“ Chalet park situated in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
*~*Introduction*~* (*Please note that though this review will be focusing on Mablethorpe's Chalet Park there will be mentions of nearby attractions.) This is just a short introduction as to why I chose to stay at this particular holiday site and feel it has relevance to my review but feel free to skip it. I have been going to Mablethorpe since I was born and have had many, many happy times at the former Golden Sands caravan site (now owned by Haven) where my Grandparents owned their own caravan. The Golden Sands site was situated right next door almost to the Chalet Park, so for as long as I can remember I have memories of the place despite only recently staying there, and the whole appearance of it hasn't changed one bit. When I sadly lost my Gran 2 years ago my Grandad sold their caravan as he couldn't bear to go there without her and for a while I felt as if I wouldn't be able to visit Mablethorpe myself as it would cause me too much upset. After my Grandad passed away last year my family felt they would like my Grandparents ashes to be scattered on Mablethorpe beach so I offered to take them. When wondering where to stay, I immediately remembered the chalet park and decided it would be an ideal place, so after a quick google online I found their website.. *~*The website and booking our stay*~* Once I had located the website it gave me all the information I required for booking and gave a brief synopsis of the park and chalets. Though these days the park offer caravans as well we had decided to book a chalet simply because we hadn't stayed in one before, and my parents had said they had stayed there in the late 60's and that the chalets were quite roomy. This piqued my interest and I wanted to see what they were like myself. As I was going with my husband and 2 young sons I was pleased to read on the website that each chalet slept up to 6 people. Though there is a plethora of information on the website sadly you cannot book online, though I did email them prior to wanting to book just to ask about availability. I received a reply within 48 hours answering my queries and they also informed me they would send out a brochure if required to which I replied back yes giving them my address. There is a booking line via telephoning their office but I opted for waiting for the brochure as I was told there would be a booking order form enclosed. When this arrived it was simple to fill in and payment was via a cheque which had to be received by the park no later than 30 days before our stay. Once payment had been sent, a few days later I received through the post a receipt, a letter confirming our stay and which chalet we were to stay at and also a map of the park giving directions to our designated chalet. To book by phone ring 01507 472359 or request an order form from their website @www.chalet-park.co.uk *~*Inside the chalet*~* The park is situated at the end of Lincs avenue which is off of Golf road. As Mablethorpe consists of one large main street it is very easy to find almost anywhere you are looking for with relative ease. At the entrance to the park are two large gates and adjacent to this is the office which is a double chalet. On entering the office I was met by a friendly young man who verified my details and handed over the keys. There is an option to take your own bedding (which for each bed requires a valance sheet and pillow case) but I found it more convenient to 'book' clean bedding which costs around £6 per set as we simply didn't have room to be taking extra items in the car with us. On been handed the key I was given the fresh linen in a bag and shown on a giant map where out chalet was positioned. As this is our third consecutive stay at the park this review focuses on the combined experiences. There are 3 different types of chalets on the park ranging in shape and size though each time we have been lucky to stay in the largest which has a 'house' appearance with a sloping roof. There are two ways to enter the chalet, either by the side door (which we used the most) or by the front which has two large french doors that open outwards onto a wheelchair/pram friendly slope and is particularly ideal in warm weather. Each chalet contains a full size cooker, microwave, iron, fridge, kettle etc in the kitchen which is cordoned off via a breakfast style bar. In the living room there is a full size table with only 4 chairs, TV with freeview, coffee table, electric heater, 2 large chairs and a large sofa bed. There is a fully fitted bathroom with a large bath, toilet, basin and mirrored cupboard and some chalets feature showers but not all of them. There are two reasonable sized bedrooms - one features bunk beds, a large double wardrobe and a small chest of drawers. In the smaller room is an ironing board and clothes horse if they should be required. The larger room features a double bed, large double wardrobe, chest of drawers, another electric heater, and most importantly the electric meter which takes £1 coins so it's vital you are well stocked up when you go! *~*Park facilities*~* The chalet park clearly states that it isn't like Butlins nor does it pretend to be. There are over 300 chalets dotted about the park and are all clearly numbered in alphabetic sections around the edges and in the centre of the park is a large pub. The pub, or the Tavern to give it it's actual name is very family friendly and features two large function rooms. Though children are allowed in both rooms there is also a specific family room with pool tables, games and a more child feel to it and it's opening times are 12 - 12 everyday that the chalet park is open. The family room is accessed separately from the rest of the pub by two large doors at the front which open up to a large play area. Though the play area is in front of the Tavern it is part of the park's facilities and can be used by children who are not at the pub with parents and is easily accessible as it is in quite an open area. There are swings, a tyre rope slide, and several climbing frames including a rope bridge all of which are suitable for most ages of children. Next to the play area is a large football pitch with goal posts which is secluded by trees and bushes and proves very popular especially with young boys. On the other side of the play area is an arcade which again looks from the outside like a giant chalet. On entering the arcade it is actually very modern inside and has the latest video games not to mention our personal favourites the penny machines (or 2p machines nowadays). The arcade is sublet so it's opening times vary though I have stayed in peak times in the Summer and noticed it was open from around 10 am, however when we stayed recently in the October half term break it didn't open until around 7 pm. The people running it are very friendly and always say hello on entering and leaving which is nice, and not something I have really come across before as it makes you feel far more welcome and has a homely feel. There is also a laundry where tokens are bought from the shop, though as I have never used this facility I cannot comment but it does feature several washing machines and dryers - that is the extent of my knowledge after peeking in a few times I'm afraid, though there always seemed to be plenty of people milling about in there so it seems popular. Just around the corner from the office is the park store. This, as the majority of the buildings, is painted in the same style to resemble a chalet and stocks the basic provisions such as bread, milk, cheese and certain tinned products. You couldn't do a weekly shop in here but it is very handy if you run out of something and the prices are reasonable unlike some holiday park shops. There are also gifts, sweets, postcards, beach toys and a limited selection of newspapers sold here and the store opens around 8 am and closes at 6 pm even in out of peak times. Outside on one side of the store is a conveniently located toilet block which have always been clean when I have needed the urge to use them, as is the mens according to my husband. On the other side of the shop is a fish & chip shop and cafe which is connected. The fish shop opens around midday and closes 'late' so is always handy for those late suppers. The food is standard fare and though I've had nicer fish & chips they are ok as are the prices if you are just feeling a bit peckish. The cafe is something else completely, and is like the arcade and sub-let by the park and run by a lovely couple called Jim and Claudia who also run the fish and chip shop. Every time we have been to the cafe - which I must say has the appearance of a typical 'greasy spoon' - we have been warmly greeted and the food is actually mouthwatering restaurant standard with cafe prices and very highly recommended. The cafe is open daily from around 8 am and closes again 'late' which is basically when everyone has gone and is always a popular haunt with new holiday makers as well as owners who have become regulars. *~Nearby attractions*~* On leaving the park there is access to the beach which is only approximately 250 metres away and is through the sand dunes. Mablethorpe features one of the finest beaches I have ever been on and certainly lives up to it's title of 'golden sands' and which stretches a vast amount. It is a lovely sandy beach unlike some pebble and shingle beaches this is pure sand and is perfect for families to enjoy especially children who can dig holes and build sandcastles to their hearts content (well mine do anyway). Along the beach runs the famous Mablethorpe sand train which will take you from the south end where the town is to the north end where the Animal Garden is situated for just over £1. The journey is lovely, especially in warm weather and lasts around twenty minutes and is not only convenient but extremely fun for the whole family as the train weaves in and out of the waves. On the north end, which is less than 15 minutes walk from the end of the chalet park is the aforementioned Animal Gardens which features a seal sanctuary and many species of birds and animals. It is a nice few hours out but not that big so you couldn't spend the entire day there. Next to the Animal Gardens is a fantastic family pub called the Ferryboat, which not only has an adjoining arcade but serves some fantastic home cooked food at reasonable prices and is very much recommended. In the opposite direction you have the south end where Mablethorpe town is. It is a typical British seaside town though on a smaller scale but still has everything you need including a fun fair, supermarkets, gift shops, arcades, restaurants/pubs, and a large park called Queen's Park which is very scenic with a large boating pond, crazy golf and model railway to name a few. Also less than 5 minutes from the entrance of the park is a small independant cinema with two screens showing the latest films. A good option for bad weather and purse friendly prices too for once! *~*My opinion*~* I have just recently returned from a week long stay at the chalet park and not only stayed for a week in July this year but also for 4 days last October and have nothing but praise for it. What I like about it is it has such a retro appearance and feel to it that you can't help but feel relaxed the second you enter the gates, and though furnishings are modern the whole feel has a chilled out stepping back in type vibe to it which is what I adore most about it. As mentioned I remember walking through the park when I was younger when I was staying in my Grandparents caravan next door and the entire park still looks the same! All the chalets are the same colour - a dark stained wood with yellow doors and windowsills (yes really) and though it's not a choice I would want to paint mine if I owned one it does look 'tidy' as all 300 + chalets match so it gives the park a nice uniform feel. On entering the chalet on my first visit I was extremely surprised by how large and modern they were considering they seemed small from the outside they certainly have a 'tardis' feel to them and are incredibly roomy. The only negative I have to say is that the chalets have varied in cleanliness which is the only let down. The first time we went the chalet was very clean, however our last two stays have seen the standards drop each time to the point I complained to the office on our last visit. They did in all fairness send someone to rectify the problem but that isn't the point, after traveling for two hours and unpacking and food shopping the last thing I want to do is be faced with a dirty holiday home. Our stays have always been pleasant even after a 'run in' with an owner over parking spaces though the office were quick to come to our defence and sorted the problem out (he said we were parked in his 'spot' despite it being directly outside our chalet at the time) and apart from that one very unfriendly man the other holidays makers and owners we have met have all been very nice and friendly. One main thing that I do remember from my early years of walking through the park is the amount of wild hares that seem to run freely even throughout daylight hours and this was again evident on each of our stays. The hares all seem quite tame and on numerous occasions 7 or 8 could be spotted right outside the door frolicking on the grass which made our stays seem very rural and relaxing and which my sons especially loved 'bunny spotting'. One our last visit though I did notice about 5 hares all staring through the kitchen window at me one evening which did make me slighty paranoid! Generally they are quite tame but aren't a nuisance and do tend to run off when people get too close to them. As everything is run by the electric meter situated in the main bedroom it is vital that you have a good supply of £1 coins with you on your arrival - as we discovered on our first holiday there. The meter is quite reasonable actually and even with most amenities being used such as both heaters in the evening, we still only used approximately £15 in electric which I deemed to very good. The cost of staying in chalets ranges but we paid £300 in the Summer holidays at peak times and £85 in October so it's best to check if there is any offers on before booking as they do offer varying rates depending on circumstances and what period you wish to stay for. *If you are not a dog fan then this may not be the place for you (though personally I'm not a fan either) as dogs are allowed to stay on the park and cost the owners approximately £16 per week. There are full prices for dogs and which types are allowed by contacting the office. The park also has a strict policies for trouble makers and will not tolerate abusive in any way, shape or form which may sound a little restrictive but certainly gives peace of mind when booking that if trouble brews it will not be tolerated. *~*Conclusion*~* I have found the chalet park to be a fantastic holiday venue that meets all of our holiday needs as a family. As we always stay self catering when we go on holiday this is ideal as the chalets themselves have all the amenities one could require and are very cosy to stay in indeed. In the summer they retain the heat from the sunshine so no heating is normally required (without overpowering the chalet) and even in the cooler month of October when we stayed recently and on another occasion the sunshine had warmed it up sufficiently so it only needed a slight boost from the electric heater on an evening for around half an hour. On our first visit we stayed opposite the Tavern and I was slightly apprehensive about the potential noise particularly on an evening. Though it was rather noisy on the weekend nights from revellers it wasn't enough to disturb our stay too much so I can't complain too much about noise, and on our most recent visit the Tavern was in sight from our window but no noise was heard at all making it our stay in a perfect position - close to the pub and park which kept us all happy! A lovely family holiday park. End of!