Review: Norton Grange Coastal Village

Venue: Norton Grange Coastal Village, Isle of Wight
Date: 02 Dec 2016 - 04 Dec 2016

An archery lesson at Norton Grange.

Pictured: An archery lesson at Norton Grange.

Rachel Bailey reports on our latest Reader Club trip; a weekend spent at Warner Leisure’s Norton Grange Coastal Village on the Isle of Wight.

“We love Warner Leisure’s properties,” group travel organiser Richard Preston said to me over the rollicking sounds of a jaunty live band. “Staying at one is a bit like being on a cruise holiday, because you’ve got everything you need in one place.”

And he was right about that. Richard and his wife Daphne and I were sat in Norton Grange’s entertainment pavilion – known as the Mariners Show Lounge – on the first of a two night stay on the last Reader Club trip of 2016.

Around us were sat the rest of our group, toe-tapping to the tunes belted out by the resident band. It was smiles all round, and we’d only been there a matter of hours.

The aim of this particular Reader Club trip was to allow Group Leisure readers to get a taste of Warner Leisure holidaying, from how dining in the restaurants works to having a go at the variety of activities on offer.

Afternoon tea with views of the sun on the Solent, a walk into the fishing town of Yarmouth, an archery lesson and two evenings of live entertainment were also included in the weekend, to give visitors an overall impression of what a future trip at Norton Grange might include.

Norton Grange Coastal Village, Isle of Wight.

Pictured: Norton Grange Coastal Village, Isle of Wight.

A warm welcome from Warner

Our first afternoon saw myself and Group Leisure readers exploring Norton Grange Coastal Village and familiarising ourselves with the available facilities, of which there are many. One of Norton Grange’s greatest selling points is the fact that everything you need is within a stone’s throw from your accommodation – which at this particular property comes in the form of coastal chalets.

Any group visiting Norton Grange can take a welcome tour to familiarise themselves with the village, and ours was no different. A guided exploration of the facilities meant that we all knew where everything was and were ready to enjoy any of the activities at our leisure.

The coastal village has a vast dining area, a bar, a café/lounge and a gift shop. It’s got an archery range, a rifle shooting area, a gym, a games room, a swimming pool and a sauna.

There are line dancing classes, an indoor curling area, ballet sessions and pop choir workshops, along with many other indoor and outdoor activities - groups certainly won’t go wanting at Norton Grange.

In addition to the guided tour, we were armed with a detailed programme of all the activities and classes taking place during our stay, meaning we could pick and choose in advance.

Myself and some of those on this fam trip chose to take an archery lesson later on during our stay. On a cold and frosty morning we lined up with our bows and arrows, and with comprehensive instruction, took our places to aim at the targets.

For some of us, this was the first time we’d ever experienced archery, and it proved a fun activity for all involved – I even managed to come second in a competition.

Dinner in the Castaways restaurant.

Pictured: Group Leisure readers having dinner in the Castaways restaurant.

From dining to dancing

The evenings at Norton Grange took the form of dinner in the Castaways restaurant, followed by live entertainment in the Mariners Show Lounge.

Our group experienced the set seating plan feature that happens at all 13 Warner Leisure properties. The feature means that any party eating in the Castaways restaurant will have the same seats throughout their stay.

GTOs can submit their table plans prior to arrival to save the hassle of seating a large party at dinner time. These seats remain the same for breakfast, too.

The Castaways restaurant offers a menu boasting meals like stilton, spiced apple and pistachio tart and tomahawk pork cutlets, as well as a carvery every evening. There’s plenty of choice across the board, from starter to dessert, so guests partial to trying new dishes will have plenty to sample.

Dinner is followed by entertainment, which might be anything from a comedian to a jazz act depending on when you visit. Our group laughed their socks off to a comedian called Lee Carroll on the first night, and sung their hearts out to a UB40 tribute act called Rats in the Kitchen on the second.

In 2017 Warner will be launching My Warner Table. This a brand new service allowing GTOs to reserve seats in their preferred zone of the entertainment area.

The main entertainment finishes around 10pm, but those who’d like to stay up and dance can do so; the resident band plays until the early hours of the morning. There is also the occasional late night cabaret set and karaoke.

For a particular type of entertainment, organisers can choose from a number of themed breaks at Norton Grange. A 60s festival, a Motown festival and a country music festival are all themed breaks coming up this year.

Group travel organisers enjoying afternoon tea.

Pictured: Group travel organisers enjoying afternoon tea.

What’s nearby?

Another of Norton Grange’s unique selling points is how many places there are to visit nearby. One of the best things about the Isle of Wight is its size – everything is within approximately an hour’s drive, and there’s a surprising amount of attractions waiting to be explored across the island.

I chose to use my free time to visit the ever-popular Osborne House, famous for being a former royal residence that was used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat. This English Heritage property offers groups rates and guided tours, plus plenty of treasures to discover inside.

Others on the trip opted to see places like the quaint streets of Yarmouth – Norton Grange offers a guided walking tour of this village that covers some of its history. Don’t miss a walk down the old pier or a visit to Yarmouth Castle. 

Also nearby are a garlic farm, the Island Planetarium and Fort Victoria Country Park.

Why should groups choose Warner Leisure?

Parties of 20 or more people will benefit from features including:

  • A free room upgrade for the organiser
  • Free places, and twin/doubles as singles without supplement, depending on group size
  • Activities that can be organised for your group only (dependent on availability)
  • Seating together in restaurants where possible
  • Organised ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight for cars and coaches
  • £40 of vouchers for the organiser to use at the village

Warner Leisure Groups Team:

0330-100 9772

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