Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My Pontins experience

I fully appreciate Pontins won't be to everyone's taste. It's not for the Bluestones or Centrepark types. It is the no frills of holiday packages. But hey what's wrong with that? For those like me, on a budget it's the go to holiday choice. My belief is whilst the kids are young and we can get away with doing holidays on the cheap we're going to lap it up and bloody enjoy it!! 
This is not a sponsored post, it is my own experience of Pontins in Brean Sands Somerset. I appreciate everyone's experiences and expectations will be different. We paid £160 for the basic accommodation, 4 night stay in high season - July 2015. We booked 5 months in advanced after receiving an email notifying us of sale prices. 

Things I would like to applaude Pontins for: 
* The hard working and enthusiastic blue coats, who are on call all day and night. There's no doubt they work dam hard. They all multi task and get involved with every aspect. Their job descriptions are such a varied and large list! From dancers, singers, photographers, comedians, bingo sellers, kids entertainers, event organisers and customer service operators delaying with complaints and issues. You make the Pontins experience and you have my vote blue coats, well done. 
* The food, basic but good and a wide choice for all tastes. A self-serve-type diner which allows you to control your serving size and gives you plenty of choice. Value of money 10/10 the breakfast being my favourite choice!!! 
* The activity schedule throughout the day and night was extensive. You could easily make the decision to spend your whole stay on site and find something to do in all weather conditions. With inflatables, leisure activities, bike hire, face painting, competitions and so much more! 
* 3 outside park areas, which were always clean and kept well maintained. My kids loved spending every dry moment they possibly could running wild on the playground equipment. Kids are more than happy with the free entertainment! 

Like everything in life there is room for improvement. The things I believe could of been better or need attention: 
* The kids club took place in the bar (due to refurbishment taking place, but during high season Is poor timing) it was squashed and totally impractical. 
* The swimming pool changing rooms are in desperate need of a refurb they are unsuitable and border line not fit for use. 
* The 'Fun Factory' - Main hall, isn't big enough to accommodate the amount of people staying on site, by 8pm it is full to the brim with people fighting for chairs and tables! At my guess there were twice the amount of people to chairs ratio. This puts a downer on your stay as everyone wants a chance to enjoy the entertainment. 
* The main gate whilst manned, didn't have any security procedures. for me I would of felt, at the very least, car registrations should be recorded. This gives parents some confidence of security on the site. I feel the site wasn't at all secure or exclusive. 
* Adventureland - Such a brilliant area for all ages and weather conditions but it's let down by only having 1 member of staff available to man the front desk, undertake all the activities (such as face painting which proved extremely difficult with the amount of children) and even first aid. 
* The showers in the apartments are none exsitant. I think I've got wetter in a rain shower. Whilst you don't expect 5* luxury and you are paying for basic accommodation, being able to stay clean during your time away is vital, a top priority and essential! 

We as a family will be holidaying at Pontins again and we recommend it for the value of money and the range of kids activities and entertainment. Here's the link for more info: http://www.pontins.com/holiday-parks/brean-sands-holiday-park/

I would also like to take the opportunity to recommended some of the trips out we as a family enjoyed: 
*Brean Splash - a fantastic versatile water park great for all ages, this was the kids favourite place of the hol. http://www.brean.com/splashnew/index.html

* Brean play - a new and modern soft play, great for those wet days and for waring the kids out a treat!! What kids don't love soft play?! http://www.breanplay.com/home.html

* Noah's Ark Zoo Farm - whilst a little on the expensive side, we enjoyed a whole day out here. My opinion of this attraction is that it is very professionally run and intermit. All animals are very well looked after and their surroundings are very well designed and thought out. There is such a lot to see and do here. But it is a weather dependant attraction. I especially liked the elephant enclosure and the elephant talk. The kids favourite was the huge soft play area, bloody typical! 

So that's my holiday round-up, if you would like anymore information or have any specific questions please do get in touch :) 

Monday, 27 July 2015

My issues with the summer hol's

** Child care ** 
I have two options here i either rely on friends and family, which is the cheaper option
Issue - it runs the risk of being let down last minute (through no fault of their own) therefore resulting in complete chaos! 
Holiday club / paid childcare. which the kids totally love because they get to do cool stuff that they can't do at home like gluing shit to tables or tredding playdoh in the carpet but it comes at a high price! Issue - Is it actually worth while going to work once you've paid the child care costs? Or are you out of pocket? 

** Out with routine and in with chaos **
That carefully constructed routine is out the window within a matter of days. The bed time routines, waking up routines and even eating routines are all turned into unintentional chaos. No matter how hard you try and stick to your guns the holiday doom takes over! 
Issue - wild unruly children 

** Spending goes through the roof ** 
On days-off during the holidays we as parents are obliged to take kids on days out (something to write about in their school journals if nothing else) 
Issue - during school holidays prices of days out are extortionate!!! You need to re-mortgage your house for one trip to the zoo nowadays :( 

** Everywhere is busy and over run with children ** 
Yea I get this is an obvious one but it's also so frustrating!! Supermarkets, cafe and soft plays are all rammed this time of year. There's no getting away from kids
Issue - my own children drive me insane without others adding to it! There's no where to hide. 

** Unpredictable British weather ** 
During the 6-week break we can encounter all times of weather conditions therefore making it impossible to organize days out. Going anywhere is a military operation with wellies, raincoats, sun hats and suncream. 
Issue - it's Sod's law you forget the one thing you need as you try and second guess the weather and obviously get it wrong!! 

There is always the option of staying at home on safer territory. 
Issue - the kids will climb the walls whilst you get cabin fever. No one is a winner here either.