Wildlife (and Wi-Fi) in the woods
And his tribe discover the New Forest in a traditional holiday park (with all the mod cons)
IIS there Wi-Fi in the caravan? That was the key question from my 14-year-old son Oliver, who, as is the way with today’s teenagers, was more likely to be happy on his travels with mum and dad if the internet signal was of an adequate strength.
“Is there a restaurant at the park?” added my daughter Rebecca, 12, who revels in a family holiday of any sort, especially the eating out bit.
We were off to explore as soon as we arrived at Bashley Hoburne Holiday Park, just north of the sleepy market town of New Milton in Hampshire.
The New Forest might be old hat to some, but if you have never discovered the likes of Brockenhurst, Lymington, Sway and Beaulieu, then a stay at Hoburne is the ideal way to experience these serene locations. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
Hoburne Holiday Parks – one of the UK’s longest-established holiday groups – has invested more than £2 million in its two parks in Dorset and Hampshire.
There is no doubt the money has been well spent, with new and improved dining and entertainment areas opened just two weeks prior to our visit.
The leisure complex, interior decor and contemporary furniture, fixtures and fittings give the park a warm and welcoming feel.
There are indoor and outdoor pools, plus crazy golf, a sauna and wet room, a gym and an amusement arcade, an outdoor pitch, tennis courts and a golf course – so there’s plenty to keep guests occupied during the day, while ‘The Venue’ provided the evening entertainment.
A refurbished Cafe H and a restaurant – offering table service and both classic and modern dishes at reasonable prices – are on offer, and the staff are friendly and efficient.
The communal areas are comfortable and there is the added bonus for sports fans with Sky TV on three big screens, even though keeping everybody happy is something the management may want to consider as all were linked to each other, meaning only one channel could be viewed.
It is not often that England get to play in a World Cup final and allowing viewers to enjoy our cricketers’ T20 match against the West Indies was proving a popular choice – until it was switched over, just as the second innings was about to start. So one moment we were looking forward to the prospect of seeing whether England could defend their lead, and the next we were watching a Premier League clash between Manchester United and Everton with not too much at stake – although there may well have been a busload in from Manchester, of course...
The accommodation is varied and designed to an excellent specification.
We were afforded a top-of-the-range Platinum Plus caravan, one of 24 brand new homes that add to the premium feel around the park.
There is generous space in the lounge/ kitchen, with a bedroom each for the children and a shower/toilet opposite, and the master bedroom had its own en-suite toilet.
Wi-Fi is available, much to Oliver’s relief, and the caravans are also equipped with a balcony area, which would be a lovely place to idle away the hours on one of the loungers, although not when it is around six degrees, windy and raining, or overcast, which it was for the majority of our stay.
Bashley is a perfect base to set off on walks and cycle rides. You can hire bicycles from nearby Brockenhurst Railway Station – and the coast is just a short drive away. Oh, and the Beach-combers Cafe at Barton-on-Sea is a delight, especially the ice creams.
Bournemouth and Southampton are within an hour for those wanting to sample city life, and the many villages dotted about the forest, with their quaint pubs and quirky charm, are bewitching.
For those who have never driven in this beautiful area before, beware – you are bound to see a pony or two wandering across the road, so take care, and remember you are in their territory – not they in yours.
n MANE APPEAL: The Youltons snapped this New Forest pony – the area is a national park and the animals wander freely
n RESTAURANT, WI-FI AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Rebecca and Oliver Youlton discover the charms of the New Forest
n ROOMY: Rebecca checks out the Platinum Plus caravan at Bashley Hobourne Holiday Park, near New Milton