It’s hard travelling with a toddler when you are on your own. In fact, it is completely daunting, but they do say a change is as good as a rest sometimes, and when the majority of the childcare settles on you, it is really good to get away and something I felt I really needed. I did wonder whether choosing a large holiday resort was wise, but I kind of felt that it was easier to get lost among crowds than stand out as being alone somewhere smaller.
In fact, although it is such a large resort, it never felt overly busy or crowded at any time, and I really felt like I blended into the background somewhat (in a positive way). At no point did I ever feel out of place or uncomfortable for being there on my own with a toddler. Every member of staff we met whilst on our walks that week said hello, and there were other guests there always happy to stop and chat or pass the time of day. It seems to be somewhere people go year after year, and many seem to own holiday homes there or have a touring caravan on a seasonal pitch. It gives it more the feel of a community or a village. It was mainly younger families and perhaps those that had retired.
Whilst this was an idea that initially filled me with apprehension, I would definitely go again and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any other parents wanting to take their children away on their own.
Here’s why I found this break great:
- The Tots time between 5 and 5.30 each evening was brilliant. It was the perfect time of day for us – not too early, not too late – to allow the small one to run around and expel some energy, making him suitably ready for dinner, bath and bedtime without any fuss, and leaving me, although obviously not able to go out, with plenty of me time away from home, without the chores that I would normally need to cram in on an evening.
- Sunshine Farm is on site and is open twice daily. It is a secure and enclosed area so it’s safe for small ones to walk around and see the animals which included pigs, chickens, goats and a miniature pony. Once he had seen the “Baaaa” once it was somewhere we visited twice a day every day of our stay, and I found it a brilliant bargaining tool for the toddler tantrums – a “do you want to see the animals?” in a stern voice cured everything!
- A daily walk around site. It is a lovely, flat resort so ideal for any small one who has a smart trike and a leisurely stroll and no real traffic to worry about. There was lots to see including the dog walk which was actually abundant with beautiful wildflowers, and the fishing lake where we saw a family of ducks and a family of geese. And of course, dogs, which the small one is always happy to see. We didn’t bring our dog this time as I was worried about juggling it all, but it is a pet friendly resort and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring ours next time. There is a great café at Brean Leisure Park on site, that is like a Costa. It serves Costa coffee, as the similar sandwiches, and snacks, and it is also dog friendly. There is also a large outdoor, enclosed play area with a wide range of play equipment for all ages.
- The toddler pool at Brean Splash. This is really fantastic. It is a completely separate pool, not just a shallow area in the main pool. If you are a bit self conscious then it’s ideal as it is slightly tucked away and much smaller than the standard pool. And it was really warm. The indoor splash area is really good and although the small one was limited in what he could do, he very much enjoyed the bright colours, the water, and watching the other children.
- Brean Play. Loved this because it has a separate, enclosed, area for children under 3. Lots of amazing equipment I have not seen in other indoor play centres (we visit a lot!) with lights and sounds. There was no time limit on how long we stayed, and they have a café (serves Starbucks!), so we spent a good few hours here. This is also open to the public (as are the pools) so it was mainly mums with their little ones, some on their own, and some with groups of friends. Again, I found this to be really friendly, and the small one joined in easily with other children.
- The beach. To be within walking distance and not have to lug everything into the car and find a place to park was great. The sea may not be blue, but there is plenty of sand, and vast amounts of it. You certainly won’t look out of place here and it is obviously well used by locals as well as people on their holidays.
- The entertainment facilities. Whilst the small one was too young to join in with many of the bits and pieces going on, the entertainment venues are large and spacious with plenty of safe space to run around. At this age I find children just like to watch other children sometimes, and there is no commitment to stay, we could just wander in and out and see what was going on.
- The open top Coast bus. The small one loves going on the bus, so we took an open top, rather blowy, ride into Weston-super-Mare. The bus stops just outside the main gates and runs frequently. We spent a couple of hours in Weston having a walk on the beach, a donkey ride and an ice cream and them caught the bus back. When you had a toddler I find a long day out is too much as they get over tired and are prone to tantrums, but with the frequency of the service you aren’t committed to staying out all day and the journey only took around 15 to 20 minutes.
- You don’t need your car. Whilst I do drive, if you were to come by public transport, you don’t need your car at all. There is absolutely everything you need on site. I brought some groceries with us, but there is an on-site Costcutter which has a good stock, and if you walk into Brean then there is another small supermarket as well.
In summary, If you are a single parent with children of any age, I couldn’t recommend Holiday Resort Unity enough. I felt very safe and secure at all times, and everyone was so friendly that I felt if I had needed anything, there would have been someone that could help. Security was really good on site and I often saw them drive past on the evenings. Swimming and entrance to the soft play is half price if you are a guest there, and all the other things we did were at no extra cost to us at all, so that was great for budgeting.
We will definitely be back again.