Wednesday 4 September 2013

Review: Shorefield Country Park (Holiday Village, New Forest)

Last week my family and I took a well earned break in the New Forest. We stayed in a 6 berth Milford Lodge at Shorefield Country Park in Milton on Sea, which is part of the Shorefield family of holiday parks.

I'll start by saying that hand on heart this is the best holiday village I have ever stayed in and we have done quite a few in our time. In general we have normally been to parks which belong to the big chains but I have stayed with a few independents as well and Shorefield Country Park beats them all hands down.

So what did I like so much?

Well they say a picture speaks a thousand words, so here goes -

*  The Grounds - Every caravan, lodge or chalet on the site looks well kept. The grounds are beautiful and there is an abundance of space for running around, 100 acres in fact!

*  Swimming - There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools which were not too busy, even on a sunny August bank holiday week.

*  Play Parks - There are three outdoor play parks for the kids to make friends and occupy themselves, two of these had sand in them as well and that was a big hit.

*  Spa & Gym - The onsite spa is gorgeous, I had the most divine massage and it really relaxed me after a stressful couple of months and moving house. What is really great is that if you book your treatment and pay for it 7 days in advance you can get 20% off and that makes a half hour back massage just £28, which is excellent value. There is also a well equipped gym but I did not use this.

*  Kids entertainment - My girls loved the evening entertainment for the kids. JJ felt he was a bit old for it at nearly 10 but he was happy to hang around the free internet terminals and the arcades with the bigger kids. We did not stay for any of the evening adult entertainment but I felt the Champagne Suite was a good venue, there was enough space for us all and drinks prices were pretty much as expected at £2.50 for a J2O and £2.20 for a Coke.

We went out quite a lot during our five day stay at Shorefield but this was just because it was a new area for us to explore, not because we needed to. In truth the kids might have been happier to just stay on the park and join in with the activities such as treasure hunts, crafting, talent shows, archery, bush-craft skills, mini-golf, outdoor water activities, Squirrel picnic, football and nature trail.

*  Our Lodge - we had a pretty basic lodge in comparison to many we saw on site, I assume this was because we had a dog with us. However I can honesty say it was lovely, very clean and well presented. We had three bedrooms, a double and two twins, a large lounge/ kitchen, bathroom, en-suite to one bedroom and an enclosed outside decked area. It was great to be able to have the 2 doors open and allow the dog to come in and out.

I was amazed at the amount of storage you get in the bedrooms too, each wardrobe had enough room for 2 peoples clothes and the suitcase as well. There was also plenty of parking space close by to the lodge and we always found room for our 2 cars. Only one tiny niggle - we found our shower hose had a split in it but this was replaced without any quibbles and very promptly. Super service Shorefield!

*  The location - Shorefield Country Park is situated just off the A337 Christchurch Road and you can easily access anywhere you fancy going, like Bournemouth, Christchurch, Lymington, Beaulieu etc. There is also a beautiful beach at Milford on Sea - it is stony but it has amazing views of the Needles, Isle of Weight, just be aware that most of it is down a cliff!

*  A focus on nature - It was great to see a holiday park taking their responsibilities as land owners seriously. There is a nature centre at Shorefield and many areas have been allowed to grow long to attract insects and wildlife and to allow them areas to flourish in.

Eating at the Bistro
We were offered a meal for the 6 of us whilst staying at Shorefield Country Park and we chose to eat in the Bistro, between our party we had spaghetti carbonara (very nice), spaghetti bolognaise (very nice), mixed meat and veg calzone (nice), chicken pizza (overcooked and processed chicken pieces) and Pepperoni pizza (very nice). In the main the food was good and the waiters were really great but it took an awful long time for the food to come out and the environment was very noisy. We waited about 45 minutes for our main courses and not having any starters and 3 children with us this felt like a lifetime. The cost was also a bit more than I would have expected with the Pizzas being about £10.00 each for a 12".

I had not realised before that you could buy food in the bar area and actually they had a dedicated area for eating. We did not eat in there but went in there quite a few times to buy take-away chips, cappuccinos and slush puppies and the food always looked very good and if the chips we had were any indication then we should have tried this restaurant area out. It looks as if it was very geared up to the family market.

It was also quite useful that you could take your meals through to the Champagne Suite where the entertainment is and the adults can eat whilst the kids play and dance.

What could be improved? 

* WiFi connection - this was patchy much of the time in the main building and I could not access it elsewhere on the park. I'd have been happy to pay a small fee to access the WiFi if that had been made available to me. (This may well have significantly improved in the last 4 years)

*  The website - 2017 update - In 2013 I had a few niggles with the website but it is no longer relevant as they had an overhaul and it is now very easy to use.

Overall, in Conclusion

As I started this post by saying we had a great holiday at Shorefield Country Park and I would definitely return there again, in fact we are pondering it for our Summer holiday with Nanny and Granddad next year. There are loads of facilities on site whatever the weather and it also makes a really convenient base for exploring the local New Forest area. It is easy to see why it is a 5 star rated holiday park.

I am happy to give Shorefield Country Park 9/10 overall, given the comments I made above.

Booking with Shorefield - Visit the Shorefield website to check out their holiday parks and to check availability - or you can call them on 01590 648 331. If you are able to book last minute then I notice there are some really good deals when you book with a short lead time. You can get a caravan holiday from just £99 in September and October, just click on the special offers.

Right of reply  (September 2013)-
I always allow companies to reply to any comments I make in my posts. I'm pleased to see that Shorefield took my comments seriously and they have come back with the following -

We are currently working on our WiFi connection on park; at the moment WiFi is only available to holiday makers in the club house area and the connections that you would have been picking up in your unit would have been from private units. We also have free to use kiosks near the Cheers Bar which our guests are more than welcome to use.

Thank you again for your feedback.

Disclosure: We were provided with 4 nights in a Milford lodge for our family of 6 and a dog. I was not instructed what to write and I remain honest.


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