“ Moor Lane / Flookburgh / Cumbria / England „
In a word, disgraceful!
The star rating of one is only given because the website will not allow zero ratings and we have calmed down after some time to reflect at home.
We were booked into a tent pitch with hook-up for a week in mid-Jul (at a price greater than that for a 2-week pitch in the South of France). The saving grace's of the site were proximity to the southern Lake District, a flat pitch, a helpful site warden and a modern toilet block but after that.....
Spacing between tents and caravans was "cosy"; one of the "long-tem" caravans was unuseable because of tents pitched close on both sides and cars parked to allow the convenient routing of exhaust gases into the neighbouring tents.
The 23.00 hrs noise curfew was ignored on each of the 4 nights we survived despite the intervention of the warden. The last straw was the midnight shenanigens at one of the "long-term" pitches where a bunch of staff (male) and the caravan resident (female) treated the site to a torrent of obscene and sexually explicit profanity before retiring to the car park to provide a whole new meaning to the term "in car entertainment". Fortunately our 9-year old is a heavy sleeper and missed this form of verbal "education" and the whole experience of foul language and naked men heading into the woods to do what bears do was, frankly, intimidating.
Enough was enough and, after extensive discusssions with the management team the next morning we left as soon as the car was loaded.
Other features of this site....
The toilet facilities, whilst good, were insufficient for the number of people on the site and consequently were repeatedly blocked.
The other facilities at the Haven site certainly did not provide value for the campsite fees paid and every opportunity was taken to extract further money from the holidaymaker.
There was a well stocked campsite shop at prices that would make Michael O'Leary's eyes water - at least Dick Turpin wore a mask.
To get into the "entertainment" complex everyone was funnelled past an array of slot machines which was clearly designed to encourage their use - prizes seemed to be awarded in the form of tickets; based on the tariffs, it would be necessary to gamble a substantial sum to "win" some piece of cheap tat.
Bar prices were exhorbitant; two alcoholic drinks and a lemonade cost the same as one meal and a pint in a traditional Lakeland pub. That was assuming you got a lemonade rather than semi-flat flavoured water and an explanation that "it can go off a bit".
The evening entertainment was dire - family bingo can be fun but not when the compere/caller's routine consists of thinly veiled insults directed at the audience in a poor imitation of the style of Peter Kay.
The entertainment venue was called the "Live Bar"; probably was alive with something although smelt more as if something had died there... a long time ago. To make it worse, the childrens' entertainers (in the loosest sense of the word based on their lacklustre and bored style of presentation) were encouragng the kids to sit on the dancefloor but were not offering to assist with wallpaper scrapers to remove the children from the chewing gum (assuming that's what it was) at the end of the show.
The outside swimming pool was closed (officially) for the duration of our visit but looked filthy - this may have been due to alleged nocturnal aquatic activities which we heard of at around 01.00 hrs on our last evening (see above).
The indoor pool was clean (eye-watering levels of chlorine) and well maintained. It was, however, always busy and adversely affected by teenagers playing aggressively (well, fighting, actually!). The pool was also frequently closed as the Company maximised its revenue making opportunities by charging £5 for a half-hour activity session (which would have cost £1 in our local leisure centre).
Finally, the claim to be a familiy oriented site with restrictions on large, single-sex groups did not seem to be adhered to.
To sum up, our Haven experience in Flookburgh did not live up to the promise of the brouchure and was not an affordable family holiday; it is not one that we will be repeating.
The site manager and touring wardens were genuinely understanding of our complaints and, sadly, did not seem to be surprised. Furthermore, they were dreading an onslaught in Aug 10 when Haven were offering pitches at £1 per night.
We were offered a credit note for the full cost of the pitch but were told that this would have to be agreed by Head Office; we have yet to hear from the Company but, reluctant to repeat the Haven "experience" will be seeking a refund rather than a voucher!
We have just returned from a short 3 night break here. I have to say that we booked this holiday quite last minute; my dad had some time off work and we decided at the beginning of the week to book a caravan over the weekend. We wanted to take Rolo our lovely dog with us and found it very difficult to find a dog-friendly caravan at the last minute as all the dog caravans seemed to be taken. We originally wanted somewhere in Wales, but I love the Lake District so I took over the search for a caravan park and found Haven Lakeland. I knew Haven accepted pets and it just so happened that they had dog-friendly caravans left!
Booking online was simple; you choose your park and number of guests and then add any additions you want, such as high chairs, bed sheets, cots, microwaves, pets, insurance, etc. We only wanted to add our dog and were surprised that he only cost us £1! The places we had looked previously wanted at least £20 per pet. However, we really wanted to make sure that we had the booking right and that we could indeed take Rolls; we didn't want to turn up and be refused admission!
So my mum phoned up and yes, everything was correct and Rolo would only be £1 because it was Pets for £1 week, which was good timing for us! The booking therefore went very smoothly (we paid £130 or there abouts) and we had no problems checking in, etc.
We were told we would be in a standard caravan as these are the only ones they allow to be used by pets, and these vans do not include a microwave, although you can hire one if you so wish. We thought we'd manage without one. You can also only check in at 4pm, whereas with premium caravans you can check in at 2pm.
However, after we'd booked (which is a bit late really!) we read some reviews and they were all very negative bar about two! We're always game for a laugh though, so weren't too worried, especially as we'd got a good deal, but we really weren't expecting much at this point!
Arrival and Camp
As well as static caravan hire and sales, we saw that this camp also accommodate for tents and touring caravans in a different area of the camp.
We arrived quite late and found our caravan to be very nice and clean (last cleaned by Jim who did a lovely job, although maybe a bit heavy handed with the old air freshener, which worried us as we then wondered what he was trying to mask!) However, there were no stains or smells, it was very nice, and not at all obviously 'standard'. We weren't sure though whether we might have been upgraded or whether it was a newly demoted to standard caravan as it seemed to have a more modern body and did actually have a microwave. Everything seemed to be there and in good working order; the TV was good with all the freeview channels and good reception, etc. Bedding is included but you need to take your own sheets unless you hire them.
There was plenty of space for my dad's car and my sisters (there were 5 of us and Rolo altogether - we're looking into getting a people carrier now we have Rolo!) and the camp is set out very nicely with bits of greenery and trees etc, very clean; I didn't see any rubbish anywhere.
We saw quite a few dogs holidaying here, our first issue with the camp, however, was that the dog walking area seemed to be right on the other side of the camp to us! It was actually near the entrance opposite the shop and entertainment venue, which was fine, but it would be good if they could put the people with dogs closer to the dog walking area as I had to practically run all the way there with Rolo, and he only just made it; it was quite a treck! I felt mean on him as he didn't understand the concept of being surrounded by grass and trees yet having a designated area to poop. I don't suppose it would have been a problem if he had pooped on camp as I could have picked it up, but sometimes (excuse the subject matter) it can be difficult to completely clear up so I'd feel bad as there are kids out playing and people walking, sun bathing and picnicking, etc, and it would be awkward, as well as slightly embarrassing! So I walked him very early in the morning when no one was about, just in case, and then we stopped later in the car on our way out and let him do his business so we wouldn't have to walk it. However, we did walk it a few other times and Rolo did it once on the stretch of grass leading to the dog zone, which was fine as it was out of the camp, and another time on the pavement opposite the shop, which again wasn't too bad and thankfully easily cleared up, but this was definitely my biggest complaint with the camp really, so it could have been worse I guess!
Once there, the dog walking area was very nice, with plenty of poop bins provided, which is a nice change from where we live (see review on dog fouling, haha!) However, I didn't like to let Rolo off as it was right next to a road really, and even though he's usually very well behaved and the road wasn't busy, just the park entrance road, I didn't want to risk it. Which is fine if you're going for walks out of the camp, which we were, but it would have been nice to have a better dog walk where they could have a run as sometimes things don't work out and you find that places aren't always safe for dogs to run free when you're out and about.
It was a shame though that some people didn't clean up after their dogs on the dog zone though, and even in the picnic area (!), some people hadn't cleaned up, and if they'd forgotten their poop bag, they didn't go back and clean it up either as it was still there sometime later, which was inconsiderate. However, I was a bit annoyed also when I heard someone behind me saying how disgusting it was to walk dogs through the park or something, and that they were going to complain! Rolo never once fouled inside the main body of the camp, only once on the outskirts near the shop and then at the dog zone, which is off the camp really: maybe she's seen the crime at the picnic area! Anyway, that's no reflection on the camp, but I prefer camping sites where things are a bit more simple and back to nature! I guess people expect a more hotel like experience at these parks...
We also took him for a walk to the 'beach' right next to the camp but it was more of a coastal road and there were sheep grazing and a sign saying keep dogs on leads, so that wasn't great for him either.
On the first night we visited the chip shop on site and while the chips were quite nice, they were obviously frozen chips and we thought it wasn't great for a chip shop to serve frozen when that's supposed to be their main trade.
The Spar shop onsite was expensive but did sell all the basics; the cheapest box of cereal was £2.10. We didn't visit the onsite restaurante, but it seemed a nice venue and they served carveries and stuff, although I read poor reviews of the food.
You also get entertainment passes included and we went to the childrens' shows on two nights with my 5 year old nephew. The first night it was quite bad to be honest. It was DJ Ned playing his music at an uncomfortable volume and not much of a show really; they had a contest between some of the children who came up with DJ names and filled in the missing bit of Ned's song with the words 'chic chic chicken pie'. The second night however, it was quite a bit better as Rory the Tiger made an appearance in their new show about Rory being a Knight and defeating a dragon who turns out just to be a lonely dragon named Valdor. It wasn't that busy at the shows to be honest, far from Butlins Skyline Pavilion and the such, and the room was quite stuffy and always a bit on the smelly side, but the atmosphere was friendly. The music volumes was too loud though, so we sat at the back, which was better. There also didn't seem to be much of a selection of soft drinks; just Coke, Lemonade and Slush. The kids that were there seemed to enjoy themselves though, Blaise, my nephew, even got up to dance but came back complaining that the music was too loud and they weren't playing Michael Jackson! The songs they did play included Backstreet Boys 'Backstreet's Back' and Aqua, 'Cartoon Heroes', neither of which I've heard for quite some time now!
We visited the arcade to play air hockey and two penny slot machines, which was fun and my nephew won about 5 keyrings, etc, which were of extremely poor quality, but he enjoyed himself and the staff were very nice and helpful.
They had bike hire and crazy golf, which you had to pay for; it was £10 for an hour for a family bike. They also had a swimming pool, which I think was free, but not sure as we didn't use it, and trampolines, as well as a football pitch and tennis courts and a picnic area.
All in all, we had a good time and our accommodation was very nice. My nephew and Rolo enjoyed having races outside the caravan and playing football, although we had to be careful as obviously cars can pass on the roads but we were away from the main camp roads. Best of all was the location of the camp; it's about half an hour from Windermere and Bowness, where there's loads to do! My sister and nephew also visited Ducky's Farm, which is very close to the camp and has animals and go carts and was apparently very good, and we all went to the miniature village nearby, which is basically a couple's garden where the man has created a fantastic selection of small houses based on those in the Lakes. They allow dogs too, which was nice, although had to keep Rolo from peeing on the houses and drinking out of the villages stream!
It was also great that we were right next to a parachute school or something and everyday there would constantly be a plan taking people up and they would all appear out of the clouds with their parachutes; my nephew thought this was brilliant.
Don't let the negative reviews put you off; maybe some people have had bad experiences there, but we didn't, so I guess it's just somewhere you have to check out for yourself!
This year for our holiday there was a big decision to make as to where we all wanted to go. Normally we tend to book about a year in advance but decided about this time last year that we would take a chance see what happens and try to pick up a last minute bargain. Six weeks before anticipated date of departure (leave pre-booked from work earlier in the year) no decision had been made as normally we would opt for mainland Spain but were slightly put off by the sharp downturn in the value of the Euro to the pound and with two teenagers who don't come cheap we envisaged a large spend here.
After much deliberating and a family discussion as to what type of holiday everyone wanted surprisingly a caravan holiday came out on top so off to trawl the internet I stumbled on a reduced rate holiday with Haven at Lakeland saving just under GBP200.00 on the brochure price. The booking process was extremely straight forward and confirmation quickly arrived in my in box closely followed by itinerary with how to get there. We opted for a 3 bedroom standard plus caravan for 7 days.
Arriving at the camp there is a very small car park for you to use until it is you designated check in time and this check in time is strictly adhered to and I would suggest that you leave 1 member of your party in the queue from about 30 minutes before check in otherwise you will be in a long line of people. The queue is long but the process is very quick and you are checked and handed your keys with map of where to find your caravan (or the camping field if in tent or tourer) so this does move along very quickly.
The camp itself is nicely laid out with lots of planting between groups of caravans and the planted areas are fenced off with chicken wire to stop you traipsing through all the caravans or even cutting through in the car and as the plants grow I can imagine you won't be able to see the chicken wire at all. The caravans are well spaced with ample space for parking between unlike some other sites we have been to where there are caravans that are literally on the car park itself with nowhere for sitting out.
Why did we choose Lakeland - after much browsing around different holiday camps and indeed even different companies that offer the same type of holiday we all thought that Lakeland had more to offer that suited our needs and interests that other sites and these include:-
A nine hole golf course - no need to bring your own you can hire clubs at the camp to use for the whole family and if you fancy an 18 hole you can go round twice. The golf course is set at the back of the camp and well away from the main site for caravans though there are a handful of caravans near by and are know as the 'golf village' on the camp map. I can't comment on how hard the course is not being a golfer myself but looked to be mid range by my standards and speaking to others on the course so just about manageable for the inexperienced amongst us - that would be me then. There is a small clubhouse at the golf course also where you can get some refreshments after your game in case you just can't quite make it back to your accommodation.
Indoor and Outdoor swimming pools - whilst neither of these is Olympic sized they are adequate for the camp and both where very clean and well maintained. The indoor pool has changing rooms and lockers (20p required which is returned) ideal if you want to get changed at the poolside. The outdoor pool has a small children's area for the very small and sun loungers are available for use during the nice weather with some tables and chairs but they are not abundant and you would need to be quick to get a lounger on a very nice day, however, there is ample space for you to sit around the pool on one of the chairs or the floor if you have something to stop your bum going numb. Both my children are very keen swimmers and used both pools during our stay though the outdoor pool does feel very cold even though it is heated, but then again a pool aboard always feels cold when you 1st get in.
Day time activities - for our two teenagers it is always a must that there is something more than an amusement arcade for them just to hang around in and most importantly for mum and dad not to have to listen to the complaints of 'I'm board' and 'there's nothing to do' so the list of activities was attractive. Activities included:-
Archery - age restrictions do apply so if you are interested check before you book whether there are different sessions for different age groups.
Fencing - again age restrictions apply - check directly with the park .
Aqua jets - very popular and as my two spend so long getting out of bed each day the sessions where always full by the time they went to book a place or only 1 place left which was no good.
There are also tennis courts on site again as with the golf you don't need to carry all your sports equipment you can hire rackets for a game of tennis.
Basketball courts and football pitch - not sure whether you can hire the balls as we normally take a ball or two for these and we never found that the pitch was in use or the basketball nets either, only a few others around - this may be different as the summer moves but cannot say.
As you can see from above there was lots to keep to grumpy teenagers entertained when on the camp but what else was there?
Evening entertainment is what lets this site down and we found that this was very poor and not run to timetable and in my opinion the whole programme badly planned. We arrived on a Saturday and I can say that there was a very good band on who where excellent and extremely good who played two sets in the evening, however, the 2nd set was given over to karaoke with volunteers from the audience and this let the evening down completely. There was far too much focus on the under tens in my opinion with 'party dances' after 11pm when there entertainment should move up to a more suitable age group after this time. Also for the entertainment three nights a week the staff provide it all which is way too much for a person that goes back to the days of the live residential band plus the cabaret every night, not that I am against the staff show but once a week is sufficient.
The club has an ample sized bar but the service was very slow on the few nights we went in there and they did seem to be short of staff as there were only two bar staff on at during our stay which was just before the main 6 week holiday period for most schools, but already into the Scottish school summer hols and I can imagine that the following weeks would have been busier and the queues at the bar very long. There was also the usual kids bar selling sweets, ice cream and slush drinks and a toy story in the club in order to persuade you to part with even more of your money, thankfully my two are way too old for this now and have their own money to spend on holiday and know they have to make it last.
The bar at Lakeland serves food and well as drinks and have a couple of large screen TVs which are on most of the day. The menu was typically what you would expect in a pub with a children's menu also available, we did not have a full meal in here but on our last day my daughter had the brownies and flapjacks with chocolate dipping sauce and I have to say these were excellent value and very tasty. All tables have a number so as long as you have your table number simply order your food at the bar and once ready it is served to you at your table. Table cleaning was not a quick as I would have liked but it did get done eventually, personally I don't like trying to find a table to sit at that is not covered in somebody else's dirty plates.
We only had one hiccup with our accommodation during our stay, we returned one evening to find that the sink taps had come away from the pipe and we had a small flood in the kitchen area of the caravan. Quick call to security and they arrived within 5 minutes of our call and fixed the leak. The number is in the pack you receive when you arrive and I have to say that the service was very efficient. however, we where advised that somebody would be around the next day to fix the taps properly as they where loose and this caused the problem in the 1st place but nobody ever turned up. This was not a problem as was our last day anyway but would like to think that they fixed this before the same happened to somebody else.
Would I go there again? Yes I would, the site itself is extremely nice and ideally situated as a base for the Lake District with its beautiful surroundings and if you are prepared to take a chance and book last minute there are usually some bargains to be had. This year we paid £424 for 1 week in a standard plus 3 bedroom caravan which was a saving of £185 from the brochure price by booking on line and leaving it until 6 weeks before departure to book.
Lots of leisure outdoor activities to enjoy: golfing, water fun, entertainment shows, plus loads of indoor activities. Fun for all ages!