Horseback holiday in Devon is tops for tots

Jack and his trusty steed

Jack and his trusty steed

First published in Holidays

Despite the diminutive size of his trusty steed, three-year-old Jack was not entirely sure about horse management but he was determined to give it a try.

Dressed up in his knight’s gear, Jack held tight to ‘Galahad’s’ leading rein while carefully keeping his distance from Galahad’s mum – a perfectly proportioned (and perfectly behaved) miniature Welsh pony.

Lollipop is one of 56 miniature ponies available for guests to ‘own’ during a holiday at Crealy Meadows – a new and unique caravan and camping experience in Devon.

Her tiny foal came as a perfect Jack-sized bonus.

But this is a holiday which offers much more for mini-knights than an introduction to pony management.

Crealy offers the ultimate in medieval glamping splendor, with a whole encampment of glorious red and blue striped ‘Medieval Pavilions’ oozing knightly charm and comfort.

It’s a tent. But with hot and cold running water, proper beds, indoor and outdoor tables, a sofa, well-stocked kitchen dresser and a full wood burning stove to cook on – the camping equivalent of an Aga!

The only thing it doesn’t have is a bath – but don’t worry, there’s one available in the facility block if (like Jack) you’re not a big fan of showering.

Everything at Crealy is new and well-designed – from the eco-friendly shower block to wide spacious pitches if you want to bring your own tent, caravan or motorhome.

Jack was in heaven. The long journey forgotten it was ‘top bunk or bottom bunk?’ and ‘can I play in the play park?’.

But to add to all the fun the site is right next door to Devon’s Crealy Great Adventure Park and an early season stay in a Medieval Pavilion gives you unlimited access to the adventure park.

The park is great for younger children with a lovely mix of low-key thrills, water rides and a roller coaster, splash areas for hot days, animals, themed outdoor play with slides and zip wires and indoor play zones for wet days. There’s a choice of places to eat or picnic and a lovely friendly atmosphere.

The ‘Own a Pony’ experience gives you access to your miniature steed as often as you like during the day. You can walk it, brush it, groom it and go right inside its pen in the Animal Enclosure– it’s every small child’s dream!

Crealy Meadows is in the heart of the Devonshire countryside. Exeter is just a few miles away and it’s only 15 minutes drive from Exmouth where you’ll find sandy beaches, good eating and cruises along the Jurassic Coast.

Turn right and Sidmouth is not much further.

Charmingly ‘genteel’ it has a lovely prom and excellent fish and chips – best enjoyed straight out of the bag sitting on the pebble beach.

Our weekend at Crealy Meadows was all too brief. We didn’t even manage to squeeze in the Park’s evening entertainment in the Show Tent but it made a small knight exceptionally happy and was great fun for us as well. Here’s raising a glass of mead to next time!


Fact file

• Prices for a Medieval Pavilion or Safari Tent start at just £250 for a four night Mon-Fri break for up to eight people – including free access to the Adventure Park and the ‘Own a Pony’ experience. Book a standard pitch for two people in a tent, caravan or motorhome from £17.50 per pitch per night. Prices based on breaks in early July and early autumn.

• The Own a Pony is subject to availability so you’ll need to book early.

• Call 01395 234888 or visit www.crealymeadows.co.uk.

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