Sunday 17 February 2019

'A hidden treasure and so Irishly old-school' - Ireland's Favourite Small Stay revealed

Winner: Hidden Valley, Co Wicklow

Water sports at Hidden Valley
Water sports at Hidden Valley
Lough Tay, Co Wicklow
Molly and Lloyd of Hidden Valley, Wicklow

Reader Travel Awards 2019

There's more to holidays than hotels, you know.

Ireland's campsites and caravan parks may not have the marketing and PR budgets of five-stars, but they certainly know how to stoke word-of-mouth, if our readers are anything to go by.

"A great hideaway, ideal for getting away from the rat race and enjoying some quality outdoor time," was how you described Hidden Valley, the family-run park in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.

"A hidden treasure and so Irishly old-school. We've visited a few times and each time we didn't want to leave. A great campsite for families, it is so lovely to see children cycling up and down the pathways, knocking for new friends and being allowed to stay out for just five more minutes. A highly recommended stay!"

6 Best Small Stays 2019

  1. Hidden Valley, Co Wicklow
  2. Castlewood House, Co Kerry
  3. Aldridge Lodge, Co Wexford
  4. Dunowen House, Co Cork
  5. MacNean House, Co Cavan
  6. Finn Lough, Co Fermanagh

This is a "cheap and cheerful" place where you can escape the hustle and bustle and "get back to nature", you told us. You praised the location and scenery ("no iPads!"), but pointed out its "great facilities" and ability for families to "enjoy the great outdoors in comfort and safety... clean loos, hot showers, even an outdoor kitchen... if you don't fancy a camp fire!"

Hidden Valley has a mix of camping sites, caravan parks and cabin accommodation, as well as activities and facilities ranging from kayaks to laser tag and cinema nights. Lots of you singled out the "great pricing", with "enough to keep all ages busy". "You feel so safe and secure on site," you added.

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Molly and Lloyd of Hidden Valley, Wicklow

"We stayed in a cosy cabin here and it was ideal for two people," as one reader said. "There was so much to do in the campsite with a lovely stream running through the centre, it was so calm and clean and all the facilities were perfect for our needs. It was the perfect place to call home for a few nights."

"Once the tent has been pitched & the fire stoked, it's time to sit back and become country folk!" you said. "A kids' dream... with no noise after 10pm."

Terms like "well-run", "spotless", and "clean" were regulars in your comments. As was the most important… 'fun'.

Read more:

Value in the Valley: Inside the campsite you voted Ireland's Favourite Small Stay

NB: The Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2019 are sponsored by Iarnród Eireann. Read the full list of winners here.

Irish Independent

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