In this feature I thought I would do something different to books and talk about somewhere where I have been on holiday recently which is Warmwell Holiday Park.
Warmwell Holiday Park is around 25 minutes from Weymouth and 15 minutes from Dorchester in Dorset. I first went there a few years ago with the Sun Holidays promotion they do every year but I have been now for the third time earlier this month for a short Monday to Friday holiday (which was long overdue after being delayed in 2020 because of a certain little Miss Rona!).
I’m going to start in that stereotypically British way and talk about the weather #sorrynotsorry. We did have a gloriously sunny day on the Monday as we drove down there and again on the Tuesday, though Wednesday and Thursday were grey and overcast (with some drizzly rain on Thursday).
Tuesday - Hitting the beach in Weymouth
As mentioned Tuesday was a wonderfully sunny day so we decided to hit the beach in Weymouth. After so long in lockdown it felt amazing to be back at a beach with sunny weather after going without seeing one for two years (being in Birmingham in the West Midlands we have no beaches close by whatsoever).
We had an hour on the beach before wandering around the shops and bought some gifts for family, I also went down to the harbour to get a couple of pictures of the beautiful boats moored there. Finally I also had a traditional Fish and Chips by the seaside which has to be done!
In one of the photos you can see the famous Osmington White Horse which you do pass on the drive down to Weymouth from Warmwell though unfortunately there is nowhere to park on the route we took to take a photo up close.
The Osmington White Horse however is an image of George III riding a horse and was cut into the limestone as the King was a regular visitor to the area and made it “the first resort”.
Wednesday / Thursday: On Park
As it was quite grey and overcast the other two days we spent much of our time on park though Warmwell does have a fantastic amount of facilities available there.
I’ll start with the accommodation as they are all lodges in a woodland so it is very quite and peaceful. The lodge was very spacious with a big open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. We also had two bedrooms, a double for my parents and I was in a twin single room. The double room also had an en suite with a very large bath (at home due to my parents getting older we now have a walk in shower so I definitely made use of the bath) as well as a bathroom with a shower. We also had decking outside with a bench and table to sit on.
The only minor issues we did have is unfortunately an electrical fault meant one of the sockets wasn’t working in the kitchen and also the TV was a Smart TV with wi-fi but the wi-fi was quite slow on the TV itself to load. However the wi-fi worked fine on my mobile so I used that to watch TV in my room and also there was another socket in the kitchen to plug stuff into.
One of the best things about the woodland setting is how quiet it gets and also in the mornings you could often see animals from the woods come onto the park, including deer and wild rabbits.
It would be a good time to mention here the changes Parkdean implemented for the coronavirus which to me seemed just right. They actually rang me whilst we were travelling down to say the lodge was available and we were able to drive straight down to it on arrival which was great. There was also a barrier on the entrance to the park but it used number plate recognition to let you in and out of the park. Finally on the day we left we had to clear the bedding and things as before but instead of handing the key at reception, text a phone number to let them know we had left which I actually preferred over taking the key up when you are busy packing anyway.
Onto the things on park of which there are loads! Even though we have been three times for short breaks there are still things on the park we haven’t managed to get round to doing!
The park has a gym and swimming pool which we have made regular use of many times (though on this occasion I didn’t actually use the gym).
When I’ve used the gym it had a treadmill, cross trainer and rowing machine with some weights and other equipment as well. It was quite a small gym but it is nice to have one on site to work out for adults.
The pool is also very large as you would expect and when we went early in the morning the water was already warm. However there were some changes to how the pool operated due to the pandemic. The changing rooms were closed so you had to arrive in your swimming costume though you could put clothes over it which you could fold at the sides. However the fire exit at the end of your swim was open so there were no wet footprints through the arcade which is connected to it.
The arcade is also great fun with all the normal amusements you would expect, though they had added some new VR games including a virtual reality roller-coaster which I had a go on which was fun (though make sure you have a second person with you to put the money in as my first go I wasn’t quick enough in getting set up, though they reset the machine to let me try again!)
There were also some new additions to the park this year which I tried though these did have to be booked through the website.
For £10 there is a high ropes course which is very fun to try though scary. There are 9 obstacles in total on the course, ranging from walking across beams, to wobbly bridges and tightropes, to a tunnel and a rope net to climb across before a thrilling leap of faith off the platform at the end to swing down to the ground. As the session was timed I was able to go round twice and it was definitely more fun and a little less scary the second time round!
There was also a bungee trampoline for £6.50 which was again fun. I have been on them as a kid before and I attempted to do a back flip I still cannot do this (I couldn’t as a kid either!).
Some photos of the high ropes and bungee trampolining (sorry for the low quality as my parents used their mobile phones and sadly they are yet to embrace smartphones so these are on old camera phones!)
There are a range of other activities on the park which can be booked including archery, kayaking, crazy golf, football training, indoor climbing. The most unusual activity which on park which I haven’t tried yet on any of my visits is the Ski Slope which offers skiing and snowboarding lessons.
There is also a bar / restaurant and takeaway on the site and the entertainment venue which we spent all three of our evenings in.
On previous holidays we did go half board and all the food in there was nice but this time partly due to my parents anxiety over the ‘rona we stuck to self catering – though we had fish and chips on the last day from the takeaway.
The entertainment runs through most of the day with children’s activities during the morning and afternoon. In the evening there is a linked bingo session followed by a quiz or game of some sort then music.
The music acts were all really good during our visit there, though I can’t remember the names of the shows when writing this but there was one with 40’s-60’s music which had everyone bopping along to, there was also some great solo sets from the entertainment team on the site as part of Parkdean’s Park Live.
On the site for children there are several play areas scattered around and an arts and crafts den for those rainy days so there are plenty of things for families to do on the site. There is also a large fishing lake which is nice to sit by and walk around.
Overall I would recommend a holiday there as a staycation for families and adults alike and we are certainly planning on returning next year!