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“GREAT FAMILY FUN. LOVED IT.”
Review of PGL Barton Hall

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PGL Barton Hall
Reviewed 8 August 2011

Just returned from a fantastic week at PGL Barton Hall. The majority of reviews are spot on, mentioning the very basic accommodation, canteen style food and fun filled days for a very reasonable price. THIS IS NOT ADVERTISED AS A 5* HOTEL AND MICHELIN RESTAURANT, so don’t expect it. By the time you’ve finished the activities, you could probably sleep through an earthquake, and it’s a nice change to have no TV in the room. My kids brought their PSP and DS’s and never touched them!! I will try to cover most of the holiday.
On arrival, each family is allocated a PGL staff member who will answer any questions during the week. You are also given coloured wristbands. The colour determines your meal time so as to avoid queuing (Breakfast Blue 8.00, Red 8.30 and Green 8.45 etc..). Although near the end of the week, people just went when they wanted to and it seemed to work itself out. You are given a sheet with your meeting post number on and group number. The first morning, you meet at your post and are split into groups of about 12, with similar aged kids and you spend the week together. Then away you go: 4 activities a day, for 5 days with a day off to do your own thing. We tried to drive around a bit, but the roads are so busy, we spent 1 hr in the car trying to get to Paignton which was 6 miles away. Don’t bother. Like most people, we went to Torquay, had a meal and returned to the site to get next to the pool and relax.

ROOMS: very basic. Single beds, bunk beds, shower, toilet sink and kettle (with free coffee/tea). Previously, a Pontins site, so very similar rooms. Curtains very thin, so loads of morning light (take face mask if trouble sleeping). I know some families had a very small portable electric fridge, to chill beers/water/milk. Good idea if you have one.
POOL: heated, always clean and monitored by 2 members of staff. Couldn’t fault it. Large grassed area with sun beds to sit off and have a beer early evening. Open till about20.30hrs. Early swim for adults 3 days a week (7.00hrs).
FOOD: If you imagine an average work canteen, you wouldn’t be far off. At first great; full cooked breakfast and cereal, sandwiches for lunch and edible evening meal. But like all ‘ALL INCLUSIVE’ food, you get fed up after a few days. The bar sells 10”pizzas and there is always a kid’s option of fish fingers etc… BUT YOU WON’T STARVE.
ACTIVITIES: Brilliant. Just a taster of everything, but even when its not your go, you are often helping out. Best were, Challenge course, Jacobs Ladder and raft building, but each family liked something different.
STAFF: Can’t say a bad word. Helpful, friendly, enthusiastic, encouraging. I don’t mind saying that some of the ‘high’ activities are pretty scary, but always felt safe.
SHOP/BAR: You would expect to pay extortionate prices with such a captive market, but just the opposite. Shop sold cans for 80p, chocolate 60p, same as any newsagent. Even the souvenirs were excellent value, with exactly the same items costing 4 times more in Torquay. Bar, Becks £2.90 pint, Stella £3.30 etc.. pub prices. Even the pizza was only 6 quid. NOT A SINGLE ARCADE ON SITE, so there was no ‘dad can I have a pound’ every 5 mins!!
EVENING ENTERTAINMENT: Only let own. Little bit of Talent show, quiz, karaoke, but not enough music and silly ‘cha cha slide, YMCA’ type songs for the kids to all dance to. But kids made their own fun, and we just talked to other families. Bar shut at 22.00hrs, but as up early, this was not a problem.
We loved it. Spent time as a family, have some great photos, met great families, tried different things and all at a very reasonable price (check website for offers). Feel free to email with questions you may have. Kev.

Room Tip: Single beds, thin curtains make very light rooms.
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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9  Thank KevKazKidz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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55 - 61 of 74 reviews

Reviewed 8 August 2011

I went with my two boys [ages 9 & 11] whilst hubby had to work. I was a bit nervous on how we'd get on but we really had so much fun. We were paired up with 2 other families with kids of similar ages. There were 4 activities each day, each one lasting about 1 hour 45 mins. Then after dinner there is a choice of 4 other activities at two at 7pm and two at 9am. Every activity we did was well organized, very safe, and if you really didn't want to take part that was fine too. The staff are a real credit to PGL, friendly, encouraging and relaxed.
Food is basic but plentiful with lots of choice. We never went hungry, there is also a shop on site in case you have forgotten anything and also a Sainsbury's within 5 mins drive. There are 2 bars on site and after some of the activities you definitely deserve a drink!!! Smoking is kept to 3 areas on the site just by the bars.
Accommodation is basic [think one step up from camping] and I heard lots of people complaining the beds were uncomfortable, but tbh if you throw yourself into the activities full on you will be so tired you would sleep well on a bed of nails!!!
The outdoor pool is heated, don't forget to take towels for the pool and the room, although bedding is provided we chose to take our own pillows. There is a laundry onsite in case you are unlucky with the weather. Take old clothes you WILL get dirty.
We most enjoyed the quad biking, giant swing, trapeze, zip wire, scavenger hunt, sensory trail and abseiling. The only activity we didn't enjoy was the mountain biking as it is designed specifically for beginners.
All the evening activities were fun [and most involved lots of running around to tire the kids out EVEN more ;-) ]
Leave your pre-conceptions at home, be prepared to have a laugh and expect to laugh at yourself, the more you throw yourself into this the more fun you will have.
Also look out for late deal special offers. We paid for 1 adult and 2 kids went free. I don't think it is possible to have this much fun for a week on just over £400!!! Oh and a real bonus for me was that there were no screens - yeah a week without TV and watching the kids having fun with other forms of entertainment.

Room Tip: don't expect 5 star luxury it's not about that
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank JeanetteHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

Have just come back today from a fantastic fun packed week, would reccomend to everyone!! ignore the comments regarding the accomadation as when u are walking through the corridoors soaked through with muddy water after a fab time canoeing or raft building u understand y they are so basic!! The food was better than i expected, the management staff were very competent and eager to please but more importantly the young adults whose faith u put yours and most importantly your childrens safety in are absolutely fantastic, so dedicated, safety conscience, patient, encouraging, enthusiastic the list goes on!!! A truly fantastic holiday

  • Stayed: August 2011
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3  Thank Donna7535
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2011

I stayed for five days in Barton Hall with my school and shared a room with three other girls. I still remember my first impressions as I swung open the door to my cabin. To be frank, it was appalling... two bunk beds squashed in a room with no walking space. There was a tiny shelf in the corner just before the door to the bathroom. If I thought the bedroom was bad, the bathroom was ten times worse. There was no shower only a small bath tub lined with scum, toenails and hairs. The toilet woyldnt flush properly so I advise you bring something to dump your tissues in! There was no mirror and the ceiling was covered in mould, damp and mildew. Don't forget to bring your own soap as there is none provided.
In contrast to this, the service and food was wonderful and I never went hungry as there was always something delicious on the menu. The canteen was nice and cosy and the 'groupies' were always kind, welcoming and helpful. The location of the cabins are rather unfortunate as you have to climb at least twenty flights of stairs in order to get fron the canteen to the rooms, and when you are lugging a huge suitcase behind you that can be quite exhausting.
All in all I didn't have an enjoyable experience and I was very happy to be going home.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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7  Thank Koolkat8910
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2011

Just came back from my trip with jfk school and had a excellent time. The group leaders Rob, Niomi and Sam were excellent as they were great at explaining everything from start to finish. The food there was nice and had plenty to choose from. The rooms were okay but could do with more secure locks. Activities were brilliant and instructors were really helpful and gave great tips and help.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank Conor5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2011

We have just returned from a half term family holiday at Barton Hall in Devon. My children are aged 12, 10 and 7. We had an amazing time. Some reviews said the rooms are very basic but you are literally only in them to sleep so it doesn't matter at all. Personally, I thought they were fine! My husband and I had one room with an ensuite, and the kids were next door in bunk beds with their own bathroom. There was an internal door between the 2 rooms that we just left open. Other reviews said the food was of a poor standard. Again, we thought it was fine! All the staff were fantastic - they really couldn't have been more helpful. The outdoor pool was glorious after all the fun activities. If you want a fun-filled time with your kids, this is the holiday for you!!!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank Happybanana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2010

I have just come back from Barton Hall with my 10yr old daughter and 2 friends and there 4 children.
We had a fab time you dont go 4 the food or accomadation, its all about doing the activities with your children.
Thanks to all the pgl staff they were great.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank cracking39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about PGL Barton Hall

Address: Barton Hall Kingskerswell Road, Torquay TQ2 8JY, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Devon > English Riviera > Torquay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 34 Speciality Lodging in Torquay
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A great location near Torquay and popular with groups of all ages. There are many blue flag beaches close by and Dartmoor is also within easy reach. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Barton Hall Hotel Torquay
Barton Hall Torquay
PGL Barton Hall Torquay, Devon

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