• With Kids in the Westcountry

Swimming and a Full English (with curried peanuts) at Newlands, Charmouth

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Day 5 of the May half term and we couldn’t let the week go by without the obligatory trip to the swimming pool. And what better choice to make than visiting the pool at a popular holiday park on a rainy day in the school holidays, and with a mild hangover too! If you’re getting more agoraphobic (and grumpy?) with age, like me, then perhaps this wasn’t the wisest decision but hey, we got on with it and had a successful splash about with the masses. And I do mean a splash-about, as one family seemingly in training for the next swimming Olympics had their hearts set on testing out my waterproof mascara.

Let me start by saying that Newlands Holiday Park in Charmouth is a really delightful hidden gem for locals. I’ve not met many who know you can pay to swim in the pool there as a non-resident so I almost don’t want to shout about it too much as it’s USUALLY really quiet and I don’t want to ruin it! Half term busyness aside, there’s a lovely recently refurbished indoor pool, a heated outdoor pool with a slide for the summer months and a fabulous spacious bar and conservatory area that’s very child-friendly – more on that later.

There’s also a small soft play in the basement of the bar for the under 7s – an extra £2ish each to go in but great on a rainy day. And, there’s a little amusements arcade which we’ve never used but that’s an additional facility if your purse is heavy on loose change.

During busy periods it turns out that you need to ring up and book an hour’s allocated swimming session in advance – a sensible way to control the numbers – we didn’t know this and just turned up but thankfully Newlands staff accommodated us. Swimming is very good value here – I think it’s under £3 per person for non-residents. (Sorry, I can’t remember the total entry fee today as I was busy restraining the excitable youngest child while Andy paid.) It’s easily the cheapest swim in the area though. Outside of school holidays we’ve never had to book so it’s usually ok to just drop in.

There are separate male and female changing rooms, baby change facilities, showers and limited seating around the pool. Plenty of free parking at Newlands too.

After 40 minutes of swimming (read – watching the eldest daughter practice her mushroom floats with gusto) we dried off and headed over to the aptly named and beautifully-decorated Tow Bar for a good coffee, one full English for the husband, and a specifically requested pot of curried peanuts for the girls. Once they’d finished their snack of choice they were happy to play with the small selection of kids toys and lovely little play kitchen complete with stuffed toy bananas and a wooden chocolate cake 😊. It’s great to have a post-swim drink in a place where you can let the girls trot about without worrying that you’re disturbing other diners and the Tow Bar is definitely a place where loose kids are welcome.

All in all a cheap, easy and child-friendly morning out.

I probably shouldn’t say this but there’s also a lovely outdoor play area up and beyond the tent pitches – if you’re going to use it, just make sure you spend plenty of money in the bar/restaurant to justify being cheeky!

*Worth noting* - Newlands closes for the winter at the beginning of November, and reopens early Spring, so do check their website or ring in advance if you want to check it’s open before you make the journey there.

I’m sorry I keep forgetting to take my own photos, I didn’t actually take my phone with me on this visit, must get into taking pics if I’m going to give this blogging malarkey a go! Photos (with permission) from Newlands Holiday Park website.