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Combe Haven Holiday Park review: a great value family escape in Sussex

A fun-packed holiday park near St Leonards-on-sea, Combe Haven offers indoor and outdoor pools, plenty of on-site activities and a handy location for exploring the Sussex coastline. 

By Rachel Erdos | Last updated Feb 23, 2024

Combe Haven holiday park

Our rating:
What we like
  • Indoor pool and an outdoor pool with a fun water slide 

  • Great outdoor play area by the main restaurant and bar 

  • Lots of on-site activities 

  • 90-minute drive from London

  • Dog friendly

  • Good value for money 

What we don't like
  • Steep 25-minute walk to the nearest beach 

  • Arcade can get extremely busy 

  • Indoor pool is very warm 

  • Lack of footpaths in some areas of the site 

  • Food at the main restaurant is mediocre

Key specs

Price: Short breaks from £49 | Location: Harley Shute Rd, Hastings, St Leonards-on-sea TN38 8BZ | Open: March to November | Accommodation options: caravans, lodges

Our verdict

Food and drink:

This mid-sized holiday park sits in a hillside spot within walking distance of St Leonards-on-Sea and a 15-minute drive from Hastings. With loads of fun family-friendly activities, evening entertainment and crowd-pleasing food options, there’s plenty to keep kids happy on site or you can stroll down to Bulverhythe Beach (via a steep hill) in around 25 minutes, depending on how many children/beach bags you’re wrestling at the time. 

We visited in August and my toddler and primary school-aged kids loved daily trips to the arcade, exploring the outdoor playgrounds and joining group activities like segway riding and teddy bear making, as well as strutting their stuff at the kids’ disco and learning the art of bingo. 

Our two-bedroom Saver Caravan (the cheapest option) was clean and well equipped, and we lucked out with an end-of-terrace plot which meant that we didn’t feel hemmed in and it wasn’t noisy at all, despite staying in peak season. 

I found the indoor pool area a little grotty (the changing rooms in particular) and the water itself felt bath-water warm - nice for young kids but a little oppressive after an hour’s swim session. And while we loved that the outdoor terrace at the main restaurant (Mash and Barrel) overlooks a fun playground and sand pit, the food was underwhelming and service was very slow. It’s also worth noting that some parts of the park are quite steep and not all of the areas have footpaths, something to consider if you have mobility issues.

Bugbears aside, it’s a fun park with loads of activities to choose from. It’s compact enough to easily get your bearings and sample a bit of everything in one trip. It offers excellent value for money so it’s perfect for an affordable family escape on the south coast. My kids have asked to return and still talk about my youngest’s epic win at the kids’ bingo. 

How we tested 

Combe Haven Saver Caravan exterior

I stayed at Combe Haven with my husband and two kids (3 and 6) for four nights in August. We travelled down from south London and it took us around 90 minutes. We stayed in a two-bedroom Saver Caravan and booked activities and swimming sessions using the app. We took food with us as well as making use of the on-site shop, the Mash & Barrel restaurant, Papa Johns and Burger King. 

What’s the accommodation like?

Combe Haven Saver Caravan

The site offers a range of caravan options that sleep between four and eight guests. We stayed in a two-bedroom Saver caravan (one double bedroom, one twin bedroom) and had a peek inside some of the other categories. Considering it’s the cheapest accommodation on site, it’s well equipped for a short break and we didn’t feel cramped.

Combe Haven rooms

It’s basic but I was impressed with the cleanliness and it had bags of storage and excellent water pressure. The cheaper caravans tend to be further away from the main holiday park hub and the more expensive caravans offer extra space, nicer fixtures and fittings, larger TVs and extra features like decking and dishwashers. Bear in mind that Saver caravans don’t typically have double glazing, something to bear in mind if you’re travelling in the colder months. 

Here’s a basic rundown of the caravans and lodges on offer at Combe Haven:

Saver: a budget base with two or three bedrooms, a kitchen/lounge area, a bathroom with a shower, and central heating in the main living area only. 

Bronze: larger than the Saver caravans (at least 12 feet wide) with pull-out beds in the lounge and double glazing throughout.

Silver: as large as the Bronze category but with a decking, central heating throughout, a bluetooth speaker in the lounge and a 40-inch TV

Gold: larger than the Silver category (at least 14 feet wide) with wrapping wraparound decking, an additional toilet, a dishwasher and a full-sized fridge-freezer 

Emerald Lodge: larger than a caravan with a decking area, a separate lounge area and kitchen/dining room, towels and en-suite loos.

Diamond Lodge: larger than the Emerald Lodge with the same amenities plus a dishwasher

What activities are on offer at Combe Haven?

Combe Haven activities

We booked a number of activities ahead of our stay using the handy app. The earlier you can do this the better as sessions do get fully booked, especially in peak season. There are a bunch of free sessions available including football kickabout sessions, nature trails and bug hunts as well as daily 60-minute swimming slots (you can pre-book the indoor pool; you don’t need to book to use the outdoor pool but places are limited). 

Our holiday highlights were footgolf (£5 per person), a segway session (perfect for my six-year-old speed demon) and a make a bear workshop (£20 including a soft toy and a bag to take away). We also paid to hire out a batting cage for an hour (£60) which gave all four of us exclusive access to interactive target practice using baseball bats, tennis racquets and cricket bats. A great way to work up an appetite before dinner. 

There’s a nice range of wholesome activities like den building and pottery painting alongside high adrenaline options like NERF training camps and archery. There’s also a soft play area if the weather turns sour. 

Combe Haven near Hastings is the nicest holiday park I've stayed at, and there's lots to do nearby (Battle Abbey with the audio guide is fantastic).

-Mumsnet user, FindingTheFox

What’s the entertainment like? 

Combe Haven Seaside Squad

Expect a roll call of classic holiday park entertainment including tribute singers, comedy acts and magic shows. We found the evening entertainment a little hit and miss but the beauty is that you can dip in and out throughout your stay. We all enjoyed the afternoon kids’ and adults' bingo sessions as well as the mini discos. The Live Lounge venue features plenty of tables and bench seating and you can use the app to order drinks and food to be delivered directly to where you’re sitting. 

The kids’ entertainment team and Seaside Squad (think colourful football mascots with a celeb-like following and a successful line in merch) have enviable energy levels and were excellent in delivering a dedicated schedule of fun and games.  

What are the food and drink options?

Combe Haven Papa Johns

Most of the food options feature in the main holiday park hub. The pub-style Mash and Barrel restaurant has a great set up with an outdoor terrace overlooking a fun playground/sandpit and sports courts. The menu features pub grub classics. We found the food and service a little underwhelming but my kids gobbled up dishes like mac n cheese and spaghetti bolognaise from the children’s menu. 

Chain restaurants feature heavily at Haven resorts and there’s a Burger King and a Papa Johns onsite. We made use of both for quick faff-free dinner options. We took pizzas down to Rory’s adventure playground one evening and ate at the picnic tables overlooking the climbing frame. 

What is there to do nearby? 

Hastings pier

Walk down to Bulverhythe’s shingle beach to skim stones and grab a drink at the Bathing Hut Cafe, a cute coffee shop and veggie restaurant in a converted shipping container. Walk further east and you’ll hit St Leonards-on-Sea with its lovely Regency buildings and quirky shops. And further still is Hastings where you can play crazy golf and hit the arcades on the seafront, or explore independent shops and cafes in the Old Town. It’s well worth a trip up the East Hill lift, the UK’s steepest funicular railway which offers access to Hastings Country Park for dramatic clifftop views. Rye’s cobbled streets and medieval centre can be reached in around 40 minutes by car and Camber’s soft sands and dunes within 45 minutes. 

About the author

Rachel Erdos is an Editor at Mumsnet where she commissions, edits and writes content with a focus on family travel. She has written hotel reviews, features and destination guides for publications including the Guardian, Four Seasons Magazine, Travelzoo, Visit Britain and Visit London and loves nothing more than researching and writing about fun things for families to do in destinations near and far.