We’re really fortunate to be able to do a few UK family breaks each year. Running our own business means that we can be away a tad more often (albeit working on the move). Most of the breaks we go on are wonderful. There really are some brilliant holiday parks and self catering cottages around the UK catering to cottages.
Sadly, it’s not the same for every break and we recently went on a trip that was so disappoint that, for the first time ever, we left a day early.
I’m keen to make it clear that I attempted to raise a lot of these concerns at the accommodation while we were there and again directly with Clumber Park Lodges since we returned. On site, the issues were not addressed and my emails, despite being received and read, have done unresponded.
I also think it’s important for me to be honest about the breaks we take and what our opinions were. I’m always more than happy to shout from the rooftops about the amazing places and it would be a tad inauthentic of me not to point out those that don’t meet our expectations too.
So with that in mind, here’s why Clumber Park Lodges left us incredibly disappointed.
Clumber Parks Lodges Review – the Quick Version
The quickest version of this I can give you is:
- Clumber Park Lodges lets you hire a travel cot for £10. But what they don’t tell you before you book is that the travel cot will only fit in the living spaces (or squashed very, very tightly into the main bedroom en suite)
- They include a note on your confirmation email (one sentence at the end and after you’ve paid) advising you that the travel cots will only fit in living rooms
- They advertise wifi as available in a cafe for those of us who need to catch up on a bit of work. But despite advertising the cafe as open from “21st June” it was not open the whole weekend (25th, 26th, 27th June) and when we asked we were told it hadn’t reopened at all since lockdown (despite claims on its website and Hoseasons). Therefore if we wanted to use the wifi which wasn’t available in individual lodges, then we’d have to hover around outside the cafe
- What is advertised as a lodge is actually a brown static caravan. Personally, I love static caravans, but tend not to go to them with the baby because travel cots don’t fit well in them and the walls are paper thin. So the advertising here is incredibly misleading and the noise was a problem
- Attitudes of customer service were a bit hit and miss
That’s the short version of our experience at Clumber Park Lodges. There’s a bit more detail below.
Travel Cots at Clumber Park Lodges
Great news parents of babies! You can hire a travel cot at Clumber Park Lodges for £10! Buuut what is NOT mentioned on the accommodation page on their website or Hoseasons at the time of writing is the fact that it does not fit in either of the bedrooms.
In fact, there’s a teeny tiny sentence at the very end of a long confirmation email that tells you cots will only fit in the living space. That’s the confirmation you receive AFTER paying, by the way.
I visited Clumber Park Lodges with my Auntie and my 13 month old son. He goes to bed at 7pm. He clearly won’t be going to sleep if he’s in the living space where everyone else is.
We even tried getting the travel cot up in the en suite:
But the risk of the little one hitting his head on the porcelain toilet bowl or wall was just too significant.
So in the end I just gave up.
I asked reception about the issue and they just advised me it makes clear on the website that this is the case. But it doesn’t (still not even now). The only reference is the cost:
This was such a big issue for us. It meant my 13 month old had to be in the bed, which in turn meant as soon as he was going to bed, I had to be in the bed too. No rest or relaxation time. I was also concerned about him falling out of the bed so asked reception whether they had bed guards, but they told me they did not.
I honestly think that this makes Clumber Park Lodges a really poor option for families with babies and children in cots. And I find it highly misleading of them to advertise travel cots for hire on their website with no mention of the fact they do not fit into any of the bedrooms. So we paid for travel cot hire for a cot we couldn’t use and the staff at Clumber Park Lodges simply said “it says on the website you can’t use it in the bedrooms.” Something I did tell them isn’t the case at all, at which point they stopped acknowledging my concern and just ignored me.
Wifi in the Cafe. Except not.
Still today the Hoseasons Listing tells us the cafe will be open on 21st June and that this is where you can get wifi.
We arrived on 25th June. On the door of reception it clearly stated that check ins earlier than 6 couldn’t be accommodated (which we knew) and why not head to the Woodshed cafe for a coffee while you wait.
But the Woodshed was closed. Didn’t think much of it. We figured it would be open later. But it wasn’t open later.
So when I couldn’t get connected to the wifi in our lodge, my Auntie headed to reception. She was asked which lodge we were in and when she gave them our lodge number was told “you won’t get signal there.”
This in itself wouldn’t have been a huge issue as we knew that we’d have wifi in the coffee shop. There were certain tasks I’d need to be able to complete that weekend and with mobile data very intermittent on the park, I needed wifi.
So I went to the cafe.
Asked in reception and was told that it was closed due to staff shortages, hasn’t been opened since lockdown and therefore if I needed wifi I should “hover outside the Woodshed or reception.”
Explained my situation and was met with “well people come here to chill out, not to work.”
I found that quite rude. And actually incredibly naive too. As more people work from home and remotely, holiday parks are likely to need to be able to do a bit of work here and there.
We’re not expecting top class wifi in every lodge, but when you advertise wifi in a cafe, declare it open and then we find it isn’t, that’s again very misleading.
Static Caravans, Not Lodges
The term “lodge” is misleading too. Clumber Park Lodges (or the Lime accommodation units we were in) are static caravans but brown on the outside. I love a static caravan (and our kids do too). But not with the baby. The walls are paper thin and there’s never space for travel cots.
The result was that the noise from people throwing glass bottles into the bins that were right outside our door woke the baby up at 10pm on night 2 (after he took 2 hours to go down because we didn’t have the cot). It was terrible for noise.
Unresponsive Customer Service
We spoke to customer services while we there and our issues went unaddressed. So much so that we just ended up checking out a night early. When we checked out at 6:45pm a day early, reception was closed so we left keys in the box.
I emailed customer service and can see the email was received and read 7 times. No response. I sent a chaser 3 days later. Read and again no response.
I just feel that to not even acknowledge an email is really poor form.
On the whole, our Clumber Park Review is based on our experience with a baby. Perhaps if we didn’t have a baby things would have been different. But it’s not suitable for families, customer service is dismissive and the advertising on the website is entirely misleading.
Sorry to say this isn’t a place I’d be recommending.