Sandylands Holiday Park (Parkdean Resorts)

Okay, first things first, before we start the actual review, I would like to say that usually this type of content would be accompanied by photos…lots and lots of photos. But to be completely honest with you, it didn’t occur to me until I was already back home that I could maybe talk about the experience I had on the site. So instead I encourage you to use your imagination, and I will endeavour instead to paint you a word picture. 

Also, we were fortunate enough that our full holiday was actually covered by The Holiday Project, an organisation I’ll be talking about at a later date. The reason I mention this, is firstly to shine a little light on the organisation listed above, but also because I can say that even if we’d had a bad time as Sandylands Holiday Park, that it still would have been worth the money we paid, which is to say none.

But since we had such a good time, and plan on recommending you take a similar trip, I will try to price as closely as possible to how much it would be to do so. I had a little trouble price matching, just due to the lack of availability currently but from a quick check of their site, for a 7 night stay from Monday to Sunday, it will cost in the region of between £350 and £450, with the variability depending upon when you want to go, and whether you can take advantage of any sort of booking discounts. 

So, probably the most important aspect of the entire trip, where you’re going to stay, Sandylands have a variety of awesome static caravans to choose from. The holiday project owns their own caravans on the property, so we stayed in the caravan provided for us, but it is more or less the same as any other caravan available to other guests at the park. They do have an impressive range of caravans, to suit specific needs, tastes and requirements. Although, all of the caravans do come with a fully equipped kitchen, including a fridge, cooker and microwave, and gas, water and power hook ups to make sure you can enjoy all the creature comforts of home while away. I’m not sure if it’s standard but our caravan also came with a TV link up, meaning we could watch a whole host of TV shows while on holiday. Also I’d like to add that despite some really bad weather, the signal for the TV never wavered throughout the full week. 

I will say though, that mobile data was not great while inside the caravan. I had planned to get some work done during the week, but the signal meant it wasn’t even worth trying. That however was a relatively minor concern overall. 

So as I touched on, the caravans overall have a standard layout, with each having multiple beds/bedrooms so you can make it a full family trip. For our trip it was just me and Tori B Bearly. Oh, and J.H. Laird joined us on the Saturday, she stayed over and we played a bunch of board games from Asmodee and Big Potato Games. But even with the three of us, there was more than enough room. I really meant that comment about the whole family being able to go by the way, Sandylands have a variety of pet friendly caravans so assuming you’re fine with pay an extra fee to cover any potential damages then you can take your furry babies along on the trip too.

Our Caravan was gorgeous, easily one of the nicest rooms I’ve stayed in during a holiday or trip. It was really well maintained, spotlessly clean, and everything just had a really nice flow, and cohesive design that made the place look charming and cosy. I would give our accommodation a solid 5/5, as honestly it was lovely. About the only issue we had the entire time, other than the aforementioned signal drop while inside the caravan was that, on the Thursday or Friday, the power conked out, as too much was running at once, but this was quickly and easily rectified by the support staff at Sandylands, and I was more careful from that point on. 

So next up the facilities available at the Park, first off Tori and I got to go swimming for the first time in about a decade, we even bought new swimwear for the occasion, as Tori especially was excited to take advantage of the heated indoor pool. It was a really nice occasion, and it has encouraged us to swim more, so we are going to be going to The Galleon Centre, in Kilmarnock town centre for a regular session.

Something else that really brightened up the week was the amusement arcade, other than being absolutely destroyed by a claw machine, it was a great experience, it really reminded me of being a kid. And I guess in a way we were reliving the nostalgia of our youth, as we ran from place to place, trying everything the arcades had to offer. We actually came away with a good few tickets in the end and traded them for this handsome little mouse plushie.

On Friday we treated ourselves to a nice meal at the Boathouse Bar and Restaurant, and other than it being a little too packed for my liking, it was a really good experience also. Tori and I both got steak pies, and we finished off with a Knickerbocker Glory and a cheesecake respectively. The food was really good quality, perfect pub grub for hungry travellers, and it was especially nice to go out to eat during our trip. Especially since, other than the first day where we order takeout, we cooked the rest of the week.

I have one small issue with the on-park convenience store, now it’s ideally located, and especially as the caravans are suited to self-catering, having a place to buy some food is great, but at least when we went it it was understocked, and everything was a wee bit pricier than I would prefer to pay. Clearly a convenience fee has been added to the price. Despite that though, the person behind the till serving us was incredibly polite, helpful and chatty, and we had a nice conversation with her. Plus I was super glad to grab some rock from the store, it’s good as a wee gift for friends, plus I absolutely love the stuff. 

We didn’t really make use of it as I’d paid for an unlimited data plan for the month, so we’d have internet during the trip regardless, but there’s WiFi across the park. It didn’t quite reach our caravan about half way into the park but it’s available to use nonetheless. I would rate the facilities maybe a 4/5. Mostly losing that extra point just because of the shop.

Nestled right by the coast, and built alongside a scenic golf course, it really is lovely there in the park. In the mornings I would just get cosy outside my caravan, with my coffee and read for a little bit, soaking in the fresh sea air, and the ambience of my surroundings. 

Less than ten minutes up the road there is also a truly beautiful rocky beach, I went there around lunch time on Sunday and just stared at the sea for a while. It was incredibly relaxing. And that’s kind of the buzzword for the whole trip, any other holiday I’ve ever taken, either as a child or an adult has been either stressful, draining or both. I don’t know if it was the short travel time between Kilmarnock and Saltcoat, or the ability to just do nothing. But I found this entire trip to be incredibly relaxing, I left feeling recharged and content. Perhaps the only downside to the location, was the entrance to and from the park is prone to flooding, and as we were walking to and from the bus stop, it was quite a chore to navigate without destroying our footwear. That aside, Sandylands still more than earns a 5/5 for the location. 

Being able to cook for yourself in a well organised kitchen, one considerably bigger than the one we have back home was a real treat. However, assuming you aren’t interested in cooking, there are over a dozen highly rated takeout establishments in the nearby area, the majority of whom deliver to the park, we had no issue ordering food, perhaps the most you might have to do is walk out to the main road in the park, to flag down a driver if you happen to be one of the caravans deeper into the park.

The support staff were quickly able to fix the couple of problems we had during the week, and I mean like less than 10 minutes between a situation arising, and then fixing it. They were also very polite and helpful, throughout our interactions.

We didn’t manage to make it this time, but if you keep heading along the beachfront, you will come across Premier Leisure Cinema, a boutique movie watching experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. The restaurant, Oscars, which is attached to the property is likewise second to none, we actually went there as a class to celebrate completing my bartending course, and it was awesome. I don’t really have a rating for the extras as these were just little touches that I wanted to mention but if I were rating the extras they’d probably get a 5/5 as well. 

Our full week’s stay at Sandylands Holiday Park was superb, the issues were minor, but the whole experience was one that I would gladly repeat again. As such I want to give them a really strong overall rating of 4.5/5, and I recommend that you book yourself a trip away as soon as possible by clicking here

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