Have you seen the adverts for Ribby Hall village this year? My son fell in love with the holiday village and asked me every time he saw the advert, ‘When can we go to Ribby?’. Imagine his excitement when we were invited for a weekend away to review the holiday park. I wish I could have bottled his happiness up and I certainly wished I’d filmed his reaction, it was priceless. Welcome to my review of Ribby Hall facilities and our weekend away to this great Holiday village near Blackpool.
Where is Ribby Hall? Ribby Hall is near to Blackpool
Ribby Hall is located east of Blackpool, in Lancashire. It’s an easy route from Ribby into Blackpool and we drove to Blackpool in just under 20 minutes. Ribby Hall village is an award-winning 5* holiday village, the only 5* holiday park in the north of England. The accommodation is self catering and there are plenty of facilities on site which I will outline below.
If you haven’t already read it please read my review of our accommodation at Ribby Hall including a tour of the Poppy Cottage that we stayed in – Ribby Hall Poppy Cottage Facilities Review and Tour
When you arrive at Ribby Hall you will need to park up by reception to be given your holiday pack and keys to your accommodation. Reception is on the right just before the entrance to the Restaurant and Tapas bar. The staff were very friendly and helpful. On the wall they have posters of what’s on during the week ahead. I was given a leaflet with most of this information however it did not include information on the evening entertainment. It would be an idea to take a photo of this should you be interested in what’s on at night.
This map below should give you a feel for the site. You can also go on virtual tours of some of the restaurants and facilities via their website.
The main entertainment hubs are at the front of the park. Behind them to the right you will find the area where we stayed which is for the holiday rentals. This is next to Wild Discovery (see below). Over to the left is all the privately owned accommodation such as static caravans. The pine lodges are located over by the Island. The red path going around the park is their Woodland trail (also see below).
What did we love the most about Ribby Hall Village?
We personally loved the fact that although cars were allowed to drive around the site there were no issues with Jamie riding his scooter around. Ribby have provided pavements next to the roads and there are also walkways where there is no room for a pavement. This was really appreciated by us as most holiday parks we stay at don’t have pathways for pedestrians. The site is limited to 10mph and people seemed to respect that. If you don’t want to walk around the site there are plenty of parking spaces by all the different facilities.
We also loved the fact that so many of the facilities were included in the price of a stay at Ribby Hall Village. I will outline these below. The food was also excellent and the site was free of litter. It was a relatively peaceful place to stay and although there were a couple of ‘hen dos’ it was mostly families staying on site.
Ribby Hall ‘Free’ Facilities for Families
So what is actually included in a stay at Ribby Hall Village? Well the answer is not everything is included but most of the main facilities are free to use.
The outside space of The Restaurant has recently been converted to a Tapas terrace which has a separate menu to the restaurant. Next to this there is now HMS Ribby which Jamie actually declared to be a pirate ship. It was great for us as we had a long leisurely lunch out on the Tapas terrace whilst he mostly played in the sand and on the ship, which also has a slide.
Over the road from here there are three other gated playgrounds which have facilities for all ages and abilities. There is a smaller play area for toddlers and then the two other playgrounds have various pieces of play equipment. The ground is covered in play bark and the equipment looks relatively new. There are a few benches in two of the playgrounds.
The Village Garden
The village garden is a pleasant little space with a pond and water fountain. We visited in April so there wasn’t a huge amount growing there however I imagine it would be a beautiful place to visit in the summer months. We spotted a few fish in the pond and Jamie attempted to name some of the things growing there. This is located behind the family entertainment venue.
If you want to go to the evening entertainment please see what’s on via the notices in reception or outside the Family entertainment venue. We went along on the Saturday night. There was bingo (for money, but not taken too seriously), followed by a disco. The disco was a lot of fun and it was great having the DJ up on stage taking everyone through various party song dances. After this they had a comedian/family entertainer/magician. He was good but a lot of it was more for the kids sat on the floor in front of the stage. From what I could see the entertainment varied every night and there was also something on for adults later on in the night.
The entertainment is next to the Bar and Grill restaurant which is advised to pre book for. We were allowed to order food from the bar next to here for eating in the entertainment area which was limited but adequate. Drinks were reasonably priced and I can recommend a £5.99 cocktail. We arrived at 6:15pm and the entertainment started at 6:30pm. We managed to get a front line table.
The Woodland Trail / Nature Trail
This walk can be as short or as long as you want it to be. Each entrance to the trail has a gorgeous archway and information about the walk showing where you are and where the paths go to. In our welcome pack we were given a Find and Seek leaflet with things for kids to find on a nature trail through the woodland.
We managed most of the walk in around an hour. Considering the rain we’d had it wasn’t too muddy and the paths were easy to follow. Apparently there are 6 wooden sculptures to find along the walk, we only found one. It was a really lovely walk and I’m glad we took the time to do it.
We loved our time in the swimming pool at Ribby Hall. We were advised to pre book a slot, which we did. It wasn’t at all busy though and we easily found a family cubicle and locker. The pool was warm and there’s plenty for young and old.
There are two hot tubs, a pool with a depth of around 1.3m. One large tube slide and two medium-sized drop slides. There’s a big kids area with a toddler pool with African type sculptures and another area themed around a boat stranded on a tropical island. Jamie found the kids slides a bit too ‘wet’ as there was a lot of spray involved. He did however love a really dinky slide and it was perfect for building his confidence in the water. I had a bit of trouble convincing him to leave. The showers do have soap dispensers however of the 6 we tried only one had soap in them. You are not allowed to take photos in the pool so here is a photo from and courtesy of the Manchester Evening news. The pool had a recent refurb so there are quite a few photos on the internet.
Opening times for general swimming vary. Please check before you visit.
Soft Play Areas
We never made it into the soft play over in the entertainment venue. We did however make it to the one over by the creche/Starbucks etc. It was a decent enough size and there was plenty to entertain Jamie for a while. He especially loved trying to shoot a ball in the basket. There are a few chairs around the outside and you have to sign your child in and out. The soft play areas opened at 9am on some days and 9:30am on others, please check before you visit if you are wanting to go early on in the day.
Feed the Ducks
You can buy duck food on site. We always travel around with our own bag of duck food and there was always a duck somewhere near by waiting to be fed. We had at least 5 that would come and wait by our patio door.
Ribby Hall Facilities | Review of our Weekend Away | Holiday Village Near Blackpool
Ribby Hall ‘Paid’ Activities
I could not persuade Jamie to go up this at all. Even with a small girl squealing with delight right by him he still wouldn’t attempt it. It costs £3 for 5 minutes and £5 for 10 minutes. The climbing wall is located on the island where you can also find boat hire, championship mini golf, archery and a small cafe selling some very good value for money hot and cold food and drinks. It really is an island as the water for the boating goes all the way around it. It’s a very pleasant spot and we spent quite a bit of our time here. It was especially entertaining watching the boats go under the bridge and yes we even did it ourselves.
The facilities on the island opened at 10am during out visit.
There was a choice of hiring either a canoe or pedalo for £5.00. We decided that we wouldn’t fit Jamie in a canoe with two of us so myself and Jamie’s Grandad took him out for his first ever time on a pedalo. He loved it but deep down he really wanted to give paddling a go. This was a good value for money activity and we had a very leisurely ride around the island. There are life vests for the kids at no extra charge.
Championship Mini Golf
Mini golf cost £3 for each of us and there was no limit to how long we took however we could only go around once. Each of the 9 holes are based on a championship golf hole from around the world. It is a really lovely course and there’s some pretty long and challenging holes. We had quite a lot of balls go out of bounds. The setting is beautiful amongst the trees and I can highly recommend this activity.
There are many other charged activities at Ribby Hall such as archery (£9), baby ballet (£4.50), art attack, balance bikes (£4.50), creche, fencing (£6.00), laser tag (£5.00), messy play (£5.00), racquet sports, table tennis, water walkers (£5.00), 9 hole par 3 golf course, cycle hire (£10 a day), fishing lessons (£25 per person), segways (£19.50), tennis, arcade with amusements. Jamie was too young for a lot of these activities. Most are for 6-8+ years.
Ribby Hall’s website states that entrance to Wild Discovery has a small charge. It is not owned by Ribby Hall so I can understand the charge. However, we were all pretty shocked by the £7.00 admission fee and £6.00 for children. We could see quite a few of the animals every time we walked to and from the activity and entertainment hubs. Jamie is a big fan of animals and was desperate to go. I wasn’t so sure however I finally caved on the afternoon before we left. It was actually a thoroughly pleasant and fun experience. It was not worth the money at all and as I understand it the money goes back into the upkeep of the animals. But I still think it could do with being a lot cheaper and they may find that more people visit to make up for that.
The animals are in new cages or fenced areas and some of them are free within their own area. We could walk amongst the wallabies and their large black pig. I was disappointed that the very large barn that I had hoped was part of Wild Discovery isn’t anything that you can actually look around. We were there for around two hours though and we had a great time feeding the sheep some grass, stroking the pig, chatting to the meerkats, braving the bats, stroking the donkeys and more. I was glad that we went but I would have been ecstatic had it been £3-4 each to visit.
Eating at Ribby Hall – Where to eat onsite at Ribby Hall Village
We were really surprised by the restaurants at Ribby Hall. It turns out they have some very good ones on site which isn’t what we were expecting of a holiday park. It’s certainly not what we are used to. We ate at the Restaurant on our first night and it was quite possibly one of the most expensive restaurants that we’ve eaten at in a long time but it was excellent. The restaurant shares its signage with the Tapas bar however the two places aren’t the same. You can reserve a table at the restaurant but you can’t at the Tapas bar and the latter is much cheaper!
We reminisced of our life back in France and shared a Chateaubriand. It was quite honestly delicious, expensive at £58 but Chateaubriand usually is. Our only complaint is that we would have liked a bit more meat to share.
We also ate outside on The Tapas bar terrace where I had 3 plates of Tapas for £13.95. Everything was very tasty and all made of quality ingredients. There is a Starbucks on site, plus a Papa John’s where we got a take away one night. There is also the Bar and Grill in the Entertainment venue. Another family friendly place to eat is the island clubhouse which I mentioned above that sells very good value for money hot and cold food. Finally you can also buy breakfast or lunch over at the Tea Room. This is next to Spar which is a decent sized, and well stocked, mini supermarket.
An Impromptu visit to Blackpool
We had such beautiful weather on the Saturday that Britain being Britain it didn’t last. The heavens opened on the Sunday morning so we did what we always do when it rains in Lancashire – we headed into Blackpool. It took just under 20 minutes to drive in and park next to Coral Island. We always go there as there’s plenty of 2p slot machines plus there’s 3 largish rides inside which Jamie always loves (ghost train, pirate ride and cars/trucks). There is a crazy amount of things to do in Blackpool. It’s worth getting a Blackpool pass if you plan on visiting over a few days.
Would we return to Ribby Hall Village? Absolutely. Was it as good as we were expecting it to be? Yes and more. Jamie has already been asking when are we going again. The whole site felt new even though it isn’t and it’s great to see investment going into the park.
What would I recommend to Ribby?
I think their map or entertainment guide could do with stating what time all their different facilities open. We headed out one morning not having a clue what was open and when, which resulted in a bit of hanging around. It would also be nice to have the evening entertainment listed on the weekly schedule. Other than that the map is fabulous and one of the best we’ve ever been given. I love the people on it! It was incredibly useful and great for getting our bearings.
You can see more from our weekend away below:
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary stay for the purpose of this review. Thank you so much for having us Ribby Hall. You made one little boys wish come true.
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