10 October 2013
We have stayed at a different John Fowler site previously (John Fowler holiday at Ilfracombe) and found it to have good kids entertainment and was good value for money. We therefore booked at the John Fowler holiday park in St Ives to extend our Butlins holiday into a second week. Fortunately we were able to book through John Fowler's from Friday to Friday, so that meant we could go there on the same day we left Butlins.
There wasn't any gold accommodation left when we booked so we booked silver accommodation. We had the choice of bungalow or caravan and decided to go with bungalow thinking it would be more spacious which is useful with young children. The bungalow was in good condition and had more space in the lounge and kitchen, although the beds and bedrooms were about the same size as if we'd stayed in a caravan.
The site has a children's play area, a small amusement arcade and an indoor swimming pool. The first time we tried to go to the swimming pool we were turned away due to it being full, but we were able to go another time. The swimming pool is good and includes a flume slide. There are no lockers, but we were able to put our bags in a small spectators area.
The holiday park has a lot of trees around, making it feel more like staying in woodland. There is also a good nature trail through some woodland at part of the park, which the children enjoyed.
The local town and beach at St Ives is only a short drive away. Due to a shortage of parking at St Ives we caught the bus which goes from inside the holiday park. It worked out cheaper to buy a family day ticket compared with buying individual tickets, although it would have been cheaper to actually park in St. Ives if not for the lack of parking spaces.
St Ives has a great beach with clear sea, ideal for a day out at the beach. We ate in the harbour fish and chip restaurant which sells gourmet fish meals from sustainable fish sources.
In addition to St Ives we also had days out at Pendennis Castle, The Eden Project, Lands End and Flambards Theme Park.
There is a small shop on site, which doesn't have a huge selection, but what it did was reasonably priced. There is a take-away / restaurant in the entertainment block. Food was reasonably priced, although choice is fairly limited (especially as some of the food was unavailable); it was OK for a couple of nights where we didn't want to cook tea.
The evening entertainment was very good, although we didn't stay for much longer after the children's entertainment as we took the children to bed. The children loved meeting the John Fowler characters including Freddy Fox and friends and the Stripies were very friendly. During the summer holidays there are also some additional headline entertainers visiting the parks. On the week we were there it was a Freddy Mercury tribute which was really good.
The park also holds dance and talent competitions, with the prize being a free holiday for the grand finals. Our daughter won the talent competition so we'll be going to Ilfracombe for the finals in November.
We have enjoyed the John Fowler holiday parks in the past and this holiday was really good too. A good holiday for families at reasonable prices.