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★★★★☆

“Bideford Bay”

Written on: 15/12/2012 by lyndsey1989 (2 reviews written)

*Location*
Bideford Bay holiday park is part of the Park Resorts company. It is located near the North Devon town of Bideford. It is close to Clovelly, Exmoor and Westward Ho!

*Arrival*
We arrived at the park at around 9pm on Friday evening. Due to the late check in, we had to phone ahead and then pick up our keys from the bar. This was no problem and the girl who gave us our keys was very polite and helpful and explained everything thoroughly despite having a bar full of people to serve. Because it was dark, we found it quite hard to find our accommodation because there weren't a lot of street lights. We eventually found it and was rather annoyed to find there was no parking available nearby (it had all been taken).

* Accommodation I*
From the welcome pack we were given on arrival we learned we had been given a complementary upgrade from Bronze to Silver accommodation...very nice we thought, that was until we opened the door! We had been allocated to what they describe as a chalet, however in my own personal opinion it looked more like a youth club from the outside. The layout of the chalet was very simple, it was square in shape with a central living area surrounded by a kitchen, bathroom and 2 bedrooms. The chalet was filthy. The carpets were muddy, sofas had brown patches and there was even a leaf on the coffee table! The kitchen window was left wide open meaning it was freezing cold when we arrived. We turned the electric fire on but this soon decided to stop working. With two grizzly kids in tow I was in 2 minds about what to do as they just wanted to get their heads down. However, I couldn't put up with the standard of the accommodation and we decided to phone security, as we had been told to if there were any problems (reception was shut). Security told us there was nothing they could do and we would have to wait until the morning and then call into reception. Being tired from travelling this really annoyed me and I was far from pleased. When we finally got to bed I found myself awake in the early hours due to burning legs. I had taken my own bed linen so realised it wasn't that so therefore it must have been a problem with the bed itself. We decided to call into reception the next day to see what they could do as it really was putting tension amongst us all and ruining our break.

* Accommodation II*
The staff in reception were really helpful and listened to all we had to say. They gave us two choices, they would either send the cleaning team to clean the chalet or move us completely. I said I didn't care as long as it was clean but in the end they decided to move us. We were given a choice of two properties, a silver graded caravan or a bronze graded lodge. We ended up in the lodge because the caravan was unavailable in the end.

We were really happy with the lodge. The lodge consisted of a large living area, double bedroom, galley kitchen and bathroom downstairs and 2 twin bedrooms upstairs. The lodge was a really good size and although it did seem a little dated it was clean and tidy and was a vast improvement from the chalet. The kids loved the lodge and everyone's moods brightened immediately. It had a really homely feel and we were very happy here.

*Facilities*
Bideford Bay is home to both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. The outdoor one was closed due to the time of year but had a flume. The inside one was quite basic but did the job and the kids had a great time in here. There were a few toys out to play with and I imagine you can take your own along too.

There is a large play park situated outside the bar. This had a lot of things for the kids to play on and although it is quite traditional with just basic apparatus in it there was plenty of everything meaning they never had to wait for turns. There was plenty of swings, slides, climbing frames etc. There is an indoor soft play area for the under 5's which is fab on a rainy day. There is also an Adventure Playground at the park. Next to the park there is a good sized Crazy Golf course. This is an additional charge but is reasonably priced and families can spend a fun hour or so here.

The Manor House show-bar is where all the entertainment takes place. There is a good bar which stocks a variety of brands at low prices, a takeaway and a restaurant. The restaurant was not open when we visited so I imagine it is only open in high season. The entertainment was of a high standard and we really enjoyed the evening we spent in the show-bar. There are a number of activities that take place starting with over 18's bingo then kids games and character meet and greet. I did notice that the entertainment was only usually headed by one member of staff at a time. However, this was fine as it wasn't particularly busy and I felt it gave it a more personal feel. Any children that wanted to take part were warmly invited and the character of Sparkle the rabbit was very good. After the kids entertainment it moves towards the adult entertainment including 'adult game shows', cabaret and a live band. This was all to a good standard and was good fun.

There is an arcade at Bideford Bay although it is quite small and only consists of around 15 machines although bigger jackpot fruit machines are available in the bar. There are 6 2p machines which are fab for the kids, fruit machines, claw machines, driving games and dance games. These were good fun and good value.

There is an on site shop which is perfect if you are there for just the weekend however if there for longer you may wish to find a supermarket nearby. This stocked the essentials and a few small gifts and postcards. The staff were very polite and friendly.

The park is located close to the beach and you can see the sea from the majority of the accommodation. Unfortunately we did not have time to visit the beach although we would have liked to.

*Checking Out*
When we went to check out I had already decided I would like to visit the park again and wanted to book another holiday there and then. I had looked at prices online for a few places nearby (just to check out the competition) for a long weekend in the Easter holidays and had been quoted around £220. The very friendly staff in reception spent a good half an hour chatting with us about our needs and we were very pleased when they came back with the bargain price of £133! This included a £50 discount because we booked for 2010 whilst on site. We were also entitled to a free Sparkle cuddly toy. The lovely lady in reception actually gave us 2 of these (one for each of the girls) which was really kind of her and greatly appreciated.

The staff in reception really turned our holiday round. They made us feel very welcome and tried to help in any way possible. We knew that if there were any problems all we had to do was call them or pop in and they would be happy to help. They are a credit to Bideford Bay and we were very grateful for the help they gave us.

*Overall opinion*
To begin with, I was very disheartened by this holiday but this turned around and turned into a truly fab holiday, so much so we have booked to go back next year! We owe it all to the wonderful staff in reception and in the end we had a really nice time. I recommend this park as it has all the facilities needed for a fun family break and also would recommend trying to book a lodge! It is worth noting you can use Clubcard vouchers to book a holiday with Park Resorts.