We have been lucky enough to stay in many different holiday accommodations thanks to this little blog of mine. We’ve been glamping, hotel staying, cottages and resorts however we’ve never stayed as a family on a caravan park until last week!
We had been invited to come for a seven night stay with The Orchards Holiday Park on the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight is one of our favourite destinations to holiday as a family but we’ve never been during the colder months so I was a little apprehensive and excited about the unknown of going during the Easter break.
I will be writing a day to day account of our trip so please check that out which will be viewed here in the next few days. Also, please head over to my YouTube channel for eight days worth of daily vlogs from our trip. This blog post is a full write up of our stay on the holiday park.
Getting to the Isle Of Wight is super easy and there are more options than you may think. Our favourite option is to take the car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne. From our house the journey is around one and a half hours long (on a good run). Then the ferry itself takes just 45 minutes. Honestly, by the time you’re out of your car to go up on deck, it’s time to get back down to arrive on the Isle Of Wight.
The Orchards Holiday Park is in a great location. It’s just 25 minutes away from Ryde (the ferry terminal), 15 minutes from Newport (the main town centre) and 12 minutes from Yarmouth (the other ferry terminal).
The Isle of Wight is mainly set in beautiful countryside and the holiday park is no exception to that. It’s surrounded by stunning landscape where you can watch the sun rise from one side and set to the other. It’s breathtakingly peaceful even with the bad weather that we had during the week we stayed.
The Orchards Holiday Park has static caravans, pitches for touring/mobile caravans and tents too. The static caravans are all named after apples which I think is a cute attention to detail. We had been booked in to stay in The Russett which is a 6 berth (6 people) static caravan. It’s what I’d call middle range or middle class of the caravans available in terms of price and quality.
We’ve actually never stayed in a static caravan as a family before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Check in was really easy through reception, I was handed a folder full of useful information about the holiday park and given the key for our caravan. Our caravan happened to be the one next to the car park so Hubby was pleased to be able to keep an eye on his beloved car.
I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the lounge area felt. It had a small tv, plenty of storage space and two fitted sofas either side of the coffee table. There was also a DVD player under the telly too. The lounge had the best sunset landscape and the windows had netting that gave us total privacy, great for my girls who love to interrupt me getting ready with a million demands.
It’s a self catering holiday park, although there are food options explained below. The kitchen for us is quite important. There are the essential basic items provided like cutlery, sharp knives, grater and scissors. There’s a great range of dinnerware, egg cups and even a toast holder. There was no hand soap, dish soap, extra bin bags or oil though so bare that in mind when you start your packing.
The caravan is gas operated and centrally heated. We had a slight issue with the gas hobs and oven cooking rather slowly but it later turned out that we was low on gas. This issue was sorted pretty quickly by the onsite handy man who was very friendly and efficient. Poor bloke had to come out to us twice that evening that happened to be our last evening and The Orchards Holiday Park.
The dining area seated six people. It was a little cramped but nothing we didn’t expect. The girls enjoyed eating their meals whilst watching the telly. We don’t have live telly in our house so they were remembering the days of CBeebies and loving it during this holiday.
One thing I will mention is that in The Russett there is a fridge freezer. The freezer section is rather small so don’t stock up on too many frozen items.
The shower room and toilet are separate. Each have a basin inside. I was very surprised at the size of the shower, it was really clean and very large. It was like stepping inside a tardis (not that I’ve ever experienced that). There is only one toilet roll provided in the caravan, I took our home ones anyway as we go through loo roll pretty quickly. It would have been nice for more than one to be complimentary in the caravan though. Towels are not provided, again I packed our own as I knew there was a swimming pool but none are in the caravan either.
Definitely one of the most important parts of a holiday home for me is where I will sleep. The double bedroom was really spacious yet cosy. It had over the bed storage cupboards and a large wardrobe. There was also side tables and a little dressing area perfect for my makeup.
There are two twin rooms in The Russett caravan. Both are pretty tiny and left me feeling a little claustrophobic but the girls loved them. P2 and P3 were close enough to hold hands and P1 had this little den for herself. Again both twin rooms had a small wardrobe, a side table and over the bed storage.
Linen (pillow cases, flat sheets and duvet covers) are provided for the amount of guests on the book. Not the amount of beds. I thought this was a little odd especially has pillows and bed covers are provided for the beds. I also had to make the beds on arrival which I’ve heard is quite normal but not something I’m used to doing when on holiday.
The holiday park was very peaceful at all times of the day. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. You could hear the birds chirruping in the morning. When you book your holiday with The Orchards Holiday Park you are entitled to discounted ferry travel. On arrival you are also given a little card which entitles you to discounted food in certain restaurants.
As I have said above, The Orchards Holiday Park is a self catering one. If you don’t know, that means no meals are provided and you take your own food. Last year we decided to go shopping once we’d reached the Isle Of Wight in the largest Tesco I’ve ever been to in Newport. This year we decided to do the food shop the day before and pack it up in the car. When we arrived at The Orchards Holiday Park, there were actually delivery vans delivering food to holiday makers so this I know is an option for the future.
However there is a little shop onsite. The shop is well stocked for all the essentials; milk, cheese, bread, pasta sauces, frozen foods like mince and ice cream (the ice cream being very important for the girls apparently) and also things like loo roll. They also have little souvenirs from the Isle Of Wight in case, like me, you forget to pick up something for a loved one. They have a good selection of beach buys and toys too. We got the girls a magic painting book in there which kept them busy one evening.
The prices are really reasonable and those words came from my frugal husband so that’s got to be a good thing. We ended up buying milk daily for my guzzling girls and also little 10p sweets became a routine after an evening swim. The staff were really helpful and friendly. The shop also accepts card payments but do have a minimum spend of £5.
Another food option at The Orchards Holiday Park is the takeaway. It’s called Apple Tree Takeaway. It is open for set times during the day and even breakfast in the summer months too. Hubby’s eyes nearly fell out of his head with excitement about the breakfast, until we realised it wasn’t open for that yet. I think it should be but can understand why not. Again the prices were really good and the food was delicious.
They also have a little coffee shop inside the swimming pool building. It serves the usual hot and cold drinks, plus some small snacks. It’s great for after swimming or even just for a relax. It’s a lovely lit building to chill out in and the life guards were all really friendly. This moves me on to the swimming pool itself…
The Orchards Holiday Park has an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool. The outdoor one was closed when we stayed and definitely was ready for it’s summer clean, with a little duck using it quite happily. The outdoor pool had plenty of seating around it and a little toddlers pool too. I obviously can’t comment on the heat of the water during the summers months but I can imagine this being a great time for some family memories here. The outdoor is unsupervised however the lifeguards do have a camera pointing at it at all times.
When you arrive into the swimming pool building you are greeted by the lifeguard who asks you to sign in. You need the Green Card issued to you when you first check in, to get into the pool. I forgot mine one evening and had to run back to get it. You then have to take your shoes off and pop them on the shelving provided and grab a basket to take through to the changing room for your clothes and belongings.
The changing rooms were really clean and well maintained. Some changing rooms can be just gross and I’m really fussy for that sort of thing, this one was good! It has a toilet and shower plus plenty of space to change. There are no lockers as such but the basket for your clothes gets put just outside the door for the swimming pool. The changing rooms are Male and Female, no family changing spaces.
The swimming pool has a separate viewing area. They run to a ratio of 1 child per 2/3 children depending on their age. I believe children that are more confident swimmers are allowed to go unattended into the pool but must have a parent or guardian sitting in the viewing area. We are definitely not at that stage so both Hubby and I joined our girls in the pool.
As you can see the pool is a really decent size. It has a separate bubble/Jacuzzi area which is perfect as a toddler pool when the bubbles are not on. It came up to just above P2’s knees as you can see in the above photo.
The water temperature of both the bubble and main area pools varied. One evening it was much warmer than the previous times and then another it was much colder, but never unbearable. We was able to spend just under an hour in the pool before P1 (who doesn’t have much meat on her) started shivering.
We took the girls armbands, but the lifeguard area has plenty of floats and noodles available free of charge which we made good use of for P3 who ended up floating and swimming around by herself. She loved it! P1 was also adamant that she could now swim, which she can under water but hasn’t grasped the concept that swimming requires coming back up to the top and breathing. They also have swim nappies available, that may be with an extra charge though.
I loved the pool. It’s a brilliant size, clean and the girls absolutely loved it! After swimming we would pop to the shop for a 10p sweet each. The pool was sloping in depth which is great for families. They have a mermaid course there at the moment with scuba diving in the summer too.
As well as the indoor and outdoor pools, there are several other things to keep little children and older teens occupied. They have two really lovely playground areas. One is for older children although P3 was able to do this with a little help, and the other is a toddler playground.
Everything is sort of located together near the shop and pool. The girls really loved being able to have a little run around when we returned to the holiday park after busy days. Again everything was really well maintained and clean.
Behind the toddler playground there is a little games room with arcade style games and also a table tennis area. Across the road from the shop is a Pool (as in snooker) table room too. You can borrow bats and balls etc from the reception.
The holiday park is set in beautiful grounds, with fields and walking routes so the more adventurous child can explore. There is also a recreation area, basically a fenced off field with a few climbing/fitness apparatus. This is set right to the far left of the holiday park near to the caravans.
There are other facilities available at The Orchards Holiday Park. There’s a special recycling area, laundrette facilities at an extra cost, there’s a specific dog walking area, a shower/toilet block for caravan and tent users. There is also the opportunity to have day visitors if you check them in at reception. There’s also a little room absolutely full of leaflets and local information.
The Isle of Wight is quite a small island. You can get to pretty much any part of it within an hour by car. There are buses but they take such a long time. Pretty much all of the roads are small country lanes which has been known to cause travel sickness in our girls, thankfully not during this specific trip. There are many walking and cycling routes from The Orchards Holiday Park.
Although the south east of the Isle Of Wight is more busy with gorgeous beaches, the west equally has its beauty. Alum Bay, the Needles and Freshwater Bay are all very close to the holiday park. Here are a few of the things we got up to during our recent Easter break:
Tapnell Farm Park – a brilliant, small Farm park. The girls are on the go continuously with hay bales to climb, go karts to race, soft play, jumping pillows and of course cute animals to stroke. It takes 5 minutes by car from The Orchards Holiday Park. It’s one of our top favourite things to do on the island.
Monkey Haven – this was a new find for us. It’s small but it is mighty. All of the animals were happy, energetic and well looked after. They had talks on throughout the day which the girls loved learning from. We had a great time.
Jungle Jims – I don’t think this is advertised enough. A cute little soft play right at the back of the arcades along Shanklin seafront. The girls loved it and can explore different levels of fun. It’s super cheap too, it cost us £10.50 for 3 children. It’s double that at least locally.
Shanklin Beach – It’s a beach full of stones. The seafront has a lot going on and the girls loved walking along the beach throwing stones into the water. For a more sandy beach head to Sandown.
Isle Of Wight Steam Railway – We love this attraction. There’s always so much going on whenever we attend. Essentially it’s spending the day on a steam train but the kids love it.
Carisbrooke Castle – We are new English Heritage members. This castle has so much beauty surrounding it. Honestly breathtaking views. There’s also Osborne House near Ryde that I’ve heard to be awesome!
JR Zone – This is one of the best soft plays I’ve ever been to. There’s so much going on for the kids and also great food too!
Blackgang Chine – Our favourite attraction on the Isle of Wight. It’s honestly amazing for children of all ages. They’ve recently repainted and added new bits to celebrate their 175th birthday! You can also return within 7 days absolutely free!
Isle Of Wight Pearl – Firstly, the cafe here is insane! The views are stunning. They also offer pearl masterclasses and a chance to pick your own pearl too. The girls loved it!
Fort Victoria – Another new and accidental find for us. There’s so much history here. Also a few little shops and museum type shops too. The girls loved it here and we’ll definitely be returning for a better explore.
The Orchards Holiday Park is an absolutely amazing base to stay at. We experienced a couple of issues whilst staying – one was the toaster tripping out the electrics and the second was the gas running out. Both of these issues were sorted in around an hour. I was really impressed actually!
The caravan allowed us to be close with each other and bond. Especially with the paper thin walls. I have filmed our entire holiday in daily videos and will be uploading blog posts to accompany them ASAP. I took so many photos that I love and will cherish forever. Please head to my YouTube to subscribe so you don’t miss them being uploaded.
The Orchards Holiday Park is an affordable family holiday accommodation even during peak times. A weeks stay over Easter cost £315. You also have to pay for your ferry crossing but The Orchards offer a discount when booking through them. There are also more and less expensive accommodation options so definitely check out their website to find out more.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.