Noah's Ark Caravan Park - Octolodges 2017
As parents of 3 girls (with ages ranging from 6 to 15) the School 'Summer' Holidays can be quite challenging... especially when you intend on holidaying in Scotland for parts of that 7-week school shut down.
Week 1 was a very enjoyable, if not a bit dreich, trip to Prestwick. The following week we organised a trip to Perthshire to reside at Noah's Ark Caravan Park ... just outside Perth. We had been there a number of years ago and pitched the 5 man tent for a few days. The kids loved it (so did Mum and Dad to be fair). This time, however, we were going to try a bit of 'Glamping' and managed to get a week booked in one of their Octolodges. As you can see below the first thing the 2 young ones done was 'bagsy' their bunk beds.
"This is just like Bilbo Baggins home Dad!" says Zoe.
Not sure who coins the term first but they both start calling their new home The Hobbit Hut.
The Octolodges (so called due to it's 8 sides) sleep up to 6 people but as a family of 4 (eldest daughter had other plans in mind), we found ourselves with more than enough room - and plenty of storage space. They were kitted out with mattresses, mini fridge, microwave, digital TV and a heater ... It's camping - but not as we know it. That's for sure.
With regards to position... The Octolodge is absolutely spot on and, not only is the view out over the Perthshire hills pretty decent, the Play Park is practically on our doorstep (as you can see). Like all holidays we go on we head out for a wander to get our bearings. The park is pretty compact but we get a chance to have a look at the Microlodges and the adjoining facilities. There is a humble Mini-Golf course and a Driving Range right at the entrance ... and there is an indoor play barn no more than 2 mins walk from the lodge. Also joined to that is a small Ten Pin Bowling Alley and a Karting Track. The usual relentless 'can we go in Dad' from both of them is met swiftly with a 'Maybe tomorrow. Let's get dinner first' from Mum.
I'd be lying if I said it was a good idea to explore the park so soon ... because I must have heard 'can we go to the go karting?' from them circa twenty times in the hour after them knowing it was there.
Time for some food ... and a beer! Our kids must watch too many American TV programmes as the Ice-Cream Truck turned up! 99's with extras all round.
One of the things we love most about 'camping' is the amount of time that is spent outdoors. So we get the camping chairs out (although the Octolodge has it's own private bench area) a few glasses of wine and watch the kids play in the park till it starts to get dark... which was pretty late to be fair. The beds were pretty comfy (big double bed at the back of the lodge), it was warm enough and everyone had a really good nights sleep.
I'm not sure if anyone else kids are like this but before their eyes are even fully open they are asking to go to Noahs Play Barn... as it turns out the rain had not long come on and it seemed like a reasonable plan. The indoor play barn was ideal for Bethany (6years) but was maybe pushing it a little for Zoe (9years) but Louise and I manage to have a nice cup of coffee whilst they ran about for a bit. Worth every penny for the 40 mins of peace and quiet : )
We've never really worried too much about the Scottish weather and subscribe to the 'it's only a bit of rain' way of thinking. Get the welly boots and rain jackets on and they can still go play in the park, however, we decided to take them swimming. Perth swimming was only a 10-minute drive away and we had heard some good things about it. It was a decent swimming facility with plenty to do for both of the kids and we managed to swim in the outside pool ... whilst the sun was shining. Almost like being abroad. There was a small park, the Boomerang Play Area, just outside the swimming and Mum and Dad sat and recharged their batteries whilst they ran about some more. Where do they get their energy from?
After the obligatory 'post swimming' trip to The Chippy for Fish Suppers it's time to head back to the 'Hobbit Hut' (as the kids affectionately continue to call it) where we enjoy our private bench area - the lodges are set out really well and you really do feel as though you have your very own secluded space.
Whilst chatting with the Park Ranger the next day we mentioned that we were going to go for a drive - possibly into Perth - but wondered if he knew of any nice places to see. He, thankfully, mentions a park just 10 minutes away on the Inverness road. It was Active Kids Adventure Park ... and it was excellent. Granted the weather was great and always makes like easier but the park was well equipped either way. Well worth a visit if you are staying at Noah's Ark for a few days.
Back to the Hobbit Hut! Car Parked. Lager poured. Time for the annual Camping 'Pot Noodle'! A Bombay Bad Boy and a buttered roll!
You can thank me later.
After said fine dining and quick refreshment, I give the girls the opportunity to come over to the Driving Range with me. They both jump at the chance. Mum is pleased as some programme called 'Love Island' has still to be watched? I nod my head and give the girls a shout.
As I get there I realise that I have no clubs with me and embarrassingly inform the member of staff as I arrive... who quickly puts me at ease by telling me that there are plenty of practice clubs for both me and the kids. I never really thought that one through did I? Result though. Kids clubs as well!!
The Range has 22 (floodlit) bays with plenty of targets and was well looked after. 100 balls and plenty of frustration later we head back to the Octolodge. Let's hope the Love Island thing is finished!!
That night the weather was superb and the kids all ended up playing till the sun went down. It was really great seeing kids making up games and dances 5 mins after learning each other names.
Another good nights sleep was had in our Octolodge. This is definitely not the camping that we are used to. : )
Due to last minute work commitments, we have to head back to Glasgow early. The kids, however, remember that I promised to take them Karting! Once we pack up the car and make sure our wee 'Hobbit Hut' is looking the way we found it we walk over to the Karting. It doesn't open until 10 am. "We'll just hang about for 15mins" they say. Brilliant!
As it turns out I was really glad that we waited. Beth jumped in beside me and Zoe got to go in her own Kart. Man, my kids are competitive. One screaming in my ear telling me to 'go faster and catch her' and the other one cutting me up on the race track. I think, from memory, it was £5 for 5 mins but it was well worth it and they (and Dad) loved it. Great fun.
Time to head home! "Goodbye Hobbit Hut" they both shout at the same time.