We came here at the end of August for a family camping trip. Prior to a promotional email from Park Resorts we had never really heard of the Isle of Sheppey. We booked because we got a pitch for our large tent and our daughters' pup tent for £150 for a week, the kids were excited about going to an island (they don't get out much, lol) and it was a convenient enough base for something we needed to do in Margate. And hey, you really can't argue with that price.
After booking we had a look on here at the reviews and wondered what we had let ourselves in for!
So, we arrived and received a warm enough welcome. By the way, there are two ways in- one needs a 4x4 and shouldn't be used, but the other is accessible enough. Sure, it's got pot holes, but if you drive on English roads you should be used to them. We arrived at our pitch, a bit miffed we couldn't see the sea as there were other campers in front of us, but hey, what can you do? You can't have everything, right? We had just started putting up our tent when the people next door asked us if we were in the right place, as there was a guy with a camper van who'd been in our pitch all week and he had only gone out for the day and would be back later on.
Not a great start, but a quick phone call to reception got it sorted. A lady came down and offered us a pitch up on the cliff. Yep, it was on a slope, but man, the view! I'd sleep standing upright if it meant waking to a vista like that! So, that all worked out okay, but it might have been a bit different if we had put both tents up and then been told we'd been given the wrong pitch.
So, yeah, we were on a slope, but we didn't come across any problems with the drainage or anything, but then we managed to pick a week of sunshine, so that might just have been us being lucky. And we didn't end up at the bottom of our tents either, like some people have claimed on here.
Okay then, onto the rest of the camp. Yeah, the toilet and shower block is a little dated and filthy at times, but I wouldn't blame the site staff for that. You can't be blamed if your guests are disgusting and treat the ablutions like animals. Having said that, Park Resorts could help themselves in a couple of respects. Installing bog brushes in the cubicles would be handy and minimise those 'oh my god, I'm not using that stall!' moments. And putting somewhere in the showers to hang/put your stuff would be good too. But hey, a public lav is a public lav. Sometimes they're clean, sometimes you're going to be unlucky enough to go in after an animal has used it. Can't blame the site for that.
The shop. Hmmm. Unusual and quaint, in it's own way, lol. It's about the size of, and resembles, a garden shed and doesn't seem to sell anything. Not even cans of beer, which I was totally non-plussed by. Fortunately we had a car so headed off to Eastchurch Spar to stock up on first night cider. The other reviews are totally right in that- if you don't have a car don't come here, but then it's hard to imagine anyone would as it's pretty much inaccessible without a car. Yes, the staff were always outside and having a chat and a ciggie, but why not? Who can begrudge them that on a sunny day? As soon as you stepped in the shop they came in to serve you, so what's the harm?
The clubhouse? Only used it once, during the day, so can't comment about the entertainment etc. Prices were okay, usual keg crap served and the barmaid seemed friendly enough. Yeah, you could hear the clubhouse music at night at times, but by the end of the day I was usually so zonked they could have had a rave down on the beach and I'd have slept through it.
Nothing to do or see on the Isle of Sheppey? Depends what you're looking for. Leysdown On Sea is okay if you're into tacky seaside resorts with pubs and amusements, lol, same as anywhere else. The beach at Warden itself is pretty interesting in its own right, if you fancy fossil hunting and checking out the old war pillboxes that have fallen onto the beach. Take some wellies though...it's brilliantly muddy!
Minster has an Abbey and a Gatehouse that serves as a museum which our kids loved. They can dress up and there are activities they can do and the volunteers are great. And if you're into views, the one from the rooftop of Minster Abbey Gatehouse is something else. You can even see the masts of the Montgomery from there.
Sheerness isn't too pretty, but check out Blue Town and its heritage centre if you in any way appreciate history. That was my favourite day of the holiday. Nice couple of pints in the picture postcard Ship On Shore pub on the way bacjk too. Oh, and Eastchurch is worth a look too. Yeah, there's only a church and an aviation memorial there (although that's splendid in its own right) but you can see them both from the front garden of the Shurland Hotel with a cider in your hand, so that's okay.
There's also Queenborough and the Hart Ferry Inn, but we never got round to those- we'll save them for one day when we return.
Other than that you're going to have to go off the island for entertainment, but you've got plenty of choice. Margate, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Canterbury....all close enough for day trips, which makes Warden Springs a good base. Especially for £150 for a family of six.
A word about the 'chaviness' alluded to by many of the other reviewers. Yeah, there seemed to be a few static caravans owned by dog owning youngsters, but that didn't bother me. The site also appears to permit large groups of single sex which might bother some people. For example, over the weekend we had a tent full of teenage boys celebrating an 18th birthday, but they were out for most of the time. Yeah, they were a bit drunk and noisy when they got back, but fair play to them, nothing to worry about. Live and let live.
Having said that, I think we were lucky with our 'neighbours' over the week. On the last two days we had two families to our right who were swearing their heads off (and I mean non-stop. I like a good swear but these guys were Olympic standard), fighting amongst themselves and peeing over the fence. We weren't too bothered by it, but it might have got on our nerves for a whole week. But again, it's not Park Resorts' fault is it? You can always get idiots move in next door back home.
So, to sum up. If you're the kind of person who lets a few negative reviews or the fact there might be other people in close proximity also wanting to relax (but perhaps not in a way agreeable to your high standards) then perhaps give Warden Springs a miss.
But, if you're laid back enough to not let the odd dirty toilet ruin your holiday or get upset because shop staff don't greet you like royalty and small talk your butt off every time you enter their premises then go and check it out.
Holidays are what you make them and it seems to me that there are some really precious people out there. This is the first time I've ever left a review like this, but felt the need so that other people don't miss out on a good holiday by being put off by what they read here. I don't think I have low standards, but I have realistic ones. I know that for £150 not everything's going to be perfect and I might have to compromise here and there.
I also do a bit of research before I go, so I know if the area has enough to hold mine and my family's interest. Which is why sites like this are great I suppose, but I think people are a little too quick to be negative these days.
Warden Springs ain't paradise, but then it sure ain't the Hell some are making out in these parts.
- Also Known As:
- Warden Springs Holiday Park - Park Hotel Isle Of Sheppey
- Warden Springs Holiday Park - Park Hotel
- Warden Springs Holiday Park - Park Resorts Isle Of Sheppey, Kent