WATERSIDE HOLIDAY PARK
Guest review by: Lucy Pearce
Not usually a fan of caravans – or caravan parks in general – I was sceptical about how much I would enjoy my stay at Waterside. I was even more sceptical, when I walked into the holiday home where we would be spending the next two nights.
Don’t get me wrong, it was clean, it was furnished and once the central heating was turned on, it was pretty cosy too. But, it was a caravan and it felt like nothing more.
In our Rio Gold 2 accommodation, there were no home from home touches – no lampshades, no proper table and chairs to eat at, and not even an adequate towel rail in the bathroom.
Nevertheless, I wondered how much time caravan-goers would need to spend in their holiday home, given the vast amount of things to do and facilities to enjoy on site. And situated in my opinion the most beautiful county in the country, that’s not even to mention all there is to enjoy off site.
Nestled in Bowleaze Cove, not far from Weymouth and along one of Dorset’s most stunning stretches of coastline, you really couldn’t fault its location.
Perfect for families, with the beach on its doorstep and attractions like the Sealife Centre, Monkey World and Farmer Palmers close by, or for adventurers who want to explore the towns of Dorchester, Bridport and Poole or the sights of Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, or for couples who simply want to enjoy a romantic stroll down to Weymouth’s Georgian seafront, there’s something for everyone.
Arriving in the early evening on a Saturday in September, we checked in and opted for the latter – heading straight to the beach to catch the sunset.
Later on, we chose to dine in and make the most of the caravan’s facilities, but if we had wanted to eat out or take out without leaving the site, Waterside has four options to choose from – The Waterside Venue which is home to children’s and family entertainment, The Waterside Sports Bar, Diner and Pizzeria,The Waterside Restaurant, or a take-away restaurant offering fish and chips plus curries and a children’s menu.
After dinner, there is plenty of entertainment too, with The Venue, hosting musicians, cabaret acts or comedians every evening which is suitable for children. If you check what’s on before you book a date at the park too, you can check for any specific nights of interest, like Race Night or Skint or Mint (Waterside’s Deal or No Deal) to ensure the best experience.
By day, there’s plenty of options to choose from too. The leisure complex is really quite impressive, with a range of pools – both indoor and outdoor, plus a water slide – for toddlers, children and adults, a bubble pool, sauna and steam room, plus a state-of-the-art gymnasium. There’s also play areas for kids and a timetable of activities for them throughout the day. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, we opted to spend our Sunday in the Waterside Spa.
After our two-hour ‘spa experience’, which includes use of a hydrotherapy pool, monsoon and rainforest showers plus aroma steam room, followed by a hot stone back massage, we felt nothing more than truly rejuvenated.
Too relaxed to venture out in the evening, which was a wet and windy one, we opted to spend another night in our caravan. But if you do the laser display along the seafront in Weymouth is well worth seeing. As I started to prepare a casserole while enjoying a glass of red wine, my dislike for caravans had seemingly faded. It appeared that I had become quite used to – and fond of – my home.
Feeling disappointed that it was our final night at Waterside, I decided that I would recommend it – for families, couples, a group of friends – whatever break you’re looking for and whatever the time of year.
I’d even recommend it for those, like myself, who are not too keen on caravans – and that is high praise. I’d have to take it upon myself to visit a few more holiday parks before I agreed with the general manager’s ambitious statement that it was the best in the country – but from the experience I had, I wouldn’t argue either.