After putting the postcode in the Sat Nav we set off and were pleasantly surprised to find our journey time including a food stop was only 4.5 hrs. and it really was almost a straight road!
Actually getting in to the camp-site was a bit difficult as an HGV was blocking the entrance as he waited to turn into the industrial unit located opposite, so we were sat there for about 10 minutes not knowing that there was another entrance 150 yards down the road!
We drove through the site to the reception where Richard was greeted by a very friendly member of staff and were given a map showing the location of our caravan, the keys and a welcome pack that gave details of the facilities on site and the entertainment on offer.
It was easy enough to find the caravan but slightly more tricky to work out how to reach it with the car as the caravans are grouped in jumbled blocks and not nice neat rows!
We stayed in a Gold Plus 3 bed 8 berth caravan which meant we were able to check in at the earlier time of 2pm as opposed to the more normal 4pm. It also meant that all our bed linen was included and the beds were made up on arrival (probably my favourite ‘luxury’ as I hate going on holiday and finding I have 8 beds to make up before I can start relaxing!), we did however need to provide our own towels and tea towels.
We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the caravan, we have stayed in much smaller 8 berths before and we certainly didn’t feel cramped in the living area. The bedrooms were a good size too, with two twin rooms and a double, all with plenty of storage. A second pull out double bed is in the lounge and as we had to use this it meant there was no room to put up a travel cot as it certainly wouldn’t fit in the bedrooms, this meant that Arlo (1) couldn’t be put to bed and stayed up until he gave up before being moved to share a bed with Mollie(13) hoping he wouldn’t fall out.
I must confess to being disappointed in the kitchen department. Whilst it had a lovely double oven and plenty of cupboard space, the fridge freezer was woefully inadequate for an 8 berth – it was tiny, just putting two cartons of milk, a bottle of water and a packet of chops in filled it up! Similarly, when I came to cook a simple meal of pasta I quickly realised on looking at the pans on offer, that to feed us all I’d have to cook in three shifts. To be fair though, this is a common fault of many holiday locations, appropriately sized cooking utensils for the larger family never appear to be given much thought. We were also lacking in glasses to drink out of but a quick trip to reception soon sorted that problem out.
Our first evening we took a stroll down to the seafront, a short but very breezy 10 minute walk away. Felixstowe is a working container port on the one side and a large promenade on the other. We walked from one end of the promenade to the other and got the impression that Felixstowe is a well worn if a little tired seaside town, the beach was a mixture of pebbles and sand, dogs not being allowed on the beach in the summer months. There appeared to be quite a few seaside activities/arcades/go-kart’s/donkey rides alongside the prom but little appeared to be open which quite surprised us as it was a Friday afternoon in July.
Back at the park, there was plenty to do however. All the entertainment is well advertised on noticeboards near reception and in the actual club (the Felix Club). A children’s club is available every morning from 10.30am for children aged 5 – 14, we didn’t use it though as we could be found in the pool!
The pool has a shallow paddling pool for the little ones and a bigger pool with a flume (open on the half hour for 20 mins), swimming times were limited to an hour at busy periods by means of a coloured wrist band and the pool had very attentive life guards.
The Felix club has an arcade area that my boys made good use of, a bar area that had a pool table for over 16′s and then there was the club area where we could be found in the evening at the mini disco where the younger ones enjoyed the crazy games with Loopy and Cyril and the teenage daughter got her fix of Facebook using the free WiFi facility! Just around the back of the club there was also an adventure playground that I felt happy for the older boys to go and use whilst we stayed in the club playing bingo!
8 til late is the more adult defined entertainment(bingo, open the box, show time and disco) but the kids are welcome to stay too although we would return to the caravan after bingo to put the kids to bed.
The Felix club is also were you can go to eat, you can either buy meals ad hoc or you can purchase half board or breakfast only deals, saving you money against the restaurant menu. The Sunday lunch was good value too at £6.50 for adults and £4.50 for children. The on site shop was very basic selling only essentials but just off site there were a couple of mini marts and a bigger supermarket about 10 minutes away. There were also a couple of large chain fast food outlets nearby as well as independent takeaways.
The park was a good place to use as a base, we went to a lovely seaside town about an hour away called Frinton to meet up with some friends and had a great afternoon on an unspoilt beach, we also visited Southwold and Aldeburgh, again about an hour away and lovely seaside towns. On our travels we noticed lots of brown signs indicating that there was lots to do in the area, indeed Jimmy’s Farm, from the telly isn’t too far away either.
All in all, we did have a great weekend, the site, although with a large proportion of owned caravans, was clean and well maintained, there was a laundry on site and things to do if you didn’t want to venture off site. The caravans had heating and television/DVD so would be comfortable to stay in during colder months too. The staff we encountered were all friendly and approachable and the weekend was good value for money.
Reviewed by Frances and Richard Brook and their six children
For more information on Park Holidays, please visit: http://www.parkholidaysuk.com/