I am a Haven blogger for this year and as such an ambassador I was lucky enough to be sent on a trip to a site of my choice at the start of the summer. We had a fabulous time at Rockley Park in Dorset and I wrote extensively about it on my blog here.
We had SUCH a good time in the caravan that we decided we would go back after the summer had finished for an extra little treat! We saved up tokens with The Sun news paper (I have to point out that I found it quite difficult to actually go into a shop and buy that paper as it is NOT what I am all about – but beggers can’t be choosers) and booked ourselves up for another week of glamping! (Well, it can’t really be called camping when the caravan is like a proper home now can it?)
It was just for the children, myself and my Mum as Jonny had to work so we had to chose a site close enough to get to on public transport from my Mum’s house in Norwich. We chose Caister purely because it was free the week we wanted to go and had free entertainment passes as part of the deal for those dates. We upgraded from the basic caravan at £9.50 per person to a bigger caravan at £13.50 per person. We did this because to me it read in the booklet from the paper that if you upgraded you would have made up beds on arrival. The wording was a bit ambiguous though as actually, if you wanted made up beds you had to pay extra for the linen. I assumed if there were made up beds then there would have to be linen included but there we are – it’s something The Sun need to look into as it’s their wording. It cost just another £15 for the luxury of not having to struggle on buses with our own so we went for that too.
The weather was sunny and bright and we were hopeful that despite it being October it would remain mild enough for us to play on the beach and have fun in all the parks on site so off we set. We had to get three buses but the total journey time was only 2 hours with waiting at stops in between and it was actually lots of fun! The longest part of the journey was from my Mum’s house to the City in Norwich and then it was just half an hour to Yarmouth and another twenty minutes to Caister where the bus stops just outside the park. We arrived and checked in with no problems then went to find our caravan.
We were staying in the Caister Beach section of the site which was great as we had our own play ground and were of course close to the sea but it was a long walk from the main building and swimming pool as the park is huge. Our caravan was lovely and because I’m a Haven blogger for the year I was lucky enough to be upgraded further and we had a little bit more luxury than we would have otherwise including an extra toilet. A friend of mine was staying the same week and had opted for the very basic £9.50 per person option. She was staying in one of the chalets and I expected it to be much less superior but it really wasn’t! It was in fact much warmer than our caravan and pretty much had all the same facilities as we did. It might have been a tad smaller and a little more dated in decor but I would have no hesitation in the future of booking the basic accommodation!
Caister Haven is, it has to be said, much less attractive than Rockley park. The caravans are not set out in the same aesthetically pleasing way and on a gradient. Due to the park being less landscaped it just wasn’t as pretty and as such looked older and more tired. I did initially feel a little disappointed at this but as we explored further I realised that where it lacked in beauty it did make up for in other ways.
The park is right on the beach which is undeveloped and very attractive with interesting dunes and vast expanses. The children spent a lovely afternoon washing stones in pools of water and digging in the sand!
The swimming pool was utterly fabulous! Large and with an amazing baby pool area which was the same width as the pool and kind of funneled into the deeper end. It felt very safe and with the bubble pool and bumpy slides provided lots of different aspects – the water could have been a bit warmer though. Florence was too little to go on the slides as she is under one meter but she didn’t mind as she was having so much fun in the pool! She learned to swim can you believe! Proper bonafide swimming without floats (video on my end of week post coming up)! It was just the right pool for her confidence to grow enough to dive under and just swim! She also rather liked the paddle boat sessions in the pool which at three and three quarters she was technically not quite old enough for (four is the recommended age) but we snuck her in! This cost £4 a session – annoyingly I had a pass from our Rockley holiday which would have allowed her to have some free sessions but I lost it!
The two outdoor parks were also very good and all the children, mine and my friend’s, had a brilliant time playing! At Caister they also had some outdoor bumpy slides which cost 20 pence a go and some motorised cars for just 50p. Unfortunately Florence couldn’t go on the slides as again you had to be one meter tall but she did join in with the free mini sporting activities and got to do some more archery which she’d really enjoyed on our last trip while Jimmy played football! The sports they joined in with were a free session from the programme.
Caister also has an extensive soft play with two zones for differently aged children! They all absolutely loved this and because of the weather, which was lovely for the first half of the holiday but changed for the worse, soft play became the place to be for us! Next to the soft play is a mini arcade and the children liked playing on the two pence slots as well! There is a bigger arcade downstairs from soft play but it was very loud and we preferred it in the baby area.
Then of course there is the Live Lounge where all the entertainment happens. We went to the children’s club in the day time once and made sure we were there every evening at 6 for an hour of children’s fun! It does go on later but for the age of our children this was enough. The Live Lounge at Caister, although older than Rockley Park, was very clean and I think was a much better venue if I’m honest. It was smaller and more intimate! The entertainers, although very good in Dorset, were also a bit more in tune here too! I think perhaps it’s because when we visited Rockley they had just started whereas the team at Caister have been working together all summer. Either way they were very good and the children enjoyed the disco and meet and greets with all the characters!
Haven Holidays are just up children’s streets and we had a fab time. We were a little cold, wet and wind blown but the facilities at Caister kept us very busy and we all came away having had a lovely fun week! Florence had a tear as we left because she didn’t want it to come to an end!
We will definitely be back!
I have not been paid in any way to write this post.