Last week we had our week away in Wales. It was a sun deal, which is something I have never done before, but I’ve always heard good reports from others who do it every year! I chose Wales because it was somewhere we went a couple of times when I was a kid, and I always remember the beautiful scenery and endless beaches.
Unfortunately, our trip did not go to plan as two miles before reaching Carmarthen Bay Holiday Park our car broke down and was not to be seen again until three days later, when we cut our losses and headed home on the back of an RAC breakdown truck!
That is another story and I will now try to give you a NONE biased (car broke down, didn’t stop raining = crap holiday) review of our beautifully picturesque caravan park…
The park itself is in the middle of nowhere and a good 3 miles drive from the nearest town of Kidwelly. To reach it you have to drive down a single-track road where you will find it nestled right on the beach of Carmarthen Bay. Although it is technically on the estuary, it is the mouth of the estuary and you can see out into the open sea.
I had read reviews previously, that stated the beach was just an expanse of mud when the sea went out, but this was not true! My girls played quite happily with their buckets and spades on there and we always walked via the beach when coming to and from the entertainment centre (weather depending of course). It has plenty of shells and crabs for kids to find and a pebbly bit too, however, it is no good for swimming or paddling as the tide is strong and comes in very quickly.
The only downside we could find to the actual park is it is set alongside the main South Wales train line. This did break the silence of the beautiful Welsh countryside as trains passed approximately every 30 minutes, even throughout the night! Therefore, my advice is, if you are a light sleeper pack your ear plugs!
The entertainment in general was good! However, as we were car less and site bound for 4 days, we found there was not enough to do for the kids in the daytime. The kids club didn’t have its own room and was run from the entertainment hall, which meant no toys to play with and only games and colouring on offer. This is the first site I have been on that doesn’t cater too well for little ones, I personally don’t class half an hour (9.30-10am) in a morning sufficient for a holiday park kids club, that advertises itself as a family site!
However, the entertainment staff were all fantastic and very helpful when they realised we were car less. They found crayons, made hats for the girl to colour in, and always asked how we were and whether we had our car back yet. The evening entertainment was much better organised and we ended up staying quite late most evenings.
You could meet the Characters Sparky, Sparkle and Narkey at 6.15pm every evening where they would have photographs with the kids. Then they had kids Madness and Mayhem between 6.45 and 8.15 most nights with the option to carry on dancing after that too.
The soft play centre was the best I have seen at a caravan park; it filled a whole room instead of looking like an afterthought stuck on the end of somewhere else. Although I’m not sure about its cleanliness! Like the rest of the park, it looked a bit tired and I really disliked the fact that the guy who run it was extremely rude and every 10 minutes stood smoking in the doorway. Bearing in mind it was a kids area, it really STANK of smoke… To the point, it made my throat sore!
The pool was lovely, although quite cold, and the hot tub was not hot but the same temperature as the pool! The lifeguards did a good job and let little ones go down the flume on an adult’s knee, which the girls loved. I would however give the hot tub a miss as it has a very shape edge where the tiles had come away, another thing that was in obvious need of updating.
We had a bog standard Bronze caravan, which we were told would only be two bedrooms. However, when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to have been given a three bed roomed one. This always works better because its always my mum that comes with us, so it means we have a room each.
It was nice and clean inside, had plenty of hot water! The only problem was the fact it rained so much everything ended up damp and we couldn’t get things like towels dry. Even the toilet paper was damp by the time we left, but I guess that’s what you get if you holiday in rainy Wales!
This place was our saviour! We spent a hell of a lot of time in here as we couldn’t leave the site and hadn’t done a shop before we arrived. We ate every meal here and I can safely say it is well priced and the food it very tasty. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Michelin 5 star quality, but its good wholesome food that wasn’t terribly over priced like a lot of sites.
The traditional breakfasts were lovely and set us up for the day, and then we would just have a meal at night with a bottle of wine which cost under £50 for four of us. The restaurant looks out over the estuary and I imagine if you have nice weather, it would be a very pleasant place to spend the evening!
The only negative was, when after eating there every day and night; we decided we would give the girls a slice of toast to tide them over before the breakdown truck came to take us home. We asked at the bar and were refused because the chef said breakfast was over! Seriously?! How hard is it to stick two slices of toast in a toaster??? This did leave a bit of a bad taste in our mouths after all we had spent in there over the week.
I imagine this would be an amazing place to stay if the weather is good. We loved being right on the beach and the staff were all very friendly and helpful, especially Nathan the maintenance man. He was not afraid to get his head under my bonnet and call the local garage for me. Every time I saw him, he always asked what stage we were at and if there was anything else he could do.
All the entertainment staff were also fantastic and I couldn’t fault their enthusiasm, especially as they work such long hours! My only overall criticism would be how tired everything looks, especially the pool and the “stinky” soft play centre.