Half term has crept up again.
And as usual, we have taken advantage of the weather being not entirely crap in the last week of October, and headed off to spend the week in a caravan. This time, we picked Haven Doniford Bay in Somerset.
Having battled the traffic, we arrived shortly after 5pm and hurrah! No check in queue…
…and then I got lost trying to find our caravan. Which is a bit of a feat really, given that it’s a fairly compact caravan park! That’s what you get for thinking you’ve memorised the map before handing it over to the kids.
Wee Man was particularly pleased we had arrived before 6pm, because we’d looked at the entertainment schedule before we arrived and he’d noticed that there was a mini inflatables fun session. Caravan found, we booked him on, grabbed the swimming gear and headed to the entertainment complex.
The swimming pool is accessed via the arcade, which was really the only downside of the entire trip. Every time we went swimming (or to the turbo paddlers, aqua gliders, pool party, water confidence…we did a lot of water based activities!) the kids were clamouring for money to put into all the flashing, beeping, enticing machines. We did give in, from time to time, but I can definitely see how you could end up spending a lot of money there and it would be nice to be able to avoid them!
The pool itself is great, just the right size for a family swim, with a baby pool area and a slide that the Wee Man really enjoyed which he could use without us needing to stand around shivering watching him climb a lot of steps. There is also an outdoor pool with a bigger slide, but being October it wasn’t open. The Wee Man is insistent that we come back in Summer so he can use that slide too.
After his inflatable fun session, we went to the evening entertainment which was a show put on by the Seaside Squad. The kids seemed to enjoy it, although it was less interactive than we’ve been used to – most of the kids just sat in front of the stage and watched what was going on. We ended up being the only ones doing Gangnam Style along with the characters on stage!
Back to the caravan, and we all had a comfortable nights sleep. We were staying in a standard caravan with three bedrooms, and it was more than adequate for our needs, clean and well looked after and we even had a little box of Quality Street left on the table to welcome us – that went down well with the kids. It got a little chilly first thing in the morning, but as soon as we got the gas fire going it warmed up quickly.
Next day was lovely and sunny so we decided to take advantage of that and try out some of the outdoor activities. I never realised quite how much hard work pedalling a family of five around in a cart would be – but it was a lot of fun too! We also enjoyed using the rather dated but still entertaining adventure golf, the wooden playground area and the main playground too.
Later we headed into Watchet, the local town with a harbour and a chinese restaurant (among other things) – the Oriental Pearl. We can recommend that, all of us enjoyed our takeaway back at the caravan after another evening of kids entertainment. We also checked out Torre Cider Farm, which has a lovely farm shop and cafe as well as animals that the kids can feed.
Wednesday was more rainy, and so we went to the Pirate themed soft play area, which also has an XBox, table tennis and a pool table, all free to use. The kids enjoyed the soft play although they were disappointed there were no slides – it looks like there used to be one which has been removed at some point. There were also very few balls in the ball pond which meant Bubby D kept getting stranded as there were no balls to stand on to climb out! The pool table has definitely seen better days but hey, it was free, and the kids enjoyed bashing the balls around a bit.
Lunch in the cafe was tasty, the food arrived quickly and the crayons and activity hats provided while the kids were waiting proved to be a good distraction. We had planned to eat mostly in our caravan but the cafe was pretty reasonably priced and we noticed it offers cooked breakfasts too – something to remember for next time!
Without a doubt, the thing that really made our holiday special was the Haven staff. They were friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in the kids – going out of their way to remember names, interact with them and check regularly that we were all happy and having fun. Bubby D was technically too little to go on the Turbo Paddlers with her big brother but they said she could come in anyway and spent the whole session helping her out, something that really made her day. The facilities and sessions on offer were good anyway, but the staff helped make them really special. We’ve been on a lot of similar holidays, but I can hands down say that this one was the best – we had so much fun on site – aside from one day trip to Wookey Hole Caves – that we didn’t even get to Doniford Farm (which is walking distance away) or Dunster Castle and medieval village, or Tropiquaria…plenty more things to do when we go back again.
Which I very much hope we will 🙂
We paid for this holiday ourselves, and we weren’t asked to write about it – but we have and it’s all true 😀