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Haven Holidays – MNers feedback thread – non testers – add your top tips for family holidays with toddlers for a chance to win a £100 voucher. NOW CLOSED

(124 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Mar-14 11:03:54

This thread is for the three lucky MN families who are going on a Haven Holiday across the Easter period.

Haven say "At Haven you'll find plenty to keep all the family happy and some things we think you might not expect including climbing walls, fencing and archery. We also have some exciting new activities with professional players from the BBL Basketball team teaching ball skills during the school holidays. But when the big kids are at school our parks are just great to take your tots.

This year we have some lovely new interactive sessions with the Seaside Squad, our very own fun loving characters. All parks have heated pools many with flumes, water slides, lazy rivers and space bowls and plenty of additional fun like Aquajet Racers and Water Walkerz.

At Haven it's not just about activities... there's plenty of green space to run around and many parks have beautiful nature walks and trails to explore and access to some stunning coastal walks."

For more information: check out the new Haven pages on Mumsnet

Testers are visiting Seton Sands, East Lothian during w/c 31 March, Hopton, nr Great Yarmouth during w/c 4 April and finally to Kiln Park, Tenby during w/c 21 April – check back to this thread to find out how they are getting on.

We have asked testers to add feedback at least three times - before they go, when they are there and when they get back home.

Non testers: Haven would love to know your top tips for holidaying with a toddler in tow – add your tip to the thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £100 Love2Shop voucher.

Please note tips and comments may well be used by Haven on their pages on Mumsnet as well as possibly elsewhere (including on social media, in the press etc). Your MN name will not be used.

Testers – please share on this thread your overall opinion and experience plus your responses to the following questions.

Before you go

Where are you going? How far it is from your home? Who is in your group? Have you ever been on a Haven holiday before?
What are you looking forward to most? What are the DC looking forward to?
How was the booking process?

On holiday

How is it? What's the weather like?!
Describe your accommodation
What else are you doing outside of the park?
Have you been to the pool?
Have you done any of the activities?
What's the food like?
What activities have the kids enjoyed?

When you are back

Overall opinions from you and others in the family

How would you rate/ describe...

Things to do for adults
Things to do for children
Would you return/ try out another Haven park?
What did you think about the value for money – especially compared to other family holidays?
Any other comments?

Please also do add a review on Mumsnet to the Self Catering pages


PS prize draw for the £100 Love2Shop vouchers: Monday 29th April 2014
PPS have 'highlighted' the testers posts on this thread so we can see them!

Maiyakat Fri 28-Mar-14 13:20:19

Non-tester - do an online shop to be delivered shortly after you arrive. No dragging toddlers around the supermarket after a long drive, and you can make sure familiar foods are there ready for them. Definitely worth the few pounds delivery charge for the reduction in stress levels!

TheHumancatapult Fri 28-Mar-14 15:05:14

Look for places with back up in case weather bad( soft play or even indoor spaces Take favourite own blanket and teddy
Also see if hire shop in case forgot something or no room in care for it
take dvd in case of quiet time needed .Take wine for you as your going need it

WowOoo Fri 28-Mar-14 17:17:13

Non tester: take some new toys to keep them entertained if the weather is rubbish and for the car journey.
Take more clothes than you think you might need for the toddler (voice of bitter experience of washing things at 11pm!)

AndHarry Fri 28-Mar-14 19:35:33


Take a first-aid kit stocked up with calpol, Piriton syrup, plasters, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, bite relief cream, dioralyte and paracaetemol and antihistamines for the adults. We've had to use all of the above on holiday with our toddlers and having everything to hand has saved a lot of stress.

Load the car the night before you go and lay out outfits and car bags for the morning so all you have to do is get yourselves ready and go.

If you're driving a long way try doing the children's normal bedtime routine but put them into the car instead of bed and do the drive in the evening/night. They'll soon go off to sleep, the roads will be quieter, you don't waste a day on travelling and best of all, no tantrums from bored toddlers on the way.

sharond101 Fri 28-Mar-14 20:06:59

Testers – please share on this thread your overall opinion and experience plus your responses to the following questions.

Before you go

Where are you going? How far it is from your home? Who is in your group?

Yipppeee I am a tester and we are going to Seton Sands in East Lothian on Monday. It is just over an hours drive from home and we cannot wait to be by the coast. I am taking my DS who is 22months old and my Mum. My DH will come along for an overnight on Tuesday and stay until Wednesday.
Have you ever been on a Haven holiday before?

We have never been on a Haven holiday before.

What are you looking forward to most? What are the DC looking forward to?

We are most looking forward to being by the coast and enjoying the sand and water with our wellington boots. I think DS will love the evening entertainment as he loves seeing characters dressed up. We are also looking forward to having a relaxing break with lots of time to play with ds and chill out. The baby confidence building swim lessons will be a must for us as will some of the sporting activities.

How was the booking process?

Very easy. A simple one page form to fill out and a response was made within 24 hours. Couldn't have been easier.

mummy1973 Fri 28-Mar-14 20:16:39

Take some small new toys on holiday to keep toddler amused on a rainy day.

CrewElla Fri 28-Mar-14 21:09:07

Planning is key! Plan for all weather, plan the journey, including interesting stops along the way to stretch your legs and burn off toddler energy, plan the meals, and then sit back and enjoy!

We like to have a variety of music for the journey, something to suit each individual's taste. I make sure we buy a few new toys for the journey and destination to keep the little ones interested. And then we take each day as it comes, adjusting activities based on how we feel and weather conditions.

lottietiger Sat 29-Mar-14 19:37:28

Non tester:

My little boy is at the stage of wanting to open and close everything and put things in boxes so when we recently did a 3 hour flight we took a mini art case so that he could take crayons out etc and open and close the lid. We replaced the paper with post it notes so that he could draw then rip off and stick his pictures to the back of the seat in front. It kept him amused for ages. Apart from that it has to be raisins in boxes, water with a straw, satsumas that need peeling.. basically any food that takes a while to eat.

SweetPeaPods Mon 31-Mar-14 10:50:30

Non tester-
Online food shop for when you arrive or take food with you if you have space in car.
Take more clothes than you think you will need. Including spare sheet for cot/bed & towels. Not forgetting sun cream, waterproofs etc.
Find out where the nearest 24hr supermarket, pharmacy, hospital is and make a note.
Find out where nearest soft play, swimming pool, cinema, bowling etc is before you go if weather bad.
Make sure camera has a memory card & battery in.

thesoupdragon44 Mon 31-Mar-14 13:25:41

I think the only advice I can give is be prepared. I loved going on holiday with my son when he was a toddler and we used to take lots of colouring, games puzzles and snacks. Exploring new places is always good fun as there are so many new things to see and do. A small first aid kit always came in handy for any little bump and scrapes. I always made sure I researched the camp site thoroughly before we arrived so that I knew where any parks, and swimming pools were. But the main thing is to have fun!

Spirael Mon 31-Mar-14 14:02:24

Non tester.

Preparation is key. Research the area you're travelling to, know what's on offer there in terms of accommodation provision, activities, shopping and (heaven forbid) emergency assistance.

Knowing in advance (even if it's just having a vague idea) is better than having a panic at a potentially antisocial hour and putting yourself at the mercy of technological failure with a lack of power/signal to find the information you need.

CMOTDibbler Mon 31-Mar-14 14:07:28

Non tester.

I'd say, don't pressure yourself too much to have a fun, fun, fun holiday.

And advance research is good - where the nearest supermarket is if sc, and where the nearest minor injuries/A&E is (bitter experience of ds falling out of bed in the night, splitting his chin, and needing stitches at 11pm on holiday).

manfalou Mon 31-Mar-14 20:00:24

Non Tester

Don't plan too much, plan a couple of things you'd like to do but just go with the flow so its less of a chore.

Prepare with regards to snacks, lotions, entertainment for room & journey etc and make sure you have an extra 1-2 days worth of everything 'Just incase'

Take a night light.... me and DF ended up sitting in the bathroom with our wine because we didn't have a small light to put on. It caused some giggles but wasn't ideal!

Uzma01 Mon 31-Mar-14 23:47:13


Plan what to take with you in advance and do your packing a couple of weeks ahead for most items.

colditz Mon 31-Mar-14 23:51:26

None tester

Bring lunch boxes, sandwich bags and water bottles. You would not BELIEVE how much eating a toddler can do when he can smell chips all day.

andsmile Mon 31-Mar-14 23:53:42

Non -tester

When you arrive at your accommodatio it should contain anything you have paid for to hire, like the highchairs.

To arrive after a 4 hour drive and be told to haul two kids across site to collect a highchair I though was very poor. So have it in place if it has been paid for in advance.

I stayed at Perran Sands.

andsmile Mon 31-Mar-14 23:56:29

oops just realise thats not what was required...well its there now.

Rainy day games for inside

Outdoor game stuff for outside tent

Lots of bottled water with sports caps if you haven't got running water.

kateandme Tue 01-Apr-14 05:11:47

non tester:
make sure the children have pillows for the or just things to do though ones that wont make them sick or ones theyll enjoy firs tthen get bored and miserable.a laptop with dvds always helps.
always take toilet roll.
always take more underwear than you think theyll need.
snacks for journey and when you get there.
a meal in the luggae for a quick cook incase there isnt anything you fancy there or your too tired so just want to self cater.


Wipes! Take plenty of wipes wherever you go. They can be used for everything from wiping sticky hands and mouths to wiping down tables and chairs that have been left in a state at busy zoos/amusement parks.

BooRooandTiggerToo Tue 01-Apr-14 13:39:33

Non tester - Order online shopping to arrive at your accommodation if you are staying self catering, you won't want to shop when you get thee after travelling plus change over days can be very busy (not the start you want to your holiday). Think of the day as chunks rather than trying to make things last too long. Take a couple of familiar toys with you and little ones own bedding so they are more likely to feel at home etc.

florencebabyjo Tue 01-Apr-14 14:12:01

Definitely a goody bag with a small toy, board books, packed lunch and a closeable water bottle. We used a small lap tray with a beanbag to keep it steady which was great for letting them colour on or brum cars around. A pillow was essential and blanket so they can sleep on the journey comfortably. You've got more chance of arriving unfrazzled if they've spent half the journey asleep!

glenthebattleostrich Tue 01-Apr-14 14:18:57

Online food shop and toddler friendly eateries are a must.

Portable DVD player if you can get one

Try to time travel for nap times so toddler sleeps in the car

Lots of indoor and outdoor options, British weather is so odd, don't want to be outside when it is too hot or cold

Relax about the routine. Holidays are exciting so bedtimes usually go out of the window.

Don't forget cuddlies, first aid kit, familiar blanket, favourite game and lots of spare swimsuits and shorts.

supergreenuk Tue 01-Apr-14 15:22:33

Non tester

My tip is not to hold a high expectation of a relaxing refreshing holiday. Kids get tired and grumpy and spoilt so it's not a rest by any means. However it can be fun so try to enjoy it and not get too stressed.

boptanana Tue 01-Apr-14 15:41:55

Non tester
I would say thorough research is the key , knowing what is available and what practical things you need to survive. Also plan for all weathers and take clothing to match especially in uk.

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