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“Great entertainment - shame about the accommodation” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Ilfracombe Holiday Park

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The Ilfracombe Holiday Park
Marlborough Rd, Ilfracombe EX34 8PF, England (Formerly John Fowler Ilfracombe Holiday Park)   |  
Hotel amenities
Borehamwood, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great entertainment - shame about the accommodation”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

Just returned from a week at Ilfracombe Holiday park with my husband, son, daughter in law, 2 grand daughters and 2 dogs. We were in 136 buttercup, a 3 bedroom house with put u ups in the lounge. We booked through Hoseasons and had paid over £900 for the week so was shocked when we found out it was a John Fowler camp. We had, in fact, been to this camp some 13 years ago and swore we would never return. My brother and his wife aged 77 were due to join us on Monday but we phoned them and told them not to come as the beds would not have been suitable for them. We did not expect to be offered lst class accommodation with the dogs but we were disappointed with the house. It was ok size-wise for just 4 adults and 2 children but it wasn't very clean. We did try to clean it ourselves but there was only a carpet sweeper which didn't work at all. I ended up brushing the carpets with a brush and picking it up in a dustpan. There was no tin opener or oven tray and the freezer part of the fridge was broken and full of ice. There was a damp smell everywhere. The bathroom didn't smell very pleasant even after cleaning it and using bleach. We had no lights in the lounge and bedroom one night and, even after the maintenance team looked at them, they were flicking on and off. The television was very small and there were only very limited channels (no kids channels). I was dreading going into the club house, as when we had been previously it was very small, but we were pleased to see a new one had been built and the old one was used as the reception.
However, we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening entertainment. The team led by 'Baldy' Brian worked so hard and my grandkids had a fabulous time. My 5 year old grand daughter Kadee entered the talent competition and sang her 'turtle song'. It is a memory that will stay with me forever. If you do go try to visit the Big Sheep - a very good day out.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience at our holiday park. We certainly do not ignore any constructive criticism and perhaps there are some areas that could be improved in the interest of future guests.

I would like to correct one mis-understanding. There are no "Hoseason's Sites" - Hoseasons is merely a travel agent which lets independent holiday parks throughout the country.

I feel it is such a shame that you did not tell the manager that you were unhappy with the accommodation. There is no need to "grin and bear" on a John Fowler Holiday.
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392 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Worcester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

My partner and I have just returned from a weeks break. We have never been to John fowler holidays before, and we only came across this because of the price. With August been an expensive month to holiday in the uk I was surprised when my partner said he'd found this for £200 for the week and that included bringing our dog.
I then read the reviews and as the holiday came closer I became more worried about what we might find. I even packed a cleaning bag with bleach etc thinking I would be spending the first evening ensuring that the chalet was liveable.
We arrived at 4pm to be given our keys and told are chalet was just along from reception. Car needed to be left in the main car park an we had to carry out things across. I'm guessing we were lucky as we were so close. Especially after a long drive.
The chalet when we opened the door smelt clean and looked tidy, yes it was small but there was only the two of us. I didn't need to clean a thing. I was so pleased. It was great been on the bottom floor as we had BBQs outside 2 nights.
We didn't need to use our car at all the whole time we were there as we walked down into the town and got a taxi back £2.50..
We caught the buses into woolacoombe and Barnstaple. To save petrol and parking costs. It did us the world of good.
I really don't know what people expect for their costs as I think even if we had paid more I would have been happy. We did hear several guests complain about showers, your details inform you if you have a shower or not... Simply read them. Our water was lovely and hot each morning / evening.
The only little thing that niggles me is when you visit a dog friendly holiday park you are never allowed to bring your dog into the entertainment hall... This is the same with all holiday parks we have come across and it's such a shame as it means you miss out or have to go on your own. Our dog goes everywhere with us and we would never dream of leaving him on his own as then other guests would complain if he barked.
We had a super break away and even experienced the town carnival :)

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
What a wonderful review, thank you, we really appreciate it.

Your praise will mean so much to the management and staff at the park. They all work extremely hard to make everyone’s stay enjoyable.

I sometimes wonder who writes the poor reviews about such a lovely park but perhaps, more importantly, why. When we try to contact the writers to discover what exactly went wrong with their holiday, you can imagine we get no reply.

I am delighted to hear that you had a great time and we look forward to welcoming you again very soon.
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

I just got back from there having a week holiday from 17 August to 24 August I was staying here with my husband and 14 year old son in a gold apartment on middle floor. I had a family from hell upstairs with kids running around from 5am. Next door you could hear banging and slamming doors. 1st night being kept awake from loud music till 2am from next door. Every floor board in whole apartment creaked. Lucky if you got 1 bowl of hot water a day. Mattress was rubbish would of been better sleeping on floor had to take 1 off sofa bed and put on top of mattress to get some sleep. There was nothing there for teenagers to do but is for younger ones. Next time I stick to camping.

Room Tip: Don't go
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
I am finding it difficult to understand why you did not inform the management of all these problems while you were there, rather than wait until you got home.

The seriousness of the issues has prompted me to write to you through the Tripadvisor Meassaging System to discover precisely where you were staying and see what we can do to help.
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Essex, England
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

We have just returned from a week away in North Devon. Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed Ilfracombe and it surrounding areas unfortunately the same can not be said for this park and the so called Royal Gold apartment which we stayed in.
On arrival our apartment was not ready until 4.15pm when we had been guaranteed that it would ready at 4pm. I know 15mins does not sound a lot but when you have been waiting for over 3 hours with young children it is disappointing. During this time it also became clear that other people who had not paid as much for there accommodation were getting there keys early. I think John Fowler needs to arrange for higher priced accommodation to be cleaned first.
As a family who regularly holiday in this country we found the standard of accommodation to be very low. On other holiday parks such as Haven and Park Resorts this would be Bronze or possible Silver. Parts of the apartment had not been cleaned to an acceptable standard, oven very dirty and food still left in fridge. The remainder of the apartment was clean. Bedding was fresh, beds comfy and carpets clean.
The apartment we had slept 4-6 people, 2 bedrooms and a sofa bed, unfortunately you only get 3 seats in the lounge area to sit on, the 2 seater sofa bed and 1 arm chair. I found this to be absolutely ludicrous, I did speak to Reception about our accommodation within 30mins of getting the keys, only to be told that all complaints have to go to head office. They did however offer for the house keeper to come and sort things out but as they already had quite a few queries in other apartments to sort out I decided I was quite able to wipe a fridge out and I left the oven as I didn't intend on using it.
Our apartment was on the ground floor, please note that you do get loud noise from upstairs, especially if they have children running about.
During our week we used the pool 3 times. We found it to be clean, although there are no individual changing rooms or family changing rooms. I was also concerned that only one life guard patrols 2 pools. It also concerned me that on our last visit to the pool the life guard kept going to a locker to check her mobile phone. This happened 9 times in an hour and was texting on most of these occasions for a couple of minutes each time.
The park has no security so anyone can walk in and use the facilities. We were asked for our name once on our first swimming trip but basically you could say any name or door number and use the facilities. John fowler should introduce passes for guests.
Royal Gold apartments need updating or given a lower grade of accommodation. Security at the park should be looked into.
North Devon is a wonderful part of the country to visit but we will not be using John Fowler holiday parks again as you can get much better accommodation and park for your money elsewhere.

Room Tip: Book elsewhere!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
It was such a shame to read your remarks regarding your stay at our holiday park. There are a number of serious items in your review that need to be investigated.

I wonder if you told the park manager of your displeasure, it is always so difficult to deal with the issues after you have returned home. However, I will be contacting through the Tripadvisor messaging service to discover precisely where you where staying and see what we can do to help.
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Essex
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

After having holidayed with John Fowler on and off for over 10 years this was our first visit to a larger park. We usually stay in smaller ones, but the price for this high season week was too good to miss as a last minute break. We paid £397 for a week (17th to 24th Aug) 2 bed gold chalet. I can honestly say I'm so glad we didn't stay in a silver or bronze because gold was quite basic. Accommodation was clean, but the walk up the stairs (we were top floor) was a hike, I'm glad we were top floor because the noise from running up and down the stairs would be horrendous if you were on a lower floor. The outside left staircase was unsafe as it was old, slippy and buckled under foot. This would be dangerous for a heavier person as a slip would be painful. Other steps have been renewed so the maintenance team need to get to this one soon - block 21 - The shower never ran hot during peak times ie; mornings or evenings when you want a shower. We were forced to shower in the pool changing rooms...... The pool was heated and clean, it says that it's open till 6pm which isn't correct - as the staff get you out at 5.45pm.... this can make a difference if you are trying to get a last minute swim in after a day out. The bar food was reasonably priced, the usual chips, burgers etc. The staff manning the food and the bar were all great young people with nice attitudes. The entertainment staff did well considering the budget I expect they have to work with. There were lot of dogs left barking in the chalets during the day which seems like people were using it as a cheap kennels... not nice to hear or see. Children's drinks colud be cheaper in the bar and pool tables were hogged most nights by one or two families. A fairer system for the pool tables would be good. Ilfracombe was a great little town and cabs there and back were only £3-£4 each way. The managers excuse for the water pressure was to blame the local water board, which whilst this may be true, does not help you when you require hot water in your shower... no alternative was offered. I'm not sure how they expect any accommodation to be popular if you can't get hot water. The beds - ouch ! they were hard, uncomfortable and due to the undesirable plastic mattress coatings very hot and sweaty......
All in all we enjoyed our week because of the price, but if I'd have paid more I would have been very disappointed. I would go back to John Fowlers but will stick to the smaller, friendlier parks. Sorry Ilfracombe - not for us :(

Room Tip: Do not go for anything less than Gold !
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience at our holiday park. We certainly do not ignore any constructive criticism and perhaps there are some areas that could be improved in the interest of future guests.

I was really surprised to read that you described the staircase as old - these apartments were newly built in 2010.

Your comments have been passed on to all departments and we really hope that you will visit us again in the near future
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013 via mobile

Only just got here but shell shocked. When you pull up to the John Fowler Holiday Park you see lovely rows of 'chalets' and a welcoming reception, but when you step inside your home the week, after paying £600+ for a week in the summer holidays, you will soon regret that decision and would rather be in hell in the flames. After waiting to the silly time of 4pm for a key to your rest ,after a 5 hour drive, the crap-hole sucks you in to a vast depression. The so called royal gold apartment that is supposed to comfortably sleeps 6 looks more like a squat suitable for the homeless drunk you find in the street, the bedding smells vile and there is only enough eating utensils for 1 meal for 4, when your with a family of 5 only having 4 plates is stupid. When looking at the possibility of eating across the road at the promoted farmhouse kitchen restaurant we realised that the only way we could eat there would be to take out a small mortgage, but then again you can only pay by cash. As my grandma said 'the only way this place will get better is after a few drinks, but not from the bar that charge £1.80 for
a small slushpuppie'.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, September 15, 2013
When I first read this very poor review, I immediately tried to contact the writer through the Tripadvisor Messaging service to investigate the issues, discover why they had such poor holiday and see what we could do to help. Sadly, with all Tripadvisor reviews being anonymous it is impossible to make direct contact.

To date I have not received a reply to two such messages and can only assume that perhaps their stay was not as bad as they first indicated.
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Swindon
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2013

The park is set in a stunning location and quite central to some amazing places such as Woolacombe, Croyde Bay and Ilfracombe its self.
The apartment was clean, spacious and good value for money.
The swimming pool was great, the attendant very friendly, the shop reasonable though ran out of bread!!
All in all we had a lovely break, but if we did not have the ability to visit the local sites and nearby towns we would have been pulling teeth for something to do. All the staff were really kind, friendly and eager to please but when we were on site if we weren't swimming we were bored!!
I wouldn't say I would not go back but if I did it would be with outside activities planned and the park just a base.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patrick_Jennings, Guest Relations Manager at The Ilfracombe Holiday Park, responded to this review, August 24, 2013
Thank you very much for taking the time to leave us such a lovely review.

Your comments have been passed to all departments, especially the housekeeping team, who will be delighted to hear your thoughts on the cleanliness of the apartment.

You are quite correct about the area, there is so much to see and do in North Devon that very few of our guests remain on park throughout the day. The whole essence of a west country holiday is to enjoy everything we have to offer.

We really hope to see you again in the near future.
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Additional Information about The Ilfracombe Holiday Park

Address: Marlborough Rd, Ilfracombe EX34 8PF, England (Formerly John Fowler Ilfracombe Holiday Park)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Ilfracombe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Ilfracombe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 324
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Ilfracombe Holiday Park has everything you could want on a family holiday. A 56’ heated pool, a sauna, children’s play areas and an internet cafe provide you with all the comforts of home and more. Relax in our pool during the day, and then head to the Exmoor Club for the evening’s entertainment, free to everybody staying at our Ilfracombe Holiday Parks. This park is set at the top of the valley Ilfracombe lies in, so you get views right down over the town and out to sea, exactly what you’d expect from a Devon holiday. If you don’t want to deal with cooking on holiday then our Farmhouse Kitchen Restaurant can cook you up a wide variety of fare, from low price snacks to full grills and specialty dishes. We even offer takeaways. If you are going to cook for yourself, our onsite shop sells everything you’ll need, and there’s a Tesco superstore just a five minute walk away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
John Fowler Ilfracombe Holiday Park Hotel Ilfracombe
The Ilfracombe Holiday Park Devon

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