When first booking our week away with Waterside Holidays, I was a little dubious. I’d not heard of them before and it was quite a journey from us. However, the reviews were amazing so we went ahead and booked Waterside Park & Spa in Weymouth, visiting for a week in June. Due to the price, I was hoping for a little more than your usual caravan holiday. I was not disappointed by Waterside Holidays.
First impressions upon arrival were great. The check in was super quick and easy. We actually got there before the official check in time but were quickly given our caravan keys and a run through of the paperwork. Everyone we met throughout our stay at Waterside Holidays were incredibly polite, friendly and happy. This included the very first members of staff we had contact with, such as security and reception to the entertainment staff too.
Our caravan was Blue 48 and as it rained most of the week, this was brilliant for being able to run to the main building without getting too soaked! It was really modern and a lot comfier than I was expecting. We did pay an extra £14 each for a travelcot and a highchair on check in but they were delivered straight to our caravan while we went on a little walk to explore Waterside Holidays.
There was plenty of space throughout our accommodation, with a double bedroom and two twin rooms, as well as two toilets. The large dining area was perfect for family meals and the kitchen had all the essentials, including a full size fridge-freezer. You will need to bring your own soap, washing up liquid, tea towels etc but all utensils are there for you to use.
The only issue we had with the caravan was the poor wifi. We had to pay £10 for the week to access it (but this was only for one device to be connected at a time) and that was for 1GB of data, which didn’t last long at all – not to mention the connection being poor. So much thought seems to have gone into the rest of the site that it seems strange that such a basic amenity in 2019 appears to have been overlooked.
There are a few restaurants onsite but we tended to eat in the sports bar most evenings as they were just usual pub prices and had a big soft play for the kids (with toddler area too) so this kept them entertained while waiting. Kids meals were £4.95 for a main, cup of squash and fruit pot so not too bad at all. The shop onsite is a Spar and I was expecting it to be extortionate but was pleasantly surprised at the prices! I did also nip to the local Morrisons which was only minutes drive away and saved a fair few quid during the week on snacks and lunches!
We also sampled the chip shop there which was a lovely treat – not cheap, but absolutely delicious. Is there anything better than hearing the rain pour, while sat in a cosy caravan with fish and chips?!
Swimming pools were a bit hit with our family. They loved splashing about in the toddler areas and even the big pool once they had gained a bit of confidence. All the pools are lovely and warm (the bubble pool was my favourite) and were never hugely busy. Due to the inclement weather conditions (!!) we didn’t get the chance to visit the outdoor pool but this looked lovely too. Family changing rooms made life easier, particularly the child seats they have in some cubicles so you can strap babies in (like a high chair) while you get dressed. The small gym overlooks the pools and looked fairly basic but with all the usual machines. There is a spa situated in the same building, which unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to sample. The prices seemed pretty reasonable though.
The huge soft play area within the sports bar was a lifesaver for us during the rainy days. Erin and Rory made tons of holiday friends and enjoyed burning off some energy while we had breakfast or waited for dinner.
As we are currently without a kitchen at home, while it is being renovated, I made good use of the onsite launderette. The tokens for the machines need to be purchased from reception (£4 for washing machines and £1 for dryers). This would also be so handy for freshening up towels and swimwear if you visited the beach during your stay!
Activities and Entertainment
Every morning there was a session for the kids, which was a nice activity to break the day up. Erin went to a dinosaur activity, make and create and you could have breakfast with Boomer too, the holiday mascot. We never ventured out for the evening entertainment as it all started a little too late for our preschoolers. I did overhear people talking about how good the shows were though.
When the rain finally stopped, we made good use of the two playgrounds, which were brilliant. The sandy one, down by the beach, was absolutely perfect for little ones and parents too. We sat and enjoyed the view, with a drink, while they played in the sand and went on the swings. We also visited the arcades onsite, a small one near the entertainment venue and bigger one in the sports bar. 2p machines will always be my favourite!
Waterside is in a brilliant location, right on the beach. However, to go into town, you will need to get the shuttle bus. (This leaves from the caravan site.) The journey involves going up and down very steep hills! The esplanade looked lovely though, with traditional shops and stalls and quaint gift shops along the cobbled streets. Make sure you go for a wander around the harbour and check out all the fancy yachts too!!
Morrisons, Lidl and Sainsburys (with an Argos in) are less than a 10 minute drive away. Morrisons were tons cheaper for armbands, beach gear, flip flops etc. than the shops onsite. It’s also good if you’ve forgotten any essentials (Morrisons has a Nutmeg section) like towels for us.
We also visited the Dinosaur Museum in Rochester during our stay, as well as Portland. We loved the lighthouse and wandering round the castle so there’s definitely plenty to do in and around Weymouth.
Although we must have chosen the wettest week of the year, we still had a brilliant time. I just love caravan holidays as they’re so easy with the kids and Waterside Holidays is such a lovely place. Weymouth is beautiful and the holiday was perfect for home comforts, things to keep the kids busy and first class facilities. Waterside Park & Spa is beautifully clean and feels so safe. We definitely hope to return at some point to visit the other sites nearby.