This started off as a post that was going to be about what we’d been up to this week but turned into a bit of a review about where we stayed so I thought I should make it clear that is not a paid for review or anything like that. We paid for the accommodation ourselves – £139 for all of us for a full week)
We’re back from our week away and I’m so tired that I feel like I need another week to get over it!
We’ve had a brilliant week although I’m not sure that I’m in two minds as to whether I’d recommend Pontins or not. It was great fun and a brilliant price for a last minute week away if you’re intending just to use it as a base but I’m not sure that we would have had as much fun if we hadn’t gone out for the day on all but one of the days.
The Pontins Southport complex is huge and when we got there on the Saturday night, reception had closed (6.30pm) so we had to go to the security guard at the entrance to the complex to get our key. He sent us off with a badly photocopied map looking for room 930, which felt like miles away but we got there in the end to find a really good sized room – 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen area, and a living area with a dining table. The only problem was that the room was dirty – dead flies and dust on the windowsills, sand on the bathroom floor and a puddle of dirty water in the bath! The TV also wouldn’t turn on which devastated everyone but me 😉
I wasn’t expecting luxury by any means but clean would have been good. The last thing I wanted to do after a long journey was crack open the cleaning supplies before we could even unpack. Having said that, once it was clean it was easy to keep on top of through the week and there was plenty of storage so we could really unpack everything and make ourselves at home. The accommodation is arranged in blocks with each block having a good sized grassed area in the centre where all the kids played together. I could see them from the settee in our apartment which meant I could relax and read my Kindle while they played where I could see them.
The evening entertainment didn’t look great to us although the Fun Factory where it was held was heaving every night – we gave most nights a miss and either went out or stayed in the apartment and chilled out. I thought things like Bonny Baby, Miss Pontins and Lovely Legs competitions went out at the same time as Hi-de-hi but apparently not. To be fair though, it may not have been for us but judging by the crowds that gathered every night to watch, it was clearly a lot of fun if you like that sort of thing.
The TV never got fixed – despite three visits to reception (not by me might I add) and although I felt this added to the enjoyment of the week as we spent more time doing things together rather than just sitting in front of the TV, Mr Frugal is still prodding me now as I write this telling me to make sure that I tell you all that the TV wouldn’t work. He’s also asked me to point out that every time I wanted to use the microwave, he had to move it to near a plug and also that in the whole apartment there were only three plug sockets – shocking I know.
We ate out on the complex twice and were disappointed both times if I’m honest, the on site fish and chip shop has possibly the slowest service I’ve ever experienced and at one point after we’d been in the queue for twenty minutes, the girl serving went and got herself a bag of chip and a drink and started drinking it at the till. We also ate in the Queen Victoria Pub one lunchtime and had the buffet which was a really good price but the food was awful – and I mean awful. The gammon which was covered in cheese and barbecue sauce was so fatty that we couldn’t eat that, the Mexican style liver was just plain weird and the fish which we had to wait ten minutes for was just cheap breaded fillets. Add to that some dry looking potatoes, chicken nuggets that looked like they’d been sat there a week and some chips and that was the buffet lunch.
The facilities there are great for kids – as long as you know that the majority you’ll have to pay for. One of the first things we did was go to the BMX track which cost £3 each for half an hour, including the bike hire and the guys there were great. So helpful and were really great with the kids – especially Master Frugal who struggled a little at first. We also spent a lot of time in the pool and I was really impressed by the number of lifeguards always on duty – the main pool is great for children too as the water depth is a maximum of 1.2m right up until half way down the pool.
So after getting all that off my chest, would I recommend Pontins Southport?
For the price we paid for a full week, I think I would.
There were certainly some downsides to the complex but Southport itself is a beautiful area with lots of things nearby to see and do so even just as a base to explore the area, it was great value and that’s without factoring in the fun we had swimming and playing on the free crazy golf course.
Also, just in case you’re thinking of going 02 reception is beyond useless and only worked in certain areas of the swimming pool building and you can get to Liverpool by train from the nearby train station for £10 for a family of four!