As a young family we have visited a lot of holiday parks in and around Devon over the years but the accommodation here takes some beating. I don’t know about being made to feel at home. . . we wanted to take the place with us when it came time to leave! Granted we were among the first to stay in the cottages – built from the ground up for the new 2018 season. But wow, the builders have certainly done good. Hard hats off to them!
There is a choice of five, Skylark, Kestrel, Bullfinch and Starling all have three bedrooms while Buzzard has four. Turning into the drive the cottages look stunning from the outside. And you won’t be disappointed when you step inside either.
On walking in, the place just had that clean, fresh feel that you long for in a holiday accommodation. The main room included a big TV with surround sound system, big dining room table and even a wood burner – logs included, so you won’t have to pack the chainsaw!
The kitchen was spotless and there was a complimentary bottle of Prosecco and Devonshire scones and cream to welcome us – what more could you want, nice touch, cheers!
Upstairs was even better – the landing was lovely and spacious with a big window letting plenty of natural light in and three great sized rooms served by one big bathroom and all with their own TVs – the main room also having an en-suite.
On arrival the beds are made up with quality linen and there was more than enough towels to last a week. Right, I’m aware I’m sounding a bit Grand Designs now, so onto the park itself.
Stowford is predominantly a touring site with spacious grass or hardstanding pitches for caravans, tents and motorhomes. It lets out the cottages and also has static caravans and lodges for sale as holiday homes. On site is a traditional fish and chip take away, the Stable Bar serving pub grub or the Oak House Restaurant as well as a grocery/toy shop.
Visitors in the holiday cottages receive a complimentary access pass: this allows free entry to select facilities including the indoor swimming pool, the Petorama, crazy golf, pitch and putt and children’s entertainment and live music in the bar. There are also riding stables available too.
For those who like to take a stroll there is a 70-acre woodland walk nearby with paths and tracks, which will take you deep into the Bittadon valley.
The site is probably easier to find than we made it. One word of advice, you may want to pull out the map for the last bit of the journey to the site, as if you’re sat nav is anything like ours, it may go a little crazy when you hit the Devonshire countryside.
Ours sent us up some country lanes that would have been a little problematic if you were towing. However, we found our way there thanks to some friendly locals along the way. And hey, it’s all part of the holiday experience, right?
Once we arrived at Stowford and had finished marvelling at the accommodation (did I mention it was amazing yet?) we took a short drive – I’m talking 10 minutes – down to Combe Martin to catch the last rays of sunshine on the little beach there.
It was lovely just to sit and enjoy some fish and chips and look out across the landscape after the long journey. After the fish and chips – which always taste better at the seaside – our girls explored the rock pools.
In the morning we enjoyed a lovely cooked breakfast at the Oak House Restaurant before hitting the crazy golf course round the corner from the cottages and then went for a cool off in the pool. Nice and relaxed we then drove to Milky Way in the afternoon – around 40 minutes away in the car in Higher Clovelly.
The place was a kid’s dream. A cavernous labyrinth of fun – soft play, fairground rides, the lot. Our children – aged four and eight – really enjoyed exploring the place excited to see what was in the next room as they walked around this 110,000 sq ft park.
Their favourites were the huge outdoor bouncers, dodgems and the caterpillar roller coaster – which I think we rode five or six times. If you are heading here, book online and you will save a few pounds – you can also buy a fast tracker to beat queues during the busy summer holidays. There is also an aqua park attached to the Milky Way site but it does have its own fees.
By the time we got back Stowford we were ready to fill up on some grub at the Stable Bar. The homemade lasagne and chips was just what the doctor ordered washed down with a pint of Doombar. Happy holidays daddy! You could even have another outside while watching the kids play on the outdoor area, why not?
After another super night’s sleep in the gorgeous cottage we were ready for yet another action-packed day. First port of call this time was the Petorama. The girls were smitten with the kittens – it was an experience they have really taken away with them – getting to feed the goats and hold the rabbits, guinea pigs and even meet a lizard – all under one roof on site! This is included in the cottage pass or a few pounds if not – still great value.
In the afternoon we were planning to head off to Woolacombe beach where we had been before – and let’s face it – is a tried and tested Devonshire gem, no doubt about that. But we were recommended to try out the Tunnels Beaches in Ilfracombe instead.
Just 20 minutes away we were able to park up easily before strolling to the Tunnels beaches. After paying a small entrance fee you head down the hand carved tunnels which have been there since the 1820s, which lead through to a cove like beaches. What it lacks in golden sands it more than makes up for in crystal clear beautiful waters and it is the perfect spot for little ones to have a dip – or float around in their rubber rings like ours did. True, we hit lucky with the weather – it being the middle of a heatwave..but I was blown away by this little place and had an absolutely magical time with the children here.
For my youngest it was her first time bathing in the sea and it was the perfect spot for it. The place is a wedding venue and you can see why with its stunning vista.
Back at the cottage it was a night in in front of the TV and time to make use of the self catering facilities, which were top notch. And while we didn’t use it – there is a barbecue if you wanted to flip some burgers outdoors on the patio too.
In the morning and before we made the trip back to the Midlands we had time to drop by the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park – 10 minutes up the road from Stowford. Here we met a wallaby and got to see a variety of animals – including getting up close to the Meerkats.
There are shows throughout the day here, such as a sea lions show, and plenty to keep your family busy for a whole day. Chloe, my eldest particularly enjoyed the animatronic dinosaur trail – imagining she was in Jurassic Park I think!
There are plenty of other attractions on the doorstep here too – Big Sheep is also not far away – another great day out with everything from the famous sheep racing as well as indoor and outdoor play areas to combat games for the family and even a brewery and gin distillery for the grown-ups to try out.
Overall we had a brilliant time and a special thanks to the staff who went out of their way to ensure we were comfortable and enjoyed our stay. We will be back!
The cottages cost between £500 and £1,500 depending on the week. Visit stowford.co.uk