to want to book a Haven holiday?

(76 Posts)
Madmum24 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:07:08

I am in the mood for a holiday and Haven (according to it's lovely TV ads and brochure) seems the ideal solution. I was thinking of Craig Tara or Presthaven Sands orHafan y Mor.

The problem is when you check out review sites half of the reviews are 5 star "this is the best holiday we have been on" and the other half are 1 star "this is a dump die before you come here" type of thing, there never seems to be any 3 star "well it was fine for a budget holiday" sort of thing.

So, I am seeking MN advice, AIBU to want to go, and if I am then tell me what the alternative is.

derekthehamster Wed 30-Jan-13 09:11:05

We went when the kids were 7 and 4. They would give it 5 stars, I would give it 1 star grin

Dollydoolally Wed 30-Jan-13 09:14:54

We did one with the "Sun" a few years back. It was great for a cheap break, we paid £60 for the 5 days including club passes! My children were 5 and 3 at the time. We went in April, had a lovely clean caravan, kids loved the facilities and the pool. We had gone to Majorca 6 months previously and they rated the Haven holiday the best between the two!

PearlyWhites Wed 30-Jan-13 09:16:17

The caravans are ok but avoid the chalets like the plague ours had graffiti on the wall! Also the drains overflowed it was hot weather so very unpleasant as there was raw sewage outside our door. The food is awful as well. The rest of the site pool, beach etc was nice. ( we stayed in hafan y mor.) I wouldn't go again it was not worth the money. I would go to Bulins and stay in gold accommodation or at least silver, or an independent caravan site.

FeckOffCup Wed 30-Jan-13 09:20:16

I went to a haven site last year and it was fine (apart from the shite British weather but that's not haven's fault) and have just rebooked to go to another haven site this year. The only complaint I had was that the pool on the site was too cold for my toddler.

aPseudonymToFoolHim Wed 30-Jan-13 09:22:17

I've been to three Haven camps, and I can tell you that they were the BEST holidays imaginable for parents and three kids aged between 2 and 11.
I can't recommend them enough, I really can't. I haven't been to the ones you mention, but I've been to the west coast and east coast and one in Wales.

There is SO much to do for when the weather is bad, family football, cricket, fancing, breakfast/exercise club (wake and shake) 2-5's clubs, 5-9's clubs, 9-15 clubs, entertainment at night, pools, indoor and out, beautiful surroundings, we usually end up leaving before we've managed to fit it all in.

Take my DS with you you - he is deperate to go on one.

I can't be doing with holidaying in the UK - always pisses with rain when I do so no more smile

mrsjay Wed 30-Jan-13 09:30:04

craig tara is a dump sorry it just is we had a static caravan there for a few seasons never again, if you do go to craig tara avoid 2 week in july it is busy and erm quite rowdy , I liked haven when dds were younger just not CT

mrsjay Wed 30-Jan-13 09:30:39

second*

Babyroobs Wed 30-Jan-13 09:31:13

I've been on a few Haven holidays over the years . They are great for the kids. I've always found the pools to be good and usually nice play areas for the kids. We had one really bad experience where the underneath of a mattress was covered in dried pooh, but on the whole the caravans have generally been clean and well equipped. As others have said , steer clear of the chalets, we went to one in Norfolk and it was damp and smelly. I hate that you walk through an arcade full of slot machines to get to any of the facilities, you can end up spending a fortune on pestering kids.

Lovecat Wed 30-Jan-13 09:39:14

Oh God, don't go to Hafan Y Mor! It's the old Butlins Pwhelli and unless they've spent a considerable amount of money doing it up it is an absolute SHITEHOLE!

The chalets are disgusting, damp and stinky, the caravans are a bit better but the heating in them is very poor and we froze at night. Also Pwhelli itself (again, it may have changed!) was a dump with nowhere to eat out apart from a hideous 70's pub and the beach is really small and stony. You need a car to get anywhere decent.

WingDefence Wed 30-Jan-13 09:49:04

I saw the advert and was wondering the same thing about Haven and Butlins as I'll have a 4mo and a 4.5yo this summer when we want to go on holiday.

Never before considered them but the all-in activities for DS look great.

I'm rapidly changing my mind now after the above comments...! grin

Madmum24 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:56:23

Yes, the dried pooh/vomit/urine on the mattresses seems to be quite a common observation according to the reviews. Many also complained of the arcades thing and loutish behaviour from other guests.

Thanks Mumsnetters, I knew I could rely on you!

Any alternatives? :-)

colleysmill Wed 30-Jan-13 09:58:41

We've been many times to Haven - however we usually take our campervan in the camping section. Still have access to all the pools and activities and the shower blocks have always been really good. The price for camping is pretty good - we had 3 nights one September at our local haven for under 20 quid

Ds (3) loves it!

rosy71 Wed 30-Jan-13 10:03:49

We went on a Haven holiday for the first time last year. I was a bit apprehensive, having heard lots of negatives, but it was very good. Caravan was very clean & spacious - we'd booked a 2 bed but they upgraded us to a 3 bed. There was lots for the kids to do and they loved it. I must admit though, that I disliked the arcade, especially the fact that you had to walk through it to get anywhere. I didn't like the evening "entertainment" either. We went to Littlesea in Dorset.

I'd go on one again, but I wouldn't actively seek out Haven iyswim. If there was a Haven site where I wanted to go, I'd stay there.

If you want a caravan holiday, why not try looking at Hoseasons. They have all types there.

Viviennemary Wed 30-Jan-13 10:04:13

A long time ago I went on one. Never again. But it was years ago. Even folk who had been on a lot of them said that was a particularly awful one. So I think it's probably OK if you choose carefully. But I've never been on another one. And some of the people were really loud and awful but some were very nice.

Heavywheezing Wed 30-Jan-13 10:10:36

Why don't you book one of the sun/ daily mail holidays to see whether you would like it?

I went on two last year, one to Cornwall and one in Dorset.

Chalet was ok in Cornwall, clean and tidy. Took a 3 year old and 10 month but didn't use the facilities.

Dorset had a lovely caravan and used the facilities. Pool bleached our clothes and some people were a bit um, common. Like us really. This one had a Starbucks and a fish and chip shop.

Give it go to see what it's like.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Wed 30-Jan-13 10:18:29

we went to primrose valley in yorkshire in 2010. the site was nice and clean, pool clean and good fun, clubhouse things were a bit shit and yes to the arcade being smack bang in the middle of it all. the activities like the rock climbing etc were all pay as you go and quite pricey if you have more than one child. the caravan was presented nicely if you didn't look closesy at stuff. it was very dusty and the beds didn't smell very nice, the sheets brought me out in a massive rash but that may just be my sensitive skin, everyone else in my family was fine. little park on site was nice, didn't use launderette so can't comment on that. the restaurant was a bit shit and the spar shop was ridiculously over priced.

we went in Sept and it was pricey, we could have got more for less especially as we ended up not using anything on site and just using it as a base to travel to the surrounding areas such as Scarborough and the yorkshire moors.

justmyview Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:20

This is all interesting reading. I've just had a quick look at Haven & Hoseasons - they look like a cheaper version of Center Parcs, which is very popular.

Dirty mattresses would put me off.

JambalayaCodfishPie Wed 30-Jan-13 10:26:45

YANBU. It's great for kids. Just leave your judgey pants at home, or you'll never be able to extract them. grin

poshfrock Wed 30-Jan-13 10:28:16

We went to Presthaven Sands in 2008. Kids loved it, caravan was very clean but the site was very poorly maintained especially teh kids play area which had peeling paint, damaged apparatus etc. The indoor pool was like human soup. Very, very hot ( and I like warm pools) but when you looked underwater with goggles on you could see skin cells, hair, plasters etc floating in it. I got out and used the other ( colder) pool. Also there was a large contingent of the travelling community staying there who pretty much took over the bar and we found very intimidating - lots of shouting and swearing and fighting.

However, we have had 2 lovely holidays in Weymouth ( can't remember name of site). We tried to book a third ( you got a discount if you booked your next holiday before you left) so we booked for a site in Wales the following Easter a whole year in advance as did my SIL ( who was on hol with us) and paid our deposit. This was in April. In July we both got a letter saying our holiday was cancelled and offering us 2 other sites in Wales to choose from. When I called to find out the reason for the cancellation I was told that a church group had booked out the entire site for the week we wanted and that as we were the only booking they were cancelling us. I pointed out that we weren't the only booking as I knew SIL had booked too. We had booked on a half board basis ( only 3 sites offer this and only 1 is in Wales) and I asked if they were prepared to offer us half board at the sites they wanted us to move to ( ie give us vouchers for the restaurant or something) they said no so we asked for outr money back and went to France instead.

So we have not been back to Haven. We go to Hoseasons now who often share Haven sites but seem to be cheaper. We went to Hopton in Norfolk at Easter last year and it was marvellous.

Flisspaps Wed 30-Jan-13 10:35:03

My mum has been to the Hafan Y Mor site several times since it became a Haven park, and has had nothing but good things to say about it. We visited her and it all seemed very nice. Clean caravan, tidy site, decent facilities. We're considering booking one for this summer.

ledkr Wed 30-Jan-13 10:39:50

We go off peak about once a year to different ones we also take out camper there sometimes too.
The trick is to upgrade (they do this automatically if they aren't busy)
The last one we went to was last oct half term. The caravan was lovely I even had an en suite. It was in watchet and the site was really nice fab pool etc.
the dds love the entertainment esp the disco. Dd1 loves dressing up and putting on her make up to dance at the disco. Dd2 loved the characters.
They even put a big mat and toys out in the mornings for babies to play on dd loved that.
We have very different holidays for our main one but I do enjoy a few days at haven.

TimidLivid Wed 30-Jan-13 10:53:54

Seton sands was awful the beach was next to a main road , there was a dead sheep and rubbish on beach . Caravan clean but one toilet room smelled badly of wee. Food at spar expensive , amusements awful entertainment too load too hot no where to sit . Was the staff singing the hits of steps . People rowdy . Pool minging small and overcrowded . Kids happy parents despair oh and park for kids was no good for under fives
Craig Tara better pool better food better park for kids but still and independent caravan site would be nicer

I've been to Craig Tara a few times and each time I've said 'never again' only to be tempted by a cheap deal and making the same mistake again! It's quite expensive once you get there because you have to pay for everything and the few funfair rides that they have are very expensive. The swimming pool and changing area is not the cleanest. The biggest issue that we had was the food, there was a Papa john's pizza and a burger king but they were never open at the same time so not much choice for eating out. If you have a car that might not be a problem.
I much prefer Butlins, it's a bit more expensive but you might be able to find a discount code or a cheap deal and the funfair, swimming and entertainment is all included.
I suppose a holiday is what you make it and on the upside I've never had any major issues with accommodation at haven.

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