Just returned from our first visit to Sandy Balls. Weather absolutely marvellous, even enjoyed the massive night time thunderstorms! We will definitely return as we had a wonderful week. We ate at the Woodside Inn & the Piazza and couldn't fault the food or service. Toilets and shower block bit dated though clean and loads of hot water. Chemical toilet disposal points could do with marking on the map a bit better though. Excellent walks for our dog, though, as someone has mentioned before, they could do with a bit more marking on site map?? I should imagine it could get very claustrophobic on your pitch when the school's break up. We noticed from our last Friday how busy it suddenly became with people cutting through our pitch etc. Also there seem to be no real management of the campsite as regards the rules. We knew that gazebo's were not accepted, so didn't bring ours. Only to see them by the score + event shelter's, open fires etc?? Whilst we were there some people from a pitch nearby thought it perfectly acceptable to tether their dog to a tree and let it bark for 3 - 4 hours while they went off site daily??
In summary, great location, facilities but we wouldn't want to be here in August! but we will most definitely return.
We had a fantastic two nights at sandy balls. I was worried it would be overly commercial but that wasn't all at the case. Lovely clean facilities, big quiet pitches, lots to so with a young toddler and lovely park and river walks nearby. Definitely one of the best campsites we've ever stayed in. I was particularly impressed by the indoor and outdoor pool. It felt like you got so much for your £15 a night.
What a fantastic holiday we have had! Just got back from a weekend away at Sandy Balls and I was really impressed. The site was spotless and the staff were brilliant (even though they had doubled booked our pitch)!
This place reminds me of a Center Parcs but for caravans and camping. Plenty of space, great playground, clean toilet/shower block and a nice plaza/centre. The indoor swimming pool was small but functional, and although the outdoor pool was open, it was freezing. I do think that it lacks proper family changing facilities which we have experienced at other sites and other little touches like spin dryers for your costumes etc.
Well stocked shop on site but was a bit hit and miss price wise - some things I thought were reasonable, others not. We ate in the pub and the Italian, both of which were good and fairly priced.
Would highly recommend this site to anyone and will certainly be going back again.
We have just got back from spending a week at Sandy Balls. Myself, partner and the dog stayed in our tent. We found the showers were very powerful, lovely for adults but could imagine not so good for little ones. Although one of the shower blocks did have a bath so if you have little ones this could be better for you. Shower blocks and toilets were ok, but can imagine in peak season would get pretty grubby with all the use. The site was pleasant enough, lots of room for kids to play. As for the pub and restaurants well where do I start. The pub was very over prices regarding the food and staff were quiet miserable. The pizza place was very expensive. I paid £17. 00 for two cooked breakfasts and two orange juices which were very small and was not worth the money at all. Very disappointed with value for money regarding food places. I cant comment on the swimming pools as we did not use these. I would recommend Sandy Balls but would advise not to use the food places and to venture out if you would like to eat as get better value locally. Also only an hours drive to Stone Henge.
I stayed in the Easter holidays for a few nights and was a shocked how much this sites has gone down hill in 3 years since our last visit. Arrival was easy, however we were told if we hadn't pre-booked to use the pool it was wise to do so straight away. As soon as we unhitched we went straight to the pool, however it was already fully booked for the next 4 days so unable to book a swim. All we could do is arrive at the pool half hour before a session in the hope we would be one of addition 10 people they let in. We managed to gain entrance once and to be honest it was awful. The changing rooms were disgustingly dirty as was the toilets, showers and pool side. When I mentioned it to the pool staff, they were so young they didn't really care. I can not fault the showers and toilets which were attached to each touring pitch area, these were kept extremely clean. The old visitors centre has been transformed in to yet another expensive shop. We didn't eat on site, but my daughter did use the children's craft centre which again was over expensive and the young girls running the activities were more interested In their mobile phones. All in all, this visit was extremely disappointing and it's unlikely we will visit again.
We stayed from Thursday to Sunday (with a late departure on the Sunday at 4:00PM for £5 extra) for a total of £45 which I think for the standard of the site is excellent value for money. What made it even better was the superb weather we had all weekend.
Travelled with my wife and 2 year old daughter so most of our time was spent either in the pool, soft play or adventure playground, we also used the on site bike hire centre on the Saturday.
We thought the pool was slightly on the small side but considering the time of year it was adequate, can imagine in the summer would be a nightmare although the outside pool would also be open.
The soft play area was where we spent a lot of time, had endless trouble trying to get the little one out. Two things we did notice was that it could have done with a good clean (a lot of dust and hair in all the corners) and the room had a really strange smell !
The adventure playground was good (some of the equipment was looking a little tired), can imagine it even better after a long dry spell.
The bike hire centre we found to be good value for money, we hired two adult bikes and a child seat for £29 which was from 9-4. Bit of advice if you require a child seat is to book in advance. We chose the 20 mile route which we found very enjoyable, especially the pub break 3/4 of the way round !
Pitches were more than adequate in size with everything you could need, the only complaint we would have is the TV point, we managed to get twice as many channels when we used our caravan aerial which we found a bit strange.
Shower/toilet blocks were clean but cold. Found the shower cubicles to be slightly on the small side but showers had plenty of power and were very hot.
Used the site shop which we found to be reasonably priced for a change. Didn't use any of the eating facilities although always looked quite busy especially the pizza place.
Overall a great weekend and would definitely return.
Just spent 5 nights over New Year at Sandy Balls. We have had a mixed experience.
We had gone with friends and booked two pitches. When we arrived they only had paperwork for one pitch and had to log into the account to find our details and second pitch, so check in wasn't exactly straight forward. We found our pitches which were fully serviced, gravel hard standing, they are reasonably big with a hedge dividing them. There were only pitches on four acres section of the site being used. Some of the pitches flooded and left peoples awnings under 3 inches of water. We found this strange as they were plenty of empty pitches and people we spoke to said the same pitches flooded the year before. Why would you book pitches out that are prone to flooding with all the rain forecast?
The toilet blocks were clean, very warm and were never to busy.
The facilities at the site are good, swimming pool with sauna included in the price, gym at an extra charge. We ate in the Pizza in the Piazza and the food was nice. I had the hot, hot, hot pizza. It lived up to it's name!
The woodside inn is nice, although we didn't find the beer to be best. The food was nice. The staff are very pleasant and friendly but they were under staffed. We went watching a Meat Loaf tribute act, which was a good night, but only one member of staff behind the bar. The staff they do have on work very hard.
There are some nice walks in the woods and the surrounding areas with the New Forest on your doorstep. We visited Salisbury (11 miles), which is nice and Salisbury Cathedral is the home of the Magna Carta.
The main problem we had at Sandy Balls was the organisation of the New Year Events. We had booked tickets for the Woodside Suite and marque at £20 a head. We were told in advance that this was adults only as children's entertainment was on in the Woodside Inn. There were different coloured bands for all the events. The Pizza in The Piazza was a meal and swing singer at £40 a head.
We were told that if we booked tickets together we would be sat together. We asked on 30th December what was the set up going to be, no one could give us an answer even at reception. This was worrying as it was the night before.
There was an all you can eat buffer during the day of New Years Eve, we were told you could buy tickets at reception. I went to reception to buy 4 tickets they knew nothing about it and told me to go to the Woodside Inn I had just come from.
We arrived at New Year at 7pm to get a seat and found tables in the marque seating 400 people and on a first come first served basis. The marque looked lovely, unfortunately there was no music or bar in the marque. The bar and music were in the next room, the Woodside Suite. You couldn't see or hear the band in the marque, this was due to the noise and residents. It is the most bizarre set up I have every seen at a function.
We found a couple of seats in the Woodside suite for our wives and we stood. By the end of the evening people were bring chairs from the marque and sitting to watch the band.
It was then announced during the night that you could go anywhere with your bands whatever colour they were. The management of this site totally let themselves down
This is a nice site and we may go back in the future during summer as we would like to see the area with better weather.
Would we go back for New Year, that is a definite NO, it was an absolute shambles.
Stayed here for a four night break, we have been here a few times before & we choose it for the location & all the facilities the site has to offer, we travelled as a family with our young Granddaughter. The swimming pool was very good as were the play areas for the children, the soft play area could do with some ventilation, the entertainment was spot on although on the Saturday night it was very crowded, the showers and toilets were very clean, we used the shop on site which had everything you need, you can do some nice walks into the forest from the site. The pitches were clean & tidy, the only downside is that when the site is full they can be a bit tight to get on & off.
As most other people have said, this has got to be one of the nicest sites we have been to. We booked for 1 night and ended up staying for 2. Out of season price was £18 including dog which I think was very good. We could use the swimming pool in this price too. Toilets and showers were very clean and well kept. Fabulous walks all around the site but could do with clearer sign posts. Shop on site was lovely with freshly baked croissants and bread. Bike hire was available although we didn't use it but prices seemed reasonable. Would love to return but maybe not peak season when it would be busy with families!
Just back from a weeks stay on this site & in many years of camping, I think this is probably one of the nicest sites we have stayed on.
There is no designated areas for different types of unit, its a mixture of tents, campers, caravans, mobile homes etc. The pitches are flat & well maintained each with its own EHU & water supply. The only downside to that are that the pitches are all hard standings, a top covering of small pebbles with quite hard ground underneath, so a groundsheet is recommended & make sure you have enough rock pegs for everything you need to peg out, anything else will just bend. The site also has lodges on site & you can also book pre-erected tents.
The site itself is huge with plenty to do, there is a pub on site, The Woodside Inn, which provides decent pub fayre for a reasonable price although the drinks are a little pricey. The Woodside also has entertainment at weekend & a regular mid-week quiz. As an alternative, Pizza Piazza serves Italian food & the food from both the Woodside Inn & Pizza Piazza is available to take away.
There is also a very well stocked shop on site, a gym, a swimming pool with a hot tub & sauna, cycle hire, play areas for the kids & a small amusement arcade. We found all the staff extremely friendly & helpful.
There are shower/washing blocks in each area of the site which are kept clean & tidy. Each block contains separate male & female showers (several for each sex) which are hot, powerful & free. There are also washing cubicles which are curtained off from the rest of the showers/toilets, & hairdryers. Also contained within the block are the washing up areas & a laundry.
There are nice walks on site down to the river Avon, but a few hundred yards up the road past the Fighting Cocks pub (good beer & good food for a reasonable price), the New Forest awaits. The town of Lyndhurst is busy but worth a visit, as as the lovely town of Lymington (home to Gold medal winner Ben Ainslie), Winchester & Bournemouth where you can see the grave of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, & her husband, the poet Percy Shelley.
Further afield, Portsmouth old docks with HMS Victory & the Mary Rose, along with a great shopping area & the Spinnaker tower is well worth a look. Highclere castle (better known as Downton Abbey), Jane Austen's house & Thomas Hardy's cottage are all within easy striking distance.
Lovely place, lots to do & we will certainly be going back.
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