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July, 2014

  1. AFF Review: Hoburne Naish, Hampshire

    July 7, 2014 by Amy Hansford

    I’ve always said that when you have kids, a holiday is just a case of “same stuff, different place”. In fact, holidays are abolished entirely when you have a toddler. You get a break from household chores and less toys to placate your little monster with. Could Hoburne Naish Holiday Park really give me and the family some well needed time off? As it turns out – yes!

    Becton Lodge living roomWe stayed in a Becton 3 bedroom lodge, with ample room for a family including a huge living space, very comfy sofas and very well presented kitchen. While the little one rearranged all the cushions, I was pleased to see more spacious sleeping quarters – en-suite on the master bedroom, tons of storage everywhere and OH MY WORD so many buttons. Buttons for the shower, for the lights, for the slightly higher lights, for the heating, for the windows, for everything. I also had a nosy around the showhomes to see what caravan accommodation was like. Again, spacious, bright and would be a lovely place to spend a week.

    The grounds are very well kept – no litter, looks great, lots of space. (I’m big on space – can you tell?) Indoors there’s the standard ents space, bar, restaurant, arcade gallery, soft play area and indoor pool. Pools – plural! There is a standard pool plus a separate low water level fun pool for little ones with splash area and squirting octopus installations. The on site shop is great value – an inflatable ring for only £1.15, making it less painful when it was instantly shunned by the 3 year old.

    playOutdoors, families can take advantage of being right on the beach, Adventure Golf (VERY reasonable at £1/player), tennis courts, football areas and a heated outdoor pool. Plus an extensive play area for children, with a separate area for toddlers. This appeared very well kept, bright and colourful but most importantly – safe. One thing that Hoburne Naish has really nailed is keeping kids safe. Specifically, there is ONE door leading to the outside areas (only accessible via the club house), ONE entrance to the play area and ONE entrance to the gated toddler area. Our daughter was able to run around having the time of her life without us chasing her – we just knew she was safe. Kiddie wristbands are available too if your little one is prone to wandering.

    Everywhere is clean and tidy with welcoming staff on reception and the doors. The restaurant is a bit pricy – paying £11 for a branded pizza which you can buy in the supermarket for £3.50 seems cheeky – but remember that you are on holiday and are paying for the privilege of someone else doing the prep and washing up and it’s quite acceptable. Mind you, I was hugely impressed with the children’s menu. Through practice, our toddler can expertly clear a plate designed to feed a 10 year old, such is the way with child menus. However, Hoburne Naish offers a Tommy’s Tots menu for littluns alongside a Sammy Squad menu for older children. Brilliant!

    coastAs well as all the options available on site, Hoburne Naish is a great base for exploring the local attractions and there are lots to choose from, including farms, woodlands, reptile experiences and of course THAT pink pig’s world within Paulton’s Park. As we were only staying for a two nighter, the on site facilities were plenty for our little one’s needs.

    With our daughter only being three, she would generally hit The Wall around 8pm at which point we would return to our lovely lodge for the bedtime routine. Of course, a family has both children and adults, so what about some time for us? Admittedly, we did have a hot tub in our lodge, so with the little one safely in the land of nod, we did get a bit of us time too in the evenings.

    Our favourite bits: 

    • Having so much space in the lodge meant that, even on a grey rainy day indoors, no-one would tread on anyone’s toes. Very important if you’re planning a fortnight stint!
    • The Ents team were terrific fun in the evenings, getting all the kids involved and raising lots of laughs.
    • No pressure – no packed timetables to keep to, no overwhelming experiences, just the right amount of activities available for a relaxing time away.
    • Our 3 year old would have quite happily spent two days entertaining herself between the soft play and the outside play area. Can we bring those home please?
    • The hot tub. Because HOT TUB.

    What would have made it even more fab:

    • If we had taken our little Ikea step. We’ve all got one at home, haven’t we? There were no steps available on site at the time of our stay, meaning it was tricky for our toddler to be independent in the accommodation or loos. A step would have been brilliant.
    • If our accommodation had curtains instead of blinds. We had beautiful blinds (the interior décor was absolutely superb) but I was always on edge with so many cords dangling down in our little one’s sleeping quarters.
    • If we’d known more before we’d gone – website information is limited. There was a fancy dress night on the Sunday which we knew nothing about until the evening beforehand.

    We would definitely look at returning to Hoburne Naish for a longer stay – it’s not too late to book your summer break so check them out and let us know what you think!

    Hoburne Naish was reviewed as part of an assessment for Approved Family Friendly, raising standards for families when going on holiday or on a day out. See their website for information about more family friendly businesses who are going the extra mile to make your holiday even better.