9 September 2006
The Waterside Caravan Park is located at Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth, Dorset. It's located approximately two miles from Weymouth located on the coast. GPS location: 50°38.28'N 2°25.27'W
The site is described as a 5 star family friendly caravan site. The site is certainly of high quality. We stayed in a friends caravan which was in excellent condition, although I do not know if this is the same for all the caravans. I don't have any reason to suspect that they would not be. The facilities on the site are good, and well suited for children and babies. All the buildings on the site are designated as no smoking, which is a real plus when you have a young baby that you don't want to expose to toxic cigarette smoke. This includes the entertainment areas, which is one of the areas where in other sites you have to arrive extremely early to be able to get into the non-smoking areas.
Most of the facilities appear to have dedicated baby changing facilities.
There are separate entertainment areas for children and adults. Although children are allowed in both it is nice that they have their own area dedicated to them. The only problem we did find is that the area with the ball pool / activity area includes a bar and food area. The same area also included TVs which were showing the football (England was playing), which meant that there was no where available to sit whilst the children were playing in the ball pool / activity area. More of a problem if you have a baby and children with you, which is what we had.
The site also encompasses bowleaze cove funfair and beach. The beach includes an area for launching motor craft, and then a separate area suitable for families and bathing. Although there are no lifeguards on duty (unlike the main seaside beaches), the cove is quite well sheltered, and I went swimming in the sea on a couple of occasions. The beach is a combination of sand and shingle, which is acceptable for building sandcastles and walking barefoot.
The funfair is reasonable, and mainly designed for families. There are dodgems and a spinning ride for the older members of the family, but the rest are really for children. All rides are run on a token basis, with a happy hour between 7 and 8, where the tokens are half price. Note that tokens purchased during the happy hour are a different colour (pink), and can only be used during those times. Other tokens can be used at any time.
The arcade machines are better than those in the main part of the site, and the prizes on the "ticket games" are much better. Although the minimum prize is for 50 tokens they include some good quality stuffed toys, including a rug-rat doll which effectively cost about £6 (this depends upon the game machines used and your skill rating, but is achievable).
The site also includes takeaway pizza and fish and chip shops, and a restaurant. There is also a second fish and chip shop, and self-service restaurant, which is open during the day (for beach visitors). All are reasonably priced.
The swimming pools are good, including a regular outdoor pool, and indoor pools with a flume and slide as well as a baby and toddler pool. When we went in the water was quite cold, even in the baby and toddler pool. This may have been due to a problem with the pool heating, as the outdoor pool had a warning it was below the normal temperature. The changing area included a baby changing table, and although it didn't have dedicated family rooms did include a communal area where family members would wait (with their children) for others to get changed.
Other nearby facilities include a horse riding stables located just off the site (suitable for children and small adults), and some nice areas to walk. It is just over a mile away from Lodmoor Country Park, including the Sealife centre and about 2 miles from Weymouth. There is also a regular bus service if you don't want to drive (or to save on the car parking costs).
A good quality site in a nice English coastal resort. Particularly good for families, including children and babies.