This is a spacious site, only an hour's tow from Glasgow, and has good facilities and a great children's playpark. The site roads are great for kids on bicycles and there is a small wooded area for dog walking off lead. Toilets and showers are clean and well tended. We were told that we had to put our nosewheel on a 3' x 6' long red marker when we arrived - not sure why that is as the pitches are positively spacious ( and It is probably easier to land a F15 hornet on an aircraft carrier) however we did our best, missed it by 5 inches, and nobody complained - other caravans were equally questionably parked. While we love the premium pitches for grey waste and water connections, once pitched we were so far away from the grey waste drain ( with no gradient) that we just ended up using out wastemaster. The site is full of mature trees - we made the mistake of choosing a pitch under one of them which ( in autumn) meant that there was a constant click, click, click of buds and leaves hitting the caravan roof throughout the evening.
The site has excellent coverage wifi at a reasonable price but we found it awkward to use with our ipad. Tv reception is good, but make sure you're pointing towards Stirling ( fewer channels) than west (100's of channels). The latter had the stronger signal but for some reason kept pixellating. The former ( signal strength was 'poor' on our antennae) gave near perfect reception, although fewer channels. I'm no tv expert and not sure why that would be! The site shop is spacious but they don't carry provisions of any kind ( other than ice cream) - there is however a filling station and Spar shop just a few minutes walk along the main road.
There's free fishing on the river Teith at one end of the site however the water levels were low during our stay and only fly fishing would have been possible ( watch our for overhead power lines). We were pitched at the east side of the site, backing on to a road outside the site boundary that we think went to some farms - there were a number of noisy, very fast, motorbikes ( without silencers) breaking the tranquillity along this and other roads in the vicinity.
Callander is a delightful town approximately 20mins brisk stroll to the west. We took our dogs on a really lovely, easy, flat walk to the impressive Bracklin falls.
All in all a really pleasant long weekend stay, we were most impressed with the spacious, fully serviced, pitches and the mature grounds with well kept grass and good site roads. On our leaving day we had the option of paying £2. 50 or £5. 00 more to stay until either 3pm or 5pm respectively. We feel the site would benefit from a site shop with some basic provisions and we thought our stay was reasonably expensive but we will definitely be back.
Well, a not good start to this one I am afraid. If you have any kind of VW transporter / caravelle / other van based camper please, read on.
We arrived late on on a Friday evening to book a pitch, and were told 'You can't stay here your camper is not factory built'. (We have a very tidy VW T4 that was professionally converted) 'We are not insured to accept them'
Following a discussion about insurance, and build specification we were (begrudgingly) allowed onto the site. - With hindsight having found out there was another campsite only a few miles down the road I probably would have taken my money elsewhere.
The site itself is nice and quiet, with a mixture of hardstanding and grass pitches, some of which will take a bit of effort to get your van level. The toilets and showerblock were clean and pleasant, unfortunately the washing up facilities were pretty mucky and covered in cobwebs.
The site is very child friendly and well located for exploring, however the experience on arrival left a bad taste in the mouth.
First up, I am new to the caravanning scene. A relative decided to buy a van and has given us use of it when not in use, so with a young family2+4 decided to take up the offer.
This was our first ever trip and had checked various sites online decided on the Gart for a 2 night stay to see if it suited us.
We booked up over the phone and were told we could check in at 2pm, we arrived about 12. 30(early I know), but checked in at reception with no problems. We were booked in for a hard standing pitch, after speaking to the lady at reception, and telling her that this was indeed our first trip, she gave us a map of the site, highlighted the hard standing pitches, and offered help if we had any problems setting up. (which we didn't need to take up).
Now for the site itself.
Absolutely immaculate grounds, shower block, toilets and sink area were spotless. Kids play park was very tidy and undercover which was a godsend when it started raining.
Free fishing available on the river at the back of the site is also a major plus point(unfortunately due to constant pouring rain we were unable to enjoy this pleasure). The wardens were round daily emptying the numerous bins located round the site. There is a designated dog walk, which we didn't use, but seen on a walk round the site.
There is plenty of shops and places to eat within a 5 min drive or 20 min walk(depending on age and mobility).
All in all, we as a family loved our time here and would definitely recommend it. Very friendly and helpful staff, quiet and peaceful site. This would be an ideal base for fishermen, hill walkers and sightseers alike. We will certainly be back as we have caught the bug.
Gart Holiday Park was always a site we lusted after as tenters. Lush lawns, wide open space, close to a pleasant Scottish village. As tents were not allowed, we waited for a whole seven years before making the trip there last week in our caravan. Did it live up to our expectations ? I would say its a tale of two halves.
First, the positives. It's an extremely well located site, easily accessible from the M9 and close to many attractions such as Stirling, Blair Drummond Safari park, Loch Katrine and the Trossachs National park to name but a few.
It is within walking distance of Callender for the hearty and for the not so hearty, it's just a five minute drive away. The access is good and the reception area has a large parking area so you can easily leave your van without blocking access while you check in.
The first view of the park is very attractive with well kept grass and mature conifer trees around the edge of the park. The statics are situated in their own area further into the park. There is a very picturesque private riverside area with free fishing and a fantastic on site dog walk, the best we have ever seen. It is a small piece of woodland that has been fenced off with proper pathways around, always dry underfoot as they were barked ( no pun intended!). Not a huge area but our dog was happy to go round a few times on each walk and loved all the trees to sniff.
The toilets and showers also excellent although soap lacking in the men's.
Now the constructive criticism. We were delighted to have so many pitches to choose from when we arrived on a Monday afternoon, however on closer inspection, quite a few were closed off because they were too muddy and some of the others were just too hilly to try and level the van on. Sadly the flattest and seemingly driest pitches seemed to be taken up with seasonal pitches.
It was on the end of a bank of these that we finally found a flat enough pitch that did not have too much standing water on it. The pitch however remained boggy for our whole stay even though there were periods of dry weather. It was very difficult to keep the entrance to the caravan clean and with a dog, it was nearly impossible.
We would strongly urge the park owners to invest in hard standings. There was so much grass and parkland landscaping, it would hardly spoil the scenery and it would enhance the overall experience as Scotland is never likely to suffer a major drought anytime soon.
Be aware that in high season it might be difficult to find a pitch you like after about 4 pm on a Friday. As the park filled up, we watched people driving round and round and even moving after they had pitched up. Take blocks in case you have to settle on an uneven pitch.
We love dogs as you can see from this and wouldn't be without our boy but even we got very frustrated to see that despite the signage all over the park, people were letting their dogs walk round the park without a lead on. For responsible dog owners who have taught our lively dog not to misbehave in the van, this was annoying as two different dogs wandered right up to the door of our van making our dog very excited. At least the 2 dogs in question were with their owners.
One evening a collie and a lab were running around unchecked. I was just about to call reception as there were cars and kids on bikes etc when I realised that one of the dogs belonged to a park warden. Not a good example, which is maybe why this practice went unchecked.
On to the wardens, very industrious keeping the grounds clipped and strimmed but we did not find our welcome or check in very warm or friendly. However, this was redeemed a couple of days later when a different warden was on duty, she was very helpful.
We would go back for a weekend to the park as its only 1. 5 hours from home and for all the positives mentioned. We will probably not go back for longer unless they put in hard standings or sort the pitch drainage out.
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