to want to book a Haven holiday?(76 Posts)
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.
We went when the kids were 7 and 4. They would give it 5 stars, I would give it 1 star
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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...!
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? :-)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
YANBU. It's great for kids. Just leave your judgey pants at home, or you'll never be able to extract them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
well im sorry but i had a fantastic time at Hafan Y Mor. Our caravan was immaculate, clean and tidy. I found the staff friendly and accommadating. This was last year and I would certainly go back
All of the
anal activities mentioned on here put me off Centreparcs, has anyone actually been and enjoyed it?
We went to Lakeland Haven and had a good time but it was mainly a base for us. We went to Tumnel Valley which is a Parkdean and had another good time. Though on the Friday the manager seemed to be dealing with petty complaints from people in the bar, just before we left.
We're off to CP next week. It's my mum's 60th so we're off to the spa, kids are doing archery and tree treking. Then we're going to see the Llama's next door as we adopted one for dd last week for her birthday.
We've been on sun holidays and dp's mum had a caravan on one. We've been to Reighton sands and primrose valley (yorks coast) and Marton mere near Blackpool and would visit them all again.
went to presethaven sands 3 years ago, it was run down, peeling paint, pool was filthy, wouldnt go back.
went to one in great yarmouth and it was clean and ok.
been to butlins 3 times since and found it better value.
The problem you have here is people have very, very different standards of what is deemed 'luxury' or even 'clean'
I'm currently in dispute with a certain hotel in Norfolk which markets itself as 'stylish, luxury boutique style', and it had many happy comments on its Guest Book. Their rooms/lodges start at £175 a night...
When we arrived, our room had a large burn mark on the carpet just inside the door. There were nylon, cellular blankets on the bed (not the Egyptian cotton you'd assume) the bath had a faint scum mark all round the inside, and the curtains at the window were very, very sun-faded - and I think it had last been re-furbished in 1991-ish.
Most certainly not the boutique, luxury style I was expecting
Yet, other guests there loved the place, to them it was incredibly fancy and luxurious
Posh frock , really sorry that's when we went to haven as part of "new word alive" Christian conference! Hagan y mor is a dump though am sure France was better
Why don't you avoid holiday parks and book a cottage or something? I know you won't have the full range of facilities but we have done the north wales coast 3 years in a row and a great time. There is always something to do, even if it rains. You hust do 't have things laid on at your doorstep so to speak.
Abersoch is nice and some small flats let there are quite reasonable. Near the beach.
Yes LaQueen I think I need to ascertain the level according to what my standards are! I want something clean (as in Domestos clean) but not too fussy about decor, as long as it is
cheap presentable. I can't abide by chavvy behaviour either, I don't drink so not interested in bars/nightlife entertainment etc. Also saw in some of the reviews that the staff called kids "dogs" so that is also unacceptable in my book. Just looked up centreparcs, £900 for a 5 day break for accomodation only is out of the budget!
Or www.pinelodges.co.uk. i think it is called has good offers for lodges out of season. In Derbyshire with lots to do. Nice pool etc.
Just depends on your budget I guess
When you planning to go? School hols?
We've been to Haven Seashore (near Great Yarmouth) with a Sun holiday and it was great. DD, 3 at the time, loved it, right by a nice beach, stuff to do on site, restaurant on site was fine (compared to places like Park Resorts it was fine dining ), you could have breakfast with the "characters" coming round. Caravan clean with everything we needed, own pizza delivery place on site. We had a fab time, have booked to go to Wild Duck this year (in Jan sale).
I think a lot of the complaining is either raised expectations (yes, it's nicer than Park Resorts, but it is not as posh as Center Parcs), or snobbery (British caravan holidays).
But I think Haven is pretty decent value for money and great for kids.
Oh I forgot sorry, YANBU, just go!
In the past 5 years I've been to Craig Tara, Center Parcs and Butlins.
Craig Tara is awful - we went on a Sun holiday and upgraded to the "prestige" caravan. The caravan itself was lovely and clean, we did need to get used to people gawping in the windows though - it was the only caravan of it's type on the site. We went at an off-peak time and even then I thought it was very rowdy. Not much to do really, unless you want fairground rides and amusements. It was very unkempt.
We really enjoyed Center Parcs, although the lodge wasn't as clean as I would have liked and the activities are pricey. With little kids in tow, sometimes it feels that all you can do is swimming and that becomes a hassle eventually and just a different routine from home IYSWIM?
Butlins on the other hand we thought was fantastic - much to our surprise. I went with an open mind, but not really expecting to love it. We went to Skegness and stayed in the Gold accomodation with Premium dining. The chalet was spotless with maid service daily, the food was excellent with plenty of fruit and veg - it certainly didn't fall into the nuggets and chips and nothing else category. There were loads of activities for the kids - nearly all free - and they loved the shows with the Redcoats and the various Characters. When we were there it was off peak, so it was geared to younger kids (Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine etc).
Given a choice - I'd take Butlins any time. We've been twice now and will certainly be back.
I have been to Haggerston Haven several times, dd loves it!
Anyone been to perrandsands haven? Thoughts?
We stayed in perranporth last year and fell in love with the beach but the site was awful so have booked perran sands haven as its walking distance to the beach. We are camping so not fussed about the accomodation - as long as the pool / facilities are ok we'll be happy!
Butlins in Minehead is lovely. We book every year and it's worth the 10 hour journey from Glasgow to get there rather than booking with Haven Craig Tara.
There's a lovely clean beach just outside the camp and it's only a 5 minute walk to the local tesco.
There's entertainment on all day every day for the kids and family entertainment/ live bands at night. There's plenty of choice for eating out and the food outlets are open all day unlike at Haven.
My kids love the free funfair and would happily play there all day. There's also activity passes you can buy for older kids for climbing, high ropes etc.
Im going to craig tara in july this will be about the fifth time, kids love it. Don't just think about the park its a great base for the west coast, Culzean Castle up the road is amazing and the electric brae then you've got all the Robert Burns stuff in Ayr and the beach is lovely. We always like going to Arran for the day as well. Never had any problems with accommodation and the last time we where there we complained about the neds in a caravan oopsite swearing and making noise, security was out straight away and kicked them out. Swimming pool is really good for all ages to. Would rather go to haven than center parcs anytime.
Don't go to Craig Tara op. Its awful. Spent a weekend there - 48 hours of my life I will never get back again. Shuddering even thinking about it. The Haven Lakeland is great tho! And Berwick.
I wld love to go to the one featuring in the current TV ads but I suspect it was filmed in other locations - not haven.
We went to Hafn Y mor. A week before we went we got a call asking us if we wanted to pay a bit more to upgrade. When we enquired as to what extras we would get we were told that they had more heating. Well I thought - that isn't really worth it. What I didn't realise was that the caravan we booked had NO HEATING AT ALL except for a gas fire in the lounge. It was Easter but a particularly cold one. We couldn't cope with it. We went out to use the facilities in the park but got drenched in terrible rain. When we got back to the caravan it was totally impossible to get properly dry and to dry coats etc.
The staff came round with a blow heater when we complained of the cold. I stayed in caravans over 20 years ago on budget breaks with my family and even they had heating. On our last night there (we did leave early) we all slept in the lounge with the fire on - the children crying because they were so cold.
The pool was great, it was near the beach, there was a decent enough park, the kids thought the kids show was good - I thought it was terrible.
We only paid £100 for all of us to stay for 5 nights and tbh I thought for that price you can't really expect much more. I would go back again but in much better accomodation and in summer.
we used to have a caravan near presthaven sands and it was a dump then (and i am talking 15 years) .. we used to sneak through as kids to go the beach
done quite a few parkdeans and the kids have always enjoyed it, and tbh so i have
the year I had my knee replacement we went to Haven Hafan Y Mor. It cost us a fortune as we went for a 'posh' caravan. the caravan was awesome the site was a stereotypical holiday camp, very Hi de hi we hated it. The nearby towns were run down and lots of closed down pubs shops etc. looking back we could have gone abroad for less but I wasn't allowed to fly at the time. kids might like it but we didn't. why not look for a cottage or something in a place you have always fancied visiting? most towns and cities have plenty to do or better still look at a french camp hol ( camping life, keycamps etc) we had some of the best hols ever when our boys were young at these. Ty nadan in Brittany has gone down in family legend as a great hol.
madmum I've been to centre parcs 13 times. No
anal at all. I love
CP but its so damned expensive even just for your lodge, never mind additional activities.
Hafan Y Mor is OK, nice pool and beach but for North Wales would strongly recommend Talacre Beach Hoseasons park, much nicer.
I thought Haven Haggerston was quite grim.
Thanks for the replies everyone :-)
I want to ask what age are kids allowed to swim in the pool on their own at in Haven parks (with parents
sleeping supervising from the poolside?)
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.
we hired our van through haven and there was poo and 'something' on the mattress and they had put shaved after shave on it to disguise the smell <heave> who poops bed on holiday who does that
we have been to primrose valley and the other 1 along the road cant mind what it is called Primrose valley is huge and we had a great time the other 1 was a bit run down last we we went we took our own caravan but my friend went last year and said it was lovely ,
I want to ask what age are kids allowed to swim in the pool on their own at in Haven parks (with parents sleeping supervising from the poolside?)
Add message | Report | Message poster mrsjay Wed 30-Jan-13 16:04:52
It is 8 I think well it used to be
Went to Hafan y mor last September, can't remember what it was called but something like a premium or platinum caravan. Think it was very different to the basic one. It was Immaculate, loads of space, 2 loos. We went with our then 2.3 DD who loved it and is desperate to go back and see Bradley and Polly (kids club characters). Pool was great, kids entertainment was great we did messy play, character breakfast, a character birthday party and the option to do lots more. We didn't go to any of the evening entertainment, I was 7 months pregnant and having a bad week so can't comment on that.
We're definitely going back this year.
It's not 5 star but it depends what you're looking for, we want non stop activity for our toddler as keeping her entertained and watching her experience fun times is our priority at the moment.... Sick bucket over here.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I have been to the Primrose Valley and Devon cliffs Haven sites. We have booked to go again the the Devon Cliffs one.
We have had good holidays at them both. I have found a website for private hire which works out cheaper and the caravans tend to be of a higher spec as well.
This is the Devon Cliffs one: js-devondelights.co.uk/
and my review from last year: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g551673-d659413-r127506545-Devon_Cliffs_Holiday_Park-Exmouth_Devon_England.html
I've only been to one for the weekend but DS absolutely loved it and, as a result, I would say it was the most successful holiday/short break we have had.
My only advice would be to take a mattress topper/your own bedding if you can (my personal preference would be a W hotel not Haven - I like a nice bed!).
Sorry to hijack thread but has anyone been to the hoeseasons in southport? we have been to the same caravan park in blackpool for the past 4 years and while the kids love it I think its time for a change!
I went on a few when my children were younger for either a mini break or second holiday. I tried different caravans and lodges and but it seemed to be a bit if pot luck to how nice theta were. hafan y mor was definitely the worst haven I went to and Devon cliffs my fave. I think the weather had a lot to do with it though. When we went we mainly used the caravan site as a base to do lots of days out and then had a swim or go in the arcades when we got back. I always ending spending quite a lot of money. Partly because of days out and also eating out and the whole family enjoys the arcades (and they are everywhere).
I wouldn't, but then I don't believe in "activities".
I am hoping to get us to a static caravan near yorkshire coast, but it's just on a farm with only 6 or 7 other static caravans, so very queit.
If (if! ha!) it rains it will be waterproof trousers, rockpooling and fish and chips once the dc's are cold enough. Bye 'eck.
Never did me any harm.
we did the burnham on sea one and its was ok . The weather was bloody awful though and there was only one decent day where we hit the beach. My Little boy loved it and Im thinking of going again this year.
Madmum yep, you need to be sure that everyone is singing from the same hymn-sheet, when it comes to standards.
The manager of the 'stylish, boutique lodges' (tries to supress smirk) where we stayed in Norfolk - seemed to think that because our lodge had shared access to an outdoor hot-tub that should somehow compensate for the fact that our en-suite was visibly grubby.
Er, actually no it really fucking doesn't
I've torn them to shreds on Trip Advisor
Go LaQueen, don't get mad, get even!
After doing some digging on Centre Parcs I now want to know why is it synonomous with anal? Surely that is a lot of money for bumming around (pun intended!) ? Would Craig Tara or Hafan y mor not be more suitable venues
and much cheaper?
Mad O I have, I have...my review was so angrily poetic, I was quite proud of it.
And yet...in their defence there were people there who absolutely loved it, and waxed lyrical in their reviews - and just thought the outdoor hot-tub was the very last word in luxury.
In actual fact, the outdoor hot-tub was one of the bargin B&Q ones, with the cheap pine cladding etc.
Heavens Above, pine cladding?!!!!!
We've stayed at Haven Kiln Park in Tenby which is really nice, nice park and fantastic town and beach. However we booked a privately owned caravan which was in a much better position on the park than the Haven ones and cheaper too! Have a quick google to see it there are any private caravans on the sites you are interested in.
You can still use all the facilities on site we paid £5 each for a pass to use the pools and clubs
The private caravans are generally the same standard as the Haven prestige caravans which can be up to £1000 a week in high season, we paid £650 a week in August 2009
thanks undertheduvet will check that out.
Pleeeeeease someone explain the centreparcs/anal theory
I'm going to Devon site in may... Please don't be a dump
Craig tara is quite local to me. It's truly awful. The caravans are fine but the place is constantly full of large groups of local teens drinking, taking drugs, swearing and generally causing mayhem. It's basically stowed full of neds.
There is a very great deal to do in Ayrshire, though, if all you are looking for is somewhere to sleep and aren't planning on spending a lot of time on site.
LocketJuice - read my review - I posted a link further up
We've had holidays at Haven Caister and Lakeland. We really enjoyed them, but we are the kind of family that uses the caravan park as a base and goes exploring so I couldn't comment about the pools or entertainment.
The caravans have always been clean and well equipped though, and the staff have always been very helpful (which, given that we had a disabled boy with us was a real boon!)
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