Sandy Balls Holiday Village, New Forest
Sandy Balls Holiday Village is a site that comes up a lot on caravan and camper van sites when I’ve been researching for places to stay. It’s near Fordingbridge in the New Forest.
So when we had a free weekend in April I thought this would be the perfect time to try it out. At just over an hour away in the camper van it’s a really great distance for hopping in the van straight after school, and with the weather looking a bit brighter than it has since our last weekends away, I was really looking forward to it. (Our last weekends away have been a bit wet!)
On the Sandy Balls website it says there are resident alpacas, a bush-craft school, spa, cycling and swimming pools (inside and out). I didn’t have high hopes of using the spa, but you never know. The sort of holiday village where you can park up and not have to leave, whilst still being a little active (if you want!).
There are a load of activities you can do on each day but these need booking onto 30 minutes before at an extra cost. There is archery, alpaca introduction, pool fun and clay painting to name but a few. As we found, the activities get booked up fairly quickly at busy times.
We travelled on a beautifully sunny Friday afternoon after we’d finally packed up after school. Travelling through the New Forest was like being in a foreign country with the gorse and wild horses grazing on the side of the road. Unfortunately, the children had fallen asleep so didn’t get to see the horses on the way to Sandy Balls Holiday Village.
Arriving on Site
Just pulling up into the reception at Sandy Balls it felt like we’d arrived in a holiday park. There were lots of people milling about in their holiday clothes and children on bikes.
We drove past lodges, camping pods, zen lodges (I’d like to try one of these!), caravans and campers before we finally found our pitch. It really struck us how busy it was! We’ve never stayed on a site in hot weather and never had so many neighbours. Everyone was outside enjoying the sun, chilling out with children playing outside, this was completely different to our autumn and winter camerpervan adventures where the sites only had a hand full of other campers. I wondered how busy the toilets and showers would be? By Saturday morning we actually had neighbours!
Highlights from our Weekend at Sandy Balls
Sandy Balls Holiday Village is a great place to stay as there is so much to do on site, but if you want to drive out there are plenty of places to visit nearby such as Salisbury, Bournemouth, Poole or Beaulieu.
As we were only there for two nights we were happy to have a mooch about seeing what was in the holiday village, and unfortunately didn’t manage to book onto any of the activities in time.
Safe for bike riding
We took the childrens bikes with us and they were able to cycle up and down where we had pitched up. Of course they had to be careful with cars and caravans moving around but it felt really safe for them to be able to cycle around. We live on a main road at home and don’t have a big enough garden for long rides so this was brilliant for them. They cycled to the playground and up to the main village hub. Bodhi needed a bit of help as we’ve taken his stabilisers off!
On Saturday we ate in the Woodside Inn, great choice of food (though we chose to eat right in the middle of the Manchester Unite vs Tottenham game that was on in there!)
After our dinner, we went to the childrens entertainment in the Woodside Suite. Charley had a great time and even Bodhi joined in with some of the games. It always amazes me how Charley loves this sort of thing, and once over an initial shyness is happy to join in with the games whereas Bodhi will reluctantly join in if Charley does, but definitely isn’t as sociable as his big sister yet.
There was a decent sized inside swimming pool and outside (not open yet) which we had a bit of a swim in. It was fairly busy but I always enjoy a swim when we are away. Especially if we are in the campervan as it is a chance to have a shower! There were two smaller toddler pools, a jacuzzi and sauna – not that we got to use those!
We ate in Aubrey’s restaurant on Friday night and again for a late breakfast after we’d packed up on Sunday morning. It’s recently had a refurb that looked brilliant and the food was also really tasty. It had a really lovely atmosphere in there.
One of the playgrounds was close to where we were pitched up so we had a few trips there during our stay. Along with the usual swings, climbing frames and slides there was also a zip wire. The children loved going on this.
There was also a softplay for children which the children had a quick go on. It wasn’t the biggest but the children are always happy to have a go in them.
Whilst I’d missed out on booking a slot to have a walk with the alpacas, we saw them just as we were leaving the campsite and managed to get a photo of them. They were really cute and the children were really pleased to have seen them too, as I had promised them a walk with the alpacas. Oooops!!!
Shower and toilet block
Amazingly the shower and toilet block were pretty quiet considering how many people were on site. They were also very clean which is great when you are touring.
We had gorgeous weather Friday evening when we arrived and Sunday morning when we left which makes for a lovely weekend away.
On Saturday the weather was a little hit and miss!
Although not cold, it turned a bit wet at various times and along with the rest of the area we had a massive thunderstorm about 1am. Amazingly the children slept through but I didn’t. It sounded like it was right above us at one point (me and Charley sleep upstairs!) so it sounded really loud.
I really wish I’d shouted down to my husband to get up with me so we could have watched as I much prefer to see them than to hear them!
Very glad to have survived our first thunderstorm in the campervan.
Overall thoughts on Sandy Balls Holiday Village
Whilst we didn’t make use of all the facilities on site, we still had a lovely weekend away and I’d definitely visit again. The New Forest is such a picturesque area, just driving through it is stunning.
I’d love to come back when the children are cycling without their stabilisers and we could have a bike ride as a family at the Sandy Ball Holiday Village.
The childrens highlights were:
The Zip Wire
Do you always make use of facilities when you are away or do you just mooch about?