My review is based on our family holiday in April 2013. Having a 5 year old child with additional needs and a two year old son our criteria included a family friendly holiday park with spacious self catering accommodation, plenty of activities on site for the children and a variety of places to visit within the local area for both wet and dry days. We finally opted for Shorefield Country Park which promised a fabulous five star holiday park in beautiful surroundings, oh and Peppa Pig world within driving distance.
We were not disappointed and even extended our stay from 7 nights to 10 due to the fantastic time we were having, the weather being glorious and my son having scarlet fever resulting in us losing two days holiday, but that’s another story!
Down to the nitty gritty.... Shorefield Country park is indeed deserving of the 5 star award, situated in Hampshire just 3 miles away from the New Forest National Park the setting for this holiday park is truly breathtaking and certainly put us in the holiday spirit as we drove into the park past the wild ponies we encountered and counted along the way.
We opted for a caravan although there were lodges and chalets available too and were very happy when we arrived at our accommodation after our long drive. The caravan was exactly how it looked in the brochure, it was clean and spacious with plenty of storage, sizable wardrobes with plenty of coat hangers which we soon utilised and to top it off was in the part of the park we had requested upon booking. Our caravan also had a large terrace which we ate out on every day and was surrounded by a fence and safety gate which we felt was a nice touch to put us at ease whilst we relaxed in the fresh air. Throughout our stay the caravan was faultless with comfortable beds, relaxing sofas, working appliances, plenty of kitchen equipment for family meals which we enjoyed in peaceful surroundings. From the outside the lodges and chalets all looked clean and to a high standard although admittedly we did not see the inside of one.
The holiday park itself ticked all the boxes for us as a family as there were enough facilities for us to keep busy without being overcrowded and too hectic at the same time. Facilities on site included two playgrounds, one of which being an amazing pirate ship built on sand with all sorts of play equipment to keep a range of ages happy and the other a smaller but nice traditional playground near the main reception. Two swimming pools were on offer, an outside and indoor pool both with separate children’s pools for younger swimmers, crazy golf, arcades, outdoor tennis and football courts, a cute little nature centre and the Cyril and Cybil club which provided a day and night-time entertainment program for the children. On the practical side facilities included a supermarket stocking a wide range of goods from food and drinks to medicines and toys, a launderette, free wifi which we used in order to plan out our day trips and a restaurant and clubhouse open day and night in case we didn’t fancy cooking or wanted to head down for some entertainment.
The Cyril and Cybil club is worthy of a more in depth mention for any little ones who like my two enjoy meeting other children and playing a variety of games. The club had activities in the day such as arts and crafts and of an evening the clubhouse came alive with popular children’s music for a nightly disco, party games and dances, games with the parents, magic shows and of course the highlight every night - getting to meet the two cute squirrels in person.
As with all of the staff we met at the country park the entertainers were friendly, enthusiastic and lots of fun was to be had every night by the whole family. For older children or adults there was nightly bingo and adult entertainment and discos after 8.30pm.
We were extremely lucky with the weather and as such we visited some beautiful places during our holiday although there were some lovely places to visit if it had been wet including a local soft play centre we found in Christchurch.
Local attractions for children are a plenty and for our holiday we visited the wonderful Peppa Pig world which is part of the larger theme park Paultons Park and as such provides rides and entertainment for older children and adults too. We headed to the New Forest for a picnic and walk in outstanding countryside, were spoilt for choice when deciding on a beach to visit but decided on Poole which not only had soft sand but children’s play areas and a row of lovely shops, Hurst Castle for a walk around the ruins and lighthouse after a fun boat ride to the island (of which my daughter was thrilled she went on twice as Daddy left his wedding ring on the grass by the ruins), National Motor Museum and Adventure Wonderland for fun mazes, rides and Alice in Wonderland themed gardens.
For quieter days a visit into Milford on Sea where Shorefield Country Park is located is a must. It’s a lovely village to stroll around and has plenty of amenities that are useful when on a self catering holiday from convenience stores, local pubs with (The Smugglers Inn) and without playgrounds, chip shops, takeaways , butchers, post office for your postcards home and a doctors surgery who I unfortunately had the experience of visiting but can vouch for their wonderful help!
Choosing a family holiday can be quite hard work, trying to meet everyone’s needs, find somewhere within a specific budget, research what facilities are on site and within surrounding areas and so much more, so for my family reading current reviews is a crucial pre cursor to booking our holiday, it really can make or break our decision to book.
I definitely recommend Shorefield Country Park to mumsnet and more importantly so does my daughter who frequently asks to go back, I think for every parent those words equal a successful holiday!