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Lakeland Leisure Park (Cumbria, England)
Member Name: tinkabubble
Lakeland Leisure Park (Cumbria, England)
Advantages: Dog friendly, quite cheap, nice camp
Disadvantages: Entetainment not the best, dog walking zone too far away
We have just returned from a short 3 night break here. I have to say that we booked this holiday quite last minute; my dad had some time off work and we decided at the beginning of the week to book a caravan over the weekend. We wanted to take Rolo our lovely dog with us and found it very difficult to find a dog-friendly caravan at the last minute as all the dog caravans seemed to be taken. We originally wanted somewhere in Wales, but I love the Lake District so I took over the search for a caravan park and found Haven Lakeland. I knew Haven accepted pets and it just so happened that they had dog-friendly caravans left!
Booking online was simple; you choose your park and number of guests and then add any additions you want, such as high chairs, bed sheets, cots, microwaves, pets, insurance, etc. We only wanted to add our dog and were surprised that he only cost us £1! The places we had looked previously wanted at least £20 per pet. However, we really wanted to make sure that we had the booking right and that we could indeed take Rolls; we didn't want to turn up and be refused admission!
So my mum phoned up and yes, everything was correct and Rolo would only be £1 because it was Pets for £1 week, which was good timing for us! The booking therefore went very smoothly (we paid £130 or there abouts) and we had no problems checking in, etc.
We were told we would be in a standard caravan as these are the only ones they allow to be used by pets, and these vans do not include a microwave, although you can hire one if you so wish. We thought we'd manage without one. You can also only check in at 4pm, whereas with premium caravans you can check in at 2pm.
However, after we'd booked (which is a bit late really!) we read some reviews and they were all very negative bar about two! We're always game for a laugh though, so weren't too worried, especially as we'd got a good deal, but we really weren't expecting much at this point!
Arrival and Camp
As well as static caravan hire and sales, we saw that this camp also accommodate for tents and touring caravans in a different area of the camp.
We arrived quite late and found our caravan to be very nice and clean (last cleaned by Jim who did a lovely job, although maybe a bit heavy handed with the old air freshener, which worried us as we then wondered what he was trying to mask!) However, there were no stains or smells, it was very nice, and not at all obviously 'standard'. We weren't sure though whether we might have been upgraded or whether it was a newly demoted to standard caravan as it seemed to have a more modern body and did actually have a microwave. Everything seemed to be there and in good working order; the TV was good with all the freeview channels and good reception, etc. Bedding is included but you need to take your own sheets unless you hire them.
There was plenty of space for my dad's car and my sisters (there were 5 of us and Rolo altogether - we're looking into getting a people carrier now we have Rolo!) and the camp is set out very nicely with bits of greenery and trees etc, very clean; I didn't see any rubbish anywhere.
We saw quite a few dogs holidaying here, our first issue with the camp, however, was that the dog walking area seemed to be right on the other side of the camp to us! It was actually near the entrance opposite the shop and entertainment venue, which was fine, but it would be good if they could put the people with dogs closer to the dog walking area as I had to practically run all the way there with Rolo, and he only just made it; it was quite a treck! I felt mean on him as he didn't understand the concept of being surrounded by grass and trees yet having a designated area to poop. I don't suppose it would have been a problem if he had pooped on camp as I could have picked it up, but sometimes (excuse the subject matter) it can be difficult to completely clear up so I'd feel bad as there are kids out playing and people walking, sun bathing and picnicking, etc, and it would be awkward, as well as slightly embarrassing! So I walked him very early in the morning when no one was about, just in case, and then we stopped later in the car on our way out and let him do his business so we wouldn't have to walk it. However, we did walk it a few other times and Rolo did it once on the stretch of grass leading to the dog zone, which was fine as it was out of the camp, and another time on the pavement opposite the shop, which again wasn't too bad and thankfully easily cleared up, but this was definitely my biggest complaint with the camp really, so it could have been worse I guess!
Once there, the dog walking area was very nice, with plenty of poop bins provided, which is a nice change from where we live (see review on dog fouling, haha!) However, I didn't like to let Rolo off as it was right next to a road really, and even though he's usually very well behaved and the road wasn't busy, just the park entrance road, I didn't want to risk it. Which is fine if you're going for walks out of the camp, which we were, but it would have been nice to have a better dog walk where they could have a run as sometimes things don't work out and you find that places aren't always safe for dogs to run free when you're out and about.
It was a shame though that some people didn't clean up after their dogs on the dog zone though, and even in the picnic area (!), some people hadn't cleaned up, and if they'd forgotten their poop bag, they didn't go back and clean it up either as it was still there sometime later, which was inconsiderate. However, I was a bit annoyed also when I heard someone behind me saying how disgusting it was to walk dogs through the park or something, and that they were going to complain! Rolo never once fouled inside the main body of the camp, only once on the outskirts near the shop and then at the dog zone, which is off the camp really: maybe she's seen the crime at the picnic area! Anyway, that's no reflection on the camp, but I prefer camping sites where things are a bit more simple and back to nature! I guess people expect a more hotel like experience at these parks...
We also took him for a walk to the 'beach' right next to the camp but it was more of a coastal road and there were sheep grazing and a sign saying keep dogs on leads, so that wasn't great for him either.
On the first night we visited the chip shop on site and while the chips were quite nice, they were obviously frozen chips and we thought it wasn't great for a chip shop to serve frozen when that's supposed to be their main trade.
The Spar shop onsite was expensive but did sell all the basics; the cheapest box of cereal was £2.10. We didn't visit the onsite restaurante, but it seemed a nice venue and they served carveries and stuff, although I read poor reviews of the food.
You also get entertainment passes included and we went to the childrens' shows on two nights with my 5 year old nephew. The first night it was quite bad to be honest. It was DJ Ned playing his music at an uncomfortable volume and not much of a show really; they had a contest between some of the children who came up with DJ names and filled in the missing bit of Ned's song with the words 'chic chic chicken pie'. The second night however, it was quite a bit better as Rory the Tiger made an appearance in their new show about Rory being a Knight and defeating a dragon who turns out just to be a lonely dragon named Valdor. It wasn't that busy at the shows to be honest, far from Butlins Skyline Pavilion and the such, and the room was quite stuffy and always a bit on the smelly side, but the atmosphere was friendly. The music volumes was too loud though, so we sat at the back, which was better. There also didn't seem to be much of a selection of soft drinks; just Coke, Lemonade and Slush. The kids that were there seemed to enjoy themselves though, Blaise, my nephew, even got up to dance but came back complaining that the music was too loud and they weren't playing Michael Jackson! The songs they did play included Backstreet Boys 'Backstreet's Back' and Aqua, 'Cartoon Heroes', neither of which I've heard for quite some time now!
We visited the arcade to play air hockey and two penny slot machines, which was fun and my nephew won about 5 keyrings, etc, which were of extremely poor quality, but he enjoyed himself and the staff were very nice and helpful.
They had bike hire and crazy golf, which you had to pay for; it was £10 for an hour for a family bike. They also had a swimming pool, which I think was free, but not sure as we didn't use it, and trampolines, as well as a football pitch and tennis courts and a picnic area.
All in all, we had a good time and our accommodation was very nice. My nephew and Rolo enjoyed having races outside the caravan and playing football, although we had to be careful as obviously cars can pass on the roads but we were away from the main camp roads. Best of all was the location of the camp; it's about half an hour from Windermere and Bowness, where there's loads to do! My sister and nephew also visited Ducky's Farm, which is very close to the camp and has animals and go carts and was apparently very good, and we all went to the miniature village nearby, which is basically a couple's garden where the man has created a fantastic selection of small houses based on those in the Lakes. They allow dogs too, which was nice, although had to keep Rolo from peeing on the houses and drinking out of the villages stream!
It was also great that we were right next to a parachute school or something and everyday there would constantly be a plan taking people up and they would all appear out of the clouds with their parachutes; my nephew thought this was brilliant.
Don't let the negative reviews put you off; maybe some people have had bad experiences there, but we didn't, so I guess it's just somewhere you have to check out for yourself!
Summary: Worth a try!
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