Having had good experiences at numerous family vacation parks all over Europe, I thought it would be nice to try the same here in the UK with Babel and the Japanesies. We ended up renting a caravan at Parkdean Trecco Bay in Wales. The location of the park was nice, right near a large beautiful public beach. Unfortunately, the park itself was a disappointment.
The park wasn’t much of a holiday park, it felt more like a trailer factory parking lot. There were literally thousands of caravans parked on top of each other. The restaurants were substandard and expensive and the entertainment facilities were inadequate and uninspired. I booked this after reading quite a lot of good reviews online, so I’m not sure whether this is normal in the UK. But I know better, this park would not pass muster in the Netherlands or Belgium.
But we were there for the weekend, so of course we made do. There was a supermarket right outside the park, so Oma and Akiko did most of the cooking in the caravan, which was great. No British restaurant can ever rival Japanese home-cooking anyways!
We rented a caravan advertised to sleep 6 adults. They probably meant tiny adults, as the beds were laughably small. The single beds were as wide as the depth of a park bench, and in the photo above you can see the size of a double bed. It was lucky I was traveling with petite Japanesies. I have no idea how 6 regular sized Western adults are supposed to get a good night’s rest in one of these caravans. It was also lucky we bedshare with Babel, as a travel cot would have fit nowhere in the caravan. Of course, the bed was way too small for the three of us, so at night we used the caravan’s couch pillows to fill up the space between the bed and the wall to enlarge our sleeping space.
Our second day there it was rainy, so we thought we’d spend the day at the indoor pool. We thought wrong. The park’s pool was very small for a park with thousands of caravans and so many more guests. Guests were only allowed to swim in shifts of an hour. To swim for 60 minutes we waited in line for 75 long and uncomfortable minutes.
The line led through a dark, hot, loud and dirty arcade. Whoever came up with the design of this park was smart and greedy. They knew the lines would be long and consisting of understandably fussy and impatient kids with parents desperate to entertain their kids. The majority of people in line were constantly handing out money to their children. Children kept losing that money in kiddy gambling machines and coming back for more.
Luckily, Babel is still too young to play these money guzzlers, but of course it was also really hard for him to wait for that long. I ended up breastfeeding Babel in the line, standing up (I was pretty impressed with myself as it wasn’t easy), trying to calm him down. Finally, when we were allowed to swim it was a nice relief. It was also disappointing because Opa had wanted to swim with his grandson, but having arrived a little later than us, his turn to swim didn’t happen until after we were summoned out of the pool.
Even though this park wasn’t what we had hoped for, we had a very good time. Babel enjoyed balling in between the caravans, going to the beach (his first beach experience deserves it very own blog post), and spending time with his family.