Parkdean Resorts Whitley Bay Holiday Review

Last week we took a much needed family break. 5 days (which turned into 6!) at Whitley Bay Parkdean Resorts holiday park. Whitley Bay is just 10 miles outside of Newcastle and situated on the north east coast. There is plenty to see and do for all ages and despite it being a 5 hour drive away, we knew we made the right location choice for our first family holiday in 2 years. Here is our Whitley Bay Parkdean Resorts Review.

We took the trip with Nanny Doodif (Judith) and Granda’ Simon. They had booked their own van so we weren’t quite so crowded. Judith is from Whitley Bay and was destined to be our tour guide for the stay. It was our first holiday all together, and we were all excited.

Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay is situated on the north east coast and offers long seaside walks, rock pool-ing opportunities, plenty of sand to play in, a stunning lighthouse, seal spotting and even an ice rink! The town is easy to find, very clean and full of friendly faces. There is plenty to do for small kids and old folk alike… especially if you fancy a nice long walk along the sea front.

St Mary’s Light House Whitley Bay

It rained the entire time that we were away. We arrived on Monday at midday and the clouds were rolling in. We took a walk along the seafront, watching the beach combers and taking a stroll up to see St Mary’s Lighthouse.

The views were stunning, even more so when we took a break in a hide and watched the seals rolling around playfully on the rocks by the lighthouse. I managed to take a very wobbly picture through the binoculars on my mobile phone. The kids were most happy!

Seal Spotting off St Mary’s Light House

We checked into our caravan at 4pm and it rained from then… right up until Saturday morning. The day we checked out. Typical British weather.

Exploring a wet cave! #giggedy #holiday #beach #britishweather #newcastle #whitleybay #familyholiday #pblogger

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Parkdean Resorts Whitley Bay

Parkdean Resorts is a UK holiday resorts provider and has 73 resorts across the UK.

On site is an indoor swimming pool, a shop, laundrette, restaurant, entertainment area, play park and amusement arcade.

The entertainment area at Whitley Bay Holiday Park

The swimming pool has something on for everyone, including relaxing swim sessions for adults in the morning and Aqua Paddlers in the afternoon for children aged 3-8 years. The pool is always open during the day with different sessions for the whole family to enjoy throughout your stay. The pool is just 1 large pool, and does not have a separate toddler area, so make sure you have all eyes and arms ready to hold your smaller children.

Teaching Willow how to swim in the pool.

The water is nice and warm (I hate cold pools!) and the changing rooms are very clean and large for families to all fit into. The pool area was overall, very nice but in an ideal world I would like to have seen a small baby paddling area.
All day and night the stage and entertainment area is packed full of things to do. While we were on site I noticed so many activities for the kids all day, every day. Jewellery making sessions, ballet and cheerleading lessons, chocolate tea party, farmyard fun and garden fun (to name a few). The days really were packed with so many activities to keep the kids busy. I did spot families staying on site for the whole holiday and choosing to not leave the park because there was so much to do.

Willow on stage!

In the evening we enjoyed Starland Krazy, an action packed evening for the kids. The park presenters played games, handed out prizes, welcomed Sparky Rabbit and crew, sang songs and danced. Perfect for wearing out the kids, at the end of a long day. Our kids slept so well all night, because they were exhausted from the evening entertainment.

Each night the park hosted a few bingo games. The parks all play a link-up game together, playing for lines and a full house and the prizes are high value. A few of the prizes were over £1000 in a couple of the games! Great fun, and the kids are welcome to stay on site while we play.

After Bingo the evening entertainment begins. Kids are welcome to stay, but in reality we found that they were too tired and we only stayed for a short while after bingo. The adults get to have a few drinks and take part in some (rather embarrassing gameshow style games, watch live bands or dance away the night to the park DJ.

Every second of the day there was something going on. We would loved to have seen more during our stay but we were so busy wandering around town to stay and watch it all. By night time we were all so tired that we didn’t see much of the evening entertainment. My husband and Simon did go down too the club a few nights without us women and the kids, and they enjoyed a few pints watching the entertainment. 4 pint pitchers were £12… I suspect that’s why they were in no rush to get back to the caravan!

Tired Little O after a busy day.

From the moment we arrived at the park, I could not fault the staff. Every member of the team were professional, friendly and welcoming. Each member had a huge smile on their face and were happy to help, no matter how small the problem.

Our middle daughter Olive, was feeling the cold after our seafront walk and sat in the buggy looking a little frozen. A member of staff quickly offered a cup of warm milk for her to enjoy, on the house! I was blown away by her generosity and I couldn’t thank her enough. Such a small act of kindness that really made Little O feel a lot better!

The gift of warm milk cheered up Olive!

Our Caravan

Our first impressions of the park was certainly a good one. Not only had the staff made us feel welcome from the start, but the park itself was clean and presentable. Every day, we could see gardeners walking around making the place look fab.

There was no rubbish, the small amusements arcade was well manned and the restaurant was always busy with gorgeous portions of food served all day. We collected our keys at 4pm, which is check-in time, and were given a map of the park showing where our caravan was and a welcome pack. We drove to the nearest carpark to our van and started to unload our mountains of stuff (there were 6 of us after-all!). The park staff allocated our caravans right next to Judith and Simon’s caravan, which was handy. It meant we could let the kids walk from one van to the next by themselves, and easily watch them from the doorway.

Our caravan.

In all honesty, our caravan took me by surprise. Previous caravan holidays have thrown us with some unpleasant surprises in the past (I once found a pair of dirty pants in a bedside draw at Camber Sands- grim) but our caravan was completely spotless! No dust, clean floors, it smelt of bleach and was a fantastic size. The grandparents van was exactly the same! No faults at all.

The double room.

Our caravan had a double room, 2 twin rooms a shower/toilet room, huge living space joined to the kitchen and lots of storage space. I was a bit daft and packed lots of kitchen utensils and a frying pan, but none of them were needed as the caravan had it all. All of the utensils, pots, pans and oven were spotlessly clean.

One of the twin bedrooms.

Each bedroom was clean, with clean bedding. We took our own pillows and duvets as I do like to sleep with my own bedding, but the bedding provided was clean and good quality… no lumpy pillows or flat duvets to be seen!

The curtains in the caravan were all blackout too, making bedtime for the kids very easy indeed. Although the exhaustion from the day’s activities were probably to thank for that!

The living area had classic caravan seats, with lots of room for us all to sit and toys to be scattered around. There was a large TV, with built in DVD player and had lots of freeview channels with good reception. I did find myself watching a Geordie TV channel a few times… although I did need a Geordie translator to explain what the hell they were talking about most of the time. Ooops!

We did have a leak from the water pipe below our caravan. I popped into reception and told them about the issue. It was no way a complaint as these things happen, but the staff couldn’t stop apologising! Within 15 minutes the leak was fixed. I couldn’t believe how quickly they fixed the problem and with no fuss at all.

Due to the endless rain, the weather was cold. We needed up put the heating on each night to warm our caravan up. There was a gas fire in the living area, and hot air blowers in the bedrooms as well as a heated towel rail in the toilet, which doubled as a large radiator. We were never cold at all during our stay in the caravans, and we even moaned to each other that we were too hot!

The only negative point about or caravan was that the gas fire was quite old and well used. It worked perfectly fine, but it did take a ‘knack’ to get the ignition lit.

Dogs are allowed on the park, but you will have to pay a little extra to your bill. We didn’t take Scrapper with us, as he stayed at home with my brother-in-law but I will definitely take him next time we visit.

An Extra Day

We loved it so much, we stayed for an extra day!

On Thursday Judith and I decided to pop into reception and ask if we could all stay an extra night. We were due to check out on Friday morning, but figured an extra night would give us more holiday fun (and give the weather a chance to perk up a touch- WRONG). We half expected our request to be denied, but the reception staff were quick to work something out for us. In the end we managed to secure Judith and Simons caravan for the extra night. We had to check out of our van at 10am, and move straight into their caravan. Even with 7 of us all in one 6 bed caravan (the kids top and tailed in one bed to make enough room) the van still felt roomy.

We did pay a little extra for the extra night, as to be expected, but it was hardly any extra money. A cheap extra night, and valuable extra family time!

Olive winning BIG in the on-site arcade.

Summary

Overall, an excellent caravan holiday for the whole family to enjoy. The park was clean, staff were polite, entertainment and facilities faultless, and our caravans were brilliant.

We shall certainly be booking again very soon for another holiday with Parkdean Resorts Whitley Bay. Keep your eyes peeled for the park in any upcoming Sun newspaper holiday promotions (holidays from £9. This park is one of the parks available through the promotion.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see as much of the area as we would have liked due to the weather, but we still enjoyed fun packed days. Next time we take a visit, I would love to go see more of Tynemouth castle, Blue Reef aquarium, Cullercoats beach and caves, and Jarrow Anglo-Saxon Farm and museum.

Even with an extra day, I feel like we could have spend another week on site, seeing all of the goodies that Whitley Bay and the local area has to offer. A fantastic family holiday that despite the weather, we shall never forget as one of our best.

Roll on next time! Why Aye Man!

For more information about Parkdean Resorts, Whitley Bay check out their website here.

 

Think Before You Book And Save Money On Your Family Holiday!

A family holiday is one of the great joys of being a parent. It is uninterrupted time that you get to spend with the kids; making memories and exploring new places. We have had 2 fantastic family holidays with the our 2 youngest kids. Clacton and Cornwall. This year we are off on a family holiday to Whitley Bay, Newcastle. Our first family as a holiday of 5, and with grandparents in tow. We even get to catch up with some much missed family and friends. We can’t wait!

We took a visit to Ox Pasture hall, Yorkshire back in 2013.
We took a visit to Ox Pasture hall, Yorkshire back in 2013.

We only holiday in the UK, it reduces stress and there is plenty of places that our beautiful country has to offer without whipping out the Passport or attempting any long haul flights.

But before you sign on that dotted line for your very own holiday, or click that ‘book’ button you need to consider some the issue around going away with kids carefully.

Accommodation

First of all, when planning a holiday, you need to consider the type of accommodation that you will go for. Of course, there are so many choices to pick from. You have hotels that are room only, half board, or all inclusive. Then you have camping sites and caravan parks as well as the option to rent a chalet or a villa. So many choice, but what will suit your family’s needs most?

What you really need to consider is the amount of space and types of meal that will suit your family the best. For example, if you have toddlers that are in a picky stage of eating, then you may want to go for a self-catering option. You can make sure that they will always have something you know they will eat, and just go to a restaurant a few times. This can also save a lot of money as well.  We tend to prefer self-catering when holidaying with the kids because we can grab lots of tins and packets of food for cheap that are easy to cook in the caravan or on a BBQ (think pasta, soups etc) saving money for activities and souvenirs. The only downside to taking your own food is that you have to pack and take it all with you, fine if you have a car but this can be tricky if you have to take the train or coach to your destination.

cornwall villa

If you have a larger family like us, or you are going away with friends, you will want to look at hiring a more extensive type of accommodation like a whole apartment, or villa. So everyone will have enough room to spread out but still get some privacy. If you are going with your parents or siblings it can be cheaper to book one large accommodation rather than multiple.

Activities

Another key issue that you need to consider before booking is what they’re will be to do there. A relaxing holiday by the pool might sound like your idea of heaven, but how much R&R are you really going to get if there is nothing to keep the kids amused?

That is why you need to ensure that the holiday that you book has plenty of activities to keep the kids busy and having fun.  A great way of doing this is to choose one that includes activities like checking out local museums, visiting farms, or checking out the local pier (who doesn’t love the penny machines?!). Check out these family summer holiday ideas for some more options.

Then not only will the kids be kept happy the whole time, but you get to make amazing memories with them that will last a lifetime too. Don’t forget to pack your camera, or a handy emergency battery charger for your phone so you can always capture the fun!

We aren’t a sun worshipping family so spending hours sat on the beach in one spot doesn’t really do it for us. But, the kids love the beach! Take buckets and spades and some fab beach games to play while you’re down there. We love beach combing for interesting artefacts and beautiful shells to bring home.

clacton beach

Distance to travel

Travelling long distances with kids in tow can be something of a trial. Even if they are fairly grown up kids like teenagers. No one really wants to be stuck in a car, plane, or ferry for long stretches of time with nothing to do and no way to get up and stretch their legs.

That is why it’s essential that you consider the distance you will need to travel to your chosen destination before you book your holiday. Remember somewhere far flung and exotic can sound like a lot of fun. But isn’t quite so good if you have to spend two days straight getting there, with the kids screaming ‘are we nearly there yet?’ in your ear the whole time. It’s bad enough taking a 40 minute journey into London let alone several hours, stuck in a tin can high up in the air.

Our journey up to Newcastle will take us just over 4 hours, but add in the kids needing a wee every hour and myself being heavily pregnant it’s likely to take much longer. We plan on letting the kids have a late night the day before we travel, getting them up early for leaving at 6 or 7am and with any luck they will still be so tired that they fall back to sleep for a decent chuck of the journey.

So with some careful planning, a holiday doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. We are really looking forwards to our holiday away. Have you booked a holiday yet and have some fab tips for tripping with the kids? Where are you planning to go this year? Let me know in the comments!

Perranporth, Cornwall.
Perranporth, Cornwall.