For this years summer camping trip we decided to return to Dorset. We camped at Durdle Door two years ago and loved it so much we wanted to come back and explore Dorset some more. This year we camped at Freshwater Beach Holiday Park, which is just outside Bridport and a mile from West Bay.
Freshwater Beach Holiday Park is based on a beach, which was a big selling point for us. The park is a mixture of static caravans with two large fields for caravans, camper vans and tents. It is a large park and because of this there is a wide range of facilities available to guests.
The lesiure facilities are based in the Jurassic Centre. They include an indoor pool with slides, hot tub, sauna, steam room and gym. There is a also an arcade and takeaway area downstairs. Upstairs there is a bar with a balcony that overlooks the site which serves food from lunchtime onwards. Also upstairs there is a bowling alley. Just outside the Jurassic Centre is the outdoor pool.
The Park also puts on a lot of entertainment, and this was provided in the Atlantic Centre. There were activities on all day for the kids and then family evening entertainment. Also on site there is are two play parks, one for the 5 and under’s and one for 6 and above. There are also large playing fields and dog walking areas all around the site, some with football goals.
The site also had a well stocked Spar shop, we never struggled to find what we wanted. They also provide fresh croissants, pain-au-choclate and bread everyday. This was very welcome some mornings. There is also a laundrette and as dogs are welcome on site there is a great dog washing area, which I thought was a fab edition.
The shower blocks and dish washing areas are really well maintained. In fact we both commented how clean and fresh they were. There was always a staff member making sure the floors were not wet and that the shower and washing cubicles were clean.
Our pitch was a good size and fitted our 8 man tent and the big red fun bus with ease. The pitches are well marked out but our only comment would be is that there is no physical separation between you and your neighbours apart from the lines on the ground. They do instruct everyone to put vehicles on the right and tents and caravans on the left so you do get a bit of privacy. I think we have been spoiled by our visits to smaller sites as we have found these more intimate where they use hedges to separate areas off.
As I mentioned earlier the main draw for us to this site was that it is on a beach. It didn’t disappoint. With the stunning scenery of the Jurassic Coast cliffs surrounding you it was an amazing setting. The beach is made up of stones, and a lesson learned, wear trainers. Those pesky stones are not friends of flip flops!!
Running alongside the camp site and onto the beach there is the River Bride and this was a great place for the kids to play in. Wetsuits were needed as it was a bit chilly but they still had tonnes of fun. You can swim in the sea but due to the nature of the beach, and that there is a drop off not far from the shoreline, it can make the waves large. The beach is not manned by lifeguards so we didn’t venture in but certainly enjoyed some wave jumping.
From this beach you can turn right and walk to West Bay or turn left and walk to Hive Beach. They are both just over a mile away so not too far to venture. If the tide is not right you can take the coastal path over the cliffs but they are hilly. In fact we saw people going down on their backsides on the West Bay side it was that steep!
When you stay at Freshwater there are a number places to get food. One night we took advantage of the takeaway and enjoyed eating the pizzas and jacket potatoes outside out tent. We also cooked a BBQ and simply cooked up some beans on toast another night. We also ventured out for a couple of meals.
Freshwater Beach Holiday Park was a good base for exploring Dorset, but if you didn’t want to venture too far you could spend all day on site and have something to do from sunrise to sunset. To see the campsite and our adventures take a look at the video at the bottom of this post.
One day we drove round to West Bay, which is where they filmed Broadchurch. We wandered around this little town, while I got all geeky about spotting places and buildings that were in the series. There is a working harbour here which also provides ferry’s to Weymouth and Lyme Regis. The harbour is also a good spot to practice your crab catching. After stopping for a large coffee and a hefty slice of Dorset Apple Cake we then ventured into Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis is a lovely town, with some gorgeous shops to have a browse around. There is also the world famous Cobb Harbour to wander along. If you visit Lyme Regis then you need to find Frank and Beans, they sell the most amazing Gelato ice creams.
The next day we drove to Weymouth, which was about a 40 minute drive along the stunning Jurassic Coast road. The views of Chisel Beach are amazing and the little villages you pass through are picture postcard perfect.
In Weymouth we visited the Sea Life Adventure Park. Top tip, purchase the tickets online before you visit, it was cheaper than buying on the door and there was no queuing. The park has about 10 different areas, each focusing on a different part of water life – harbour, river, rockpool, ocean etc. We really enjoyed our day here and feel this was because everyone is encouraged to get hands on and join in. We purchased the Sea Ranger packs and the girls really enjoyed taking part in their missions. Our favourite part was getting hands on in the rock pools and watching the amazing turtles and sharks swimming around you in the Ocean Tunnel. The park has a splash pool area so don’t forget the swimming costumes and towels for the kids if you visit and make sure you check out their new play area.
On the way back from Weymouth we stopped off at Hive Beach and visited the cafe that is right on the beach. I thoroughly enjoyed the fish & chips and the hubby tucked into his burger. Both the girls had sausages which didn’t take them long to finish, perfect fuel for the end of a busy day.
On our last night we also walked from the back of the campsite into the village of Burton Bradstock. It only took about 15/20 minutes and was an easy walk for the girls. While there we visited the Three Horseshoes for dinner. I highly recommend a visit here, the food was good. When we had finished we walked up to the coastal path on the headland and walked back to the campsite. This took longer but we were rewarded by the most stunning sunset as we came down from the cliff onto Freshwater beach. It was most certainly the perfect end to a great holiday.
My top tips when staying at Freshwater Beach Holiday Park
- Buy a kite from the onsite shop and fly it on the playing field by the beach.
- Walk into Burton Bradstock, enjoy a pub meal and then walk back along the coastal path. Don’t forget this walk is amazing at sunset.
- Venture into West Bay and get your Broadchurch location spotting geek on.
- Walk to Hive Beach either along the beach or over the cliffs and have a meal at the Hive Beach Cafe.
- Spend a day on Freshwater Beach, playing in the river and wave jumping. Don’t forget to stop to enjoy the amazing scenery of the Jurassic Coast.
- Drive the Jussic Coast to Weymouth and soak up the thatched cottage villages and the view of Chisel Beach.
As well as taking a tonne of pictures I also took some video and have created a little something of our trip. Take a look:
We really enjoyed our trip and I am sure we will pay Dorset another visit. Thank you for giving us the chance to make many more family memories.
Are you a regular camper? If not, want to start, or you are already a seasoned camper, then check out my ultimate camping checklist. This is a checklist of what we take as a family of four on our camping trips. Hopefully it can help you with your future camping trips.
Lets get camping!