Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Haven Holidays - A Week At Combe Haven

Blooming Fiction, lifestyle blog, Haven Holidays - A Week At Combe Haven

It's officially official - I am now one of the famous £9.50 club. On the 2nd of October I packed up my goodies and went on my first holiday with my little family. Jessica was extremely excited to be in a caravan - even at 3 months old. Her face was just as magical as my own as we explored the van for the first time. There's something about seeing each room that's terribly exciting. No idea why. 

On this occasion I was lucky to stay in a Prestige caravan which is basically level 3 of 5 in regards to how nice the van is. The famous £9.50's allocate bog standard accommodation, but since I worked as a Haven Funstar from 2008 to 2010 I know people. Not a liberty I'll be making a habit of because that's not fair. Want proof that I was a fully fledged ents peep? Here you go:

Combe Haven is a mega hilly park located minutes away from Hastings. Extreme word of warning - the hills are not just steep ... they are REALLY steep! You seriously need to be an experienced driver to master the hills here. That put aside the setting of the park is perhaps a little random at the front as the park faces a line of houses. Unless you know the park is there it's also quiet easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Sod's law has it that the caravan we were allocated was in the furthest reaches of the park, well away from everything. But at the same time it was nice because there's a pretty little river walk down the bottom of the park - but not really suitable for prams as we found out. If you like nature there's some great bird spotting opportunities as I saw some jays and a green woodpecker quite close up. For those not in the know, that's pretty cool!

Blooming Fiction, lifestyle blog, Haven Holidays - A Week At Combe Haven
Blooming Fiction, lifestyle blog, Haven Holidays - A Week At Combe Haven

Taking a tour of the park there's a Mash & Barrel restaurant ( serves pub food kind of thing ), a Burger King and a Papa John's for eateries. Good for family food, not for your waistline. There's a mini market which has a surprisingly good selection, even baby milk! There's a small sports bar at the bottom of the hill, a separate sports centre, lots of play areas, 2 arcades and a brightly coloured entertainment venue. For those who love photo opps, there's one of those huge deckchairs outside the reception. I didn't use it as it was sopping wet.

So how was the park? Well .... the arcade was probably the biggest disappointment. We'll start with the negative first. There are plenty of machines to use, but 94% of them are either cash or ticket machines. There was only about 5 actual arcade game machines, 4 of which were driving. Not a great selection for those wanting a bit of fun. Personally I love the bingo machines and there were 4 of those, so I was good. While mentioning the arcade I also have to pop in that we racked up 750 tickets for baby Jessica and only came away with some super cheap bubbles, a pencil and a small kite you could probably pick up in Poundland. To say the prizes are awful is an understatement.

I lied, there is one more niggle. Not wanting to cook while on holiday I wanted to have breakfast out at the Mash & Barrel restaurant. An English breakfast was on the cards so that was an obvious choice but every time we had one it came out cold, and not always what we paid for. We didn't have dinner there in fear that it would be the same but the fast food joints always gave out piping hot food. 

Service on the park was nearly spot on. We had a nice welcome on arrival and we received a phone call when our van was ready. We were brought fresh towels and a handyman even popped round to make sure everything was okay. The cleaners were friendly around the park but I have to question how thoroughly they clean as I found some old paracetamol between the cushions of our sofa. 

Blooming Fiction, lifestyle blog, Haven Holidays - A Week At Combe Haven

On to entertainment ... it changes every year but the basics are pretty much the same. Cash bingo is what it says on the tin. There's a great new automated system in play which makes it super easy to follow even if you're a first timer. Later on there's family prize bingo which gives out a stash of merchandise from the kid's gift shop. 

Character shows happen once or twice a night featuring some of the 6 mascots of Haven. We were lucky enough to see all 6 throughout our stay and Jessica only cried once. Not bad for a 3 month old baby. The shows were a bit sub standard and have gone downhill a lot compared to the old days, but there are some good plots to the shows and there's even some more up to date pop songs thrown in.

Adult entertainment was completely pointless and consisted of a quiz every night. There were no adult gameshows etc so if you don't like quizzes your night pretty much finishes after the kids stuff. There is late night disco but at that time it's normally last orders at the bar. 

The good old party dances still happen most nights, the selection of dances isn't great here but the kids seem to enjoy it. I was over the moon to do Big Fish Little Fish with my little one but that was about it. Making up dances on the spot for the pineapple pen song most nights isn't my idea of party dances, but perhaps that's my previous funstar - riness talking. 

In all, the park was nice and well kept, the staff were friendly and some of the food is served hot but entertainment is a little tight for adults and the swimming pool is full of seagulls. Apart from that a nice park. 



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