The landscaped gardens look fantastic, but the noise of the M40 (a stone's throw away) is something else...
Further to a recent stay at Twilite Leisure Park near Banbury I thought I would share my thoughts via a quick review, like I do with all the campsites I have visited since owning the motor home. So without further ado here’s my experience of my stay at Twilite Leisure Park……………..
Twilite Leisure Park is located on the A422 and right near the M40. There are no single track lanes or roads to contend with in getting to the campsite, so there are no issues with access at all. Even campers with the largest units will be able to get to the site hassle and stress free.
My first impressions of this site weren’t great as I drove through the gate. It looked okay, but I didn’t get the “We made a good choice here” feeling, and this site certainly didn’t have the instant “wow” factor of a few campsites I have used in the past.
The site owner was helpful and explained where everything was, how we were to set up etc. and then disappeared off and left us to it. He did not try to be-friend us or make small talk, which was a refreshing change. The site owner wasn’t rude or aloof and he was friendly and polite, he just said what we needed to know and no-more. I like this approach and wish more of the “over friendly” campsite owners acted like this.
The pitches are clearly marked out, large and hard standing with no grass. There is a little bit of moss and greenery poking out in places, but there is no grass. The pitches aren’t the most attractive I have seen, or stayed on, but they are flat and even – so the chocks remained in the case. If you like a bit of grass underfoot this is not the campsite for you.
The facilities block is an important consideration when choosing a campsite and whilst I am happy to rough it with basic facilities, a week at a campsite in the Lake District has shown me that I do expect reasonable facilities. The toilets/showers in the campsite in the Lake District were squalid and I have never seen such disgusting sanitation conditions before, and after having to spend a week using them I swore I would pay much more attention to the facilities a site offered before booking it. The facilities at Twilite Leisure are very good. The toilet/shower block is large and spacious, it is clean and hygienic and it is also heated/warm.
The only negatives I noticed regarding the toilet/shower block is the showers. They are the “push button” style and last a few seconds before you need to push the button again. I like to lather up with some hot water running over me, but this was not possible with these showers. Another thing I noticed about the showers is they leaked water out of the cubicle and on to the floor, which then leaked under the door flooding the main part of the toilet block. No matter how hard I tried to keep the shower curtain tight against the walls of the shower cubicle the damn water leaked out, and I ended up mopping not just the shower cubicle but most of the toilet block too. I don’t mind clearing up after myself but having to clean the toilet block every time I had a shower, and having to pay for the privilege in the site fee is a p**s take and annoyed me somewhat. The problems with the showers are easily rectified and I told the site owner on leaving but whether anything will be done about it I can’t say.
This site has a laundry (with a free washing machine!) and a washing sink. The site owner gave us permission to wash the dishes/pots/pans etc. during our stay but only because the taps for the outdoor washing up sinks had not been connected yet (it was too early in the season). As far as I understand, you can’t wash up in the laundry room once the outside taps are connected so it’s not going to be pleasant when it rains. Similarly, we were told there are no hot taps for the outdoor sink (although I obviously can’t confirm this) so this is something else you may need to consider before booking the site.
Whilst there isn’t any grass on or around the pitches there is a communal garden/lawn, with a few benches, to use. This area is not only attractive but is very well maintained and looked after – the grass was cut short, the hedges were neat and the flowerbeds weeded and pretty. If you don’t mind the noise (as below) the garden/lawn is a nice location to set a chair, grab a few drinks and sit out with a good book/the laptop etc.
Nice facilities block, clean toilets and another shot of the lawns
The M40 is a stone’s throw away from the site so, as you’d expect, it can get very noisy. I could hear the road noise during our entire stay, regardless of the wind direction, and there were times when the roar of the M40 was very loud. There is nothing the site owner can do about the road noise and only you will know if you can out up with it or not. I have never found road noise that much of an issue, however I had never stayed so close to a motorway before but by the end of our stay I have to say it did get to me a bit.
If you are looking for a quiet site where you can sit outside and enjoy the sounds of nature this site is not for you.
When we first arrived at the site I have to say that we were a little skeptical about the security. There were a few vans that had clearly been on site for a while – roofs were green, as were the awnings, there were house sized Calor gas bottles outside etc. and it felt like a travellers’ site. I appreciate this may seem unfair and OTT but that’s how we felt.
The Twilite leaflet say the gates are locked at night, which was a comfort (security is something we look for when booking a site), however not once were the gates locked during our stay. I guess it’s not too much of an issue but why say the gates are locked in the leaflet and also on the site’s website? If the gates aren’t locked don’t say they are!!
Needless to say there were no issues regarding security during our stay but if my wife had her way we would have been off the site to find an alternative 10 minutes after arriving.
Being a motorhome owner my better half and I always like motorhome friendly site. This site does not have a motorhome service point, which is a negative and something the owners may want to consider providing in the future, what with the popularity of motorhomes and campervans increasing.
A friendly site?
There are some sites out there that attract friendly and sociable guests, but this site doesn’t appear to be one of them. The long term residents (most of them who appear to be workmen) didn’t make us feel very welcome, but given this site seems to be their home I guess this is to be expected. There were times when I felt positively unwelcome and a bit of an intruder. I appreciate the site owner has to make money from the site and long term residents are guaranteed income, but this doesn’t make for a campsite where tourers are going to stay, return to or recommend to other campers. I don’t like to feel like I am intruding or in the way, and this is the primary reason I will not return to this site. The noise I can deal with (it doesn’t bother me) but the “vibe” is something I cannot deal with.
If you are looking for a friendly, quiet and peaceful site Twilite Leisure Park is not for you, which is a shame given the beautiful landscaped lawn out front. This site is just too close to the M40 for it to be quiet, even when the wind is in the right direction and “taking the noise” away from the site. Because of the noise issues this may be a deal breaker for you.
This site doesn’t have a happy, friendly vibe and whilst this may be fine if you are using the site as your “home” whilst working away that’s fine but when you’re on holiday this is not good. This site is not a holiday touring campsite at all, it is a site for semi-permanent residents with a few pitches available for tourers to use as and when they come through the gate.