Crealy Great Adventure Parks, Devon - travel review
They say you'll have a 'Crealy great time at Crealy' and they aren't wrong. If you're looking for a break down in the sunny south but don't want a killer drive with the kids Crealy Adventure Park and Resort is the perfect spot. From this neck of the woods you jump on the M5 and keep driving until you hit J30 and you're pretty much there - simples! It took us around two-and-a-half-hours straight through keeping squabble time between the two Minnie Minxs's in the back to a minimum.
It also meant we arrived early for our check in but the super friendly staff on reception showed us where to park up and we headed over to get an early glimpse of the park. First impressions were great - everything was really clean and tidy and I don't think I've ever met friendlier staff - even the cleaners were looking up and saying hello as we made our way through the turnstiles ready for some fun - it was on America's 'have a nice day' level - in a good way.
With our girls being just three and seven they were never going to be jumping on the big rollercoasters - but Crealy is really set up for that family experience and is great for those with younger children like ours. First up was the Safari Express and from there we did the rounds of the numerous rides and play zones - the highlight being the new Junior Driving School.
With traffic lights, roads signs and other obstacles to navigate youngsters have to show their skill and get their own mini driving licence at the end of it all. It was actually surprising just how god at driving a lot of these kids are - giving way and driving on the right side of the road and at good speeds - a lot of it was far better than what I saw on the motorway down.
After we'd spent a couple of hours exploring it was back to reception to pick up the keys to the Cedar Lodge we were staying in. The accomodation was clean, comfortable and we had no complaints. There was even a hot tub on the patio complete with its own disco lights for the evening dip. Other accomodation on offer includes luxury safari tents which looked really interesting and cosy - some even come with woodburner for the colder months. There were also the medieval tents for those looking for something different and plenty of spots for camper van and tents in Meadow View.
The Cedar Lodges really do have high-end finish that provides a luxurious and relaxed environment. With a master suite and two additional twin rooms there is plenty of space for you, your family, and your friends.
Of course when you are on a holiday like this there is one thing the kids want to do when the evening comes - head to the club house and stay up late of course. While we were there in April the new club house was in the process of being built and I think it will make it more convenient location for those in the lodges and glamping and provide a more modern environment than the current club house. However but the entertainers put on their best show for the youngsters and mascot Blossom was a hit - we even went home with a miniature version of Blossom who has taken pride of place in their bedroom.
During our stay there were also regular Party in the Park concerts throughout the day and evening featuring Katy Perry and Justin Bieber acts.
On day one we headed to The Miniature Pony Centre around 40 minutes away in Dartmoor. The ponies are beyond cute and our visit here was one of the highlights of the break. The centre is really well set up - it was a beautiful drive there and once there it was lovely relaxing place to be - but by no means boring. Every half an hour or so there was another bell rung and you'd follow the guides to the next activity - whether it be feeding the horses, holding some of the centre's other cute animals or getting to ride a horse.
The nearest city is Exeter where - if you're a sports fan you can catch the Exeter Chiefs playing if it's in the rugby season. The nearest beach is Exmouth where you can see the lifeboats and go rock pooling for crabs. It is a lovely sandy beach with plenty of space.
One main criticism we'd have is the options of food on site - the main restaurant - Blackbeards Family Buffet - wasn't quite doing it for us, the service was slow for what is basic fare. But at the end of the day there are plenty of pubs nearby if you want to search for better grub.
If you've got young children like ours and you want a relaxing place to stay but with enough to keep the kids busy on the doorstep then this is a great option.
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