Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Family Holidays: Shorefield Country Park (Review)

Nowadays, holidaying in the UK is trendy, especially the much vaunted ‘glamping’, but growing up in the Seventies it was pretty much the only option for most families, ours included. I will gloss over the ghastly experience of sleeping on hard, damp ground under smelly, damp canvas (I have a theory that it is only those who never went camping as children that embrace it as adults!)

But our caravan holidays were quite different - comfortable, clean, dry, and actually quite exciting! We saw many different parts of the country as children, but always returned to our favourites – around Swanage in Dorset, and Milford on Sea in Hampshire.

As adults, my brother loves to take his family to the same area in Dorset, and I have never lost my affection for Milford and Lymington in Hampshire. It’s only an hour or so’s drive from us, but going even for the day is very relaxing and peaceful. So when we were asked to visit as guests of Shorefield Country Park for a long weekend recently, we jumped at the chance!

Strangely, our childhood holidays always included an October half-term visit to Downton, the little park which adjoins Shorefield, and in my early twenties, a group of friends and I always went to one girl's parents' caravan at Shorefield.  So it was somewhat serendipitous to be visiting again in my blogging capacity!

Situated on the South coast near Christchurch, Milford on Sea is a small village with a pebble beach, and various local attractions on its doorstep.  Shorefield Country Park is located just outside the town in the hamlet of Downton, but there is a cut-through to the cliff tops from where you can walk into the village.  The park itself is large (a huge 100 acres of landscaped parkland) and contains a variety of accommodation, including static caravans, lodges and chalets.

Established over 50 years ago, this holiday site really knows what it is doing and boasts five stars!  It has a shop, pub, restaurant, Elemis Day Spa and gym, so you could pretty much stay on site for your entire break if you wanted to!  (N.B. Make sure you book in advance if you'd like a spa treatment, I missed the boat on that one unfortunately!)

Our caravan was very luxurious with all mod cons, and there were several play areas for the girls to explore.  Extra wide and with two good-sized bedrooms, one en suite, we were very happy to settle in to our new temporary home.  Lara absolutely loves a 'camper van holiday' a la Peppa Pig, so she was in her element!

We arrived late afternoon on the Friday, with enough time to settle in, unpack the car, and buy a few necessary holiday supplies (crisps, wine etc!) from the on-site shop.  We then headed over to the entertainment centre for a complimentary dinner.  The food was very good, far better than we had perhaps expected, and we thought excellent value for the prices charged.  Service was friendly and welcoming, and there was still entertainment going on even though we were out of season.  Lara found some new friends to dance with, delighted at the appearance of site mascot Cyril the Squirrel, and loved the small amusement room along the corridor too.  We retired to our caravan for the night with one very happy but exhausted little girl!

The next morning we cooked up a storm in the kitchen, whilst Sophia played with her new wooden train, before heading out to browse the shops and Saturday market at nearby Lymington.  We enjoyed a much-needed rest stop at the harbour at the bottom of the High Street to watch the boats and feed the seagulls for a bit too.

We had a delicious late lunch at Prezzo, which you can read about here, the remainder of which stocked our holiday fridge up nicely!!  Once back at the site, we headed up to their outdoor swimming pool area which was of course closed off in October, but had another fab play area, and a lovely nature centre for the girls to explore.  That evening we stayed in the caravan as the girls were tired after their long day, and made the most of the lovely half bath and the DVD player!  Lara had also managed to acquire some genuine Pippa dolls in a charity shop during the day, so she was happy playing with them for a few hours.


On the Sunday morning, we decided to try out the indoor swimming pool, which was lovely, although with a tiled bottom which curved it proved a little slippery for Lara and we did have a bit of a scary incident.  With our swimming pool experience cut short because of that, we decided to head into the New Forest for a lovely walk.  Situated just 3 miles away from Shorefield, the New Forest offers a wealth of opportunities to explore and have adventures, perfect for small people - and big ones!

(Not me & Steve!)

After a last night in our 'holiday house', we checked out and headed off to Peppa Pig World for the day, again situated just a short drive away.  This is the perfect location for a fun-packed family holiday, and even gives the grown-ups the chance of some downtime too.  Perfect!

We had a fantastic weekend at Shorefield Country Park, with lovely accommodation, great service, and lots of fun.  Thank you for having us!  We'll be back...

You can read more about Shorefield Country Park, and book from their excellent value for money offers on their website.

You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook to hear of latest offers and news from the parks.

And don't forget to enter our competitions!

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