Wildlife (and Wi-Fi) in the woods

And his tribe dis­cover the New For­est in a tra­di­tional hol­i­day park (with all the mod cons)

Harefield Gazette - - LEISURE -

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

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