l;opll/@During the school Easter Break, we went away for 4 nights to Tralee Bay Holiday Park with my parents.
My dad actually booked the caravan, so not sure how easy that process was. But on the run up to us going away, I was slightly panicked as he had only booked us a 2 bed caravan – for my parents, myself, Matthew and Nathan (who would require a travel cot).
When we arrived, it was decided my parents would take the double room, N would sleep in with them in the cot, and M and myself would take the twin room as there was no room for anyone else! We didn’t even make it to bedtime before we all had a last minute swap around due to N’s bedtime antics! The caravan was new, spotlessly clean and had a small balcony overlooking the Bay.
The site was a short drive from the main road in the village of Benderloch – approx 15/20 minutes drive from Oban, and was situated overlooking a lovely sandy beach. It was lovely and quiet, no shop onsite – but there was a Fish & Chip shop which we tested for dinner on the first evening. The fish was amazing, but the chips let it down 😦
The nearest shop was back in Benderloch village, along with a lovely little coffee shop open daily – Ben Lora Cafe & Bookshop. The Reception/office had a selection of tourist leaflets and free second-hand books you could borrow. There was also a mini Pitch & Put – clubs and balls available from Reception.
There was a sandy park area – not much in way of facilities, but enough to keep the kids amused for a while. Next to the park was a covered picnic area where you could have BBQ’s.
Our second day we decided to go and explore the park and the beach in the morning. M had got an early birthday present of a wetsuit, so he was dying to try it out. I have to admit, I thought he was mad, but who was I to spoil his fun! N also loved paddling with his wellies, and throwing stones in the water. Once we all got soaked and freezing, we headed back for lunch and nap time. We had taken M’s bike (minus the stabilizers) and I was determined to get him riding it. After a headed ‘debate’, I managed to get him out and we went down to the grassy sand dunes to practice…after 10 minutes he cracked it! I was sooo proud of him – he’s had a real fear for the past couple of years and I was just so amazed how quick he got it. After that, there was no stopping him – as soon as we got back to the van, he asked to go out again and practice himself and within 30 minutes he’d managed to work out how to start pedaling from stationery position and I let him roam around the site himself (which was a bit nerve racking).
On the Friday, we took a walk up to the village with M on his bike and popped into the cafe for coffee and cake, stress levels were slightly elevated at this point due to N’s tantrum! We picked up a bucket & spade and ball from the local shop and then headed back…just in time for a heavy rain shower. We got back, dried off had lunch then N went for a nap whilst M was out on his bike again. Later the sun came back out and we hit the beach again – lesson learnt – always buy 2 buckets and spades! The boys constantly bickered over them! In the evening, we headed into Oban for dinner, we had decided on a lovely looking Italian at the harbour, but on arrival we discovered it didn’t open until 530pm, and N just couldn’t wait that long (we arrived at 4.55pm), so we found another place around the corner Bar Rio – which was lovely.
Our last day, we decided to head over to Sea Life Oban as we have membership passes. We got there just after opening, so was nice and quiet so the boys could run around without annoying too many people. After being to Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre, I expected the Oban one to be bigger and better (don’t ask me why – I just assumed!). Its made up of various buildings, so was a bit awkward if you needed the toilet etc and wasn’t exactly clear which way you were supposed to go. Again, N decided to coincide his morning meltdown with our visit, so we headed round quickly, then popped to the cafe for coffee and cake, before heading back so that N could have a nap.
In the afternoon the sun made an appearance, so we all headed out – my mum, N and I went to the park; my dad and M went to the beach. Once the boys had been tired out, we headed back and sat out on the balcony which a little aperitif whilst dad made the dinner (what is it about men using every utensil and dish when cooking?!). M headed back out on his bike and made a friend and then went exploring in the woodland next to the park. I did have to go and track him down for dinner though, but I didn’t mind too much as he was having fun. N was so funny – any time M went out, he would bring his coat to one of us, and point to the door to go out!
On the day we were heading home, after packing up we had originally decided to stop at the Cruachan Visitor Centre – which is a hollow mountain power station. I always remember as a young child visiting and raving about it to my teacher and classmates afterwards. But, we decided to give it a miss and head straight home, since I had a lot to sort out since it was M’s birthday the following day.
I would definitely recommend the Holiday Park and would like to go back at some point – possibly when there was nicer weather to make the most of the beach, or possibly at New Year for their Hogmanay beach party/fireworks. I’m definitely planning to take a trip up that way to take the boys to the Cruachan in the near future.