This year we managed to get away to the holiday we had booked for last year, I was grateful to the Haven holiday park for holding it for us. We have been to Dorset before but this was a new Haven park for us, Rockley Park is in Poole, and we went to Weymouth before.
I always choose our holiday parks carefully. We don’t have a wheelchair accessible caravan because they are too small for us, they only have two bedrooms and we need three. But I can walk a little anyway, so with a little help up the steps and I’m fine. Plus the caravans are small enough for me to get around easily, it’s wide spaces I have problems with. So long as I’m near a wall I’m good. In fact, I didn’t even use my sticks while there.
I like a park with beach access and sea views and looking at the site it seemed that Rockley Park had these and everything else. Plus it was a fairly small park so we wouldn’t need to use the car to get around onsite. What I hadn’t realised was that the beach was by a pool, not the sea. So they were not sea views. I’d been excited that I’d be able to get my wheelchair right up to the beach as there was a boardwalk and cafe. But I really thought I’d be looking out at the sea, not a pool. It was certainly not a bad view, just not what I had expected.
Here’s some photos from the park.
Poole is a harbour rather than a seaside town (should have done more research Anne!) We found out when we went to do some food shopping in the nearest town. The Satnav wouldn’t work for some reason so we ended up just following traffic and boy, there was some traffic. We soon found out it was due to road works. See on this map, the little bit of red road I’ve circled…it completely cut off the shortest route into Pool and anywhere else, so we had to go back on ourselves first. all the way up to the A35. It was so frustrating, because we could come back the short route (roadworks were on one side) and it took 30 minutes less.
When we were on our way home, the roadworks had moved…typical. We didn’t leave the park every day though, and one of our trips took us the other direction to Corfe Castle.
We decided not to visit the castle because of accessibility issues, but it was mostly ruins anyway. We did, however, spend a day there in the gorgeous surrounding village and went to see the Model Village which was lovely. The kids really enjoyed it there, the girls spent ages in the teepee. I couldn’t access all of the village (I had to miss the fairy gardens) but I still enjoyed it there, and we were blessed with some lovely sunny weather too.
Here are a few of the (Very) many photos I took of our visit.
The nearest seaside town was Bournemouth which had everything you expect from a British seaside town. We avoided the more crowded areas but still found a spot on the beach. The girls sat and chatted while messing with the sand, while Graham and the Little Man went for a paddle in the sea. We had chips from the chip shop and ice cream from the ice cream stand. Graham, Little Man and Boo went on the Ferris Wheel while I browsed a quiet gift shop with Star. We decided against the pier, the kids seemed disinterested. They are not really fairground lovers.
We went back a second day to visit the Oceanarium (Bournemouth’s equivalent of a Sea Life Centre.) The Little Man fell in love with an axolotl and now he wants one as a pet. He’s decided he wants to decorate his bedroom like an ocean! The girls, like typical teens, wandered off on their own then got into a sulk because they wanted to go back to the caravan because they were ‘tired.’ I persuaded them to play a game of crazy golf first though and that brought them back to life a little. I wasn’t able to access the course but there was a viewing stand all the way around for me to follow them.
Both days in Bournemouth we had lovely sunny weather, but both days it rained on the way back to the caravan!
We had decided that we wanted this to be a relaxed holiday so we didn’t sign up for any of the activities. We booked a couple of meals in the restaurant which was nice. We also had a couple of take outs and I was surprised that they were really good value for money. I think we only cooked a couple of meals in the caravan, although we did have breakfast there every day. A couple of days we did not much at all which was nice, we also had a balcony on the caravan so we could sit outside.
We went to the arcade a few times, but only the one on the park. It was never very busy which was good. We also had a night out at the club. In the past this hasn’t been too successful, the kid’s would get bored, I would feel uncomfortable because my wheelchair takes up so much room and I can’t get around, and Graham can’t drink because he has to drive us. But this night was really good. The club was in walking distance so alcohol was allowed…although I try not to drive my wheelchair when drunk so I only had a couple 😉 The Girls sat on a table by themselves and chatted and had fun. They even went and ordered themselves a pizza with their own money. I’d sorted out Go Henry Cards for the kids to use and keep track of their own spending. The Little Man felt a bit left out but he enjoyed the singer on stage and knew a lot of the songs so he was singing along. Then they did some party dances and he jumped up to join in. He loved it! I felt comfortable because numbers were restricted so I had plenty of room. The only disappointment was the disabled toilet. It was doubled up as a baby changing area which is usually ok, but they had a proper table rather than a pull down one and three bins for nappies and wipes etc. I could just about get my wheelchair in and couldn’t turn around. That meant I had to come out backwards, but the door was too heavy to push so I was stuck. I managed to unlock the door and was just in the process of phoning for help when someone opened the door. They immediately apologised but I called out to them to hold it open for me. I was just happy to escape.
We had a really lovely week and it was so nice to get away. The weather was nice one minute and raining the next but we seemed to time everything right (I did have a weather app on my phone which seemed to be pretty accurate.) I think the highlight of the week was the lovely model village and Corfe Castle, the area was gorgeous and the sun really warm that day. But you can’t beat eating chips or ice cream by the sea side. I love sitting on the promenade watching out over the horizon.
I felt pretty good all week. I was up early with the Little Man and we had breakfast and watched the Olympics while waiting for the others to get up. It was nice not to have to worry about shopping and housework and even cooking for a week. (In fact the only day I did feel too much pain was when I cooked us all lunch. I think I might have to give up cooking! )
I was comfortable in my wheelchair and even though the rules around Covid have relaxed we practiced social distancing and kept our masks on indoors. This was our choice and we respected others but on the campsite most people were doing the same anyway. It was lovely to spend so much time outside though. I really must make an effort to get out more before the weather gets too bad.
Now, I’m thinking about where we can go next year! Graham wants to go back to Devon Cliffs which has always been a favourite of ours.
Have you ever been to Rockley Park or any Haven holiday camp?
A Suffolk Mum has written a great post on 11 Best Family Friendly Uk holidays perfect for mini breaks.