we set off as the stakes were high with this holiday. I’d sold it as a great family holiday and done some arm twisting. This was the first of two family holidays this year. If this bombed then the second might start under it’s shadow.
What can I say? We were not disappointed.
The Charlestown caravan was great in many ways, and perfect for couples or those travelling with young children.
The single beds are small, too small for my two year old who is a thrasher. They would probably be fine for other kids though. We pushed the singles together though and they made a decent double. That was perfect as one of us could sleep in with him when needed.
The double bedroom was a good size and both had wardrobes and plenty of sockets. The bathroom was small though and while I was okay, my husband struggled. Great shower though! It’s definitely worth going for an extra wide birth or going for one bigger than you think you need. That’s true of all caravans though.
The kitchen was very well equipped. We took a few plastic plates and beakers for little one but we needed nothing else. There was a full dinner service, lots of glasses, mugs, pans, casserole dishes and more. The fridge-freezer isn’t the full size one you’d have at home, but is more than you need for a week.
The lounge and dining area was very spacious and comfortable. It had loads of electricity points, radiator, flat screen TV and soundbar. There were two USB charging ports too! We were both very impressed, and little one loved it as there was still room for him to play happily on the floor.
I also need to give a shout out to housekeeping as the entire caravan was spotless. I’ve stayed in villas and hotels and apartments, but this was by far the cleanest. I know that the Charlestown caravan is relatively new (2017) but the oven didn’t really look like it had been used.
The resort and its facilities
Despite using the caravan as a base, we made use of the entertainment and facilities on site too. The pools are both outside, so be prepared to get a chill if the sun hasn’t warmed it up! It has one larger pool, a smaller child’s pool and a toddler pool – plus a massive slide! This will appeal to some and not to others, but on a hot day it was nice to take a dip for half an hour.
The shop on site is the same as most corner shops. You won’t get everything, but you will get your basics. It’s slightly more expensive than you would pay at home, and closes for some of the afternoon, but there’s a Morrisons and a Tesco within 10 minutes in the car. My advice would be load up on the big stuff there.
The restaurant on site was good. It opens from 9am for breakfast. As there’s no WIFI signal anywhere else on the site, I liked to wander down there first thing, grab a coffee and download a few things to my Kindle. I could get 4G elsewhere on the site, but it wasn’t easy in the caravan itself. Still, that just takes a bit of forward planning.
In the evening, the restaurant is a good place to grab a meal before moving on to the entertainment centre. We found it reasonably priced with a good selection for children. I recommend the Classic Burger!
The entertainment starts early with kids’ discos and bingo, then there’s quizzes and the resident singers and the like. It’s all standard stuff, but even my Hubs enjoyed it. Let’s face it, you’re not going there for high brow entertainment, you want to have a bit of silly fun with your kids and on this it deliverers. It’s all worth it to see a smile on their faces.
One word – amazing! Within fifteen minutes you’re at Newquay Zoo and Dairyland Farm World. Eden Centre isn’t much further out. There’s an Aquarium and a great beach in Newquay which is only 10 minutes away. Basically, it’s perfect for a family holiday. There is one caveat, you will find it tough if you don’t drive. This is Cornwall, and relatively rural. There is a bus stop outside the park but relying on public transport won’t give you the flexibility of driving. Also, the driveway up to the resort itself is very steep!
We spent five days at Parkdean Newquay and I can honestly say I would go back again. It’s the first time in a long time both Hubs and I looked at each other on holiday, as we packed up to leave, and said “I’m not ready to go home yet”.
So yes, a thumbs up from us (ALL of us) to Parkdean Newquay.