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'It seemed rather surprising to him that anybody could live in Devonshire without living near Dawlish,’ wrote Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility, which we think shows jolly good taste on her part. We think she would also have approved of somewhere like the family holiday park Dawlish Sands a short stroll away from the beach at Dawlish Warren, hitching up her petticoat to run the race track in the arcade zone, jumping into the heated indoor or outdoor pool in a Victorian swimming costume and bonnet, or giggling coquettishly at the family entertainment in the Devonshire Tap clubhouse while lowering her fan to try and spot a Darcy lookalike. Or maybe that’s just us.
Twenty-first century families will find plenty to like at this Park Holidays site on the English Riviera too, with comfy accommodation in swish caravans, a Loopy Kids’ Club for little loopers to whirl about in, and Sky Sports and free wifi in the clubhouse (Sky and wifi packages are also available in your caravan for a reasonable additional charge). There’s also an adventure playground to properly tire the kids out, before you ‘challenge’ them (i.e. defeat them soundly) at the games in the arcade and amusement zone, then take to the sun terrace at the outdoor pool to bask in rays and grown-up triumph.
Accommodation at Dawlish Sands is in two or three bedroom caravans on different price tariffs, all with kitchen facilities, TV and linen provided. Foodwise, everything is laid on at the park: there’s a restaurant with takeaway for family meals and a mini mart on site. And if you do decide to venture off site, there’s a steam railway and cycle park right beside the park for puff or pedal sightseeing.
Dawlish Sands guests can also use the facilities at the nearby Park Holidays site Golden Sands, with heated indoor and outdoor pool complexes, an Adventure Land Play Area, and yet more going Loopy at the kids' clubs.
Tourist board rating
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Many sites set a maximum occupancy of 6/8 people per pitch, so try breaking your booking down into smaller groups to generate more results. For example, if you’re a group of 10, enter 5 people in your initial search and then book 2 pitches.
However, where the pitch or accommodation occupancy allows it, you can make a booking for up to 30 adults and 30 children in one booking.
To book multiple pitches or accommodation, use the 'Special requests' box on the booking page to ask to be sited together. Complete the booking form for the first booking (you can add a password and save your card so that we remember your details). Then click "Make another booking like this" at the top of the confirmation page to make the next booking.
Large groups: check the listing page for any group restrictions set out in the terms and section titled ‘Please note’.
Large tents/caravans: check the restrictions on unit dimensions to ensure your unit is suitable for the space you will be provided with.
Leisure on site
Bar or club house
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Amenities on site
Ice pack freezing
Parent & baby washroom
Pick-up from public transport
Gas cylinders available
Commercial vehicles allowed
Dogs allowed all year
Cycle hire nearby
Horse riding nearby
Indoor pool nearby
Leisure/theme park nearby
Single-sex groups welcome
Student groups welcome
Public transport nearby
Large (51-200 pitches)
- Coach stations
Starcross: Rail Station Coach Stop
— 1.7 miles
1.7 miles Dawlish Coach Stop — 1.8 miles
1.8 miles Exmouth Bus Station — 1.9 miles
- Train stations
Dawlish Warren Rail Station
— 0.3 miles
0.3 miles Starcross Rail Station — 1.7 miles
1.7 miles Dawlish Rail Station — 1.8 miles
- Ferry ports
Exmouth Ferry Landing
— 1.4 miles
1.4 miles Starcross Ferry Landing — 1.6 miles
1.6 miles Turf Lock Inn Ferry Landing — 4.2 miles
Exeter International Airport
— 8.9 miles
Only 10 miles from the M5, leave the motorway at junction 30 and follow the A379 towards Dawlish. After Starcross, at Cockwood Harbour, turn left over the bridge and left again through the village signed to Dawlish Warren. Dawlish Sands Holiday Park is one mile further along the road, on the left as you enter Dawlish Warren.
Make the beach at Dawlish Warren your first stop: this two mile sandy stretch is a clean and safe spot backed with sand dunes and with old style seaside shenanigans: fairground rides, Punch and Judy, crazy golf and free events during summer; pooches are welcome too from 1 April to 30 September and the beach is lifeguarded during peak season. Dust the sand off your toes and also make your way to the Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve with its several different habitats and the wading birds and wildfowl of the Exe Estuary, before taking naturally curious caravanners to the award-winning Pennywell Farm for guinea pigs and go-karting.
For non-strenuous sightseeing, the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway chuffs for seven miles along the Torbay coast from Paignton to Churston with seascape scenery across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill spottable on clear days, or take a cruise on the River Dart from Dartmouth to Totnes. A swashbuckling day out can be had at the Golden Hind, the full-sized replica of Sir Francis Drake’s sixteenth century ship at Brixham, where you can go under deck to see how his sailors lived or go aaaarr every Thursday in season with the Brixham Buccaneers. The twelfth century home of the Earl of Devon, Powderham Castle, is also worth a look for time traveller types, as is Topsham Museum, set in seventeenth century buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary.
Day trips in the area include the towns of Torquay and Paignton, although when the kids realise the Crealy Great Adventure Park is just seven miles away from the park it’s likely there’ll be a day there too; they might also clamour for a trip swinging among the trees at Go Ape! or getting their revenge for you beating them in arcade games by paintballing the parents at Ashcombe Adventure Centre.
- Crealy Great Adventure Park (7.3 miles)
- Exeter Cathedral - Church of Saint Peter (9.0 miles)
- Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (10.5 miles)
- A la Ronde (3.2 miles)
- Killerton: Clyston Mill (11.1 miles)
Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.