Reviewed by Paul Harvey
We recently visited the Park Resorts Brynowen Holiday Park nr. Aberystwyth, Wales. Our party consisted of myself, my wife Louise and my 6yr old daughter Scarlett. The drive from Manchester took about two and a half hours on a Friday morning. The journey is not all motorway and takes in some lovely parts of Wales making the journey much more interesting for me and my passengers! The resort was easy to find and well signposted, being only a few hundred yards from the seaside.
On arrival at the park it is very well presented with an inviting entrance and signs letting you know where everything is. We headed off to reception to check and a lady at reception gave us the key to our caravan, showed us where it was on a map and gave us a welcome pack. The lady didn’t have a great deal to say and it would have been nice to maybe have had a more detailed greeting, as we then had to ask her everything we wanted to know.
The park itself is spread over quite a large area of land, of which there are 7 separate areas, each containing a number of caravans. The five areas past reception are up quite a steep hill, so not recommended for anyone who may struggle walking up and down these. Our caravan was situated in area 6, up the top of the hill, which we didn’t really mind and it was pleasantly quiet and with great views and surroundings.
Our allocated caravan was a Platinum level 3 bedroom version. It was obviously very new and well presented with a massive lounge/dining area, luxury fixtures & fittings, domestic style central heating (with a programmable timer) good sized kitchen (containing oven/hob/fridge-freezer/toaster & Microwave) and fully double glazed. It had a large double bedroom and two twin bedrooms all with plenty of room and storage space. There was a bathroom with a fantastic shower unit, basin & toilet, and another with a toilet & basin.
Due to the fact that all the caravans aren’t crammed in, there are numerous areas around the park where there is a substantial patch of grass for your kids to play in where they can still be seen from your caravan. There is also an adventure playground with a large climbing wooden construction (with slides, ropes, etc.) swings, see-saws, football area and more.
As the weather wasn’t great when we arrived the plan was to go and try out the indoor swimming pool, but we were told it was closed and work was being done as there were filter problems, not a good start! The swimming pool is a reasonable size, and it does have a large water slide going into it, which I had seen on the website pictures. But what the website doesn’t show is that this slide begins outside the pool building and up a load of metal stairs! On speaking to a pool attendant on the Saturday, it appears that this slide is shut 90% of the time, due to this. It is barely ever warm enough to open the doors so that people can make their way outside and up the slide when they are dripping wet, and any breeze makes people inside cold! On the other hand the pool does have quite a busy timetable with numerous activities, from Aqua Totz to Bodyballs!
We then decided to visit the Patio Diner & Bar for a drink and a bite to eat. This area is quite small and a bit dated, but staff at the bar were very friendly and most helpful. They have a little bar area and serve traditional pub-type meals and snacks. The lady was also kind to point out the various meal deals on offer. My wife and I had burger and chips which were delicious and Scarlett had pizza & chips. We also ate here on Sunday dinner time and the food was nice.
We then went for a wander around the park to see what there was to do throughout our stay. There is a ParkMart Store which sells absolutely everything you could ever need and at reasonable prices. Across from this is a large arcade containing numerous machines, pool tables, air hockey tables, fruit machines and also a mini ten-pin bowling alley, which we all enjoyed for £1 each. A lot of the machines that the children can play award little tickets, which can be collected and then exchanged for a prize at the kiosk, and all the children around seemed to love this idea. There was also another arcade in the Entertainment Centre containing many more machines aimed at all ages.
Later that evening we ventured into the Showbar of the Entertainment Centre, where we played bingo for a few quid each (but had to buy a Dabber, just to be professional about it!). Then there was the introduction of “Sparky” the Park Resorts rabbit mascot, with staff members of Sparky’s Crew Club to entertain the kids, with games and a disco. There were two particular members of staff who Scarlett took a shine to, Jordan & Becky, who were brilliant with all the children and did a great job. Scarlett won ‘Musical Bumps’ and was given a medal, badge and bracelet as her prizes, of which she is very proud! Later there was a cabaret singer on, who I’m afraid to say was, just that, and most people were not very impressed. During the night, inside the Entertainment Centre there is a Sparky Store for the kids (a little shop where they can literally spend their pocket money on toys, games, sweets, etc.). It’s a great idea, not too expensive and ideal for when the kids start getting restless. There is also a little take-away located in the Entertainment Centre, but it has a very limited selection. Louise and Scarlett ordered hotdogs, but there were literally a small pork sausage in a bread finger twice the size. The only other downside to the Showbar was the fact that it was rather cold (maybe air conditioning working too well?) meaning a lot of people were sat with jackets or coats still on.
On the Saturday we had quite nice weather and decided to head into Aberystwyth. It was a pleasant little drive, about 15-20 minutes with some lovely views on route. There are plenty of places to eat, shop, and spend all your pennies. At the sea front there is a little pier and a beach area where you can sit down, eat drink and be merry!
Saturday evening we decided to eat in the caravan (bought a couple of frozen pizzas & garlic bread). We had everything we needed in the caravan and it was a nice and cosy family meal.
We then ventured into the Showbar for the nights entertainment, which consisted of kids disco/games and then a cabaret act called “Young & Foolish”. They were excellent – comedy for first half of act and then singing.
Another couple of points to mention:
We had a leak in the main bathroom, and after ringing reception a maintenance guy appeared within minutes. He fixed the problem and was very friendly and efficient.
On our journey home, Louise realised that she had left her hair straighteners in a bedroom cupboard. She rang reception who went on to find them and have agreed to post them to us, and didn’t want money for the postage. Excellent customer service.
Overall I would like to say that Park Resorts Brynowen Holiday Park is a very good place to stay for a family. They are very much geared towards entertaining children throughout your holiday and it doesn’t cost you a fortune along the way like most places. Sparky’s Crew Club is brilliant for the kids and there are so many activities to take part in, such as: discos, quizzes, little sparks (under 5s), family sports challenge, etc. All the entertainment staff are great and obviously enjoy what they are doing. Although there are a few areas for improvement, the good points far outweigh these.
I would definitely recommend this holiday park to anyone with kids and would like to return one day, or even visit one of the other many Park Resorts Holiday Parks.
For more information visit the Park Resort website.