Debbs · 16/03/2002 15:38
I wonder if anyone can help me. My friend and I are thinking of taking our 2 1/2 year old boys to Radfords. A couple of things have put us off. I would like to know if anyone has been there recently and would you recommend it before I try and book it. Thanks.
Esmerelda · 18/03/2002 11:53
We took our then 2y/o son there in May? June? last year (when foot and mouth was running riot). If you can tell me what you're worried about specifically, I might be able to help? But a couple of points to be going on with:
On the minus side, it was a bit old-fashioned and shabby, decor-wise. But then again I think if it had been any posher you'd be worried about your children spilling stuff etc.
They had loads of animals but they were off limits because of the f/m so I can't tell you whether the children would otherwise have been allowed to stroke them, play with them etc.
Personally, I would go back again when they're older as I think it was more geared up for older kids. They had a fantastic obstacle/endurance course and loads of space to run around in.
The swimming pool was excellent but not open often enough/long enough.
The food was good and at least you didn't feel like you had to apologise for your child's behaviour!! Say no more.
The babylistening service was useful. Meant you could go to the bar, play badminton, whatever in the evening without worrying about checking up on your child every five minutes.
There's not a lot to do in the immediate vicinity so you've got to have a car. Our son was/is mad on trains and there was plenty to do on that score.
That's all I can think of for now but like i said, if you can tell me what's put you off i might be able to help you a bit more.
Debbs · 19/03/2002 01:24
Hi, thanks for your response. The places sounds great when you read it on the net. My friend and I who have 2 1/2 year old kids made enquires at this place and explained we were single mums and were thinking of taking a break there in March. To be honest we weren't impressed with the woman on the phone. She wasn't very helpful and all and certainly wasn't selling a holiday there and we got the impression maybe she didn't like single mums going. Maybe we got the wrong impression, but we did get bad vibes. We want to go somewhere at easter and fancy the babylistening option so we can have a break to.
Esmerelda · 19/03/2002 09:04
I have to admit that the woman who owned the place appeared to be a bit of a snob as far as her guests were concerned - thought it was just me being over-sensitive but we both got the impression that she judged you on the kind of car you arrived in (and us in a 10y/o, filthy on the outside, indescribable on the inside citroen, which actually had the temerity to break down whilst we were staying there, came close to the bottom of the pile!!!). BUT...
ALL the rest of the staff were really friendly (and helpful too). For the guy who lifeguarded the swimming pool, to the restaurant staff, through to the guy who played guitar and sang songs in the bar one night, absolutely nothing but praise.
To be honest though, if you're going in the summer, I would be tempted to try and find a child-friendly hotel really close to a sandy beach, or with an OUTDOOR pool that's accessible all day.
WideWebWitch · 19/03/2002 10:16
I don't know anything about the place but I'd say (as someone who has been a single mum) that anyone who gives you those vibes on the phone doesn't deserve your business.
If it's a well earned break you really don't need to be worrying about the attitude of some jumped up Devon snob! (and I speak as someone who moved to Devon from London 2 years ago You need somewhere where people are going to be friendly and kind and help you to have a good break. Just my view, since bad customer service is one of my pet hates!
Esmerelda · 19/03/2002 10:42
Sorry Debbs, just skimmed your message so didn't pick up that you were planning to go there for Easter...
sarac · 20/03/2002 12:09
Debbs, hope I'm not too late, but only just read your post.
I took three of my children to Radfords by myself last June. Ages 15 months, 3 and 8. I had a lovely time and would recommend it to anyone thinking of going solo.
Think of it as a v. good b&b though rather than a hotel as rooms/decor v.functional (but practical with small ones). Pluses were the 2 softplay areas, main one also has good selection of toys and is sometimes supervised, but even when not, I got small breaks by reading book in with the kids whilst they played, the other one was at bottom end of restaurant. Staff were v. relaxed about little ones moving between eating and playing (also fine with 3yr old ds sitting and playing on floor next to table). There is also a toddler play area outside which occupied 2 youngest every evening before bed. Meals are served promptly at 6pm which can be a minor problem if you have been out for the day - you may have to wait if you arrive later (but no longer than in a hotel).
Dawlish Warren is a lovely old fashioned stretch of coast and definite hit was an afternoon spent at Babbacombe Model Village. There is also a steam train fromm Paignton to Dartmouth (ferry included). Dartmouth is great for adults to explore and if your boys aren't buggy lovers there is a nice park near the sea front and castle battlements further up a hill. There is also Paignton zoo .....
The other plus is that you could order packed lunches each day which were very reasonably priced and included good variety of fillings/fruit and juices.
I never felt unwanted as a single parent and staff very attentive to any difficulties e.g getting kids and luggage to car/sleepy babies inside at end of day. Receptionist also used to sneak me a newspaper whilst I sat in softplay.
Have also done several successful holidays alone at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park but this is self catering so less of a break for you ...
Viv · 20/03/2002 16:39
sarac, sorry to hijack this conversation but we are looking to go to the Woolacombe area this year and I was interested to hear you mention the Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park, if you get chance I would be really grateful to hear your views on it and its suitability for a holiday with a 4 year old, her parents and grandparents.
Ailsa · 20/03/2002 18:25
Woolacombe Holiday Park or Village?
I've been at least once every year for the last 5 years, it's a great area, loads to do for kids.
Paula1 · 20/03/2002 18:28
Viv, have a look at Watermouth Castle in the English Country Cottages brochure, it is just outside Ilfracombe, you stay in appartments that are inside the castle, and the castle grounds are a really brilliant Children's theme park (to which you get unlimited free entry), the owners of the Castle also own a Children's theme park at Woolacombe and you get free unlimited entry to that too. we visited in September with our 3yo son, and he absolutely loved it. It was a really brilliant place to stay
Ailsa · 20/03/2002 18:41
The kids theme park is called 'Once upon a time', there's also The Big Sheep, The Milky Way, The beach in Woolacombe is brilliant - plenty of space and very clean.
Debbs · 20/03/2002 23:10
Thank you all. I think we will leave Radfords until the summer. Funny, today I checked out the golden coast at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park, so it was great having feedback on that. I think I will go for that instead.
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