The car was loaded, we were packed and ready for our little family holiday to Haven Presthaven Sands and couldn’t wait to have a fun filled few days away.
Unfortunately when we arrived we were told we couldn’t actually check in even though our online booking said we could collect the keys from 12:30. You could take the keys but not actually do anything with them! Apparently by collecting your keys and passes you were able to make use of the facilities but no have access to the caravan. This all makes complete sense but it’s just not clarified online.
This caused us such issues as we had brought the bikes and the dog therefore without access to the caravan we couldn’t actually do anything but sit outside. This was not a great solution for a family with a child with Autism so the staff said they would give us a call if the caravan was ready any earlier.
We decided to go an see if we could chain the bikes to the caravan as this would at least give us access to the boot of the car but when having a little nosy through the window we were really disappointed. The caravan was nothing like the images online of ‘our accommodation’, it looked pretty tatty & dowdy. If we had have wanted something basic we could have gone somewhere else but we wanted something decent and paid the extra for upgraded accommodation.
I’ve got say that the Haven staff dealt with our complaint amazingly and upgraded us to the level of accommodation pictured when booked, plus they found us a caravan that was ready straight away. We had an hour of queuing and talking to the staff but we were finally in and really happy with the new accommodation.
Once we’d settled into our new home for the week it was time to go exploring. There’s actually so much to do here, swimming, go karting, aerial adventure, mini golf, play areas both indoor & outdoor.
Our first impression wasn’t that great but it definitely got better as the week progressed, even though we couldn’t do a lot of the activities due to Archie’s autism and sensory issues there was more than enough choice to keep both the boys happy.
The hubby and teenager were able to go swimming and ride the flumes whilst me & Archie went to the playground. He absolutely loved the play area, especially the larger playground. He found himself a little routine of climbing up the frame, running along the tunnels then down the slide, he did this over & over for hours. It was great that the play area was as big as it was otherwise he may have bored easily or it could have overcrowded but even though there was a lot of children and parents there was plenty of space for everyone.
There was a full schedule of activities during the day for the different age groups, we attempted one of the sensory groups but I couldn’t even get Archie through the door so we avoided the daytime activities and instead headed to the beach which was so much closer than I realised. You literally had to cross one of the roads within the site and pass through a short walkway and you were right on the beach.
There were so many different entrances too so no matter where your caravan was on site it was still only a short walk. For kids that love the beach it’s just perfect!
Inside the entertainment centre is a huge amusements arcade, the teenager loved it in here playing the 2p machines to win tickets to get his little brother a toy. Again it was far too overwhelming for Archie with the bright lights, noise & crowds. As was the evening entertainment.
We did attempt to take him into one of the evening kiddies session but as soon as we had to walk through the arcade to get there he was already overwhelmed before we even go there. I was hoping he’d enjoy the signing and dancing but it was all just too much for him.
I think daddy & the teenager were quite happy with the fact they didn’t have to sit through a show but there another family bar/restaurant we went to instead. With Archie asleep in his buggy we were able to enjoy a few quieter drinks before grabbing a chippy tea on the way home.
Overall we had a great time. A lot of it wasn’t suitable for Archie but there was still plenty to do and we had so much fun. As we have such a big age gap of 11 years between the boys it gave us the best options for both and I think we would probably go on another Haven holiday next year.
As you can tell, neither of boys like to have their photo taken so I’ll leave you with this, Archie loved it!
Have you been to Haven before? What did you think?