We stayed at Bigbury-on-sea's, Park Dean Challaborough Bay site towards the end of April 2014 through the Sun Holiday, but with an upgraded Heron caravan. To get here we had to drive through some horrible single lane with passing places roller coaster roads. Challaborough Bay was not signposted much whatsoever and if it was not for a small sign and a sat nav, then we would never have found it.
Our first impressions when actually arriving was wow what a lovely beach, it was even possible to park real close. Due to it being bank holiday Monday and taking a few excursions, mainly avoiding the bank holiday traffic we had arrived 2 hours after check in.
We were greeted by the pleasant, and welcoming security staff. Our given caravan was number 33 on Sea shore. When getting to this caravan our first impressions were that we thought we had the wrong caravan. It was poorly sign posted and found this caravan by luck.
From the outside this caravan was old and rusted in places, and looked nothing like the caravan that was advertised or bigged up over the phone. Never the less there had been some bad storms that had hit the area in the past so looks can be deceiving as it was the inside that matters. Perhaps with people that theory works, but with caravans, no it doesn't.
The caravan had not been properly cleaned, if not at all, and this included the toilets, and to make matters worse the maintenance had not been maintained very well either. This holiday had started to be a complete let down. After complaining to security they suggested coming back in the morning when the main staff were on, and when I returned they were very nice and a member of staff went to see the caravan for himself and he agreed it was not up to standard. After going out on a day trip for a few hours we came back to a cleaned caravan and maintenance had done some partial repairs and returned the next day to finish. The caravan was still horrible but a more pleasant horrible than before, and to make things easier on Park Deans side they offered a big partial refund that was acceptable.
The only real other negative was the drainage outside, even with a shower of rain created floods, so imagine how it got with heavy rainfall.
It was not all that bad, as I mentioned earlier, the beach was lovely, apart from the odd pebbles. The coastal walks are well worth doing and they offer some brilliant views, especially when the sun sets.
The staff seemed dedicated, and looked like they enjoyed working for company and most of all they were friendly and could not really fault them, I know some people had complained previous but these could be different staff.
The entertainment was mainly child based with a touch of adult after a certain time. In general the Troopers were enjoyable to watch but with certain songs they did go out of tune some what, but the dancing was ok.
Some people mentioned the chips from a chip shop, but there are two, one part of the main complex and another around the corner, the chips from the main complex were ok, a bit dry but fairly decent and a must would be to have a pizza.
All in all and overall if Parkdean - Challaborough Bay Holiday Park were to improve on cleaning, and maintenance, sort out the drainage and add an update here and there then this site has got the potential to be something really special. I can only go from our own experiences and maybe our caravan was a one off.
I would still give this a 9 out of 10, mainly because of the staff, the site being child and dog friendly plus there is a lovely beach.
We stayed here for a long weekend, for a wedding in the area, in one of their basic three bedroom static caravans. The cost was reasonable and split between the five of us was not a lot each at all.
The site is pretty easy to find, however it is in the middle of nowhere with just two roads in, one of which is very narrow with few passing places, however we did not get stuck, but in summer it could be worse.
Once the site has been found, you will instantly notice the fantastic setting that it holds, it is across the road from the beach with cliff paths leading off each side of the beach offering miles and miles of fantastic walks and some stunning views. The beach is great and when the tide is out stretches for a long way.
Due to the location and remoteness there was absolutely no mobile coverage on either Three, Orange / T-Mobile and Vodafone. There is free wifi in the pub, but does not extend across the park.
On site facilities include an indoor swimming pool, entertainment room with the usual bingo, dancing bears, etc. , a gym, adventure play area and of course the main draw for me, the direct beach access.
There is also a pub on site called The Waterfront and we ate in there one evening and the meals were reasonably priced, service was quick and the 5 meals we had were all very nice. They offer a breakfast menu too which we had and for just a few pounds you get a decent fry up, although healthier options were available too.
The reception staff were friendly when I had to deal with them and all the staff I came across were cheerful, helpful and smiling.
The caravan we stayed in was clean and well maintained and had all you would expect when hiring one of these, full of crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, etc. The only thing not supplied were towels, so bring your own. Some of the statics were also dog friendly.
This is purely a static caravan park and the caravans go on and on up the hill and to me looks pretty tacky, but each to their own and this site served it purpose well.
Nearby delights are in abundance with some beautiful villages and hamlets, thatched cottages, delightful country pubs and larger towns for those venturing that bit further. We walked along the cliff path to Burgh Island and wandered across the sand (low water only) and enjoyed a nice pint in the Pilchard Arms. We also went into Kingsbridge which is a great town with all your mainstream shops, and a lovely river. We took advantage of the river and went on a river cruise and took in the delights of the creeks and towns along the river.
If in the area again I would search for a campsite first and take the tent, however this site was perfect for our needs for the weekend and was good value in a stunning location.
The site was booked through Hoseason's Parks and lodges brochure and the description in the brochure was accurate.
There was myself, DH and our 18mth old DD and we had booked a 'Heron' 4-6 berth static caravan. The site has direct access to the beach, which is excellent for sandcastle building and collecting pebbles! It's a blue flag beach which has lifeguards during the main season. There is also a short walk over the cliff top (not suitable for a pushchair) over to Bigbury Bay, but we decided it wasn't worth it, because the beach at the site, was more than suitable.
There is a costcutter shop on site with sells enough to 'get you by' and has a small frozen section. There is a large Tesco Extra 8 miles away though, so we just did one big shop to last us the week.
On site there is 20/25m swimming pool, with a toddler dip pool (think shallow jacuzzi style). The water was heavily chlorinated, but the water was clean. The changing facilities were poor, the floor was soaking wet and there was no changing table to change DD on, so we had to balance her on the bench. There were 2 family changing rooms. There were showers to wash before entering and on exit, but these weren't enclosed. There were only a few lockers also. The welcome pack paperwork said there was adult only swimming on every day (in the morning and evening), splish splash once a week, tots only swimming once a week and aqua aerobics 3 times in the week. These were all free with the pass.
The 'kids' club was on twice during the day (morning and afternoon) for each age group (0-4yrs, 4-10yrs). We tried the morning one (0-4yrs) 3 times and to be honest, it was just 'ok', but could be much much better. For example, there was story time, where the structure was having a story read then to draw a picture about the story, but they didn't turn the kiddies music off in the background so we had to contend with trying to listen to the story and ignoring the teletubbies theme tune. A very long story was chosen to be read with few pictures, so too long for tots, which was read with very little enthusiasm. So, in theory it should work well, but just needs tweaking. I think the older group worked better as I saw them 'duck racing' in the stream and having a sandcastle competition.
The soft play area was inside the arcade area and when we looked there was just a lot of older kids (5-7yrs approx) throwing balls about, but being watched by their parents.
We didn't go into the club on an evening, so I can't comment on that. Although the paper work we were given told you what activities were on and they had bingo every night and then a 'show' of some sort. We also didn't use the takeaway or the fish and chip shop on site, but we saw plenty of people use it.
Yes, the road to and from the site is a bit hairy if you follow the sat nav! - DON'T USE THE SAT NAV! It will take you down all the really narrow, windy lanes. To get to the site, just follow the B3392 from the Kingsbury/Modbury road, follow the road to St Anns Chapel, then down to Challaborough. You may have to pull over once or twice on this road, but it is more than manageable, unlike the others!
Overall, the caravan was clean and tidy and modern looking but we were told (when we went to get new pans because ours were rusty - dealt with very efficiently I might add!), that the caravan was an owners caravan which they rent back to the site.
Would we go back? - No, because its too out of the way for us, we had nowhere to walk on an evening i.E. Into a village or whatever, but if you want a caravan holiday on a perfectly suitable beach that has surfing and body boarding, then yes, it may be the site for you.
I just think we chose the wrong site for us, rather than the site being bad.
What a brilliant camp site. Super clean with loads for kids to do. The evening entertainment is suited to kids as well. A bit hectic if you don't have kids but our 2 1/2 year old had a brilliant time. The local beach is literally a stones throw away and also full of stones. It's sort of a mix of shingle and pebbles but lovely. Small enough to be able to keep your eyes on the kids at all time with rock pools aplenty to explore. The area is patrolled by RNLI life guards and has 2 small shops for all the essentials. Even at low tide the sea is pretty still close to the beach. It does get a bit messy after a rough night with lots of sea weed etc washed up. There is a bar and a small restaurant on site. We had a lovely meal one night but another night saw far too long a waiting time so do check this before you order. Access is via a single track road which is quite steep with few passing places so take it easy. All in all a brilliant, secluded and entertaining place that we will be visiting again.
What a place! Mmmm bit noisy for us, but would imagine its a great place for a buzzing family.
We didn't venture to the bar as its not our cup of tea. The caravan was clean and well equipped, and the view was to die for. A short walk to the beach and the magnificent coastal path, which we love. If you go to Bigbury On Sea you can enjoy the best cream tea in the district at The Bay Cafe which you walk right past. The views from the cafe are wonderful as is the service and food. A definite must for all visitors. Its always great to find a good food outlet nearby when you are on holiday. We will be going back there this year, don't miss it.
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