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.
Just got back from our stay at sandy balls, we had a lovely time and the weather was fantastic which helped. The toilets on site were very clean indoor and out door pool were great. The pitch we were on orchards 49 was large and with electric, water and tv hook up. All pitches are near a toilet block. The only thing I would say about the site was the walk down to the river was not very well sign posted. Staff were friendly and the entertainment in the woodlands bar was good.
This was our 2nd visit to Sandy Balls, requesting a pitch on north field again, along the rear perimeter. We had high expectations following our 1st visit at Easter 2012. Unfortunately we were really disappointed with this visit.
We were allocated pitch 70 on Northfield which is in the middle terrace, site etiquette by some people is appalling, using our pitch as a short cut through the site, when politely challenged being met with a gob full of abuse & foul language. Also tents & caravans mixed into adjoining pitches, indeed the two pitches next to us 69&68 resembled a car park, with 5 cars randomly parked on the pitches.
Feral children running amok on site until well after 11:00pm, we have 4 children who know how to behave & not impact on others. Now I don't mind listening to music of my choice, but why oh why do others seem to think its reasonable to blast theirs out so loud without consideration for others. Warden intervention minimal in fact none existent, despite repeated requests.
The small children's play area is woefully lacking in maintenance, with weeds & grass growing through the play matting, the sit on rides were missing foot rests leaving 9' length of stud bar exposed just ready for a child to gash themselves on, also the baby swings were covered in moss & lichen having never been cleaned, rendering cloths filthy if child used them. Again after numerous reports to the wardens these ere not attended to until the penultimate day of our 10 day stay.
Now for very nearly £600. 00 for 10 nights stay I think its reasonable to expect 1st class facilities and appropriate levels of management
Facilities on site, while functional were not cleaned anyware regularly enough with at least 2 Wc's being constantly blocked & requiring clearing etc.
Now for the positives, the activities programme for the children is excellent our girls thoroughly enjoyed all the crafting &nature walks & crafts. These were very reasonably priced and supervised by experienced personable staff.
The location and this area of the new forest is wonderful &well worth repeated visits. Sadly spoilt by the behaviour of inconsiderate parents & feral children.
I would just like to add as many have said the same, what a wonderful site this is for everyone, lot's to do swimming bike hire play areas for children toilets are very clean, and there are many places to visit. Local pub just down the road about a mile away.
Only one thing that I would like to comment on is some selfish campers erecting their tents and taking up more than their pitch, even to erect 2 tents and spread onto the next pitch.
This was our first ever camping trip and we are so glad we decided this site! The staff when we arrived were friendly and very helpful and soon had us on our way to our pitch.
The pitch it's self was very large with water, electrical hookup tv points and taps on each one. The warden went way above the call of duty in trying to find a tv hook up cable for the kids even though in the end the tv was never turned on.
The toilet and shower block was immaculate along with a fantastic play park very close to all camping pitches.
This park has many services including fishing equipment hire, cycle hire that we never had chance to use but we loved the pool and sauna!
We are happy to say we loved our time at this park and it has given us the camping bug. We look forward to coming back here and to meny other parks.
Just back from the bank holiday weekend at Sandy Balls. This was our second visit. We really rate this site as being one of the best we have been to due to its location deep in the New Forest area and close proximity to the coast.
Being a bank holiday it was pretty busy and full of children. Our one gripe was that there was little evidence of warden attendance around the park just keeping some of the rowdy holiday makers in check. The pitch next to us was overrun with children playing ball games and water pistol fights and we couldn't just sit outside our motorhome and relax without wondering when the next ball would hit our van or our pitch get invaded by the neighbouring children. There was also quite a lot of noise from large groups going on til after 11pm. Obviously the site was busy and one can always expect boisterous children and noise at peak times but on other sites we have been to, unneighbourly behaviour is kept in check.
There is really no need for the children to be terrorising the campers around the pitches because there are two fantastic play areas and a massive ball games field for them to play in.
Didn't use the showering facilities but they looked fresh and clean. All the pitches were of a good size, flat and well maintained.
The bike hire was great, really easy to arrange and there was lots of information available from the shop for local cycle trails and suggested routes that take in the best pubs and villages.
A word of warning if you're visiting at peak times - book your activities in advance! We couldn't get in for a swimming session or archery as they were fully booked when we got there. Disappointing but we will be prepared next time.
Just got back from a long weekend at this site. This is one of the largest campsites that we have visited and despite being out of season it was still quite busy.
We stayed in the north field which was the furthest away from the shop, pub, swimming pool etc, but quite near the children's playground. All fields had shower blocks toilets and chemical disposal points nearby, (these were all very clean whenever we used them) and as we are not really pub people it didn't bother us being so far away from the sites main facilities. However, if that is what you like to do I can imagine after a few too many you may need a taxi to get back!
Pitches appeared to all be gravel with EHU, water and aerial socket which was good, but on the negative side the pitches were too close together, and at full capacity you would definitely get a decent view of everybody's caravans / motorhomes, which is a shame as I like to have a nice view from the window while I'm having my dinner. There wasn't anyone being particularly rowdy when we stayed but I could definitely hear people's conversations in their units while I was trying to read my book.
The forest trails were lovely and we took a bike ride around them while we were there stopping off beside the River Avon which was stunning.
Staff were friendly and despite what others have said we weren't hassled off our pitch at 11am, but I can see that probably would be the case during peak season. I would come here again, and would recommend it to friends of mine who have children, but I would avoid it during the school holidays.
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