Grab a handful of Sandy Balls!

Laura Mason takes a mid week break at Sandy Balls, the family friendly holiday village located in the New Forest.

Chatting to a group of friends, this wasn't the first time I'd heard sniggers when I'd shared my plans for a short break. While it sounds like a dodgy couples retreat, we were actually heading off on a family get away to the humorously named Sandy Balls! Sandy Balls is a family holiday village located in the heart of the beautiful New Forest in the south of England.

The name, aside from titivating various friends, stems from the estate name dating back to Henry VII when the name was ‘Sandyballas’.

Accommodation ranges depending on your preference for comfort and budget - basic DIY camping, funky camping pods, static caravans and a variety of lodges. More one for the finer things in life, our home away from home was a two bedroom Premium Lodge, perfect for the hubby and I along with two toddlers, Grace 3 and Noah 18 months.

bedroom

Featuring an open plan design with a heavy hand of Scandinavian-style cladding, the lodges are very comfortable, nicely furnished, clean and well-maintained. The heart and soul of the lodges is the living area, a spacious area comprised of a kitchen/diner/lounge flooded with natural light that beams through the forest trees.

Each lodge has patio doors that open up to a private balcony which is perfect for smaller children to play safely while exciting over the many squirrels and birds, with the outside offering a BBQ and private dining area.

Unfortunately my dreams of picking up a book (with words!), cracking opening a bottle of wine and popping to the on-site spa had to be placed on the back burner. My travelling companions had other ideas and with so much on offer I couldn't blame them.

The central hub of Sandy Balls is the village centre. With two restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a free soft play area, play parks, activity arcade and boutique shops there’s a hive of activity taking place that provides an alluring buzz. I struggled to tear my kids away from the soft play area, but with the promise of a treat en route, we hired some bikes and child trailer to explore the local area. Thanks to the helpful cycle team we selected a family friendly route of eight miles making the odd stop off for a cream tea and picnic in between admiring the sensational scenery and roaming wildlife of deer, sheep, ponies and horses which the children absolutely loved - African safari eat your heart out!

If the good old British weather doesn't play ball, families can get stuck into a wide range of organised activities. A weekly schedule of arts, crafts and sporting activities such as biscuit decorating, painting and archery are scheduled year round and starting from as little as £2.50 for an hour it’s a great wallet friendly option that keeps holiday spirits up.

biscuit decorating

Food wise, the lodges have fully equipped kitchens, however, there’s also two restaurants on site - an Italian and a gastropub. We thought we would try the Italian, The Forest Table, to celebrate Grace’s birthday and were pleasantly surprised not just by the high quality but also generous portion sizes. Being a family resort children’s menus and facilities were plentiful, the staff were excellent (and very patient!) and no other diners gave a dirty look when my toddler started having a tantrum!

dinner

While Sandy Balls draws many comparisons to other British holiday parks we found this set up to be a lot more rustic and natural allowing families the option to indulge in the facilities on site or just enjoy quality time in beautiful surroundings.

Fact Box

Prices for a stay in a two bedroom Premium Lodge are as follows:
Midweek (4 nights) start from £199, Weekend (3 nights) start from £269 and a Week (7 nights) start from £548

For further information and to book visit www.sandyballs.co.uk