In September we went for a Monday to Friday break at a Parkdean caravan site called Ruda, located in Croyde, North Devon. Neither hubby nor I had been on a static caravan holiday for a long time. Twenty years or so, in fact. We ummed and ahhhhed about what do do, and as this option meant we could be self catering, have a pool and be on the beach, we decided to go for it. We chose the site, Ruda, as it had been mentioned by a friend, and when we looked it up online it sounded the perfect place to try:
- located right on the beach
- a huge range of facilities,
- has new caravans with double glazing & central heating, and
- really had a lot for us to do.
We found a caravan that was new in 2015, that looks lovely (a Doulton), and thought it would be perfect, however it was fully booked, so we booked a Marwood instead. The Marwood was a two bedroom, with central heating and double glazing and new in 2014, which sounded quite recent, and it couldn’t have become too run down in that time. It’s worth noting Ruda also has lodges, apartments, cottages and camping/caravan pitches too.
Off we trekked, excited and slightly nervous as to how it would all go staying in a caravan with a toddler (it was fine by the way)!
Well, actually it was fantastic, and I must say, we enjoyed it so much we were very close to extending our stay. We didn’t because we decided it would be brilliant to look forward to going back next year. It was a brilliant holiday, fun, and had AMAZING pool for kids (especially toddlers) and a huge beach right there.
Lovely, clean and modern with double glazed and central heating. It was very modern, we were shocked at how caravans had changed, however, within minutes Toddler H promptly unlocked and opened the outside door. This wasn’t ideal as we didn’t have a veranda, of any kind in this caravan, just steps (without a handrail) straight down. So, we went back to reception and upgraded to a model that did have a veranda, and would mean H might not open the door and fall out of it.
Our new caravan was a Trimstone, a 2016 model, again with double glazing and central heating, but it also had an ensuite! It was a 3 bedroom, which did make all bedrooms a bit smaller. We didn’t really mind though as there was enough room for us, and H was in a separate room in the travel cot. The travel cot wouldn’t have fitted in our room, but probably would have in the 2 bed model we originally booked.
Obviously we had to take a lot of essential with us as we’d be cooking and didn’t pay for a travel cot for Toddler H and this first time we left a couple of things at home, but nothing Tescos didn’t have!
Update: my full packing list for a caravan holiday with a toddler has been tried and tested twice now as we’ve since been to West Bay in Dorset too!
perfect for kids
So onto the facilities, yes, the park is a bit 80’s-ish in places, but it’s clean and isn’t rundown. The swimming pool was perfect for H, and we spend 1.5 hours in it each day. They even provide arm bands and rubber rings, as well as baby ring seats. There are slides of all sizes, a wave river and bubbly jacuzzi seats. The changing rooms have a couple of changing tables, a few toilets, big open showers and a few changing cubicles. It did cost us £1.50 to use the pool, but if we hadn’t been staying at the park it would have been £3.95. However, that would have been worth it for all the time we spent there and the fun Toddler H had. Oh, and the naps that she had every day afterwards!! Yes, she napped!!!
(photos weren’t allowed, sorry. But check out the website!)
Toddler H also loved all the swing parks around the site, one large one (which hubby and I loved too) is situated near the lodges, and had a climbing wall and obstacle course. H cheered us every time we complete a section! She also shouted count downs before we were allowed to start. There was another play park with swings, a slide and more at the top of the hill past the caravans, along with another obstacle course.
The soft play was quite large and located just off the restaurant. It was a great addition.
There is s shop on site, but it’s on the expensive side, so we bought everything at Tesco in Braunton 5 miles away.
We only tried the children’s entertainment which started at 6.30/7. It’s was good, though on the few nights we went it did vary. It’s definitely good for letting the little ones run off steam. Be warned its very 80s!!
Restaurants and Takeaway
We also tried the take away and restaurant. Both were good, and had 5* hygiene ratings. I definitely preferred the restaurant to the take away, as it also had soft play for the little ones and a Costa Coffee too. H loved the soft play, and it was much bigger than I expected it to be, especially as none of these things existed when we last went on a caravan holiday 20 odd years ago. Actually, we wouldn’t have been interested then!
Located on the beach
Now, the big draw for Croyde, is the beach. We loved it, it was huge, and really great for afternoon fun. I mean every afternoon, H loved her bucket and spade and carried it from the shop in Croyde to the beach herself, refusing to be carried, or go in the pushchair. She was getting so slow, but was SO determined. What is it with these little ones? They just know these things! I should mention that Croyde beach is a haven for surfers, with surf schools, a beach shop and a Costa Coffee.
Croyde Village & surroundings
Croyde is a tiny village with a post office, a pastie/ice cream shop, and a couple of pubs. So, not much, and not really a corner shop either. We bought our supplies from nearby Braunton (about 5 miles away), at the Tesco. We had pasties for lunch one day, which were delicious, and meant to go back again as it was only a 10-15 minute walk, but we were rather side tracked by the pool and beach.
We also went for a few walks around Croyde as well as exploring the local trails. Baggy Point was a lovely walk with good views and a nice length, not too long. If you have a little one, or a toddler, it’s definitely more suited to a carrier than a pushchair, even our Phil and Teds.
As you can gather we had a brilliant time and will be going back. It was brilliant with a toddler out of season.
We 100% recommend Ruda at Croyde!