Not all of us will be jetting off to warmer climates this year. Unfortunately, most of us have seen our holidays cancelled, postponed and some of us indefinitely. Many of us are now looking for alternatives to our usual summer break because although the UK and Europe plan to allow holidays from July (rumoured) a lot of families have decided that a stay at home holiday could be just as enjoyable.
Since the end of March, all non-essential travel has been postponed indefinitely with no date yet set to when these travel restrictions will ease. What will this mean for holidays already booked? Or for those wanting to book trips either abroad or in the UK? There will be so much more worth considering before you book your post lockdown holiday.
For those of you who don’t know, Perran Sands is a Holiday Park owned and managed by Haven Holidays (Bourne Leisure). For total transparency, this is an independent review; I have not been gifted or paid in any way. We were given a voucher towards our holiday from the Family Fund. We are a family of four, and this was our seventh year staying at Perran Sands, but the first time visiting in May Half-Term and the first time trying an adapted caravan. This is usually our annual summertime holiday in July, but this year we had squeezed in an overdue trip to Disneyland Paris! This is our Perran Sands Review.
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About Perran Sands
Perran Sands is an average size holiday park in North Cornwall, in a small seaside town named Perranporth, it’s pretty much the surfing capital of Cornwall! It has its private beach which is accessible from the park, but please be advised due to the stairs it isn’t suitable for wheelchair users or those with mobility issues! Believe me after a day at the beach, its a killer!
Check-In & Finding Our Way Around
Check is always smooth. Like last year, check-in was inside the Dune’s Bar. An enthusiastic and friendly team member greeted us. He confirmed our accommodation and pointed us in the right direction of where our caravan would be. The good thing about Perran Sands is that it’s straightforward to find your way around, the signposting is very obvious. If you do find yourself lost, staff members are often on hand to point you in the right direction.
As a side note: This year, we booked an adapted caravan for the first time; however, our son, who has special needs was not impressed. This is not reflected against Haven and their standard of accommodation, it was neat, tidy and had direct access to the park but unfortunately, he likes his routine, and he didn’t settle. So I spoke to reception to see if there was any possibility we could move. Thankfully we were moved to a three-bedroom prestige caravan, with a partial sea view for four nights (we had to cut our trip short). Our caravan was located at the top of the park in an area called ‘Pentreath View’ and ironically right next door to the caravan we stayed in the year before. I have included a few photographs of the standard below.
Our caravan included: Microwave, dishwasher, hob, cooker and hood with fan, fridge with small freezer, digital TV with DVD player, Bluetooth sound system, ensuite toilet, TV in the bedroom, plenty of storage, radiators (believe me it was cold for May) and plenty of space for a large family to spread out.
Let’s talk about food: Like most holiday parks, there are some excellent facilities on site including The Surf Bay Restaurant, Cooks Fish & Chip Shop, Papa Johns Pizza, mini supermarket and laundrette. There is a large entertainment complex including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and the new addition of an outside lazy river. Two bars ‘The Dunes bar’ which was closed during our recent trip and the ‘Live Lounge’ where the primary entertainment is and just the spot to unwind late into the evening.
We have eaten on previous visits at the Surf Bay, and it’s a cross between a Harvester and a Beefeater. Good quality food, with a bar located outside. You are unable to pre-book so you can expect a wait during busy times, but if you are lucky, you get to eat in the ‘camper’. Great atmosphere but busy! Always busy.
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There are two takeaways onsite ‘Cooks’ Fish & Chips and Papa Johns. Both can be busy at times, but convenient. Papa Johns, even deliver to your caravan! Both of which offer a decent meal, right-size portions and not hugely expensive compared to nearby Perranporth.
Keeping the little ones and big ones entertained: The advantage of a holiday park is that they offer an array of things for young and old to get involved with. Haven do offer activity bundle passes 12 activities for £50 and 24 activities for £100. We’ve personally never used them, so I can’t comment, but they appear popular with other visitors and include archery and aqua gliders.
*Notes* Update for 2020. I have it on excellent authority that Perran Sands no longer offer the activity bundles. It is now all booked on a first-come basis through their new app.
The swimming pools are open to everyone from 9.30 am, and I would suggest arriving early as we queued for over 45 minutes to enter due to the sheer volume of people in the pools. There is one large indoor pool, a separate slide, a smaller toddler pool and a large outdoor pool with lazy river. It was too cold to venture outside this year, but the lazy river is extremely popular and worth investigating.
Aside from the central park, there are surf lessons, football pitches and plenty of parks dotted around and if you are more for arcades and pool tables, the Live Lounge area has that as well. During our visit, there were large extended families, with lots of younger children.
If like us you prefer to venture further afield, Perran Sands places you at a great location as a base. You are an 8-minute drive away from Perranporth where you will find shops, bars, food outlets, ice cream and quaint gift shops. Newquay is only a 15 – 20-minute drive away where you can find a large town, restaurants, bars, supermarkets. Truro is by far the largest town at just 25 minutes away, with its beautiful cathedral, cobbled streets and Primark (sorry, I’m a sucker for a bit of shopping). There are also some excellent coastal drives with the most amazing beaches, Porth, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay and Crantock, to name a few.
As a family who like the home from home feel, Perran Sands offers us the option of eating in or eating out while not feeling obligated to eat on site. There are so many options from camping to beach houses, from glamping to chalets. Over our previous visits, we have stayed in various types of caravan class, so there is a budget for everyone from standard to platinum with decking.
- Booking early can save you ££££. We often book nine months in advance and save 25%. Sometimes up to 50% depending on the offers available.
- In peak season months (July/August) you will often queue for everything from getting into the Live Lounge to accessing the launderette. So it’s best to get there early to avoid disappointment as Summer 2017 we couldn’t even get into the main Live Lounge to get seats at 6.15 pm!
- If you are interested in activities, book in advance, you will be surprised how quick everything fills up.
- There is so much to see and do in the local area, from zoos and waterparks to railways and theme parks (Flambards is A…mazing!)
- Get up and out early, in peak summer you can imagine how busy places get. We’ve struggled to park in Newquay in August due to the people.
So there you have it, next time you are considering a ‘staycation’ maybe Perran Sands is worth a look. Perhaps, you’ve previously been? Perhaps you are staying this year? Let me know if you have your comments to add.
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