We decided to take a little break prior to the October half term holidays. When I say ‘we’ I actually mean me and the littlies. I asked Mom if she’d like to come with me and then Dad and my brother Steve gatecrashed too (along with Abi in the end due to other issues)! Mom and Dad have visited Ladram Bay many times before in their touring caravan. I loved the thought of a week of no responsibilities with plenty of onsite facilities for Eliza and Freddie so we decided to book a static caravan.
Photo courtesy of www.ladrambay.co.uk/
The Ladram Bay Holiday Park is in Otterton, near Budleigh Salterton, Devon. A great location to get to, there’s just a 20 minutes drive after leaving the M5 at Exeter. We arrived on Monday afternoon around 2pm and although our caravan wasn’t due to be ready till 3 we were allowed to enter. First impressions of the caravan were good although we did find some things during our stay that were less than impressive. We opted for a Budleigh Premier 3 (ours was B41) which was allegedly suitable for 6 – 8 occupants. Sorry, Ladram Bay, I beg to differ. Although the caravan had the correct number of sleeping facilities for this number, the overall space in the caravan told a different story. The lounge area was tiny and the dining table only seated 4 with a couple of wooden folding chairs left in the corner.
Accommodation = Disappointing
After hearing such fab things about Ladram I was a little disappointed to find soapy marks left on our bathroom sink unit along with an overflow that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a loooooong time. The children’s socks and in Freddie’s case, knees were filthy after travelling around the floor. The main bathroom blind was completely covered in mould and the dining chairs were replacements from the club onsite. They didn’t fit under the table correctly which meant it was impossible to seat 4 people at the table at once. Not great when we were actually a party of 7!
Holiday Park = Fabulous!
However………..taking all this into account I must now move onto the park itself which was, I have to say, wonderful! Reception staff were extremely friendly upon our arrival and this turned out to be an indication of our experience on the site throughout the week. We visited Pebbles Restaurant just after arriving and had a lovely meal. I felt the overall meal prices were rather expensive for a holiday park but there was no denying that the food tasted delicious. We strolled down to the shingle beach around 6pm and caught some lovely large waves that had arrived with Storm Ophelia. Eliza wasn’t too keen on the sound on this as the sound of the waves crashing over the shingle was rather deafening.
We headed to Waves Bar to catch the kids entertainment. Eliza was a little wary at first. The little kids were all up dancing and then Pickles the Parrot arrived to entertain the kids along with Ryan and Abi from the entertainments team. In the end she was up on the dance floor jumping around like a kangaroo and even managed to win a prize (a light up toy) in the ‘Musical Opposites’ game. During our holiday we visited Waves Bar every night and each night she enjoyed it even more, making lots of friends and winning more prizes. We won a bottle of fizz for both coming top in the quiz on Tuesday night and also Guess the Year. Wednesday night we won again for Guess the Board Game. We thought we’d best give up at this point as we might be banned :).
The entertainments team were superb. Their rapport with the kids (and adults) was fantastic and the talent during their cabaret shows was exceptional and extremely high energy. Bar and restaurant staff were also extremely friendly and helpful in particular Sam, who served us in Pebbles on a couple of occasions.
Good weather isn’t everything
Weather during the week was dire to say the least. The sun shone upon our arrival and once again upon our departure but in between we had a murky mix of rain, strong winds, mist and general bleurgghh. We had Storm Ophelia at the beginning of our week and Storm Brian at the end! None of it bothered us though. We either wrapped up warm and headed to the onsite facilities or we grabbed the crossword and a hot cuppa. Freddie spent his time using his newly acquired crawling skills to investigate the caravan.
The swimming complex
We made a visit to Budleigh Salterton for a stroll up and down the high street but other than this we filled our days with swimming, the adventure playground and the amusement arcade. The swimming complex was outstanding! The toddler pool was a great size with water just 30cm in depth and an array of sprays and slides for the little ones. There was also one larger slide that ran alongside. The big pool was just perfect. It had a non-slip rubberised floor and the whole pool was just one depth which was great for nervous swimmers like me. We took Eliza in with her armbands on and Freddie in his sit in ring and they loved every minute (well after a slight early meltdown from the terrible two year old). Abi and I popped into the sauna and steam room which I have to say were two of the best I’ve been in, the steam room in particular. Changing rooms were unisex with plenty of space for everyone. Lots of cubicles and a couple with baby changing tables. Lockers were available to hire for £1. There was a modern cafe area alongside the pool where spectators can watch through a window. Mom and Steve came to visit and take photo’s of the littlies.
Other site facilities
Other facilities onsite include a soft play area, jurassic golf, children’s play area, launderette, shop and takeaway. The shop had a great supply of goods with pretty much everything you might need whilst away. Abi even managed to get a swimming costume as she’d forgotten hers. The children’s playgrounds were in good condition with a zip wire for the older kids and big wooden pirate ship. There was a smaller area for little children although the absence of baby swings was slightly disappointing so Freddie and I had a swing together on the big people swings :). The amusement arcade was not terribly overpriced like some. Lots of coin tip games, 30p per play for the grabbers and plenty of others around the 30-50p mark.
There are lovely scenic walks that can be taken from the site but due to our rather unfortunate weather we gave these a miss. If you’re feeling energetic you could even do the 30 minute walk down to The Mill in Otterton which I’m told is well worth a visit.
All in all I would definitely visit Ladram again but would definitely opt for different accommodation!
Thanks for stopping by! x