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Caravan park holiday - is it that bad?(25 Posts)
I'm considering booking a few days at a Haven type caravan park with my mum and 3 kids (baby, toddler, 4 year old). Basically for various reasons, my husband's job, covid, age of kids we're not going to do a family holiday this year, but would like to take this kids to the seaside for a few days at least. So looking for budget, easy options.
I've not been on a holiday like this though since I was a kid. I know it's not gonna be Center Parcs, but am I going to hate it?
I wouldn't be using any of the facilities, just going to the beach, cooking in the caravan.
Is it noisy at night, can you get to sleep?
Are the caravans hideously hot and stuffy if the weather is hot?
Is it realistic to go and not use any facilities, just to bring your own food and go to the beach every day?
No quite a lot of havens are lovely. It won't be noisy because the only noise would be from the show bar which won't be open - even then most caravans are far enough away that you don't hear that. Also I think they are more high tech then you are imagining, they are like small lodges, they won't be stuffy etc.
We go to Haven every year for a weekend my ds6 absolutely loves it , but to be honest I wouldn't go this year as your dc will see the playgrounds, the pool and not be able to use them , they will see all the activity stuff not in action. You may as well go to another site where it's literally just caravan and beach. Your dc are old enough to enjoy the proper Haven experience and would probably love it but I would wait till all the stuff on site is open. I find the private caravans tend to be nicer than the site owned ones and you can pick where you are on site too then.
Before kids I wouldn't have considered it, but we discovered we just don't like travelling abroad with young DC. We have stayed in static vans and have now bought a touring caravan. We do Center Parcs once a year and then lots of mini breaks to caravan parks, lodges, Legoland, Alton Towers Chessington etc. We've even done Butlins a couple of times.
The kids love it so it's enjoyable for us. Take it for what it is. We prefer quiet caravan sites near the coast for our tourer, but we mix it up for variety. The kids love pools and the arcades etc.
The only thing I would say is don't get a basic static caravan, in our experience the beds can be uncomfortable which can just ruin the mood.
I think they’re great, did a good few with the kids. I quite like smaller simpler parks without too much razzmatazz. Some of the locations are beautiful and the kids love it.
If you're not going to use the facilities (though I doubt they'll be able to open lots) you'll find much begged value for money at smaller holiday parks.
Static caravans now are posher than my house!
I agree with a pp. If the facilities are not open then there is no point in paying a premium for them. You might as well pay for a more basic site and have more spending money. However if it has to be Haven then contact the site before you go and request a caravan in a quiet area. That has always worked for me in the past. I don't know where in the country you are but if Lydstep Beach in Pembrokeshire is still a Haven site then think about going here. It is literally my favourite place in the world aside from Greece.
Thanks very much all, good call about not choosing a Haven and going for a resort without the facilities. Reason for not using facilities (even if open) is to avoid the covid risk, which I feel would be minimal on the beach and in the caravan (I'd bring dettol with me). Plus arcades etc, is not really my thing and I don't think my kids will be interested (my DD is very sensitive to noise).
With noise, if there's no entertainment do you think people will just be noisy and drinking in their caravans?
Location wise, I live in Surrey, so I was thinking South Coast, maybe Dorset? Don't want more than 2-2.5 hour drive max as only for a few days. Any sugges8are welcome :-)
We used to go a lot when the DC were younger. The Hoburne parks eg Christchurch, are more low key. Or if the Isle of Wight is open to visitors, the Parkdean Nodes Point site is on a quiet beach.
Have a look at Sandy Balls!!! Yes - it is actually called that. It’s in the New Forest but also close to the coast so plenty to do. Their new accommodation is beyond amazing - you’ve never seen static caravans like it.
The accommodation can be really lovely now and lots of people love them. I'm not one of them though! We went to a haven in Filey..it was awful, depressing, and I wanted to come home after 1 night. And it was expensive. We have a touring caravan and regularly go to smaller campsites with less facilities and love them so maybe look at them. I've been to Sandy Balls in the New Forest and they is lush with a completely different feel imo. I don't know if we were just unlucky with the site but I wouldn't ever go back. For the same price I'd get a cottage or a static on a smaller park. Ask someone who you feel liked the same things as you if they can recommend a particular site or look at smaller less commercial sites.
Agree with the park in Christchurch, simple and not a lot of amenities, no entertainment - but was lovely if just using it for a base.
We went to Haven Wild Duck in Norfolk last year with DS who was 3 at the time. Lovely woodland setting with big duck pond. Not walkable to the beach but not far from Gorleston. Perfect for a simple break with little ones.
Do your research - I've been to some lovely ones and others not so much so.
I like haven and the other big sites. Only stayed during term time so its been quiet. I have stayed on small sites and the caravans have been in a dreadful damp condition. The big sites the caravans are nice, always pay extra for a better caravan.
I did used to have a touring caravan and hated towing it even though I'm used to towing trailers.
I love a caravan holiday and we've stayed in lots of Haven sites. We've got one booked for Cornwall this year. Sadly I don't think we'll be going. I'm not sure if the activities, parks, pool will be open and if they aren't, it won't be worth it
Never would have considered it pre-kids but since kids and resultant dramatic decrease in income, been to a couple and loved them. Not noisy at all, clean, cosy. Really enjoyed them.
Took all our own bedding mind.
We love our Haven holidays but we never use the facilities - we literally use our caravan as a base (and I love cooking in the caravan, but sometimes take some of our own things such as a sieve or buy a cheap one from a local pound shop).
We've stayed in all grades of caravans and although we wouldn't opt for a standard again (too small), we loved the Deluxe and Prestige (we tend to stay in Prestiges simply because they let you in earlier than the other grades and you have central heating throughout the caravan.
The only caravan we've ever had that was too stuffy was an Avonmore with floor to ceiling window - we'd gone out one sunny morning for a day in Llandudno and came back to a caravan that was way too hot to stay in, so we had to open all of the windows and the door, so if you get one of these caravans, then make sure you close the curtains during the hottest part of the day to keep the caravan cool - I've only ever had this problem when we had the floor--to-ceiling window though.
We were gutted to have to cancel our May holiday this year and are rebooked for September for our daughter's birthday so praying we could go.
It can be noisy if you're near the main walkways or the entertainment centre but often if you ask them for a quiet area, you get one.
if you’re in a caravan near the sea be prepared for seagulls to wake you up at 4am stomping about on the roof and shouting.
apart from that, it’s all good.
Thanks all for the feedback, this is very useful and generally quite encouraging. Good tips on places to check out, I'll have a look at those.
And yes to asking for a quiet spot, and yes I have budgeted for the more expensive caravans, so good to know that does make a difference.
Dh and I are usually terrible snobs but In the interest of giving the dc’s traditional British seaside holidays we’ve been to several Havens over the years and really enjoyed it every time. The last one was in Weymouth - our favourite was in Porthmadog in Wales.
The kids will have a ball - just request a quiet caravan when you book and they’ll put you away from the centre (bearing in mind you’ll have further to walk back from the facilities)
Also Parc resorts are very nice - we’ve been to several in the Lake District.
I priced the Haven 'Hideaway' and couldn't believe how expensive it was considering you are only getting a caravan. I'd go to an independent site OP.
Look I know it's outside the norm for you and we get the odd hysterical
made up thread on here about Butlins or whatever. But rest assured everyone else on holiday albeit on a caravan park will be parents with young kids just like you.
And just because they can't afford centre parks and the like doesn't mean they'll be neglectful parents sat out on the lash outside their van.
Caravan parks are absolutely fine for a holiday. Although personally I'd find a basic site by a beach rather than pay Haven prices.
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