DEVON: Paignton

Caroline Harriett and Heidi Saunders at the outdoor play area at Hoburne Devon Bay lr
Bond with family at Hoburne.
Family is the heart of success for this popular holiday park operator. Established in 1912 it’s now run by the fourth generation.
We have a three night stay in a mobile home at Hoburne Devon Bay, Paignton. Harriett (7), Heidi (5) and I unload while Henry (2) and Caroline snooze in the car. The girls soon find the television. Our accommodation is spotless and there’s a welcome box of essentials including coffee and teabags, washing up liquid, cloth and binbags - with a note saying the van was cleaned by Lyn. I take a coffee out to Caroline.
The appeal of such a break for families is that entertainment is on site. Children’s activities include art and craft where they draw and decorate a fish, cut it out and then have a race. Hoburne’s life-size Sammy sea horse entertains the little ones at night (Sammy merchandise is readily available). There’s bingo, games and cabaret for the adults. One evening I end up limbo dancing with some other unfortunate parents and making a total fool of myself to my wife’s great pleasure. Leisure facilities include a gym, outdoor play area and crazy golf.
If self-catering gets a bit much there’s always Brasserie 1912. We really enjoy an unhurried three-course meal here. The children gulp down their apple juices while I savour my cold Guinness and Caroline has a bitter shandy. For starters the little ones have melon while Caroline has goats cheese and I opt for fishcakes. Henry has sausages and mash for his main meal while Heidi has pasta and Harriett, fishfingers and chips. The chicken, ham and leak pie is the grown ups choice. We’re all fit to burst and for dessert share a chocolate brownie with strawberry ice cream. It’s all very tasty food delivered with a smile.
A fun packed day can be enjoyed at Pennywell Farm near Buckfastleigh where we handle rabbits, piglets and rats… The children feed goats, groom a pony and we watch pig racing. There’s an informative trailer ride with quiz, a train ride and even tortoises.
Five miles from Hoburne is Brixham where we savour the atmosphere of this important fishing port. Expertly cooked local fish is available at Rockfish. We’re greeted by a knowledgeable and welcoming young waitress. The children opt for fish and chips while Caroline and I go for whiting, a member of the cod family. It melts in the mouth. Delicious. Rockfish tartare sauce further enhances the taste. Portions are just the right size and there are unlimited chips. On visiting the lavatory customers are greeted by the soothing tones of Radio 4’s shipping forecast. 
Down the road is Bays Brewery, established by two brothers who produce award winning beers: Devon Dumpling Golden Ale, Devon Rock Craft Lager as well as Windfall Cider.
We explore Goodrington Sands where the sand is a distinctive orangey brown. A railway station behind is home to a steam engine, whose whistle is heard for miles around. After an early lunch we head for Hoburne and swim in the heated indoor pool (there’s also a heated outdoor pool). With each visit the children grow in confidence, which is really rewarding to see. Harriett is starting to swim without armbands, favouring a float.
Henry’s tired so we drive to Dartmoor before heading back to Hoburne where it’s possible to buy a brand new mobile home for just £19,995 or £385 a month. “Most of the vans here are privately owned,” says the site manager.
Checking out at 10am, a leisurely swim is followed by a trip to Artizan Gallery in Torquay to see a Creative Coverage art exhibition and then onto Coleton Fishacre built by the D’oyly Carte family, who owned theatres and an opera company.
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