Monday Review – A little piece of Haven

June 28, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Posted in Family Holidays, Reviews | 8 Comments
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So last Monday (a week ago, really?) we loaded the car up like happy campers and headed to Haven in Combe, Hastings on a review trip.

Extremely excited as home improvements had crossed a summer holiday off our list, and somewhat apprehensive at what the week may bring – we weren’t sure we were Haven ‘types’ if there is such a thing, and at risk of being shunned by every Haven-goer for ever more.

Anyway, we agreed on the journey down, in-between rounds of ten green bottles and Old McDonald, that we would come straight back home if we really hated it.  Being unsure what to expect, the car was packed to bursting with clothes, food and games for every eventuality.

After a warm 2 1/2 hour journey we made it, missing each and every stop for local cherries, vowing to get some on the way home.  First impressions good, water park looked great and static caravans looked bigger than I expected.  We’d only been looking for the reception for a minute when a staff member popped up and directed us.  Friendly staff, check.

Check-in was quick and easy – because we had a prestige van we qualified for early arrival (2.30pm) rather than 4pm.  Our beds were also already made up, rather than having to collect linen from the hire shop.  I was a bit anxious on overhearing people asking to be moved – one for a stench, and the others – Haven regulars, asking to see another van before they considered relocating because their site was too far away with a buggy – they came every year.

Once we had our keys we found our home a 2 minute walk from the main complex and we were really impressed.  Our huge van had a kitchen with all mod cons, dining area, lounge with flat screen TV and DVD player, three bedrooms and two bathrooms!  The only minor alteration we had to make was to fold up one single bed to make way for the travel cot.  We took our cot but you can hire them for £10, as well as high chairs.

Am aware I’ve already written a small essay so will get to the nuts and bolts.

– We had a bloody fantastic time.

– It really, really took us by surprise.  We didn’t want to come home.

– The staff were amazing.  Friendly, helpful, great with the children, hands-on, enthusiastic and ready for anything.

– There was so much to entertain the bear – a teddy bears picnic, wake and shake (morning exercise), cookie and cupcake making with Annabel Karmel (who was lovely and there despite her best friend being stolen the previous day*), as well as educational activities tied in to the government Letterland initiative.

– Through the week the bear collected stickers in his passport for being healthy – eating from the healthy AK menu, swimming, wake and shake and other stuff.

– On the last day we watched a UV puppet show which was incredible.  The bear shouted ‘mummy daddy look wow’ repeatedly throughout.

– We missed the certificate ceremony so couldn’t get the bear his pin badge for collecting all his stickers – no problemo said the Funstar, we’ll post it.  Yeah, really?!  Two badges and a certificate arrived the day after we got home.

– I got to use the Owners Exclusive spa (think you have to buy a van for £14,995 normally), but it was heaven, completely empty so I lounged in the sauna and jacuzzi.

– We didn’t have time to do pitch and putt but did love the adventure playground under the shady treetop canopy, as well as the heated, yes heated outdoor pool (we also did an included swim confidence session in the indoor pool), and we had two trips to the beach, five minutes down the road.

Our only suggested improvements would be (hark at us, we’ll be booking to go again you know…)

– Give each van recycling bins to make it a greener holiday

– Have healthier food for adults available – Burger King, Pizza and Haven eatery Mash & Barrell focus on mainly pub grub.  Although was happy to see one of my favourite wines on the list, brucey.  The kids meals included Annabel Karmel options too which was perfect for the bear.

– More shade over the outdoor eating area.

– We were a little surprised that the AK cookery didn’t focus more on healthy eating – we made cookies from pre-made dough and decorated pre-packed cupcakes.  Would have loved it if they had loads of different fruits and vegetables for everyone to taste, or to learn about veggies you can grow at home (now that I’m a gardener of course!!).  However with that many children, there’s only so much even the most capable Funstar can manage!

– Less holiday trash and more store cupboard food options in the Spar shop.

– We asked to see the cheapest van in case we came back next year and they were all occupied….the park was pretty quiet so I wasn’t sure if that was completely true.

– Our van had heating and amazingly we needed it first thing in the morning, our feet were like ice blocks – take slippers!  Only the top end vans have heaters.

– We had the most incredible weather.  If we hadn’t we would have needed a lot of games and DVDs.

The Annabel Karmel cookery session, the UV puppet show and the swim confidence session were part of a package for £15 booked in advance and made the trip really special.

Our van would cost £236.43 for the same four nights next June.  The basic van would cost £172.90.

A review of the holiday essentials we took on our trip will follow next week!

* Her doggie was dog napped but was thankfully found safe and well.

The four night trip to Haven in Combe, Hastings was kindly paid for by Haven. We stick to the bloggers with integrity code to only promote products and services that we truly, truly love.

Coming next week, a review of our holiday essentials.

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8 Comments »

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  1. We went to Haven in Berwick for our honeymoon. Not the most luxious honeymoon but lucas was only 9months and we didn’t want to go abroad. We had a great time, but thankfully stayed in the high end caravan as it was freezing and we had heating. Warm at night but freezing in the morning. Haven knows how to do it right for young kids I think. xx

    • It was brilliant, I bet you had a fab time!!! Definitely need heating!! x

  2. We love Haven in this house, but tend to go out and explore the local area than stay in the park… one year we will try it!

    • You should, we were amazed by how good the kids clubs were, really well organised and arranged.

  3. I’m so gald you had a great time – you deserved it. And it just goes to show that the proof is in the pudding of course!
    x

    • Thank you hun, BTW I think the person who was handling originally has now left…..have given feedback about that xxx

  4. […] Wilkinsons Suncream We were really lucky to review some great holiday products during our trip to Haven a few weeks ago.  Here’s a roundup of […]

  5. […] June: Review trip to Haven […]


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