After more than a year of restrictions and lockdown fatigue, I know I’m not alone in finding any change of scene absolutely thrilling! So when Clare, owner of Andrewshayes Holiday Park, offered us a weekend in a brand new lodge with hot tub in Devon, we didn’t just leap, we catapulted ourselves at the opportunity.
We knew the site from our stay in a glamping pod at Andrewshayes a couple of years ago, and were so excited to try out one of the new lodges, with their extra luxe-factor and painting-worthy countryside views. If you’re looking for a UK staycation, I can highly recommend one of these souped-up static caravans for a family getaway (they’re popular though so you’ll have to get in there fast!) Here’s what we thought of our stay in East Devon…
*Disclosure – the stay was gifted by Andrewshayes in return for a review (and some family modelling shots!), but as always views are my own.
The campsite location
Hugged by swathes of idyllic green countryside, nibbling farm animals and rolling Blackdown Hills, Andrewshayes Holiday Park immediately feels a world away from our dwelling-populated Bristol life. It’s perfect for those craving space and nature after being cooped up for months.
The closest village, Dalwood is quintessential Devon in a nutshell – think clusters of thatched cottages, an olde worlde pub, stone bridge over a babbling brook and impossibly pretty church.
For Bristolians, this Devonshire campsite is within easy reach of the city – just an hour and a half away on a good day. It makes a great base to explore the UK’s spectacular Jurassic coastline, East Devon and Blackdown Hills (all Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
The lodge with hot tub, Devon
The lodge we were staying in is part of Andrewshayes’ Orchard Retreat’– a brand new addition to the site of 10 mobile caravans, set away from the main park and overlooking the valley.
These lodges are part of the Hoseasons exclusive Bouja Luxury Boutique Breaks Collection and they’re pretty swanky as static caravans go. The lodges, reached via a track that skirts a huge grassy field from the main campsite, feel secluded and close to nature. You might see one of your neighbours occasionally from your decking, or hear the soft purr of a hot tub, but that’s about it.
Inside, the open-plan living area of the lodge is incredibly luxurious for caravan accommodation – it’s more like a pint-sized swish holiday apartment. Soft carpets, sink-into sofas, thick curtains, a plush dining area, big wall-mounted TV, breakfast bar with squishy stools, and TV fireplace make the interior incredibly inviting. Then there’s some seriously impressive mod-cons for glam camping – a big double fridge/freezer, proper head height oven, a dishwasher and a flipping wine fridge! It’s incredibly well-equipped cutlery/crockery-wise and the complimentary biscuits and washing up paraphernalia waiting for us on arrival were a nice touch.
One end of the lodge is made up of floor-to-ceiling windows, maximising the view and making it feel really spacious. It also creates a lovely space to sit and gaze out at the valley when the evening chill sets in. Double doors open straight onto the large decking area with dining table, and as it was a scorcher of a weekend when we visited, we got to make use of this area a lot.
We opted for a three bedroom lodge for the five of us (2 adults, 2 kids, 1 baby), which worked really well. The master bedroom had a really comfy double bed, ensuite toilet and mounted TV with plenty of cupboard storage.
Our two girls shared a twin bedroom and there was a single bedroom, which Doug and I actually shared between us when alternating early baby wake-ups. Had our 5-month old been a bit bigger, it would have been perfect for him to go in the cot here on his own (available to rent along with a high chair for £10pw).
The family bathroom had a hot shower, sink and another toilet. Towels (including extra for the hot tub) and bedding were included. All in all, we were blown away in the comfort stakes!
The lodge’s hot tub
It’s been a long time since I stewed in a hot tub and I was quite unprepared for the feeling of sheer hedonism that comes with your very own whirlpool. No wonder hot tub sales went crazy during lockdown – after Andrewshayes we’re seriously tempted to make room for one at home! Our lodge had its own private hot tub in a separate area of decking round the back, and it felt wonderfully secluded and close to nature. Some of the lodges had their hot tubs round the front and a bit more on view to passersby.
For adults it provides some seriously picturesque wallowing – I have fond memories of a morning cup of tea soaking in its bubbling waters as the sun rises over the trees (we were up very early with the bubba). If you’re lucky, you might catch sight of wild deer or a bunny.
Getting wrinkly with an evening tipple is also pretty special. Although, really I’d say just get in it as much as you can, it’s yours for the taking! And those views…
The kids (over 4s are allowed in) absolutely loved it too and squealed with delight as they dipped themselves in and out of it. It felt like such an indulgent treat and really made our Devon staycation feel very luxurious.
For dining, the lodge is well-equipped with a head-height oven, but in fine weather, there is a BBQ patch marked out for disposable barbecues.
The site – Andrewshayes Holiday Park
There’s lots to do on the campsite and actually, because it was so hot and we’d arrived late on the Friday evening, we really enjoyed just hanging out around Andrewshayes and making the most of our lodge and its hot tub.
A big draw is the large, heated, indoor swimming pool (which was plenty warm enough for our 5-month old), the outdoor childrens’ playground (perfectly positioned next to tables in front of The Pub) a toddler soft play area and arcade-style games room.
There’s also an onsite shop should you need to pick up any essentials, otherwise The Pub serves pizzas, slushies, ice cream, fish and chips and burgers which can be eaten in or taken away.
The campsite also has its own private woodland walk, which you can access by crossing the road opposite the entrance. It’s a beautiful stroll along the edge of a field into the trees – particularly pretty just as the sun starts to drop.
Things to do while at Andrewshayes Holiday Park
- Let someone else do the cooking and order a takeaway pizza from the onsite bar to enjoy on your deck.
- Grab an ice cream from the bar/reception and go for an evening stroll around the private woodland walk, just opposite the campsite.
- Have a G&T at the bar while the kids run wild in the playground, right next door.
- Go for a splash in the large indoor swimming pool.
- Let toddlers loose at the indoor soft play.
- Have a go at the arcade games on the campsite.
- Stroll down to the nearby pub, The Tuckers Arms for lunch. The walk takes about 35 minutes along beautiful country lanes, there’s a beer garden and the food is top notch.
- Visit the local village, have a go on the rope swing and marvel at its Devonshire prettiness.
- Check out my in-depth weekend itinerary for things to do in East Devon with kids.
- Go for brunch on the seafront in Seaton, followed by a trip on a vintage tram.
- Pop into Lyme Bay Distillery for some local gin and lovely wine.
- Go fossil hunting in Charmouth
- Spend a day out at Wildwood Escot
- Visit the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
- Spend the day at Axe Valley Wildlife Park
You can’t really pick up WiFi in the Orchard Retreat part of the campsite, but does that count as a downside though? Surely all the more reason to put down your phone and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.
Final thoughts on our lodge with hot tub, Devon
We really lucked out with the weather during our stay at Andrewshayes Holiday Park, but we all agreed that had it been raining, we’d have been comfy and cosy in the lodge with our hot tub and the undercover site swimming pool for kiddy entertainment. The set up would also work really well for a group of friends or family and we are already considering booking for next year. Staff onsite are really friendly and helpful, the facilities for families are great and there’s so much to explore in the surrounding area. Big thumbs up from us!