Going Old School in Slapton Sands

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Stay in an actual school in Slapton Sands

Looking for somewhere for between 4 and 7 families to stay within a reasonable drive of Bristol, stumbled across Start Bay Activity Centre in Slapton Sands for 40.

Turns out it is an old School complete with boot room, low ropes course in the old school field, firepit, BBQs, huge interactive whiteboard (hangman was a surprise hit – as was creating communal Spotify party playlist) and Ping-Pong in a shed. 

Also comes with animals taking many forms – from comedy taxidermy (a sad owl and a bat caught in an eternal scream), a huge aerial papier mâché (spoonbill?) shark and swarms of fist-sized daddy longlegs.

In the end there were only 16 of us so could have had a dorm room each. But kiddie sleepovers were the preferred option. Each dorm had its own set of bugs and key pad lock, so to avoid children locking themselves out in the search for a midnight loo (the grown-ups nicked the 3 en suites obvs), we took the precaution of sharpie-ing everyone’s code on to their forearm.

Only thing this didn’t solve was child’s unwillingness to find bug-free toilets on their own in the night, requiring a 4am accompanied tour.

Top tip – close the windows as soon as you get there.

An interesting history of the school (struck by lightning in 1905 and evacuated for the US DDay beach landings rehearsal – Operation Tiger during the war) and photos of monochrome children from yesteryear adorn the walls.

Slapton Sands beach

Slapton Tank
Tank lost at sea during Operation Tiger

Slapton spit of a beach, flanked by an inland lagoon, is good for a not so good weather day stroll.

Blackpool Sands

Nearby Blackpool Sands (only £3 parking in September) boasts 6-foot shoreline waves to slap you right down on the sand and suck you out to sea. Was fun but I’m sure life guards would not have been impressed.

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