The Park is a holiday site in North Cornwall, not too far from Newquay. It boasts accommodation fit for every need and every group, from cabins and statics, to eco lodges, yurts and one big beautiful house on the hill. It's a beautiful site, covering 27 acres of land in a village called Mawgan Porth. We discovered Mawgan Porth a good few years ago when we were looking for somewhere with dog-friendly beaches.
Before I continue, I must caveat this review with the fact that I LOVE Mawgan Porth, we've been loads of times, staying at various places, and we even got married in Mawgan Porth in 2016. Back then we stayed in The Park's Lanerick house (it's incredible -look! https://theparkcornwall.com/properties/lanerick-house/ ) but we didn't have time to investigate The Park's amenities and have been keen to return ever since.
As well as the many different types of accommodation, The Park has three outdoor play areas, an outdoor pool, indoor pool and a restaurant, and is just a few short minute's walk to the beach.
Originally we were meant to stay here in April, but thanks to covid we deferred our booking, and when we saw summer was quickly booking up, we decided to go for it in July when they had one single property left - cabin number one.
Covid has also put an end to the flight we sometimes took from Manchester to Newquay (you could definitely get through a week here without a car) but to be fair I do think it's work the 5.5 hour drive.
Check-in is at certain times, but there's no queueing at reception - keys are in a box near your accommodation and you're given the code to the box. Arrive too early and they won't be there. But it cuts out a formal check-in, and when you've been travelling for hours, this is so great, simple and easy.
Our cabin was absolutely immaculate when we arrived, and it was really well stocked with everything you could need for a family of four for a week. It even had plenty of plastic plates, cups and cuttlery - the absence of which, is a real bugbear of mine at so-called 'family friendly' places.
It was plenty big enough for us with a little living space, kitchen, dining area and two bedrooms at opposite ends. One opened onto the living room, meaning we could keep a close eye on the baby and the older child felt safe enough to go to sleep well. We were supplied with a high chair and a cot for the baby, so didn't need to take either of these things with us.
In proof that I SHOULD actually do some research when I book places though, my initial assumption that a cabin would be better than a caravan was proven wrong when I had a little nose around our neighbour's caravan and found it to be a higher standard. Everyone you speak to there is lovely, so do ask questions when you book.
Although while we were there the restaurant was closed, you could get takeaway at certain times and the food was really good, so I'd recommend checking it out if you do stay there.
The pools were also closed, but I have it on good authority from people on the Seatkickers forums, that they have now reopened and are absolutely brilliant. Currently you have to book a slot, but again I've been told it's well worth it. Lots of the other accommodation on The Park features private hot tubs - might be worth booking one of those for a treat!
Although the pools were shut, the free kids activities were still taking, and we managed to book our kids into Owls and Beachschool.
Owls consisted of a man with demonstrating a few different owls and teaching us lots of owl facts. We all loved it, and I now know which owls can hear a mouse's heartbeat, where they sleep and what they eat! It was really lovely, kept the kids amused and ...free!
Beachschool is BRILLIANT! I can't recommend this enough. The kids get to build a beach den, build and light a fire, roast marshmallows and learn about the beach environment. We all loved it and it whiled a way a lovely morning.
There are three kids play areas on The Park. Between them they've got slides, climbing frames, trampolines and play houses. Something for kids of all ages. Each had social distancing rules clearly marked and hand gel well placed. The Park feels incredibly safe, and this was the first time we've ever let our child go off without us. (I point out - the play area was about two caravans down from us, we could hear her playing, she went with a gang of older kids and we regularly checked on them) I loved watching her make friends and develop a sense of freedom. It was like swallows and amazons and we commented that this is probably the first holiday she will really remember.
Most people park in the main car park, so it's safe for the kids to run around, well away from the road and pretty much private to residents. The whole place is beautiful and you feel like your kids are getting such a great experience. After weeks of lockdown, this was just the tonic. No screens, just friends, fresh air and water pistols (what more could a kid want?!)
Our cabin was opposite a caravan and shared an outside space. We each had a picnic table and were therefore able to 'meet' our neighbours socially-distanced. They were absolutely lovely and our kids got on well. We actually plan to meet up again in the future when we can. As I walked round the site for a look, it did seem that these were the only two accommodations that did share ground, so if you do go in a big family / friends group these may be the ones to ask for (cabin 1)
Mawgan Porth beach is a short, safe walk away. It's a big beautiful dog-friendly beach the kids will absolutely love. There's a stream that runs along one side where you can fill half a day building damns with the kids. When the tide's out you can rockpool, and Kingsurf will get you up on a board if that floats your boat.
Mawgan Porth itself is quite small, but with plenty of amenities. Along the beach front there's a small village shop, art shop, corner shop, icecream shop, fish and chip shop, pub, restaurant, public toilets, mini golf, bead shop, surf clothes shop and surf hire (I'm sure I've forgotten a few)
Nearby there are also some brilliant walks across the cliffs and lovely places for lunch / dinner...
My all time favourite is Retorrick mill - Scott and Babs - you can walk here from The Park through the trees and get amazing woodfired food and salads....
Locally there's plenty of lovely things within a short car journey, we took ours to:
Camel Creek (a small theme park where socially distanced was really well handled)
And Lapa valley - a 'quaint' railway-themed play park, with trains, mini golf, play areas, cafe, slides, both our kids (six and one) loved.
If you fancy something fancy, you could go for a drink / lunch at one of the lovely local posh hotels - Bedruthan steps / The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth or head round to the beautiful Watergate Bay hotel
My only minor complaint was the safety of the stairs up to the caravan. They were open with no banister on one side and of course my one-year-old was obsessed. We had to constantly keep an eye on her, or lock her inside so she didn't topple off them, and actually my six-year-old fell off the side of them and hurt herself on a really-oddly and slightly dangerous rock to the side of them.
Also (and I say this as a dog-owner myself) lots of people let their dogs off leads, and they would constantly run into our area. (and I had to move poo more than once) But they are minor complaints and I literally can not wait to get back to The Park. It's utterly idyllic. You and your kids will love it. Go...no don't...oh go on then.....
Written by Amy Clowes
Amy is Seatkickers' editor, she lives in Manchester with her daughters aged seven and one, her husband and her rescue dog Lebowski. She loves travelling and discovering new places. Her favourite place in the world is Biarritz in France.