Review: Cofton Holidays, Devon | Ad

Looking for the perfect base to explore the delights of Devon? Look no further than Cofton Holidays. Situated just outside of Exeter, on the outskirts of Dawlish, this family run holiday park offers everything you could need to make your stay a success; from swimming pools to multiple dining opportunities, hot tubs to high ropes, and everything in between.

We were recently invited to stay at Cofton for a long weekend to try out their luxury lodges and their on-site facilities. As a family of five, with three small children, it can be hard to find places to stay that can not only accommodate all of us comfortably, but can offer that mix of adult and child friendly that means all of us can enjoy our stay. Read on to get our full Cofton Holidays review…

Tell us more about Cofton Holidays…

Cofton is a family-run holiday park, eco-friendly site, operating for over 40 years. Based less than 20 minutes from the M5 at Exeter, and minutes from Devon’s glorious south coast, you’ll find 80 acres of quintessential Devonshire countryside; an ideal spot for relaxing or exploring, you decide! 

Accommodation for every budget

Cofton Holidays offer a wide range of accommodation, allowing you to pick the option that best suits your family’s needs, budget and size. From caravans to cottages, luxury lodges all the way to touring pitches, there really is something to suit everyone. The site is nicely sized, with room between plots to give privacy, but not so much that you spend most of your holiday hiking around it. It’s almost within its own small valley, which gives you a feeling of being in your own holiday bubble from the moment you arrive.

Fine facilities for young and old

At the centre of the site, you’ll find well maintained facilities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools (and splash pad!), two restaurants, an on-site pub, play areas, a shop, newly refurbished beauty rooms, and more. Feeling adventurous? Head for the high-ropes course that sits at the top of the site, or get a few laps in on the bikes around the pump track. In need of a bit of r&r? The newly refurbished Beauty Room practically guarantee zen-like relaxation. Peckish after a busy day? Amelia’s serves up a wonderful meal of locally sourced delights, with the added bonus of a soft-play within viewing distance to allow younger guests to burn off some energy between courses. Did we mention there’s even a carvery on a Sunday? Holiday bliss.

Ready to explore? Here’s what’s nearby…

Whilst there’s plenty to keep you entertained on site, thanks to its super accessible location, there’s also plenty of options for exploring the wider area. Drive into Exeter for some city wandering, shopping and a vast range of eateries. Make your way ten minutes down the road to Dawlish Warren, a mile and a half long sandy beach backed with sheltered sand dunes. Travel slightly further down to the pier at Teignmouth or visit Babbacombe’s model village, a miniature world hidden in Torquay. Haldon Hill offers walking and biking trails, or for those looking for lake views, there’s Stover Country Park with its sculptures to find and raised walkway.

Now we’ve covered all of the background info, let’s get to the juicy bit; what staying at Cofton Holidays was really like…

Cofton Holidays Review

We were invited to stay for three nights in a three bedroom luxury lodge, complete with hot tub, at the start of February 2024. We love an off-peak stay because everything is just a little bit calmer but it can mean that some of the facilities are shut or there’s a slight emptiness to the site, there was none of that here! The only parts which weren’t accessible were the outdoor pool and the splash pad area, as these only open during the warmer months. We were advised that check in is from 4pm, however, we did receive a text message earlier in the afternoon letting us know that our accommodation was ready – a lovely touch if you’re arriving earlier and spending the day out and about locally whilst you wait to check in.

The site is well signposted on the main road and easy for us to find by car. There is a bus stop about 100metres from reception which also covers local train stations so having a car isn’t a necessity at all (unless you’re like us and seem to travel with the entire contents of your home!). On arrival we were greeted in the reception area, checked in and given a map of the site, complete with directions on how to find our lodge. Efficient, friendly and really helpful!

Our Accommodation: 3 Bed Luxury Lodge

We stayed in a three bedroom luxury lodge, which sleeps up to six individuals across three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and has it’s own deck and hot tub.

The lodges are laid out in small groups with parking alongside, making it simple to unload everyone and everything. Our parking was to the side of our lodge, and there was an electric charging point for those visiting with electric cars (not us, but maybe one day!). We quickly hopped out, ran up the ramp to the lodge and took a look around.

Upon entering there’s a small cloakroom area, complete with a washer dryer (super handy for drying off swimwear!). Further in you’ll find an open plan main living area consisting of a dining table, sofa area complete with tv and fireplace, and toward the back, a fully stocked kitchen. The living area is incredibly light and airy thanks to huge glassed walls that look out over the site, as well as french doors and further windows out to the decking. This made it a beautiful space in the winter, and I can only imagine more so in the summer when the weather’s warm enough to have free-flow out on to the deck.

The kitchen is complete with just about every utensil you could think of, as well as a selection of glasses, crockery and even plastic glasses – great for taking outside with you (hello hot tub!) or in our case, for letting the children loose with! There’s a breakfast bar style counter which backs on to the sofas, allowing you to still feel part of the action when whipping up meals – something I seem to spend my life doing! Plus it means you get cheeky toddlers leaning over to shout their breakfast requests at the chef…

Opposite the kitchen is the main bathroom, before heading down the corridor to the bedrooms. The three bedrooms are set up as follows; a master bedroom complete with wardrobe, tv, dressing area and ensuite bathroom, a second bedroom which can be laid out as two singles or a double, again with wardrobe and tv, and a third room with two single beds in it. Whilst you could happily fit six adults in, the third bedroom would definitely be more suited to younger guests purely due to limited space and storage in it.

All of the bedrooms felt light and airy, thanks to floor to ceiling windows throughout. This had two benefits for us; firstly, the views from the master bedroom over the campsite and beyond were wonderful to lay on the bed and look at, whilst the long windows in the two bedrooms at the back looked out onto fields and made our lodge feel like it was almost in the middle of nowhere! I can confirm that all beds were super comfy (I’m still mad that I forgot to look at where the pillows were from because I’m a fussy pillow person and these were SO good!), the best spot for crashing out in the evening.

Out on the deck you’ll find a sofa area, an outdoor table and the piece we’d all been waiting for, the hot tub. The deck was wonderful, a large space which backed on to a field so it felt as though you were surrounded by nature, looking out over the others. The hot tub is fenced off which makes it a little safer if you’ve got younger guests with you, however, there is no gate between the deck and the path down the side of the lodge which is something we would have liked to see, just for a bit of extra security with children running around.

We loved our time in our ‘holiday house’ as the kids called it. There was enough space that everyone could get on with doing what they wanted, without us feeling like we were on top of each. Because of the time of year, we weren’t able to use the deck beyond one lunchtime when our eldest insisted on us eating out there – I’d love to soak up the sun on it with a book if we were to visit in the warmer months. The kids enjoyed having their own rooms, and with our master bedroom and ensuite, it gave us that bit of privacy from them… I could have happily laid in bed for hours listening to them out in the main living area on the Sunday morning, but alas, the pool was calling! After a day of heavy exploring we’d come back, collapse onto the sofas and pop the fire on (it’s an electric heater), with the curtains pulled it felt delightfully cosy. Then once the kids were fast asleep, the hot tub called for us grown ups. Talk about blissful, I don’t think I heard another sound except for the two of us in there, finally catching up on a busy day and soothing away our tired limbs. Perfection!

Amelia’s Restaurant

We’ve stayed in many campsites before and love the ability to eat at a decent onsite restaurant when staying, it’s just so much easier than trawling around trying to find somewhere to fit everyone in! On booking, we were asked if we’d like to reserve a table at Amelia’s. Amelia’s is one of Cofton’s dining areas, a fairly large open restaurant area that sits in the upstairs part of the main facilities. We decided to book a table for the Friday evening after we arrived, as we knew everyone would be hungry and we didn’t want to risk having to wait for a spot! When we went at 5.30pm it was pleasantly busy but there were still plenty of tables, however, if you’re going in a busier period, or slightly later, I’d absolutely book.

Amelia’s offers a fabulous ‘field to fork’ menu, using locally sourced Devonshire produce to create a fab selection of meals, with all the classic crowd-pleasers you’d expect from a family restaurant alongside delights such as seafood linguine.  The children’s menu is just as good, with plenty of choice even for our pickiest of eaters and a spot of colouring and puzzles (and crayons to boot!) to keep the little ones entertained whilst you order and wait.

Honestly, the food was excellent; you can see why Amelia’s won a gold award at the Food Drink Devon Awards not that long ago – I recommend the fish and chips, and our eldest absolutely demolished the children’s tomato linguine – praise indeed! With decent portion sizes, friendly service and a space that felt welcoming for both families and adults, it quickly became our spot of choice for the weekend.

Having finished our main courses, the children decided to explore the soft play whilst Dave and I waited for their ice-cream sundaes to come (I told you the children’s menu was good!). I love a soft play area as much as any parent does, and I think Cofton have nailed this within their restaurant well as it’s slightly tucked to the side, meaning you can be a part of it if you want to but it’s not a distraction throughout the whole meal. With areas for toddlers and a section for older children it meant our youngest could explore without the worry of being knocked over by bigger children, a definite bonus.

The Swimming Pool(s!)

I’m going to start with the swimming pool because this was our favourite part of the stay. Our kids really enjoy a splash around, but with three at different ages, it can be tricky if the pool is too noisy or crowded. As I mentioned, there are two pools and a splash pad at Cofton, and the outdoor pool looked stunning… and cold. At this time of year, it’s indoor swimming only, which I was grateful for! Access is to the side of Amelia’s and you’ll need to book your swimming slot; which can be done in person or online, this means that the pool never felt too crowded. Changing rooms were clean and plentiful, with family changing rooms available which made our lives a lot easier! There are plenty of showers, toilets and lockers (bring a pound!), and there’s even a sauna and steam room on the way in to the pool – sadly we didn’t make it into those.

There are limits in place for supervising children which meant for us, it needed to be both of us in the pool at the same time. It’s worth checking these in advance if you’re taking a number of young children because we would have been caught by those if we’d gone a couple of years ago.

The pool itself was easy to access and the same depth throughout which meant we didn’t have to worry about our eldest getting out of his depth. There are water cannons, bubble jets and bubbling seats scattered around the sides of the pool which turn on on rotation and kept the children very entertained! One of our pet hates is a cold pool – I think you feel it when you’re stood around ‘swimming’ with little ones – and we didn’t get cold at all.

Glass windows on one side of the pool look onto tables at the side of Amelia’s, meaning if you’ve got non-swimmers in your group they can grab a drink and a cake, and watch the rest of you swim. For us? We found ourselves ending up in the restaurant for post swimming drinks and cakes after each swim… who wouldn’t want to top off a family swim with a rainbow cupcake or a slab of chocolate cake?! The pool is open to locals as well, so if you’re in the area, you can book in to use the facilities and there seemed to be plenty of people doing that. I love the idea of coming for a swim at the end of the week and grabbing something to eat after – I really wish it was closer to us for exactly that!

The Beauty Room

As part of our review, I was invited to visit the newly refurbished Beauty Room for a treatment. Now, like most parents, this is a bit of an unheard of luxury, so I didn’t need to be asked twice! On Saturday morning I set out in search of some relaxation, and a body scrub, in the hope of coming out a newly chilled me. The Beauty Room is located through the access to the pool, and I don’t think this was that clear, so you’ll need to check in at the pool reception desk and they’ll take you through.

There’s a small waiting area and then the treatment room which just felt like an oasis of calm after the mayhem of a family weekend morning. My therapist was so nice, very calming and thorough, talking me through what the treatment would be before leaving me to get myself sorted. Half an hour of pure bliss followed, and as I lay there at the end, I genuinely wondered how I was then meant to get up and go back to dealing with children and husbands and the delights of things like refereeing how many crisps each person had taken. Maybe they’d let me just lie there for the next few hours and nap?!

I would thoroughly recommend the sea salt scrub that I had. I know for most, a massage is the key to relaxation, and there are plenty of those on the treatment menu, alongside beauty treatments, but after a long winter, a good bit of rejuvenation was exactly what I needed. And as I walked out afterward, I felt wonderful.. and very, very soft skinned!

The Play Areas

One of the things that really stood out to us about the site at Cofton was the thought that had been put into it. You can tell that the site is a family owned site, just from the attention to detail and the touches throughout that make it welcoming to other families. Everything was clean, safe and well-maintained, and that included the play areas.

There are a number of outdoor play areas on the site, one of which happened to sit between our accommodation and the main facilities, so it would have been a travesty not to visit it. The kids loved it, it’s enclosed so it felt safe enough for our two year old to run around in without us having to worry TOO much about where he was, whilst the older kids managed to set themselves circuits of activities! Then we made our way up the path alongside the play park to the ropes area.

High ropes and low ropes are available in this spot. You’ll need to book high ropes as a chargeable extra, but our children were too young (something we were secretly relieved about because they looked high!). However, they really enjoyed making their way around the low ropes play area which is free and unmanned so you can go on it as much as you like. I’d say that this area was more suited to our two older children than the play area, as it challenged them a bit more, and they liked working out how to make their way through the various obstacles, and to climb the big log sculpture at the end! Plus, there’s a zipline, which they all instantly go wild for! Having ziplined, crawled and balanced their way around, they were particularly grateful for the short walk back to the lodge ready for a well earned rest.

Overall

We had a great time staying at Cofton Holidays, which delivered a stunning weekend for us, even in February! The accommodation was stunning and the perfect base for our family to come back to each evening. The facilities were thoughtfully planned, cared for and plentiful; we could have happily spent our entire weekend on site, and longer, and still not been bored. The site is so well placed for exploring the beauty of Devon that you end up torn between wanting to go out and wanting to stay in. And the food? Fantastic; affordable, generous and tasty.

We both came away feeling like we’d stepped into a bubble, a kind of timeless holiday park where we just had the most wholesome family time. And whilst I think the park must be magnificent on a hot summers day, there was something really wonderful about our winter weekend getaway;  lights twinkling on the outdoor pool as we made our way down to Amelia’s for the evening, chatting about what we’d been up to that day. Pretty magic, I’d say.

Thanks Cofton, we’ll be back!

For a full accommodation tour and to see the main site, watch our quick video…

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I'm Hayley and this is us; working parents to three tiny wild ones. Whether it's travel, food, lifestyle or just a healthy dose of parenting reality, there's something for everyone here. So sit back, get comfy and start scrolling!

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