Monday, 26 June 2017

Breathtaking Views on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye - A Review

If you want to experience a birds eye view of Orlando then you simply have to visit the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. It is situated on International Drive and stands at an incredible 400ft in height. The attraction offers amazing views across Orlando which are breathtaking and it really is a wonderful experience for the whole family.


The attraction is very easy to find, but to be honest it would be very hard to miss a 400ft high wheel. We caught a taxi from the Cabana Bay resort and we were dropped off at the main entrance at the front. We were very impressed with how clean and tidy the surroundings were and there were some lovely fountains and a grass area that the children enjoyed playing on.

The attraction is based within a lovely complex which is also home to Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Orlando so if you purchase a saver ticket to all three attractions it makes it a lovely full day out. The surrounding area also offered plenty of dining options and shops as well as relaxation areas where you could simply just chill out and enjoy the sunshine. The whole area around the main building was very clean and well kept and so it was lovely to just sit outside on the grass and enjoy an ice cream whilst watching the wheel go round.

Unfortunately whilst doing this, Ben decided that he was too scared to ride on the wheel and so Ben and I had a wander around whilst Mr F, Riley and Emma went to join the queue. After a very short wait their journey began with a 4D cinema experience which is included in the price. They all enjoyed the film and felt that it was a nice fun addition to enjoy before entering the capsule on the wheel.


The capsules are air conditioned, which my husband said made it much more comfortable, especially with it being so hot outside. After a short wait, the capsule began rising into the air and they were soon able to view the wonderful Orlando landscape. There was a fantastic moment once they reached half way up, when a sight seeing helicopter came in to land at its base across the road. Riley was so excited by this and it was so close that he could even see the pilot. The views were absolutely fantastic and the children really enjoyed trying to spot popular landmarks, buildings and cars.



The wheel moved at a slow speed which made the ride very comfortable and the full rotation took just under half an hour. My husband felt that this was just the right amount of time needed to enjoy the experience. In order to enhance the ride, there are also ipads within the capsules that provide information on the local area, We felt that this was a great idea and helped to provide some facts and figures to the journey.

During the day you can see for miles and this provides the opportunity for some fantastic photos. Evening flights are also available and if we have the chance to return in the future, then we would definitely try one of those so that we could see Orlando all lit up at night. I am pretty sure that if you timed it right, then you would also be able to spot the fireworks at Disney's Epcot.


There are numerous ticket options, but a basic general admission ticket will cost you $25 for an adult and $20 for a child when booking online as this saves you 10% off the on the day arrival prices. However, I feel that the best value tickets are the Orlando Eye Drive Experience Tickets which grant you entry into the Orlando Eye, Sea Life Orlando and Madame Tussauds. These have an online price of $49 per adult and $39 per child. The added bonus of this ticket is that you do not have to visit all the attractions in one day as the ticket is valid for 30 days from the date of your first visit. Free parking is also available in the onsite parking garage.

If you would like further information on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye and to obtain the most up to date information on ticket prices and opening times, then please visit Officialorlandoeye.com

Overall, my family really enjoyed this attraction and although Ben and I did not have the opportunity to ride on the wheel (due to his fear of heights) we still really enjoyed the surroundings and atmosphere. I feel that the ticket prices offer good value for money in offering a wonderful unique experience and I would definitely recommend this attraction to others.


Disclaimer: I was provided with 2 complimentary tickets for this attraction in exchange for an honest and impartial review. I paid for the additional tickets. Ticket prices are correct at time of writing but I would always recommend visiting the attractions own website for the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Brean Theme Park - The Home of Sooty!

I used to love watching Sooty as a child and I'm not ashamed to admit that I still do. It is one children's programme in particular that I love watching with Riley, especially when he starts laughing uncontrollably at Sooty & Sweeps antics. Therefore, when we were in the Somerset area recently we paid a visit to Brean Theme Park which is where the most recent episodes of Sooty are filmed. There is also plenty to do for non-Sooty fans too with a great selection of fairground rides for all ages. There were numerous rides suitable for Riley who is 4, but also larger rides to keep my two other thrill seekers entertained including a loop de loop!


Brean Theme Park is advertised as the UK's Largest Free Admission Theme Park and is located on the Coast Road at Brean Sands, Somerset. When we arrived we made our way to the ticket kiosk expecting to have to pay for all of us, however we were pleased to find that admission is actually free and you only pay if you are wanting to use the rides. This can be done on an individual ride by ride basis by purchasing tokens, or you can purchase a wristband that allows you unlimited rides on the attractions. I thought that this was a really good idea as we were visiting for the children and I had no plans to go on the rides, it was just a day out for them. We also had my parents with us who are 66 and 68 and they too had no desire to go on the rides, so we thought it was great that we didn't have to pay just to supervise our children and watch them enjoy themselves like you do at many other attractions.

Once we had purchased wristbands for the children, Riley chose his first ride which was a motorized horse ride that rode around a track. He absolutely loved this, it was a very simple ride but it was perfect and he smiled all the way round, waving intermittently when he dared to take one of his hands off the bar.


No sooner had he got off this ride, we bumped into a giant Sooty mascot. Riley ran straight up to him and gave him a huge hug. We took some photos and again there was no charge for this and they were happy for us to take our own pictures.

Whilst Riley stood with a beaming smile and kept waving at Sooty, my other two children Emma and Ben went off to enjoy some of the rides. First up was the giant swing ride, which was quickly followed by the X-Factory and the Dodgems. We had arrived shortly after opening time, so it was very quiet and no queues. This meant that the children were able to go on the dodgems over and over again much to their delight.

The log flume soon caught there attention though and despite it not actually being warm during our visit, they had no hesitation in getting soaking wet as they splashed into the water. Again there was no queue so it was great to see them being able to enjoy themselves without any wait. The staff on the rides were friendly and helpful, as well as making sure they checked wristbands and height when necessary.


The highlight of the day was The Sooty Show which is on daily at 2pm. This was absolutely fantastic and we laughed so much. It was just like being in one of the shows that you see on television and we were all in hysterics, especially when Sooty got out the water pistol and soaked all the crowd! With the park being admission free, you could technically visit for the show alone and the Sooty museum free of charge, both of which I highly recommend for a good giggle.


There was plenty of seating in the form of picnic benches, which also meant that we were able to enjoy a drink and a snack whilst waiting for the show to start. You had a good view from wherever you sat, but the host did also invite all the children down to sit in front of the stage to make sure everyone could see and enjoy the entertainment.


After the show we had a good look around Sooty's TV Studio which featured sets and props that had featured in the show in last 65 years. We also enjoyed looking at the photographs of all the celebrities that have featured in episodes over the years. There was also a small shop where you could purchase Sooty Memorabilia as well. We felt that the toys here were reasonably priced and we bought Riley a Super Sweep plush toy for £12.



After the excitement of The Sooty  Show, it was time for some more rides. Riley wanted to go on a smaller version of the log flume that he had watched his siblings go on earlier and I thought it was a great idea that they had miniature versions of the bigger rides for toddlers.


Riley's favourite ride was Fantasia and he picked a different vehicle to ride in each time. Again there was no queue so he went on this about 8 times, certainly getting our value for money from the £15 wristband we had purchased for him.

 
Riley also really enjoyed the Farm Train and the Looney Tunes ride which were ideal for his age group. All the rides were quite close together, so it also meant that all the children could go on different rides if they wanted to, yet we would still be able to see where they all were and supervise them at all times.


Astro Tours was popular with my daughter Emma who really enjoyed this, Ben on the other was a little scared as it was too dark for him and he likes to see where he is going and what is happening so he chose not to ride on this again, instead opting to spend most of his time on the Dodgems or the Magic Mouse. It was great that they had so much choice.


Before we left, Emma wanted to go on her first loop de loop. She has thought about it a few times previously when we have visited other theme parks, but she decided that this would be an ideal first one due to the loop being quite small. She looked slightly nervous as she boarded the ride, but she absolutely loved it and went straight back on several more times before we left.


Overall we had a great day out at Brean Theme Park and to see the Sooty Show and all the memorabilia was fantastic. We paid for 3 wristbands with Emma and Ben opting for a Mega Wristband at £25 each and Riley had a Sooty's Tots Wristband for £15. I felt that the total cost of £65 was fantastic as they were able to go on the rides so many times that we definitely got our moneys worth. I loved the fact that admission is free and that you only pay if you plan to go on the rides. We visited during an off peak period so the park was relatively quiet, but would anticipate there being queues for the rides in the peak summer season. If you are a fan of fairground rides and the fabulous Sooty, then this is a great day out for the family.

Important Information
For the most up to date information, I would recommend visiting the Brean Theme Park Website where you can find all the details you need on opening times, prices, special events and directions. The Website can be found here: Brean Theme Park

Address:
Coast Road, Brean Sands, Somerset, TA8 2QY

Wristband Prices:
Mega Wristband £25
Sooty's Tots Wristband £15
Mega Wristband 2 Days £40
Sooty's Tots Wristband 2 Days £25


Disclaimer: Information provided was correct at time of writing, however I would always recommend visiting the attractions own website for the most up to date details before visiting. Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

5 Fun Things to do in Salou

We recently visited a wonderful mobile home holiday park called Sanguli with Al Fresco Holidays. The holiday park was situated in Salou which is on the Costa Dorada coast just over an hours drive from Barcelona.

The holiday park we stayed on was jam packed full of fun activities and entertainment for families, but we also found that there were numerous attractions within the local area that also offer lots of fun for tourists.

1. The Beach

The beach in Salou is absolutely fantastic. It is spotlessly clean with long stretching golden sands which makes a lovely walk whilst paddling through the sea. There is plenty of space for towels or loungers as well as ample facilities to hire loungers, parasols or purchase drinks. Showers can be found at regular intervals along the beach front and there are also some lovely children's play areas which my children enjoyed in the evenings. If you are a watersports fan, then there are also various points along the beach where you can hire a jetski, go paragliding, enjoy a banana boat ride, or have a relaxing time on a pedalo.


2. PortAventura World

PortAventura World offers three theme parks as well as five themed hotels. Consisting of PortAventura Park, Caribe Aquatic Park and the latest addition Ferrari Land, the resort offers plenty of family fun to keep you entertained.

PortAventura Park covers 105 hectares divided into six theme areas. There are 41 attractions for all ages in the theme park and more than 40 daily performances. There are also 47 food and beverage outlets to sample the best dishes from each continent, as well as 51 shops to purchase goods ranging from photographic memories to sweets and merchandise.

PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park is an impressive area of 50,000 m2 which features 14 attractions that guarantee fun for the whole family in a tropical setting that recreates the lush vegetation of the tropical islands. The water park has an ample selection of different slides, including the highest on the continent 'King Khajuna'.

Ferrari Land spans over 750,000 square feet and offers 11 attractions for the whole family, with a strong focus on technology and adrenaline. As well as the thrilling attractions, visitors can enjoy restaurants, shops and shows that reflect the spirit of Ferrari.


3. Salou Fountains

Salou has a lovely selection of fountains which put on some wonderful displays in the evening. There is the Cybernetic Fountain located at Jaume I Promenade (near the port) which in peak season has nightly displays at 10pm each evening from 1st July to the 10th September.

The Labyrinth Fountain can also be found nearby and this runs from 6pm til midnight on a daily basis from 1st July to 10th September.

The Illuminated Fountain is located at Francesc Germa Square and from the 1st July to 10th September this takes place at 11pm each evening.

4. Tourist Train

Our kids loved the Land Train and it was a fun way of getting around town to save little legs from getting tired. The service offers a circular journey with several stops and also offers a choice of two different itineraries so that you can learn more about Salou and it's main points of interest. The trains are now also equipped with audio guides for adults and children which are available in four different languages.

5. Go Karting

Karting Salou offer a fun adrenaline filled experience with go karts suitable for ages 4 to 13 on the junior track and adult karts for people over the age of 14 to ride on the 900m adult circuit. The site is easy to find just off the motorway and is open from 10am each day. Once you have enjoyed a race around the tracks, then there are also several other attractions there to keep you entertained including amusement arcades and a bungee rocket.

If you would like to find out more about places to visit in the area, then I would highly recommend the Visit Salou website which has plenty of up to date information to help you make the most of your stay.

Disclaimer: Attraction information is correct at time of writing but would always recommend visiting the attractions own website for the most up to date information before visiting. Photographs are my own.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Travelling Back in Time with Blists Hill Victorian Town - A Review

Blists Hill Victorian Town is a replica of a small industrial town set in the year 1900 which has been recreated by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. It features a wide range of exhibits and demonstrations by knowledgeable members of staff who really get into character. The demonstrators all take the time to explain their roles or tell you a little bit more about the Victorian community making it not only a fun attraction, but also a learning experience too.

Some of the monuments on the site are original, others have been re-located brick by brick and some of the buildings have been copied and erected using traditional building materials.


Location

The attraction is located in Madeley, Telford. We used the postcode provided on one of their leaflets for the sat nav system, however we found it to be well signposted along the main roads. We were staying in a cottage in Coalbrookdale and it took us less than ten minutes to reach the site. When we arrived we found there to be plenty of parking, but it is important to note that it is a pay and display car park which costs £3 for the day. The machine currently accepts old pound coins only whilst waiting to be upgraded, but you can purchase a ticket from inside the shop if this is a problem. There is no charge for parking for blue badge holders.

The Attraction

We received a nice welcome from the gentleman in the visitor centre reception and we were provided with a map of the site. We made our way into a large room which was showing a film about the Victorian era, we stayed here for a short while before making our way up the staircase and to the main part of the attraction. As we made our way through the door we were taken back in time as we stepped through onto the classic 1900's street.


Our first stop was to take a look in the bank where you can also exchange some modern day currency into old money that can be used in the shops. It was interesting being able to compare an old Lloyds Bank to the modern facilities that we are used to. We were only here a short while as the bike shop next door soon caught the children's attention and they were fascinated looking at the weird and wonderful bikes that were available back then.

We took a look inside the Chemist which featured a variety of lotions and potions. In the corner was also a dental area. To say this looked a little scary would be an understatement. I definitely wouldn't have fancied a trip to the dentist in Victorian times!



Next up we visited the photography suite. This was my favourite part of the attraction which allowed you to dress up like a Victorian and have a family portrait. Sue, who was running this experience was fantastic, as well as being really kind and helpful. My youngest son Riley didn't want to take part in dressing up and she was very patient with him and tried to provide some gentle encouragement to get him to join in. Unfortunately he wouldn't give in, but Emma, Ben, Mr F & Grandad all got dressed up and played their roles really well and definitely looked the part.

To begin with they were taken to a large dressing room area where they each selected their outfits. My daughter was given a choice of several dresses to choose from and there was a wonderful selection of hats. Sue made sure that all the costumes were fastened up correctly and we were then led through to the studio where the photographs were taken.




The pictures were taken against a traditional Victorian back drop and the clever use of props helped to hide anything that would have been 'out of era' such as my daughters minion socks! Sue then took three photographs, with the first being a serious pose that we were told would have been typical of the Victorian period. The second photograph had a relaxed smile and then the third was full on cheesy grins! Once all the photo's had been taken we were shown the pictures and given the choice of which we would like to buy. The cost of the images was £15 for the first print and then £10 for any additional prints. They came in a choice of three different sizes which was a singular 10 x 8 inch print, 2 small prints on one sheet, or 4 smaller prints on one sheet. We chose to purchase two of the large 10 x 8 prints and we all felt that this was good value for money. I feel that £15 was really reasonable as the whole experience in the studio took around half an hour and it was great fun watching the children get dressed up and the print is a fantastic memento from our trip.


Directly opposite to the photographer was the sweet shop where my children purchased some lollipops to eat whilst we continued our walk through the town. Emma enjoyed reading through the list of sweets available and looking at the old prices.


After the sweet shop we made our way down the hill and past the G R Morton Ironworks. My children had spotted the Victorian Fairground on the map and so we decided to spend some time down there and then work our way back up. The fairground featured some swings and some stalls such as a coconut shy and darts game. This is seasonal so isn't open all year round and I'm not sure if there are more rides in the school holidays, but it would have been nice to have seen a nice traditional carousel here or an alternative ride suitable for younger children as unfortunately Riley was a bit too small for the two rides that were available. As you can see though, my son Ben loved this swing ride! Whilst Riley wasn't quite big enough for the rides, he did enjoy the games stalls and was lucky enough to win a prize on his very first go.


Opposite the fairground is a nice cafe area with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. We all enjoyed a hot drink here and they also had a lovely selection of food available too. The prices were reasonable for what was on offer and it was a nice spot to have a quick break before we ventured over to the school house to take a look.

Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to see a class in action or meet the renowned Mr Stern! The school looked great though and we had a good nosey inside at the layout of the building and all the desks inside. My kids enjoyed comparing it to their own school, but said that they definitely prefer the more modern environment and technology that is on offer today.


We spent a bit more time in this part of the attraction and walked over to the nearby Squatter Cottage. This was a very small home, which the lady told us would have housed a family of 9! It certainly made my daughter think as she often complains that her bedroom is too small, yet this entire house wasn't much bigger. My children certainly weren't fans of the outside toilet and it definitely made them wonder about how different life would have been.


As we began to head back up the hill we visited the Ironworks and had a good look around. A short way up from this was a lovely cottage that was also the Doctor's surgery. It was very strange to see all the old medical instruments that were on display and we also noticed that the surgery was only open for 90 minutes in the morning and 90 minutes in the afternoon. Our doctors surgery is open 9 til 6 and we still struggle to get an appointment!


As we returned back to the main street we noticed a horse and cart ride about to set off, so my children and their nana climbed onboard and went for a lovely ride around the town. This carried an additional charge of £1 per person so it would be a good idea to take some loose change with you. It was only a short ride but my kids really enjoyed it and it definitely added to the experience.


We took a further wander around the shops before visiting the fried fish dealers where we enjoyed the most delicious portion of chips which we ate outside in the beer garden a short distance away. These were a lovely treat and at £2.40 for a cone it was a very reasonable price too.




Overall, we had a great day out. We visited as a group of 7 ranging from ages 4 to 68 and there was something for everyone. Our family really enjoyed the photo experience, as well as exploring the old shops and houses. It provided us with a great insight into how life would have been in the early 1900's and it was great fun speaking to the demonstrators who all played their roles really well. We will be visiting the area again during the school summer holidays and will definitely be making a return visit to Blists Hill Victorian Town.

Important Information

Entry prices are as follows:

Adult Entry with Gift Aid - £17.95
60+ with Gift Aid - £13.75
Child with Gift Aid - £11.85

Adult Entry Non Gift Aid - £16.25
60+ Non Gift Aid - £12.50
Child Non Gift Aid - £10.75

You can also purchase Annual Passport Tickets which includes admission to all 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums for 12 months. For further information please visit the website here: Ticket Information

Opening times: The attraction is open 7 days a week from 10am til 4:30pm.



Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. All opinions and photographs are my own, unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 9 June 2017

A Fabulous Family Break with Al Fresco Holidays - Sanguli Salou Review

If you are a regular reader to the blog then you will know that we are passionate about family travel. As I work on the blog full time (so effectively can work from anywhere there is wifi) and my husband works in a school, it gives us 12 weeks a year where we can travel and visit places to our hearts content as well as weekend breaks and day trips.

During May Half Term we had the opportunity to visit a wonderful holiday park called Sanguli in Salou, Spain with Al Fresco Holidays. We only stayed for 3 nights, but our short visit was absolutely amazing and we literally cannot wait to return in the future.

About Al Fresco Holidays

Al Fresco Holidays specialise in family mobile home holidays throughout Europe, on a selection of Europe's favourite family friendly holiday parks. They have a huge selection of destinations on their website with each park offering fantastic facilities and a wonderful location. There is a mix of large and lively parks, small and friendly, authentic and value, as well as midsize and sociable, so you can be sure of finding a holiday park that suits your requirements.

The website is really easy to use and by clicking the Destinations and Parks category on the top of the page, you can see a full list of destinations, as well as some quick links to the most popular parks. There is also a live chat facility which is really useful if you have any questions about a particular park, or need assistance with the booking process.

There is a choice of mobile homes which are all well equipped, comfortable and modern. Some of the mobile homes can sleep up to 8 people which is great for larger families, or if you would like to go on a trip with friends and share the cost. There is also ample space making them a great alternative to a hotel stay where you can all be restricted to being in one room. My particular favourites are the holiday homes which also offering decking, outdoor seating and a barbecue which means that you can make the most of the sunshine and enjoy some al fresco dining too!

Al Fresco Holidays make it easy to find a destination or park that suits you, using the search function. You can then refine your options by selecting specific requirements you have on the left hand side such as budget, being near to the beach, kids club facilities and dining choices to name just a few. You also have a choice as to how you wish to travel to the holiday park such as flying, ferry, train or Eurotunnel and Al Fresco representatives are more than happy to assist you with your travel needs.

The Booking Process

I found this to be really simple and it was a quick and efficient process. I knew the dates that we wanted to travel and had selected the type of mobile home that we required online whilst browsing through the site. I then completed the booking over the phone (as I had a couple of questions too) and within minutes I had received my booking confirmation via email along with important information about the holiday. You have the choice when booking to add additional options to your holiday such as air conditioning, linen packs, an equipment damage waiver (I would definitely recommend taking this out),  beach/bath towels, baby packs & toddler packs. Both the baby and toddler packs are a great idea and can really help cut down the amount of luggage that you need to take with you. For example the baby pack consists of a travel cot, high chair, baby bath, socket covers and a baby gate on the terrace.

We also received a further email several hours later with our itinerary, directions, a handy checklist and some useful contact telephone numbers should we need assistance before or during our holiday. All the information I was sent via email made me feel prepared for our trip and my family and I excitedly began our holiday countdown.

Getting to Sanguli

We looked at a couple of options of getting to the site, the first being that we could drive to Portsmouth, get the ferry over to Bilbao and then drive approximately 4.5 hours to the park. The second choice was to fly, which we decided was the easier option as Sanguli is ideally situated only 15 minutes from Reus Airport. Our nearest UK airport is Manchester and unfortunately flights were coming up very high at approximately £170 each and so with the help of Skyscanner we found return flights for 5 of us for less than £150 in total including allocated seats from Glasgow. This is approximately a 4 hour drive from our home, but we thought we would make the most of this and travel up a day earlier so we could have a day in Glasgow City Centre too which we really enjoyed and it worked out really well. The flight took just over two and a half hours and we received really good service on both the outbound and inbound flights.

To save money we chose to travel with hand luggage only. Our outbound flight was with Jet2.com and their allocated hand luggage sizes were slightly larger than our inbound flight back with Ryanair, so it was just a case of making sure that our luggage was within the size requirements for both airlines and we took a bag each. As this was only a 3 night stay we found that we had plenty of room for shorts, tshirts, shoes and towels and it also meant that we didn't need to queue in an airport to check our luggage in or wait at a carousel to collect it. We had declined the option to add the linen pack when we booked our holiday and simply used one of our hand luggage cases to keep all the linen in and found that there was plenty of space. We found it so much easier than pulling big suitcases around that we are considering travel hand luggage only on all future flights now where possible.

When we arrived in Reus Airport, we made our way outside where there was a line of taxis waiting. A gentleman with a clipboard approached us and asked where we would like to go. He spoke good English and then translated our destination to our Spanish speaking driver. We agreed on a price which was 35 euros and within half an hour of landing we arrived at the fantastic Sanguli holiday park.

Arrival at Sanguli

We arrived at the park via the new Africa entrance. A gentleman on the gate checked our name against the list and allowed the taxi entrance to drop us off. We then made our way to the main Sanguli reception which was just a very short walk away from the drop off point. There was no queue when we arrived and so we were welcomed straight away by a lovely lady on reception who asked me to sign a couple of forms and then provided us with our Sanguli wristbands which we needed to wear for the duration of our stay.



The lady provided us with a small welcome pack which gave us a timetable of activities and a user id and password so that we could use the wifi during our stay. We were also given a map of the new Africa Zone and given directions to the Al Fresco check in tent where we would be provided with the keys to our accommodation.

Our first impressions were fantastic. Sanguli have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into the design and layout of the Africa themed zone even down to the little details. The first thing the kids saw was the amazing water park and we couldn't wait to cool down in the pool and try out the water slides.



We made our way past the restaurant and then opposite the shop there were some steps which took you down to the Al Fresco tent. This is where you can check in with your representatives. You are required to leave a £50 housekeeping deposit on arrival which is then returned to you at the end of your stay providing the accommodation has been left how you found it. If you don't want this deposit to affect your available funds or spending money whilst there then I would suggest using a cheque, which is also Al Fresco's preferred method too. This way you simply hand them a cheque for £50 and they give it you back when you leave. I totally agree with this policy and personally think it is a great idea.

I signed a further form confirming that I agreed to the housekeeping deposit and we were handed our keys and given directions to our holiday home. This was located down a small gravel road and was opposite one of the camping fields. It was really easy to find and I loved the outside decking area which also had some great quality outdoor dining furniture.

Accommodation

We stayed in a Rossini Riviera Lounge which sleeps up to 6 people. There were two bedrooms, with one located either side of the main living room area. One bedroom was a double room, the second bedroom was a twin room and in the living area the sofa could pull out into a double sofa bed.


The mobile home was very modern and clean and we found that there was ample space for our family. It was very well equipped with everything you could possibly need in the kitchen and the fridge freezer was of ample size. We found that there was lots of room to store our possessions and there was a larder area just off the kitchen which had plenty of shelving to store food such as bread or cereals.


The shower room featured a shower with hot water and a sink area with shelving. There was also a plug in here which was great for me in the morning as I cannot live without my hair straighteners, so it was great to be able to have a plug by a mirror so I could get ready easily. The toilet was separate from the shower room and was in a small room (closet size) next to the twin room. I liked the fact that this was separate from the shower room as it can be very frustrating if someone is in the shower and you need the loo!


Pillows and blankets had been provided and we made up the beds on arrival so that they were ready for the remainder of our stay.

There was a dining table in the living area which came in very handy during our stay for preparing sandwiches and also eating our breakfast on the last morning of our stay when the bright sunny weather had been replaced with a showery downpour.

A couple of bin bags had been provided and there was also a broom and mop bucket, so that we could keep on top of keeping the mobile home clean and tidy.

We all had great first impressions of where we would be staying for a few nights and so once we had unpacked and the beds were made, we headed straight to the pool!



Sanguli Holiday Park

Wow! This holiday park simply has everything you can think of and more! The new Africa zone features two walk in pools, a selection of slides, water fountains and toys, animal statues, ample sun loungers, a restaurant, takeaway, shop and a bakery. All this is just in one section of the park which is just amazing! We spent all of our visit between the Africa area and the beach, but there were also numerous other pools and water slides throughout the park for guests to enjoy.



An extensive kids club programme ran by the park itself ensured that there was plenty to do for even the youngest of children and my son Riley enjoyed participating in the mini disco which was on three times a day! The kids club catered for children up to the age of 12 and there were plenty of toys and activities to keep everyone busy.



All the staff members that we came across were really helpful and friendly. They were also patient and kind when my children were taking their time to try their best to speak Spanish. One lady in the shop also made the effort to try and teach them some numbers.

I found the shop to be reasonably priced. There were some things that were a lot more expensive than at home for example 4 euros for a pack of Kelloggs Cereals (currently £1 in Asda). However some things were also a lot cheaper and so it did end up balancing out and didn't cost as much as we were expecting it to. We chose to self cater and cook for ourselves during our stay, however there were several restaurants on the site which all offered a wide range of meals that were of reasonable prices. We spent a total of 100 euros to purchase enough food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, wine and beer to last our full stay. I was more than happy with this and had expected to spend double that. The shop in the Africa area was well stocked and had most essentials, however a short walk away near the ampitheatre, was a larger supermarket that had a bigger choice of meats, vegetables and drinks.

Despite being a really large busy park, it never felt overcrowded at any point. We had no issue in getting a sun lounger regardless of which time we went to the pool and all areas that we visited were spotlessly clean.

The pools were fantastic and despite having travelled all over the world, my children are adamant that the Africa pool is their favourite resort pool of anywhere else we have been to. It had no deep section and so it was also very relaxing for me knowing that they would be comfortable no matter where they were in the slide pool as the water was never higher than their waist.

There was a deeper pool adjacent to this that was suitable for swimming and seemed popular with adult guests. There were no queues for slides and these were all of various sizes so that there was something suitable for all age groups, meaning that everyone was catered for.  The numerous life guards were a welcome presence and did their jobs well. The pool isn't heated and although it does feel cold on entry, you soon warm up and I found it to be just right once I had been in there a few minutes.




As we absolutely loved the pools that were closest to our accommodation we chose to spend our days having fun here or at the beach. However, as mentioned previously there were numerous other pools throughout the campsite that all offered a great range of facilities and slides. In addition to pools there is also a football pitch, bicycle rental, and even trampolines to keep you busy.

We enjoyed taking a walk around the site in the evening pretending that we were on a safari and looking for different kinds of animals with the kids. They absolutely loved this and some of the animal statues are very lifelike too!



Dining & Drinks

There is a huge choice of restaurants, takeaways and snack bars throughout the park, so you will literally be spoilt for choice if you want to dine out for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu prices seemed very reasonable and I absolutely loved the decor in Restaurant Victoria which was in the new Africa resort area and named after the impressive Victoria Falls.



Bar Baobab was located closest to the Africa pool and offered a lovely range of refreshing drinks and cocktails.

We also loved the on-site bakery and the kids enjoyed purchasing a fresh croissant every morning to eat on the way to the beach.


Evening Entertainment

The onsite entertainment in the evening started a bit too late for us as Riley was fast asleep way before 9pm which was when the main evening programme would start. This would take place in a wonderful ampitheatre which had plenty of seating for the guests on site. My husband and I could hear the singing in the evening which was quite loud when sat outside, however we couldn't hear anything inside the accommodation so it didn't disturb any of the kids whilst they were asleep. We did try to convince Riley to have a siesta one day so that he would stay up late enough for us to watch a show, but he refused to leave the swimming pool and so we decided to just let him enjoy the holiday rather than try and enforce a nap.

Offsite there is also plenty to do in Salou itself and I believe that there is a fabulous fountain show in the town centre which starts at around 10pm in the evening. As we were visiting in mid season this wasn't actually on whilst we were there as was only scheduled for Friday and Saturday night, but in peak season I was told this is on every night.


Local Area

The wonderful sandy beach of Salou is located across the road from the town site entrance, which is approximately a ten minute walk from the Africa resort area. We really enjoyed the stroll through the park along its palm fringed walkways, but if you didn't fancy carrying all your beach items through the park, the site offers a fun little land train service that collects from the main Africa entrance and drops you off at the town side entrance.


It is a fabulous beach that is really clean and tidy, with plenty of sun loungers for hire, showers and bar areas to purchase a drink. My children absolutely loved coming here every morning and spent hours building sandcastles, digging holes and swimming in the sea.




The beach also offers pedalo hire, jet ski hire, paragliding and banana boat rides at various points along the shores and it was great fun watching people enjoy themselves out at sea.

For thrill-seekers there is also the amazing PortAventura Theme Park located approximately 10 minutes away by bus, where on the same site you can also find the brand new Ferrari Land and the Caribe Aquatic Park.

Other nearby attractions include go karting, an aerial adventure park and golf.


Our Opinion on the Al Fresco Experience

We found everything from the booking process through to leaving our holiday absolutely seamless. We received plenty of information before our trip commenced and I felt well prepared before we set off on our journey. The on-site representatives were really helpful and they were always on hand throughout the day in the event of needing any assistance. On our second day we decided to have a barbecue but we were missing the tongs from the barbecue set. My husband simply made one of the representatives aware of this and a new set was provided within ten minutes. On another occasion we were unsure how to control the air conditioning and a lady kindly came and showed us how to operate it correctly. There was also a handy comments pad in the Al Fresco tent so that if no one was there you could leave a message and they would get back to you on their return. This seemed a very simple but useful idea.

In the tent you could also find a selection of games and beach toys that you could borrow and return which is a lovely idea and seemed popular with all guests.

The day before we checked out we received information on the check out procedure and we were asked what time we would be planning on leaving so that someone could come and check the accommodation and return our housekeeping deposit. We informed our representative that we would be ready for 8:15am the following morning and sure enough they arrived exactly on time. We had made sure we had followed all the steps in the checklist and left the mobile home immaculate and just how we found it. The cheque was then handed back to us and we gave the keys back to the Al Fresco rep.

I literally cannot fault our stay with Al Fresco Holidays at Sanguli. Despite only being there for 3 nights it is quite easily one of the best family experiences that we have had together. We would love to return for a longer period of time in the future so that we can also fit in a visit to some of the local attractions and enjoy some more time in the sunshine.

Thank you to Al Fresco Holidays for an absolutely wonderful stay!

For further information you can visit the Al Fresco Holidays website here: http://www.alfresco-holidays.com/

It is also now possible to book your 2018 holiday with Al Fresco Holidays at http://2018.alfresco-holidays.com/

Alternatively you can follow them on social media via their channels which are:

Twitter - @AlFrescoHols
Facebook - Al Fresco Holidays
Instagram - @alfresco_hols


Disclaimer: We were provided with discounted accommodation for the purpose of providing an honest and impartial review of the Al Fresco experience and Sanguli Campsite. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.