When we were looking to book up our first camping trip of the 2011 season, we heard that some friends had booked an Easter break at the Park Resorts Camber Sands site. This is not somewhere we’d normally have looked at as it’s a holiday park rather than a camp site, but we thought we’d invite ourselves along anyway. Our friends are tentists, but we won’t hold that against them and they have two small girls and so this is our first review of a camp site visited with children. Overall we had a lovely weekend, although how much of this was down to the good company and the glorious (unusual for a bank holiday weekend) weather and how much is down to the campsite is hard to tell.
The best thing about the site is its location. The touring pitches are located alongside the coast road that separates the long and very popular beach from the holiday park so it’s ideal for spending a day by the sea. The road, however, means that there is a bit of traffic noise and unfortunately there is no view of the sea due to a steep bank, although you can hear the waves crashing at night. A fence separates the site from the road and so there are no worries about security. There are also plenty of places within travelling distance for a day-trip. We visited Hastings, which we enjoyed, although Rye also looked pretty as we drove through and we also spent a lovely day at Leeds castle near Maidstone.
The immediate area outside the park has a few small grocery shops, and a couple of pubs within walking distance, none of them looked particularly inspiring, and there is also a Pontins holiday park just down the road.
The actual site was pretty much what you would expect from a holiday park – lots of static caravans and some mediocre eateries within an entertainment complex. The best feature seemed to be the swimming pool (4 indoor pools) which our friends tried out while waiting for us to arrive and there were also some good play areas which kept the kids entertained for a while. We used the on-site shop for some basic provisions – bread, beer and ice-cream. It seemed to sell most basic items, but left us wondering why these kind of places don’t do a better line in quality BBQ food. We didn’t use any of the other facilities on the site during our trip, preferring to spend the evenings drinking wine on our pitch, rather than playing bingo in the bar.
On arrival, we were shown to the touring area by the warden. This is quite a small area and it’s not particularly pretty. There’s no separation of the pitches and our first impression was that it was quite crowded. The grass didn’t seem to be particularly well looked after as there were bare patches despite it being early in the season. The pitches are flat and grassy (although underneath the grass is what appears to be concrete which resulted in quite a few bent pegs!) and there are electricity and water points dotted around. There were a mixture of tents, caravans and motorhomes, but we were the only campervan. We were shown where to pitch and were able to arrange to be next to our friends despite having booked separately. Some of the pitches around the edges seemed to be marked out, but where we were in the middle seemed to be a bit of a free for all, which could result in feeling hemmed in, and if you had a campervan and went out for the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if you came back and your pitch had been taken by someone else. We didn’t have that problem as we have a rather large awning to mark our space.
The amenity block contains ladies and gents toilets and showers, family showers, covered washing up sinks and waste disposal points. The showers and toilets were adequate, although we’ve seen nicer (we were told that the individual showers were nicer than the family showers). There was plenty of hot water for both the showers and the washing-up sinks, and we didn’t have to queue despite the site being busy. The touring pitches seemed to be occupied mostly by families with quite young children, which you might expect given the facilities on the site, and there seemed to be several larger groups which resulted in some noise into the evening, although it didn’t prove to be disruptive. It’s probably the kind of place you would go to with friends to have a good time rather than for a quiet relaxing time which actually suited us on this occasion.
In summary, this site is alright. We had a good weekend but we all agreed that we would probably not return as there was nothing particularly special about it. If you planned to use the entertainment facilities more, or spend a lot of time on the beach, then this might be the site for you, otherwise, I would try somewhere else as there’s a good chance that you’ll find a more picturesque site for less money. See our review of Rother Valley, Northiam, which is not far away or our upcoming review of Hidden Spring Vineyard, Horam, which is also in East Sussex.