We spent 4 nights at Lady's Mile from 19-23 August. We chose this site because we were taking three of our school-age granddaughters camping and two of them were going camping for the first time. According to their website, Lady's Mile offered everything we would want for three young children including a decent play park, swimmimg pools, and indoor play areas.
Arrival was fine and staff were very helpful in explaining the barrier system and the use of the power cards. We found a decent pitch fairly easily. The pitches measure 10m x 9m which just was big enough for our very large 7 x 7. 5 m tent and car. However, it was very crowded. The term 'packed like sardines' springs to mind at Lady's Mile! I guess it was the time of year and the excellent weather, but this site seemed over-crowded with very little room around the pitch for our grandchildren to play. All pitches are next to a road and with the site being so busy, cars frequently moved up and down the road making it a little dangerous.
The facilities are just about OK. We were pitched quite close to the main club and reception complex and used the attached toilet/shower block. This is tired and worn out, Poor showers and dim lighting (inside and outside) require fixing urgently as does the total lack of lighting in the dish washing area. Most of the time the toilets smelt quite bad. There is a need for individual cubicles for washing rather than in an open area where you are washing while people are using the urinals.
The shop is quite well stocked and reasonably priced, but the takeaway food shop is very limited.
We used the swimming pools and found these to be pretty good, but very overcrowded for their size! The use of inflatables in the pools needs to be better controlled as they presented a danger to young children.
The main play park is very good, but got very crowded. The smaller children's play area is very poor!
We didn't use the club at all, but this was very noisy late at night and did cause a problem for getting our grandchildren to sleep. Another problem are the gangs of apparently drunken teenagers staggering around the site when the club has closed. I would have made a complaint but I couldn't identify anyone.
So overall, I would come back to this lovely area but not during peak times and I will never come back to Lady's Mile!
We have just returned from a long weekend here at Lady's mile, we are a family of five with three small children aged 5 and under, arriving at the site wasn't to impressive as its off an industrial estate and as soon as you turn in there it is all in your face, check in wasn't fantastic, no information give, no map of the site, nothing, I asked a few questions as it was a case of here are your bands and on to the next customer.
So off we went to pitch our tent, it was a very busy weekend and we couldn't see a free pitch for a while so as soon as we did we thought we had better stop and take it as it was big enough for our large tent and we didn't want to take the risk of not finding another, however if the lady at reception was helpful and told us there was a field at the very end of the campsite (which we later found when using the shower facilities) that was very spacious and near empty we would of found this and pitched out tent here, as it really was a case of sardines in a tin, and having three young children who couldn't play outside of there tent proved very restricting for them this would not of been the case if we had more space! massively disappointed about that.
The toilets and shower blocks were fine plenty of them too, the only issue I had with this was male cleaners in the ladies, my daughter was a bit uncomfortable with this, but it wasn't a big deal.
The main park was fantastic, brilliant play equipment for our children it was just a shame they couldn't always use the equipment as on a couple of occasions there were much older children(age 12/13) taking over using scooters on the slides and not allowing younger children to use them which was a real shame, not to mention the foul language, not appropriate for a children's play park, also the lack of parents supervising there young children was shocking it was a free for all, this is no fault of the park just the people that use it!
If we had a map we would of known there was another park in the field, when we found this on our last day it was very pleasant.
We used both indoor and outdoor pools, both fantastic loved that they have slides not something you see often these days, we had a great time using them, changing rooms were clean and was easy to find a locker, the only thing that made us feel uneasy was the lack of life guards, with there only being two lifeguards (one by each pool) was a bit worrying, as they would often go for a break and tell you that you are now swimming at your own risk and with the slides people were taking advantage of this and using them inappropriately, also the pool was extremely busy so for little or no lifeguard watch was worrying, although when they were there they did a good job.
We didn't use the evening entertainment, we did visit the shop and chip shop both reasonable and friendly service, chip shop portions generous and tasty.
The noise on the campsite on a evening was minimal which was pretty impressive considering the amount of people there even in the morning the noise was minimal.
Lovely campsite, great facilities, All that let us down was the lack of information on arrival and unfortunately many of the people that use this campsite, unsure if we would revisit.
I had very high hopes for this campsite even though at the time there were no reviews here at UKCampsite.Co Uk. There were reviews elsewhere, and most were positive. It was my first visit to the South Coast and this site was miles cheaper than the other holiday parks. The website looks great, too. So, perhaps my expectations were set a little too high and this has dampered my outlook.
Arriving: a bit tricky with some of the narrow roads through villages just before getting there. No problem and no fault of the site, however, I was surprised the site seemed to be right beside an industrial type warehouse setting. I would never have realized I was approaching a holiday park at all if it were not for the sign that confirmed this was the place. It didn't give me a 'I'm on holiday' kind of feeling. You park up in a small car park that says 20 minute time limit for free parking, and yet it took that long easily to check in due to the queue of people being waited on, which was a little disconcerting. The gated entrance has a sensor that reads your number plate to open, but it didn't always work and meant one of us had to get out and go to reception. At one point, it opened while my husband was in there and it was a comical sight to see me climbing over the centre console to drive the car out! This was an issue upon leaving, because checkout is at 11am and past that point your number plate won't be recognized, which meant queues to leave, because even with best efforts it was a quarter past when we (and several others) were leaving (our slightly late leaving is another story!).
Check in, despite the queue, was simple and staff were friendly. You purchase an electricity card, but we found our electricity meter wasn't empty. It took us two days to use what was left. Whoever was after us would have had several days use as well! (We stayed for 7 nights).
Pitches: It was choose your own pitch, and a mixture of hardstanding (gravel) and grass. Some of the pitches were level, but many were not. It wasn't unusual to see caravans up on blocks, especially in the seasonal pitch area. The grass was short and in fairly good condition especially considering the amount of traffic. It wasn't incredibly busy when we arrived (the Sunday beginning school holidays) and there was plenty of choice. The pitches are plenty large enough for a huge tent or caravan/awning/car. This was a very nice surprise because many holiday parks pack you in like sardines. The site wasn't full while we were there until come the Friday or Saturday. Then it started to feel crowded, but people did take advantage of the large pitches with giant tents, awnings, vehicle parking and wind breaks creating their own little plot. Even so, it was still the least crowded holiday park I've been to and I felt the pitches were generously sized. The day time weather was sunny and warm, but it rained almost every night and on the last day. We had no problem at all with drainage and I didn't notice any drainage problems elsewhere either.
Playgrounds: The main playground for the children was excellent. It was covered in rubber bark and had things for all ages. It was surrounded by a tall fence as well. As far as the equipment goes, I felt safe letting my 8 year old and 2 year old play there without me having to hover over the little one every second. They were both easily entertained with the playground, which included a three story tower/twisty slide, a smaller bridge/tunnel thing, some swings, and another bridge/tunnel/slide combo.
However, as good as the play area was, it was dampened considerably by a certain little boy who was a big bully. He was consistently mean to other children all week and his parents were nowhere to be seen! The very first day we were there we encountered this little boy and it really tainted things, especially since the kids spend a lot of time at the playground! I had to intervene several times for the sake of my children. What a shame that a few rotten apples ruin the whole bunch, and this certainly put a bad taste in our mouths, and it meant I couldn't feel confident that my kids were safe in the playground if I had to turn my back.
There was an additional play area up a hill that was specifically a toddler one. It was metal and neglected due to the main playground getting all the attention. It was in need of a paint job and weeds were coming up through the rubber bark. There was also a zip wire for the older kids in this area and a very large field for kite flying. At the end of this field is a bus stop and I saw a bus go by a few times while we visited this area of the site. You can walk dogs around there, too, but I never noticed anyone doing it. It was pretty isolated up there.
Pools: The swimming pools were nice and clean. Outside, there was a main pool, a water slide, a toddler pool and a splash pad. Inside there was a main pool, a toddler pool, a water slide and a sauna. There are viewing areas as well, one being inside the bar/restaurant and the other in a special viewing room. There were a lot of picnic tables and recliners outside. Not much place to sit inside, just some seating in the viewing room and a few benches along the side of the pool. Lifeguards were always on watch and seemed attentive - some more than others. For instance, the indoor lifeguard seemed much more attentive than the outdoor. The indoor wouldn't let rowdy boys rough house too much, whereas kids got away with a lot more outdoors. Maybe it was just the individual lifeguards at the time, but that was our experience so it's what I have to comment on. Therefore, I found the indoor pool more pleasant. The shop has a variety of inflatables to purchase, and we did, but one got nicked right from under our noses! We literally turned our back for a moment and it was gone! Now we know, write your name in permanent marker before use! And, no, it wasn't the wind.
I don't like that people who are not staying at the campsite can come and use the pools. It makes them more crowded and it increases the chances of theft. They do have to pay to use the pools, and some people were caught without wristbands and sent away, but that hardly matters. Perhaps this is one reason they can keep their cost down, but I'd pay more for a little more security.
Food/Entertainment: There were fish and chips/takeaway there by the pool but we didn't try it. Neither did we eat at the restaurant/bar. However, I took my daughter to the children's disco one evening and the bar prices are about par. £2. 50 for a J2O and a pound more for a pint of Guinness. We only stayed for the disco, but those particular entertainers were very good with the kids. Any kind of entertainment did not start until about 6 or 7 in the evening and there were no day time clubs or activities for the kids. We spent most of our time away from the campsite!
Shop: The on site shop is well stocked with just about everything! Surprisingly, the prices are reasonable as well! They did not overprice their stuff, which was such a relief. The staff were very friendly and they will inflate the pool floats for you with the air hose.
General disappointments were that they advertise a bowling alley and soft play gym. These are both located in the amusements section, which doesn't open until around noon. The bowling alley is two lanes and small. It wasn't very appealing in the middle of the noisy amusements either. The soft play was also small and there was no where to sit and watch your child, as it was for ages under 6, I believe. My son lost interest in it fairly quickly, and this is the kid who can be entertained for hours at soft play. The game prices ranged from 50p to 1. 50 a go. We didn't play any, as that would have added up quickly with two kids. With no scheduled entertainment during the day for the kids, I was left feeling a little disappointed in this regard. The brochure looks and sounds a lot better than the reality. I felt they just crammed stuff in for the sake of saying they had it, but no real thought put into it.
Gym: There was a gym, but I never saw anyone using it and the sign on the door said it required a membership and to see reception. Not sure what that was all about, as I was certain when I had phone initially they had said the gym was free of charge. It didn't matter to me, so I didn't check into it.
Toilets/Showers: The toilet blocks were always clean, but many of the door latches were broken, mostly in the toilet block near the seasonal pitches. The bigger one next to the playground was in better mechanical shape. The taps are annoying as you have to hold them down constantly to get water to come out. This is the same for the washing up sinks! And the same for the drinking water tap! (I got wet every time I filled the water tank due to this, and it's the first time I've ever needed a hose, which might be the next purchase for the caravan!). Thankfully, the showers were not like that, with adjustable temperature and plenty of hot water to go around. This was great, because it took three washes to get the sand out of my daughters hair after a trip to the beach. The showers were roomy with a shelf and some hooks in the right places. My husband's experience was different as he said the hooks and shelf were located in the wrong place so everything got wet unless you had a waterproof bag to put them in. Apparently, the men and women's showers have a slightly different design.
Noise: The noise level at the campsite, considering it is a holiday park, was pretty good. People kept to the silence after midnight rule. It was a shame the seagulls and rabbits didn't, though! The first three mornings we had a seagull walking around on top of the caravan at 5am. It was loud! One night, a rabbit was next to our awning making noise which woke me up. So, even though the people were quite, the wildlife wasn't necessarily so! I did find the seagulls were less likely to take an interest in our caravan if I made sure there was no rubbish left inside the awning.
Check Out: Check out is at 11am, which is nice. We sent the kids to the playground so we could pack up without tripping over each other. My daughter came back at 10:30 with a concussion! Some boy had pulled her legs when she was on the giant slide which made her head go back and hit the slide. He did it again when she was at the bottom of the slide, meaning she hit her head again! Obviously, it wasn't a tap to the head, it was a hard bang - enough to send my 8 year old in screaming agony from the migraine that followed. I wanted to take her to First Aid on site, especially after she started vomiting, but it was check out time and my husband just wanted to get out. But it was not a nice way to end our holiday and we had a very long drive back to Yorkshire! My daughter was okay in the end, but as you can imagine I don't ever want to return to Lady's Mile. It's not necessarily the park's fault. Maybe we just had bad luck. But in the end, a campsite is only as good as the people inside of it. We've been camping for years now (both tent and caravan) and have never had such a poor social experience as we did here in Dawlish.
So, while the campsite has some very strong positives, it also has plenty of room for improvement.
5 for site location (close to beach and buses but right next to yuck on the other side).
5 for facilities
9 for value for money (we stayed 7 nights for around £200)
9 for customer service (no complaints as staff were always friendly and helpful)
7 for child friendliness (kid friendly but needs more friendly kids)
We took our eldest daughter here for her birthday with some friends. The staff on arrival were not overly friendly and I can't say we received a warm welcome. The pitches were not bad although it felt very crowded. The pools were very good, both inside and outside although the lifeguards were not paying much attention. Not great for dogs but a big field at the back. The playground was for younger children and did not cater for over 8/9 years. The toilets were clean. Close to the beach.
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