A review of Shorefield Country Park, Hampshire

Cyril & Sybil

This year we decided to split our holidays between April and October and skip summer (all bar our one aborted camping trip!). Although I do sometimes yearn for a proper summer holiday, now we are forced to take our breaks in school holidays at the very least most leisure parks and attractions are geared up for kids at these times and no more so than in the Halloween half term.

As I mentioned before we were lucky enough to be able to get a substantial discount on a ‘static caravan’ at the five-star rated holiday park ‘Shorefield’ in Milton on Sea, in the New Forest. From looking at their range of accommodation online it would appear that the place we stayed fell about in the middle of the basic-luxury spectrum – what they call ‘Select Plus’.

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The truth about camping with toddlers

JJ lights of WeymouthA few months ago my sister-in-law and I began discussing the possibility of a shared camping trip. Other than a couple of caravan-park style weeks out of season we didn’t have any summer holiday away to look forward to and I thought it might be fun to initiate the munchkins into the wonderful world of life under canvas. Having said that I haven’t been camping myself for a good few years. In fact it may well be verging on 22 years since I last went camping so I can’t really claim to be any kind of guru. And not only that but I only really have one memory of camping as a child – I think it involved several families all heading off to a local country park for a damp but lively weekend of outdoor frolics.

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A first ‘holiday park’ holiday at Parkdean’s ‘Cherry Tree’ near Great Yarmouth

Cherry Tree caravan park

At the beginning of the year we realised that, now JJ has started school our holiday options are suddenly massively restricted. Last June we opted for a lovely cottage – more of a full on three bedroom house in reality – on the North Norfolk coast near Cromer. This year I took one look at prices for similar style accomodation during the school holidays and immediately began to realise that style and comfort and any nod towards middle class chic was out and caravan park style leisure complete with kids clubs and evening cabaret were on.

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Toddlers and Teens in Devon: Part 3

If you haven’t already had the pleasure of reading about how we found ourselves at a ukelele festival, getting squirted to hilarious effect at Teignmouth and my nieces attempt to cross the channel in a £17 dinghy then pop back to Toddlers & Teens in Devon parts 1 & 2.

Part three sees us visiting the beautiful ( if questionably named) Cockington, having a close encounter with a Great White at Living Coasts in Torquay and splitting up briefly for some solo activities.

During the week we were in Torquay there was a Country Fair at one of the local villages – Cockington. It was on a Wednesday which seemed a bit weird to me (I assumed it was mostly for the benefit of tourists like us). Cockington is a pretty little place with history dating back to the iron age, an 11th century church and a huge ‘bowl’ field running up to the house at Cockington Court – a stately home built on the site of a medieval court. The village itself is now home to several arts and crafts workshops and an ancient forge – you can see everything from glass blowing to chocolate sculpting (guess which one the toddlers and teens liked best?!). The ‘picnic’ we ended up having consisted of hotdogs and chocolate fish and chips!

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Toddlers and Teens in Devon: Part 2

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, let me point you to Part 1 of this mini-series: Toddlers and Teens in Devon: Part 1.

On day two we knew that it was going to be one of our warmiest sunniest days (based on the BBC weather forecast) so we decided to make this our ‘beach day’. We had it on good authority that one of the nicest beaches most suitable for the little people in that area was to be found at Teignmouth – about a 20 minute drive away from where we were staying just outside Torquay.

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Toddlers and Teens in Devon: Part 1*

On Friday 1st August at about 10.45am, a black Ford Galaxy pulled up outside my house. Out jumped my mum, dad, sister, brother in law and nieces to help me load up my own car with the million little things that you take on holiday with you when you have small children (everything from EJ’s new circus tent ‘for the beach’, to half a wooden railway, card games, sticker books, plastic racquets, picture books, wellies, sandals, splash suits, suncream, oh, and a few clothes!).

Unfortunately the hubster was not able to join us due to work commitments – even the days he was planning to join us were cancelled out by last minute training courses.

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View into Anstey’s Cove: B&W Photography Project

JJ Anstey's Cove

While we were away in Devon we discovered this little cove which was walking distance from where we were staying. A couple of memorable things happened whilst we were there including JJ bashing up his knee wading between rocks, EJ covering himself from head to foot in chocolate ice cream and a bit of a stone chucking marathon by EJ who seems to love chucking stuff more than anything else!

I caught this pic of JJ looking out to sea contemplatively and it comes across really quite mean and moody in black and white I think.

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North Norfolk with preschoolers Part 3

Before I begin let me gently guide you to two more brilliant travel posts which could have been (but weren’t) sponsored by the Norfolk Tourist Board (come on guys get your act together! 😉 ) North Norfolk with Preschoolers Part 1 and Part 2

After having read Lucy’s post all about her stay at The Pigs in Edgefield and perusing their website I was really keen to visit and see the place for ourselves. Knowing that it would be really child-friendly with an outdoor playzone designed by the creators of BeWilderwood, I persuaded the hubster that if we were to have one meal out all week it should be at this venue. We visited one afternoon hoping that we could get the boys an early tea but unfortunately they don’t start serving food til 6pm so we hung around for a while, checked out the play areas, had some great fun on the zipwire, tree-house-come-giant slide and climbing equipment before heading back to the holiday house with the intention of returning for lunch the following day.

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North Norfolk with preschoolers – Part 2

(For part one of this mini-series – don’t miss out on chicken poxy shenanagins! – click here.)

On day two we were already suffering from that vague sensation you get when you go on a self-catering holiday entirely unprepared for mealtimes. After a bit of a verbal scuffle with the hubster I had to concede that eating out every day was not going to be an option. We decided on a trip into Norwich (“A Fine City”) which would allow us to treat the boys to a cheeky Happy Meal at the Golden Arches.

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North Norfolk with preschoolers – Part 1

I can see the sea!

This weekend we returned from a wonderful family holiday to Overstrand near Cromer on the North Norfolk Coast. This will be our last chance to travel outside of school holidays as JJ starts big school in September.

We opted for Norfolk primarily due to the fact that one of my closest and oldest friends lives en route (near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk) and it was deemed the perfect opportunity to get our little families together for the first time since ou children have been old enough to interact together.

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