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Reliving childhood holidays at Romney Sands Holiday Park

By Nikki White

There's a swimming pool, air hockey and a netball machine in the arcades, bingo, the beach is massive and there's a steam railway running RIGHT THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE PARK!

Well, that was enough for this 40-something, what about the kids?

When I was a child, holidays meant camping in a bright orange tent. People didn't travel far - it was too expensive. Cornwall and Devon seemed far enough in a Vauxhall Viva and one year we went as far as Tenterden. Yep, 30 miles from home.

Romney Sands: The park has a station for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (3432230)
Romney Sands: The park has a station for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (3432230)

We still laugh about that, but in all honesty, in a world where we now jump on a plane at the drop of a hat, it's easy to forget what's on your own doorstep.

In later years, we moved on to holiday parks (I'm still the Best Dancer of an Isle of Wight holiday park for one week in 1979) but they tended to take us further afield.

In all the years I've lived in Kent, I don't ever recall going to Romney Sands. Tankerton was our usual beach haunt, Botany Bay if mum could bear the cleaning up of the sand after.

But Romney Sands is stunning.

The beach at Romney Sands. Picture: Matt Keal Photography (3520290)
The beach at Romney Sands. Picture: Matt Keal Photography (3520290)

If you want to swim, forget it. The bay is wide and shallow and goes out so far it can take a good 20 minutes to walk to the water at low tide. There's a short window when the tide is in, but even then it's not very deep.

But for a vast view, plenty of space to walk the dog, play games or just sit and take it all in, it's pretty much unbeatable.

It is also just a (long) stone's throw from Dungeness Nature Reserve so while we were there one evening just after high tide, thousands of wading birds took dinner, picking food from the shore as the tide turned.

Over a couple of days we sunbathed, we walked, we sat and read. We simply switched off.

But when we did want more, the Parkdean Resorts Romney Sands Holiday Park is right on the beach so we were never far from our weekend home.

The caravans are modern and comfy, well equipped as a home from home, with a decent TV for when it rains and plenty of hot water to wash the sand and sun tan lotion away.

There's a great indoor pool, crazy golf, an arcade, children's play park, fishing lake and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has a station at the site entrance to whisk you away in style for the day.

The fishing lake at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands. Picture: Matt Keal Photography (3520286)
The fishing lake at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands. Picture: Matt Keal Photography (3520286)
The indoor pool at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands, Matt Keal Photography (3520288)
The indoor pool at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands, Matt Keal Photography (3520288)

There's a small but well stocked shop for much of what you need but the menu at the restaurant is good, a vast selection to choose from and decent vegetarian options too.

Everything we saw come out of the kitchen looked well cooked, decent size portions and it all seemed fairly priced. A chicken and bacon Caesar salad was one of the best we've eaten.

The restaurant at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands. Picture: Matt Keal Photography (3520292)
The restaurant at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands. Picture: Matt Keal Photography (3520292)

Our only complaint was it was hard to get away from the noise of the arcade while dining, but at least you can keep an eye on how many coins the children are shoving into the slot machines.

And yes, parts of the camp could do with a bit of TLC, a lick of paint here and there on one or two of the chalets is needed but the place is very clean, tidy and welcoming.

There's evening entertainment every night, and a kids’ club that seemed extremely popular.

If you do want a change you can always head to the pub at the front of the camp, or there are a couple of restaurants and a tapas bar nearby.

Or for quieter moments still, grab a drink and head back to that beautiful beach. We stayed well after sunset, soaking up the warmth of the evening.

The playpark at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands. PIcture: Matt Keal Photography (3520284)
The playpark at Parkdean Resort, Romney Sands. PIcture: Matt Keal Photography (3520284)

If you're after the hipster vibes of Whitstable, with bars and trendy restaurants, this isn't for you.

But if you're after good family fun, modern and comfortable caravans to stay in, a beach made for sandcastles and games, a location that's a short drive away with no hassle of airport delays, and a resort with pretty much everything an eight-year-old desires, give it a go.

Nikki was a guest of Parkdean Resorts, which has over 70 parks. Find out more at www.parkdeanresorts.co.uk

Parkdean Resorts’ Romney Sands Holiday Park is at Greatstone, TN28 8RN

It is just a short drive away from Romney Marshes. Park facilities include an indoor pool, crazy golf, adventure play area and an amusement arcade. The Tavern pub and diner serves food all day or head to Food Choice café and takeway for a selection of tasty favourites before enjoying family-friendly entertainment in the showbar.

Nearby, you can enjoy a fun-filled day complete with rides, ice cream and arcades at Dymchurch Amusement Park; take a day trip to Dungeness National Nature Reserve and discover it’s rare mix of wildlife; waterski, wakeboard or jet ski across Action Watersports crystal clear lake surfaces; or visit the quaint streets of Rye where you will find mysterious passageways, evocative half-timbered buildings full of charm and romantic cobbled lanes such as well-known Mermaid Street.

For a summer holiday short break, arriving Friday, August 17, three nights are priced at £319, staying in a Ramsgate caravan which sleeps up to six.

An October short break, arriving Monday, October 15 for four nights are priced at £99, staying in a Ramsgate caravan which sleeps up to six.

To book visit www.parkdeanresorts.co.uk or call 0330 123 4850.

Find out more about the holiday park here

Find out more about other coastal adventures at here

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