We are a little bit in love with Scotland…having visited last year in our Campervan, Otis, where we took a roadtrip and travelled the west coast. I have to say that we were amazed by its beauty – it was breathtaking. This year we had made a plan to visit the east coast of Scotland to see what it had to offer. We were hoping to return to Edinburgh – this time with our little ones, and also to explore the coastline. Thurston Manor Leisure Park; a Verdant Leisure Park is located near the East Lothian coastline and seemed like an ideal choice for us.
We were invited to review Thurston Manor Leisure Park with Verdant Leisure Holidays, as well as exploring the local sites and attractions with Visit Scotland. We were so excited to visit – it is a great location to explore the coast and the beautiful city of Edinburgh. We had visited Edinburgh for the Christmas Markets for our mini moon a few years back and were hoping to take the little ones to a place we love. We were spoiled for choice with days out and things to do with the kids all within an hour’s drive of the holiday park and I am looking forward to sharing our days out with you over the coming weeks.
Verdant Leisure Holidays
Verdant Leisure is a bespoke holiday park operator offering self catering holidays and ownership of holiday homes across Scotland, Durham and Northumberland. There are a number of holiday parks within these locations for guests to enjoy, and to provide an opportunity to explore the surrounding areas.
Thurston Manor Leisure Park Review
Thurston Manor is nestled at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills near the stunning East Lothian coastline. It is conveniently located near to a number of sandy beaches, and historic attractions. Coastal towns including Dunbar, North Berwick and Haddington, and the wonderful city of Edinburgh are all within easy reach. The holiday park itself offers an excellent range of accommodation including:
- superior and deluxe caravans,
- classic, superior and deluxe lodges
- touring pitches.
We found the park to be well signposted off the main road, and on arrival we were given a really warm welcome by the reception team. A welcome leaflet, site map and full description of the site’s facilities were provided and we were directed to a good sized grass touring pitch which was located opposite the play park – much to both the girls’ delight! There is also an option to have a hard standing pitch if you prefer. We had a little trouble securing our awning as the ground appeared too hard for some of the pegs, but we set up camp regardless and set about exploring the park.
Thurston Manor Leisure Park Facilities
There is so much to do at Thurston Manor, and you don’t have to leave the park if you prefer to have a quieter day. There is a children’s outdoor play area, shop, restaurant and takeaway, and a family lounge bar with free wifi…as well as a leisure centre including gym, an indoor pool and sauna and steam room. There is also a fishing lake on the leisure park. We were provided on arrival with a timetable of children’s entertainment on offer over the Easter holidays.
For those on the touring park, there are waste water disposal points, a washing up area and laundrette, well equipped showers and WCs, baby changing facilities and family shower rooms (you need to leave a £10 deposit and obtain a key for the family rooms from reception). I am really quite fussy about shared shower rooms and toilets but the facilities here were great – I found them clean, and always fully stocked with toilet rolls and soap. The only thing I would possibly add would be a mop and bucket in the shower rooms to clean the shower floor afterwards.
The park was fairly quiet at the beginning of the stay, and the sun was shining. Our pitch location was great as we could observe the girls playing independantly in the play park, and it gave them an element of freedom which they loved.
The park had a lovely safe feel and the girls loved to take their scooters off nearby and explore the playground. We made use of the children’s entertainment on a couple of evenings – every child loves a disco, right?! Mr S worked up a sweat in the gym on a number of days during the stay. I did pack my gym gear, but I am afraid to say the bag didn’t leave the van all week…I had the best intentions! We also enjoyed the indoor pool which is lovely to have on site for when the weather is not great.
We know that you can’t plan the weather, and the forecast for the week was mainly dry with windy spells. On the third day of our stay the wind really picked up and we were very concerned about our drive away awning. The reception and park staff went out of their way to try to secure our awning and protect our belongings, but our awning succumbed to the Scottish weather and tore whilst we were out enjoying a day in Edinburgh City Centre – unfortunately it was beyond repair. The staff at the park then went above and beyond, took the awning down and moved our belongings to a safe location. We were also provided with alternative accommodation on the park, in the form of a lakeside lodge.
We were grateful for their assistance during the bad weather, and impressed by their kindness and compassion. This not only helped us during a time when our equipment had succumbed to the elements, but it also provided us with an unexpected opportunity to explore what else the site had to offer.
Our luxury two bedroom lodge was just that – luxurious, spacious and contemporary. The lodge was immaculate, and beds had been made up and towels provided. It had a TV and DVD player in the lounge, central heating and a veranda with outdoor picnic furniture. The kitchen was fully equipped and offered a microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and coffee maker, in addition to all the usual kitchen utensils. The master bedroom also had a TV on the wall and an ensuite bathroom.
I really liked the fact that there was a bath in the bathroom. I have stayed in a number of caravans and chalets that have had just a shower so this is a bonus for young families.
The lodges are dotted around this beautiful park and around the fishing lake, with further lodges and caravans near the burn – a fresh water stream, that the girls took great delight in playing in (supervised of course!).
Things to do in the area
We were spoiled for choice for things to do in the area. At the beginning of our stay we were given information on local area discounts available for guests staying at the park.
We had also researched a little bit before our holiday and had planned a few places to visit. There are brochures and information leaflets available in reception to provide you with ideas and to inspire you.
Over the week we visited the following attractions and can highly recommend them.
Yellowcraig Beach – A natural cove beach with white sands, rock pools and a views of the 1885 lighthouse on Fidra. There is an adventure playground near to the car park, and a nature trail.
Tantallon Castle – Set on the top of the cliffs offering wonderful views of Bass Rock.
Seacliff beach – A sandy beach with rock pools at each end, offering amazing views of Bass Rock and great views of Tantallon castle located on a cliff overlooking the beach.
St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve (NTS) – Breathe in the sea air and admire the spectacular views from the 90 metre cliffs, home to a huge variety of wildlife including guillemots, puffins, razorbills and kittiwakes.
Archerfield Walled Gardens – Hunt for the fairies in the Archerfield Fairy Tail, make a wish at the wishing tree, enjoy a bite to eat and drink in the Archerfield cafe or try out the 5K running route.
Edinburgh City Centre – Offering an abundance of attractions and things to do – Edinburgh city centre offers shopping, dining, and history and architecture in the beautiful cobbled streets and walkways.
Camera Obscura – Here there are five floors packed with optical illusions for all ages, and wonderful views of Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle – Visit Edinburgh castle, a historic fortress dominating the skyline of the City of Edinburgh
Our final thoughts
Thurston Manor Leisure Park is an excellent base to explore the surrounding area. The park staff are friendly and welcoming, and go the extra mile to ensure your stay is enjoyable. The facilities on site are excellent, and the site has lots to offer with woodland walks, a fishing lake, and safe play areas. If you are looking for a family friendly park that has lots do in the surrounding area, then this park is well worth considering. As a family we rarely return to an area as we always feel that there are so many places in the world to explore – however I would make an exception and return here. In addition, we would definitely try out one of Verdant Leisure’s other parks – particularly as visiting Northumberland is also on our travel list. We had a wonderful holiday and we remain enamoured with Scotland’s beauty.
Disclosure: We were offered a stay at Thurston Manor Leisure Park in exchange for an honest review. We were provided with press passes by Visit Scotland to cover our entry to a number of attractions. All thoughts are of mine and my family.
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