Last June we took our first holiday as a family four on the beautiful North Devon coast.
We have visited the area on a number of occasions and on our previous stay, we celebrated my eldest’s birthday in a rather rainy and blustery Lynton.
It’s a long ole slog driving from Yorkshire down to Devon, and I do admit, several hours into the journey and two sick-stops later, I did wonder whether it would have been easier to pop to Leeds Bradford Airport and take a two-hour flight to Majorca.
Alas as we drove along the winding roads into Jurassic territory, watching the North Devon coast peep up over the horizon, I knew that the tortuous drive would be worth it.
Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park
Twitchen House is one of the smaller sites and is equipped with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, children’s play area, arcades and a cinema. They also have children’s entertainment which Jack was a little young for but he did enjoy a little dance on one of the nights.
We stayed in the 2017 New Wave Platinum caravan, complete with decking and a gas barbeque (we didn’t bother using this, but I’m sure we will next time). It was bright and clean, with three bedrooms, bathroom and a separate additional toilet.
The kitchen was kitted out nicely with a dishwasher and fridge freezer. Little extras such as USB points throughout the caravan were really useful. The caravan was situated in a pretty and quiet area of the park.
You can use the facilities at the other parks for free and for around £5 per adult you can get a bus pass that takes you to the other parks and to Woolacombe beach. You can walk to Woolacombe beach from Twitchen House, but chose not to as we didn’t think our toddler would manage the long and steep walk back to the caravan.
Life’s a Beach
We need not have worried about the weather, as we arrived in time for the week that Devon experienced a heat wave with some days hitting highs of 30 degrees. It was glorious and my eldest loved running around Woolacombe beach in the mornings before the afternoon heat got too much.
Croyde beach is another one of our absolute favourites. Nestled between sand dune and the rolling Devon hills, it’s under a mile away from Croyde village. Even though it gets busy, to me it still feels peaceful, a little less crowded than Woolacombe and prime spot for surfer watching. The beach definitely has a very laid-back vibe to it which I love.
Combe Martine Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
On one of the cooler days, we ventured out to the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. I’d been there as a three-year-old and apparently loved it so I was eager to return with my almost three-year-old son. Friends of ours used to live over the field from the park, so we have fond memories of listening to the animatronic tyrannosaurus rex roaring into life as we ate our breakfast.
The park is set within 28 acres of luscious sub-tropical gardens with plenty to keep the most avid dinosaur enthusiast entertained. Jack was in awe of the life-size animatronic dinosaurs, there is also a Tropical House, Critter Cavern and a zoo with lions, meerkats, penguins and more. We definitely got a good workout as some parts of the park are very steep so if you usually take a buggy then perhaps use a baby carrier instead.
Luckily my son was fine with the steep paths, buoyed by his love for dinosaurs. The food at the cafe was reasonably priced and good quality too. What made it even better was that we could sit and eat whilst Jack played in the giant indoor soft play area which gave us a nice rest and a chance to feed our youngest.
Indulgence in Ilfracombe
A trip to the seaside cannot be completed without the following things being ticked off the list: fish and chips, ice cream, arcades and cream teas.
We managed to fill all this into one day (and, miraculously, our stomachs). The first thing we did was head to Dolly’s for a cream tea, Jack had an ice cream as he felt like he’d been working on an ice cream deficit for the entire holiday.
Anyone visiting Ilfracombe has to head to the harbour to see the magnificent Verity. If the tide is out then little ones will enjoy running in and out of the boats on the harbour beach.
It was a really lovely holiday and we made lots of happy memories for us to treasure. We’ve already returned to Devon once since our June holiday and I am sure we will be back again soon.