Pops and I were invited to stay at The Welcome Family Holiday Park in Dawlish to see what we thought of their new luxury dog-friendly Casperro caravans.
Holidays with my girl are just the best! Despite my love of the sunshine, I’d much rather be holidaying with Poppy dog in the UK than going abroad without her – pining all week and phoning my parents everyday for a pupdate!
For our latest staycay at the Welcome Family Holiday Park in Devon, even the weather played ball! Usually when we go away we seem to have some storm or other in tow, however this time we struck lucky and had wall to wall sunshine. [I must let other people choose my holiday dates more often!]
Welcome Family Holiday Park is located on Devon’s South coast in Dawlish Warren, just a stones throw from Dawlish, a traditional seaside town on the English Riviera. Dawlish Warren itself comprises mainly holiday accommodation, and as such the area is well equipped for holiday goers, making it the perfect spot for an affordable trip to the coast. It’s even within walking distance of the train station, so super convenient if you’re relying on public transport.
I have to be honest, I had never stayed in a holiday park before, so didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve hired a motor home a couple of times in recent years but always opted for camping sites without facilities, so never experienced a purpose built park. All in all, I was rather looking forward to trying something new and of course, with Pops by my side, I knew we’d have fun!
For this little dog-friendly holibobs it was just Pops and myself – we left Mr T at home tending to Bert the Tortoise and grafting hard! [Someone’s got to keep Pops and I in the lifestyle to which we like to be accustomed!] Us girls are never phased by holidaying alone, it’s like the best girlie getaway imaginable in my eyes, and Pops always has me wrapped round her little paw even more than usual when it’s just the two of us!
A Warm Welcome
We arrived to a very warm welcome in all senses of the word. With the beautiful Spring sunshine beating down on us, I knew we were in for a fabulous week!
After checking in at reception and collecting all the literature and bedding for our stay, not to mention a very snazzy dog tag for Pops [dogs are requested to wear their tag at all times when on holiday, just in case they loose their sense of direction!], we drove round to find our luxury caravan. After about half an hour of unloading all our provisions for the week [Pops and I never travel light] we settled into our very lovely surroundings.
We were staying in a pet friendly Casperro Caravan which are new for this holiday season (Spring 2019). When I say caravan, imagine more of a very well equipped lodge. I was instantly struck by the cleanliness of the accommodation, the well tended lawns and borders and the homely, welcoming ambience.
With a large comfy living and dining area, well equipped kitchen (complete with every culinary utensil you could think of) and spotlessly clean showering and bedroom facilities it didn’t take us long to settle in. Whenever Pops and I holiday alone there is always some gadget, appliance or hot water system that we’re unable to operate and I have to make a quick SOS call home! However, on this occasion we were proudly self sufficient – always a sure sign that every provision has been well thought out!
Open Plan Living
The main living space is open plan – something I always love when you’re on holiday. It makes it feel so much more relaxed and sociable. Comfortable sofas frame the living area, and there is a separate dining table, which would easily seat up to six people. The kitchen is separated from the living room by an island and boasts all the mod-cons you could wish for; double oven, fridge freezer, microwave and oodles of cupboard space.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Having experienced the bedroom in a motor home, where there wasn’t enough room to swing a Chihuahua, I was pleasantly surprised by the main bedroom. It is really spacious and fitted out with plenty of wardrobe and storage space. It even has a WC en-suite and there is a separate twin bedroom for families.
The bathroom is compact, but again immaculately clean. There is a shower with a plentiful supply of hot water and heated towel radiator to dry off those cozzies, or dog towels!
Welcome Family Holiday Park Facilities
On site there are plenty of activities at Welcome Family Holiday Park to keep families entertained. Obviously with it just being Pops and I, I wasn’t going to be entering any karaoke contests! There was entertainment every evening, for both kids and adults (the kids seemed to be having a riot every time Pops and I strolled by when we returned from our nightly trip to the beach).
There is also a very inviting looking indoor swimming pool, crazy-golf, an array of sporting activities, pottery painting and a whole host of eateries, both on site and within walking distance of the park. I have to admit I always take food to cook when I’m travelling alone with Pops as it’s easier. However, on the last night I succumbed to the smell of fish and chips and they were delicious! [You can’t visit the English riviera and not have fish and chips can you?!]
If you’ve visited Devon before, you’ll know that it really is dog-friendly heaven! It’s one of the few counties where shops actually have to specify that dogs are not allowed! Most other places in the UK they have to advertise that they do welcome dogs!
Lovely Zoe, who arranged our visit, had sent me a link to a blog with lots of local dog-friendly places. We also had a few other tourist attractions on our hit list. Places we’ve had our eye on for a while, as they advertise on our directory and we always like to support our pack members where possible.
Just a ten minute stroll [probably more like five for Pops and I – she doesn’t do strolling, even in her older age!] is Dawlish Warren beach. This place became a nightly ritual for us! Wandering down about 8pm to enjoy a good old sniffari on the sand! Throwing sticks into the waves to our hearts content and watching the sunset – life doesn’t get more perfect! Part of the beach is dog friendly all year round – just watch out for the jelly fish! Pops and I learnt to avoid some of the beaches further along for this very reason.
A huge highlight of our stay has to be Canonteign Falls – this place is a must if you’re in the area. It’s simply magical – so unique and so well signposted – even a complete map phobic like me would struggle to get lost! Canonteign Falls is home to the highest manmade waterfall in the United Kingdom and it is just spectacular. Meandering up through fern leaden pathways, with the fragrant scent of the forest and the majestic sound of trickling water surely has to be the epitome of Britain at its best.
There is an orchard and beehive to explore, once you have seen what the waterfalls have to offer, and a series of lakes where you can sit [which we did for quite some time] and soak up the tranquility and ambience of the place.
Onsite is also a very lovely cafe, serving the most scrumptious food [who could resist a cream tea when in Devon] and a fabulous gift shop, selling gifts for humans and hounds – this place really does welcome mans best friend!
I’d visited Dartmouth many years ago – it really is quintessentially British and well worth a visit if you’ve not been before. The passenger ferry sails from Kingswear and the short journey across the River Dart takes all of five minutes. It’s a truly lovely day out, but Pops in her older age found it too much to contend with! The narrow cobbled streets are bustling with tourists and there is an enticing array of eateries selling local delicacies such as seafood, ice cream and fudge – it’s a food lovers paradise! My girl found the myriad of feet just to much to cope with and we quickly retreated to somewhere a little more off the beaten track.
Cockington Village is one of my childhood favourites! It made me feel about twenty years younger going back here [I kid you not, it’s quite a miraculous place!!] We actually took the opportunity to meet up with a very dear uni friend of mine and her three year old daughter [definitely a dog-crazy lady in the making – she was obsessed with Pops!]
We had such a relaxing day catching up on old times and sauntering through Cockington Court Gardens, adorned with duck ponds, wild flower meadows and rhododendrons.
The village is just steeped in history: picture narrow lanes, lined with thatched cottages, bearing colour washed walls of stone and cobb, a courtyard of tasteful gift shops selling locally made wares, and a selection of quaint tea rooms [you’ve guessed it, another cream tea was the order of the day!] It doesn’t matter how many times I visit this place, for me it never looses its charm and character.
A Fond Farewell
For once, the weather told us it was time to go home. We woke up on the Friday morning to cloudier skies and the forecast for the weekend was not nearly so promising. For a change we’d timed it just right, however we were still sad to be leaving! We’d had the best time.
The big question, would we go back? In the blink of an eye!
It opened my eyes to a whole new way to holiday. Obviously the weather played a huge part; but that said, cosy up on a chilly evening, next to the gas fire, watching tele with my girl and just a stones throw from the beach – I’m there!
A huge thank you to Zoe for inviting us to stay – we’ll treasure our memories forever.
Woofs and Wags
Kate and Pops xx