Over the last few years, I’ve sampled more than my fair share of holiday parks around the UK and while some have exceeded expectations, others have been the typical stereotypes of the Eighties Hi-de-Hi era and unfortunately, have not moved with the times.
I’ll be the first to admit that before having children, I wouldn’t have dreamed of staying in one or using a static caravan as a base. Dare I say I used to be a little snobby about the whole caravan park vibe? But for those parks that excel in offering families great family holidays, you really can get your money’s worth and find some amazing locations that you might not necessarily discover in a hotel or self-catering property – without the hefty price tag anyway.
What drew me to booking our stay at the Golden Cap Holiday Park in Dorset was the promise that all their static homes are less than five years old. I may be staying in a caravan but it was reassuring to know that it will have all the mod cons, not decked out in old-fashioned interiors as well as have heating and hot water.
Meanwhile, the park itself is surrounded by National Trust land, while Seatown Beach is just a mere stroll away – so it really ticked all the right boxes in terms of location for us to go and explore the Jurassic Coast.
Golden Cap Holiday Park
The park is named after Golden Cap, a cliff which sits at the highest most point on the south coast of the UK. It’s a stunning piece of coastline situated between Bridport and Charmouth, and its unique location on National Trust landscape means Golden Cap Holiday Park affords quick access to the walking trails in England’s only natural World Heritage Site, as well as other destinations along the Jurassic Coast.
Arriving at the park which was well signposted and easy to locate, we checked into the reception and were given our keys to our home for the next few days as well as a sitemap which contained park information and suggestions of what to do in the area.
First impressions were good. The park is clean, compact and the holiday homes are well spaced apart, while the views of the rolling hills as well as the sea beyond are a real bonus. There wasn’t the cringe-worthy feel of a cheesy holiday setting with a programme of daily entertainment or bingo nights. Quite the opposite. The star of the show is the wonderful scenery that surrounds it, and because there is so much to see and do right on the park’s doorstep, there really is no need to offer up anything else except clean and comfortable accommodation.
With Bridport town only 10 minutes away, you’re close to all the main high street supermarkets and shops including a huge Morrisons superstore. The park is well located to explore the Jurassic Coast with Charmouth Beach (for fossil hunting), and Lyme Regis close by. Meanwhile, within an hour’s drive, you can reach other parts of Dorset easily such as Weymouth, Portland, Poole and Lulworth Cove.
The Holiday Homes
The park has pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes, as well as camping pods, bell and safari tents, too, if you should wish to do some glamping.
Originally, I tried to book one of their seaview lodges – which are larger in size, and more ‘luxurious’. Unfortunately, there were all reserved, so I had to opt for a 2-bedroomed caravan, which has its own deck and outside space. Although ours was situated next to the main thoroughfare, it meant from the front window we could see the sea on a clear day.
I was happy with the set up inside, a fairly spacious living area with kitchen, plus a shower room and ensuite toilet and sink in the main bedroom – and all neutrally decorated. What struck me first was how clean it was – everything was spotless.
However, I did have to return to reception and ask for a single bed to be removed, so a travel cot could be put there instead as this hadn’t been done prior to our arrival. Mistakes happen, so that wasn’t a real problem and they sorted it out quickly.
But I really wasn’t expecting to have to make up all the beds after our long journey. The laundered sheets, duvet and pillow covers were left on the beds in a plastic bag for us to use. But as my husband pointed out, at least I could see how clean all the linen was beforehand.
Apart from the biblical rain hitting the roof of the caravan on our first night, which resulted in hardly any sleep for all of us, our little holiday home was cosy and we found it to be a comfortable base.
• The park shop sells basics such as bread, milk, cold drinks and alcohol, as well as takeaway pizzas in the evening.
• There is a newly refurbished shower block with showers, toilets, washing up and launderette facilities, chemical disposal and a freezer for ice blocks.
• A small children’s play area
• A fishing lake – licences can be obtained locally at the post office in Chideock
• The Anchor Inn is a short walk away with amazing views of Seatown Beach. We had two delicious meals here. You can’t book a table, though, so you have to turn up and wait for a table if it’s busy.
It’s with good reason that Golden Cap Holiday Park has won many awards – and is consistently rated highly on TripAdvisor. The staff are friendly and helpful, the grounds are well-maintained, the caravan was clean and comfortable and the location right beside the beach is second to none.
I don’t enjoy the old-fashioned mentality of holiday parks that are still trying to replicate a bygone era – or those of which haven’t updated or modernised in any way. The same can’t be said here – and the park gets many repeat visitors. Guests are just left alone to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of their surroundings, all the while being in a great position to be able to explore the rest of the Jurassic Coast.
Would I stay here again? Without a doubt, yes. And for the price of £310 for a four-night stay, I thought it was a great bargain, too.