Updated: Mar 12
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Looking for an amazing staycation? One to suit all ages of the family? Well.....we may have found it!
This stay was another great find through the Sun Holidays. We compared prices, against booking direct and although we saved money, it wasn't a lot...but a saving is a saving, right?!
Golden Coast is one of four holiday parks that make up the Woolacombe Bay Holiday Villages, as you can probably guess, they are dotted close to Woolacombe Bay, a beautiful sandy beach on the north coast of Devon. Being regular visitors to the West Country, this is a park that surprisingly we had never heard of, but due to the search we made for different parks and dates, this little gem popped up as an alternative.
Arrival and Check In
Check in was easy! It is well signposted once on the park and the staff were quick, friendly and efficient. We couldn't guarantee warm weather but the warm welcome was appreciated. We were told about our accommodation, directed where to go and told about other activities on site.
The holiday park has a variety of villas, lodges and caravans. Pitches are also available for touring caravans and tents. We were in a caravan, we hadn't upgraded and after reading a few reviews on Tripadvisor about problems visitors had faced, I was dubious.....but phew! Nothing to worry about. Sometimes it's far to easy to get caught up in the negative, as they have hundreds, thousands even, of great reviews.
We were on the Cleavewood area of the site, this is at the bottom of the park. The whole site is on a gradient (downwards) so those with wheelchairs or pushchairs may find this area tricky as everything else, clubhouse, activities, pub etc are all up the hill. But all pathways are tarmac and there is a car park at the top of the park.
The caravan was brand new with full central heating, something we were very grateful for when facing the storm rolling in.
It was compact, it is one of only 2 caravans that we have stayed in where the dining room is the lounge, opposed to being separate. But once we'd settled in, we didn't find this was much of a problem as we rarely spend much time in the van. The accommodation was clean and tidy, and the beds were made, perfect for our late arrival. With 2 bedrooms, one with bunk beds and a single, the other with a double, the mobile home was to suit a family of 5. The kitchen was fully equipped with everything that we needed and a handy freebie was included with a bin bag, scourer sponge, matches, cloth and a miniature washing up liquid. There is also space for one car outside the accommodation, which saved us having to ferry luggage across the park in the rain!
The site and activities
The main building was like a tardis, there were doors and stairs leading to different places and activities. Here there was a clubhouse, where the entertainment was held of an evening and there were a few activities during the day (although we didn't attend these) but also in the main building there were other bars, offering a more relaxed feel for those wanting a quieter drink and a game of pool.
Golden Coast offers kids clubs for ages 0-14 years. The clubs are split into age groups, offering age appropriate activities. There's Betty's Buddy Club for 0-4 yrs and Billy Beachball Club for 5-9 years, as well as the Extreme Teen Club 10-15+ year olds, running every weekend and throughout all school holidays.
Situated in the middle of the site is a traditional Devon Pub, the Old Mill, open daily for carvery, food and drinks. There is garden area and play park for the children or to enjoy the sunshine (which was considerably lacking on our visit!)
Next to the surf simulator is a surf bar, with a beachy summer feel. The perfect place to sit and enjoy a drink whilst the children play.
A small projector cinema, showing children's films, such as Moana, Jurassic World and Minions, offered many a break from the weather. There were pool tables in most rooms of the club house, including a designated room for pool, open for everyone to use for £1 a game. Along with a free snooker table and a darts board.
Table Tennis, Crazy Golf, Outdoor Tennis on floodlit courts and football golf are all free to access with booking and refundable deposit.
There are also 4 pools, 2 indoor and 2 outdoor, located in various areas around the park. For obvious reasons, (a stormy February weekend!) the outdoor pools were closed, but in the summer offer a safe gated splash pool with short flumes. Tokens are needed to access the pools but these are available when you've purchased entertainment wristbands. Play parks are free for all to use, as well as an outdoor gym.
A large, multilevel soft play area is inside the main club house, for children under 135cm, and is free to use.
With a huge amount of free activities to do onsite, you may not feel the need to take part in the number of extra cost activities on site, but all of which we found to be reasonably priced.
The Woolacombe Wave is a surf simulator, that produces a sheet wave only a few centimetres deep, so you can put your board skills to the test. With retractable glass roof and walls, the activity can be used whatever the weather. For £20, we got an hour (with only 2 others taking part) wetsuit hire, a skilled instructor and a whole lot of fun! We were taught tricks and skills to be able to body board correctly and complete tricks...kind of! The sessions are for ages 8+, but a mini morning is offered for 5-7 year olds.
The pottery painting centre is something we felt we missed out on. We strolled in on a Sunday afternoon and if we wanted our masterpieces fired ready to collect Monday morning (leaving day), then they had to be completed by 3pm. That only gave half an hour so we chose small items, a cupcake and a turtle and set to work to paint them beautifully. On our visit, the pottery cafe was quiet and tranquil, with a range of items from as little as £3.50 to over £20 so something to fit all budgets. Tea and cake can be purchased, offering a calm place to take a break. Definitely wish we'd checked it out earlier.
There are other chargeable activities such as, a high rope climb, and a bowling alley below the arcade, but we didn't try these out on this visit.
Surf lessons at the beach can also be booked via the site, offering anything from a half day session to spending days on the beach, catching the waves.
There are 4 parks that are part of the Woolacombe Bay Holiday Village, being Golden Coast, Woolacombe Bay, Twitchen House and Easewell Farm. They have a range of facilities at each park and whichever one you are booked onto, the entertainment bands will give full use of all 4 parks. Some of the other activities offered on different parks are Segways, an indoor gym, spa, zorbing and use of all the different pools. There are double decker buses that travel between the parks and Woolacombe beach. An unlimited use bus pass is available to purchase onsite for £5 each and can be used throughout your stay.
The Local Area.
Perfectly located for exploring north Devon, the park makes a fantastic base for exploring the area. The location is suitable for those wanting to explore Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and beaches of north Devon.
Woolacombe, the beach the holiday village is named after, is an amazing, award winning beach, with miles of golden sand over looked by the countryside. Less than a 10 minute drive or approximately 50 minute walk, it is the closest beach to the Golden Coast and faces out of the Atlantic ocean.
Ilfracombe is seaside resort, with a small harbour, local shops and pubs. Take a walk to the top of the mount, for stunning views across the water of the Bristol channel and follow the spiral path down the cliff face back to the village. Verity, stands proudly at over 65 foot, on the edge to the harbour, she is a stainless steel and bronze statue and she is quite a sight.
We also stumbled upon Croyde Beach, by chance after checking out the National Trust app, only a minute drive Golden Coast. The beach offered a perfect spot for body boarding and surfing. We had purchased wetsuits on our way down to the beach, no it was obligatory to use them immediately!...loved every minute!
Once we'd removed ourselves from the water, we headed over to the rockpools. The rocks were covered with shellfish and the pools were teeming with sea creatures.
There are many National Trust places within easy reach of Golden Coast, some of which don't have a standard property price, just pay for parking and then explore. Heddon Valley and Heddon Mouth was just like this (although we are National Trust members so parking was FREE) we walked the 2 mile circular trail, it is surrounded with towering cliffs, secret coves and forest within Exmoor National Park.
Clovelly, is slightly further a field and is close to Bideford, being about a 50 drive from the site. It is a small harbour village in the Torridge district. It has steep but pedestrianised cobbled main street...no cars allowed! But you will get to see the famous donkeys.
So what next?
We can't wait for our next break away to Golden Coast! Hopefully the sun will grace us with it's presence and we can enjoy the park to the max and give everything a go. Perfect break for active families!
There are so many more adventures to be had in Devon, we will be writing about them soon.