Well, it’s taken until Sunday this week to find time to write about our trip away as the past week has flown by.
It’s a good spot to drive to from North Kent as it took us just under 5 hours. In fact we arrived early at our Parkdean site and although check in is not until 4pm, you’ve got to try haven’t you?
So off we all traipsed to reception, the girls happy to be let loose at long last, where the lady on duty there told us quite abruptly that housekeeping wouldn’t be ready till 4pm. And that was it. No alternative, no map of the site passed over, no mention of the cafe, the soft play area, the restaurant, the swimming pool. Not a peep. So I asked for a map, tilting my head in the girls direction trying to give her a clue that we had two hours to kill with little ones in tow. You’ll get one in your welcome pack.
‘Yes, thank you for that but I need one now?’ ‘Please?’
She did hand over a map but it was obvious that we were breaking from her tightly run reception rules. She was hard work and funnily enough later in the week I noticed a form to fill in on reception asking ‘Have one of our staff walked in your shoes this break?’ Please tell us who and when. Well obviously she hadn’t thought about a long journey two tired, grumpy toddlers and two parents in need of a suggestion or two. It’s not rocket science is it?
We did get settled in, housekeeping were marvellous and had all the statics done by 3pm so we were able to move in early and settle ourselves in. Our new home was lovely, a three bedroom, one bathroom with a galley kitchen and a large dining/lounging area which the girls filled immediately with toys.
Our first outing was into Torquay itself which if I am truthful left me a little disappointed. It may have been for the rainy weather but I don’t think so, you see the words “English Riviera” had evoked a beautiful image in my mind and that’s not what I saw. I saw a large seaside town like many others, the British high street and a harbour. I had imagined boutique shops, eateries, cafes and beauty all around.
I did find these things the very next day when we ventured on to Dartmouth. Exquisite settings and the novelty of getting a ferry both there and back. There were two ferries to choose from so we took one there and the other back. My favourite has to be the tug pulled/pushed ferry, see my photo below. Dartmouth is full of gorgeous shops, art galleries (one with Rolf Harris’ art in it) , fabulous restaurants and beautiful scenery and houses to look at.
We also visited Pennywell Farm and had a marvellous day out there which was so lovely to see the girls enjoy. We watched the goats being milked and got up close. We collected the chickens eggs still warm and were allowed to hold them, we then fed them to the pigs along with apples from the surrounding trees, the girls were fascinated with the real noise of a pig’s snort being louder and harsher than that of Daddy Pig’s in Peppa Pig! There was a large play area with picnic tables and an enclosed space with sit on tractors which they both adored. We watched a trainer flying a falcon and we stroked an owl he held for us, I was surprised at how warm he was (the owl that is!) and interested to learn that owls are really dumb, so dumb they don’t know how to hunt but wait for something to pass under them and go in for the catch. Talk about lazy!
Pennywell Farm was a brilliant day out for us. We took a picnic but there are a few places on site where you can buy and eat food and many more activities to do than I have listed here.
So would I go back to Torquay? Probably not but I would go back to that area again and try to visit Salcombe a little further down the coast from Dartmouth.
Would I use Parkdean sites again? Yes. I would. this is our second Pardean trip the first being to West Bay also in Dorset. At this particular site I was very impressed with their indoor swimming pool which the girls adored, their clubhouse with entertainment for the little ones – we had some very wiggly bottoms on the dance floor – and the shops and restaurants on site. I did have to buy a bottle opener but now every time I travel I shall pop it in my First Aid bag and never ever be without again. Phew! Thanks Francesca for that tip :)