When we planned out our Summer road trip this year we knew that of all the places we wanted to include in our trip, Devon was one of them. As a child I enjoyed countless holidays down in Devon and when we had children of our own it was there we took them for their first Summer holiday, one year after the next. So when Parkdean Resorts offered to host us at one of their holiday parks, Ruda, down in Croyde, it was the perfect opportunity to not only return to Devon, but explore a part of the county we had never been to before.
I had heard amazing things about Ruda Holiday Park, not just the facilities or the accommodation, but the location too. With it’s own private beach right on the doorstep it was the first thing we noticed as we drove up towards the park and, with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky, I instantly knew that we were going to have the most amazing few days there.
On arriving at the park we checked in at reception where we were met by the team who could not have been any friendlier or more helpful. We were given our lodge keys, a park map, and told all about the park and the facilities. Ruda literally has everything you could ever need from your stay with an on-site supermarket, Cascades swimming pool, three restaurants (with take-away services), a bar and show lounge, and a whole host of activities for all ages.
Our accommodation was across the other side of the park on Croyde Burrows which is where the touring pitches and holiday lodges can be found. It’s just a couple of minutes walk from the facilities and despite our stay being in peak season, it felt lovely and peaceful as we approached.
We were lucky enough to be staying in a brand new Exmoor Lodge, which was honestly one of the best we have ever stayed in. With three bedrooms sleeping six, it was not only beautifully presented but so spacious for us to enjoy as a larger family.
To the outside there is a large private decking area with a table and chairs and I love that the lodges are set a good distance apart from the next so you don’t feel encroached upon by your neighbours in any way and it’s still lovely and private.
I’ll be honest, I had high hopes for the Exmoor Lodge but it completely exceeded my expectations! Inside was absolutely stunning and I loved that as you enter the lodge there is a large area to hang coats and place shoes, as well as a storage cupboard with an ironing board and iron, a vacuum cleaner and a clothes maiden. It makes a huge difference having somewhere to put all of those things, especially after a day at the beach when sand just gets everywhere!
The lodge has the most amazing open-plan living, dining and kitchen area which is so light and airy thanks to the double French doors. I love this style of accommodation for families, it’s just so practical and homely whilst still feeling incredibly stylish.
The living area was lovely and the main thing we all noticed was just how luxurious the carpets were! Our feet literally just sunk into them and with the soft textured couches it felt so cosy to come back to at night and curl up and watch the television together.
In the kitchen we found all of the standard appliances as well as a microwave, dish washer (bonus!), a washer and dryer (double bonus!), and the cupboards fully stocked with everything we could need to cook and dine with. Every single item was of the highest quality and even better, absolutely spotless. Infact the whole lodge was impeccably clean!
Parkdean had also treated us to a bundle of items to enjoy during our stay and I actually thought the children might burst with excitement when they discovered them! I think we had been in there less than two minutes before the cakes were devoured!
In the master bedroom there is a large double bed (which was SO comfortable!) as well as an en suite bathroom, ample storage, a wall mounted TV, and even a dressing table and stool. The neutral colour scheme was so fresh and clean and also really relaxing when it came to winding down after a long day with the kids!
The en-suite bathroom was huge, far bigger than most hotel rooms we have stayed in, with a large walk in shower, toilet, sink and vanity mirror.
There are also two twin bedrooms, both beautifully decorated, with side table and storage in each room. They were both a great size whilst still feeling lovely and cosy and the children actually slept better here than they have done in months.
There was a lot of excitement when they discovered they each had a television on the wall, something they don’t have in their rooms at home. Each night we allowed them to watch it for a little while as a special holiday treat and more often than not they were asleep before it was time to switch off.
The lodge also has a large family bathroom with a bath, shower, sink and toilet. Although my children don’t mind a shower, they still much prefer a bath and I love that the lodge offers both. For families with babies or very small children a bath is a real necessity and I love that Parkdean have really thought about the practicalities of family life.
Having settled in to the lodge the children were insistent that there was only one place they wanted to explore first – the Cascades swimming pool! The only negative I could say about Ruda is that the Tropical Adventure Pool does incur a small fee (£1.50 per person) which is minimal but, for a family such as ours to swim every day it would soon add up. That said, the pool is great fun and the kids adored the giant flume and the rapids whilst Gaz and I enjoyed relaxing in the jacuzzi!
We were starving hungry after a swim and excited to try one of the restaurants on site at Ruda. The Italian restaurant, Al Largo, had been personally recommended to us by the manager and we couldn’t wait to give it a try!
Our starters arrived in no time at all and both Gaz and I went for the garlic mushrooms which were delicious! The accompanying sauce was absolutely amazing (I actually ended up eating Gaz’s too) and I would happily have eaten the same again for my main!
The children ordered from the children’s menu and the portions were huge! Harry ordered pizza which was actually so big we ended up taking half home and he ate the following day for breakfast (you can’t beat pizza for breakfast!) and the girls ordered chicken skewers and Italian potatoes which I *may* have helped them out with too.
Gaz and I both ordered fish with creamy mash and vegetables and again the portions were huge! I can’t fault the food at all, it was freshly made, perfectly seasoned and piping hot. For anyone visiting Ruda and wondering whether to try the restaurant, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Al Largo also does a take away service for those who prefer to eat in their own accommodation.
The following day we were fortunate to wake to more beautiful weather and we were all keen for a day on the beach. Privately owned by Ruda, the beach is just a stones throw away, accessed via the park itself, with a shop and cafe, ice cream kiosk, toilet facilities and surf hire. There are also life guards on duty as well as a first aid hut which, of course, we visited during our stay!
Our favourite thing about the beach was that it is set in front of the sand dunes which turned out to be our favourite place to set up for the day. The children absolutely loved running up and down the dunes, playing all kinds of games together and, at times, there was nobody else around as everyone else seemed to set up on the main beach area.
When you get the weather down in Devon, there is no place quite like it. Warm enough for the children to be in and out of the sea and running around in just their swim wear, but not too hot that you feel the need to seek out shade every two minutes, it’s just the perfect location for families wanting a good old fashioned Summer holiday. With a bucket and spade and a few ball games, the kids were happy to stay on the beach all day long and it doesn’t have to cost a penny.
When we originally booked Ruda we thought we would use it as a base to explore the area and yet it turned out, especially with the lovely weather continuing, that we barely left the park at all. I think that’s testament to the park and it’s facilities and shows there was enough right there to keep us entertained, something which we don’t find very often.
With Ruda Holiday Park having two outdoor play areas, in the evening we found ourselves sitting on the grass or a picnic bench, enjoying the peace and quiet while the kids burnt off the last of their energy running wild. The surroundings are beautiful and so relaxing and I loved that although Ruda is indeed a family holiday park, it didn’t feel manic or crowded, or even noisy at all, and as much as the children adored it, so did we.
Also in the evenings there was entertainment in the show bar starting with a children’s disco and going on through the evening with family entertainment. My favourite moment was when Gaz had to go up on stage to assist with a magic show. It more than made up for my humiliation in St Malo when I was roped into a mime act!
On one of the mornings we decided to have a walk into Croyde itself, taking a short cut through the park into the village to avoid having to walk along the main road with the children.
Croyde is such a gorgeous little tourist village, with more ice cream parlours than you can count, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. It’s only small but it’s such a lovely place to wander around and sit by the river enjoying a drink in the sunshine.
It’s also the perfect place to buy ice cream with every parlour claiming to have been in business longer than the next. I have never seen so many flavours of ice cream in one village and of course, we had to try them! Note to self, next time Megan asks for bubblegum ice cream refuse, at all costs.
We absolutely loved our stay at Ruda Holiday Park with Parkdean Resorts and it will go down as one of our favourite holiday spots yet. If you’re wanting to visit Devon it’s the ideal location for those wanting to set up for the week and never leave, or those wanting to explore days out further afield. There are some fantastic family days out locally, The Big Sheep was a real favourite (more of that later….) and well worth a visit to!
We were so sad to say goodbye to our little blue lodge (and those comfy beds) but again, all good things must come to an end. As we waved goodbye to the beach and the blue skies we knew that it wouldn’t be the last time and we will be back on those sand dunes just as soon as next Summer comes around.
** We were gifted our stay at Parkdean Resorts in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own. **