We often go on holiday to skipsea sands on the £9.50 sun deal holidays. Skipsea is a small village which is not far from bridlington, scarborough or hornsea.
When you arrive the entertainment complex and reception are on your left there is a small car park here while you get your keys. The reception staff are friendly the downside to the sun holidays is you can't get your caravan keys till 4pm. The entertainment complex consists of a stage and bar which I can imagine could get busy in the school holidays. There is also another bar/eating area. Towards the back which can be accessed via another door is a sports hall/bowlingo/swimming pool and a few amusement machines.
While going swimming don't forget to take some 20ps with you for the lockers. Every time we have been in the swimming pool it's been cold so maybe not ideal for babies. At the end of the swimming pool is a steam room and sauna which are free.
Opposite the entertainment centre is the laundrette, shop which is normal caravan site prices and amusement arcade which has an indoor play area inside it. In the site is a small outdoor play area and fishing lake.
We have had a few caravans here. Two have been superb but last was awful it's a bit pot luck really. The last one we had trouble with the heating not working (we had paid to upgrade) not ideal with a 7 month old. We called the security as reception was closed. He was brilliant and brought us a heater straight away. The water pressure for the shower was hit and miss too depending on how many people on the site were using it. The cleaners had done a good job the caravan was clean and they realised the caravan was cold so they left us the gas fire on. The main bedroom wasn't too bad a size we managed to fit a travel cot in and still get in bed ok. Outside there was space to park two cars.
Next door to the site is a working mens club which you can temporally join and get cheaper drinks. Friday's and Saturdays they have a act on and bingo in between. Sunday they have a raffle, quiz and bingo. There is a quieter room which shows football and has a pool table in it.
There are two chippy's within walking distance one next the site and one the other end at the near ulrome. Both have weird opening times so best to check. If you walk through the site down to ulrome you can get on the beach via some steps its about a 10 minute walk.
On sudays a 10 minute drive away there is a carboot and market which is quite large.
It's a nice little site with just the right amount for kids to do without costing the earth. It's also good as a base for exploring.
I have taken my kids here camping several times, and each time they never want to come home. There are lots to do and you don't need to go off site really for anything, although we normally take a trip to Cayton Bay to go rock pooling for something different for the kids to do. I normally go here for a week but you can book however long you want to stay for. I think a week is long enough and then you are ready to come home, but the kids might not be loll.
==The camping pitches==
The camping pitches are pretty good, although obviously the pitch is hard, but if you take the tent mats with you this does stop you feeling the hardness of the floor. The pitches are of a decent size enough room for your tent plus room for you to park your car at the side. So as you can imagine they are generous with your pitch sizes.
They also do caravans there but I can't really comment on that, as I have never gone in a caravan when I have been there. The caravans are the first thing you pass to get to the tent pitches so you can imagine you have a little drive before you get to them.
Checking in is pretty easy, you pull up in your car go to the main reception area, and give them your details, they will then tell you your pitch number and how to get there. They also give you the toilet passes although last time we went these were not needed as the locks were broken loll. They will also give you a welcome pack, which gives you all the information of what they have going on through the day and the night time entertainment. And you also receive your fun time passes, this need to be kept and shown when using the swimming pool or entering the club.
==Arrival and departure times==
For camping pitches you can check in anytime after 12pm and have to be off the site when leaving by 10am, the times may vary if you are going in a caravan.
==The swimming pool==
To enter the swimming pool you need to have your entertainment passes; this enables you to get into the swimming pool for free. This is actually a leisure centre so they do have more things in there but I have only ever used the swimming pool in there.
The two things I did not like about the swimming pool is for one it was a communal changing area, so you had both male and females getting changed, although they did have cubicles obviously but I do prefer when they are separate. Then also the lockers, they were big in size but you had to pay £1 to use them and this does not get refunded, so if there was a few of you there it could cost a fair bit. Luckily I could manage to squeeze three people's things in one locker so it did not cost too much.
The swimming pool is quite big, the shallow end is pretty shallow which is ideal for toddlers to stand up in or for your child to try and learn to swim, although I am not sure on the measurement of the depth. The deep end is around 5ft 7inch deep I say that as it only just covers my head when I am stood up in it and I am 5ft 6inch. They also have a Jacuzzi like section, which is built into the a section of the swimming pool, this is pretty small though and can only seat around 3 people or maybe 4 small children. You then have the fountain part, which has water spraying up the kids loved to stand under that and let the water splash over them. Although the water spraying up is really cold.
The pool always has 2 lifeguards but although they are on never assume they will see your child if they get into trouble in the water. Keep a constant eye on your child at all times.
The pool does have specific opening times, but these are shown in your welcome pack so you will always know when it will be open.
==What's on the site==
Hairdressers- the site has a hairdressers, which I have only been in once to get my eyebrows done, this cost me just £5 which I found really good as I pay £7.50 here in Leeds. They did a really good job too and the staff was nice and friendly.
The mini-mart- this is quite a big shop that sells literally everything, tobacco products, beer bread milk and lots of other things. The prices are a little higher than your normal shop but I suppose that's to be expected.
Arcade - this is quite a big arcade with lots in to do for both adults and children, they have slot machines computer games and the 2p machines. The kids love playing in here but I tend to keep mine to the 2p games otherwise it would cost a fortune, most of the computer games are £1 a go so I never let them go on these as I find its too expensive, there is also an arcade in the club too, which can be accessed on a night time.
Laundrette- there is a laundrette on site although I would prefer not to comment on it as it is something that I have never needed to use.
Park - there is a small park next to the camping part that kids are free to go on at anytime, there are several things on the park for the children to do, and it is also on a bog field so the kids can play some football too.
The pub- this is just next to the main club and is open all day and all night, they have quite a few seating areas, a pool table and a couple of TVs too. They also sell meals here, although we did all our own cooking so we never bought any meals. They always have around 3 staff on the bar so quick service times are inevitable.
The club - this is where all the action happens, they do have children's activities through the day time, although I haven't taken them to any of these, they have never wanted to go.
On a nighttime the fun starts from around 6:30pm they start selling bingo tickets while they play music for the kids, and the entertainment staff dance with the kids and keep them occupied. When the bingo starts the kids aged between 5 and 11 are taken away for a few kids games with the entertainment staff, this is just a new thing they brought out as they never used to do this, but I think it works well for both sides as the kids are kept occupied and its quieter for the parents while they are playing bingo.
Once the bingo has finished the kids are brought back and more music is played and more dances done. They always do music that kids love to dance to and have special moves so they can all dance to the same thing, like wig wam bam ect. They then have sparkys fun time, which is a few games played like musical chairs and musical statues, where the winner will get a certificate and sometimes they get sweets or t-shirts it usually depends what they want to give away.
Then they usually have some type of cabaret show on, this always depends as they differ each week, the only thing with this is on some of them kids get restless as they are not allowed on the dance floor so you have to try to get them to sit still.
The bar in the club is reasonably priced around the same price as a normal pub, I am cheap though and only buy my kids blackcurrant as they drink it really fast and want more and it only costs 30p loll. They do sell slush puppies at the bar too but I do find them pretty expensive so I always say no. Also just next to the bar they have like a mini toy shop which sells all you glow up items from glow sticks to flashing bunny ears they are reasonably prices at around £2 for the ears.
The bar does generally have around 4 staff on and they are always well mannered and polite, the service times can vary as the club does get really busy so there is always a slight queue at the bar. Also I would say to get a seat in the club near the front you need to get in at around 6pm as the club does fill up pretty fast.
==The toilet and shower block==
Wherever our pitch has been there has always been at least 2 toilet blocks close by so we have never had to walk far. In each block there is 4 toilets and 3 showers. These are cleaned twice a day and are always stocked up with toilet roll too. They always smell nice, although I cannot say if it's the same in the men's loll.
==Where is it==
East Riding of Yorkshire
Tel: 0843 309 2573
There are plenty of parking spaces here, there is a good few parking spaces near the reception and then also there is always room to park where your pitch is as they do allow you to park on the grass.
These do vary on the time of season and are usually prices per night. I have paid £19 per night before which was a good price for 8 people, but I have also paid a few different amounts which have been slightly more, so it really can depend when you go and on what type of pitch you want. Obviously if you are going in a caravan this will cost a lot more.
==My overall opinion==
This is one of my favourite holiday places in the UK to go, I will hopefully be going again this year too. We once decided on a change and went to blue dolphin instead and I really wish we had gone to Skipsea instead. Its more of a resort for the kids, there is loads for them to do and they do not moan that they are bored all the time.
The prices are cheap too, so it is a low cost holiday, until you get there anyway, then you do tend to spend quite a fair bit. But I like to make sure the kids have a great time so I do spend a lot on them to ensure they do.
The only thing is the beach here, you can not get down to as the road has come away so it is dangerous to try to get down to. But you have Cayton Bay just down the road, and you are also between Bridlington and Scarborough, so you have plenty of places near by if you fancy a change.
It really is a good holiday to go on although I do look forward to the night times myself for the beer and entertainment loll. But the kids love it and so do I. I would recommend going here to anyone who wants a nice break away with their kids.
Skipsea Sands is a holiday park run by Park Resorts, situated on the East Yorkshire coast ten miles south of Bridlington. There are mainly static caravans on site but there is also room for tourers and tents.
I checked in on Friday afternoon with my husband and daughter. The staff at reception seemed quite pleasant and helpful. I was given a welcome pack with a few leaflets, entertainment passes for the complex, and one key. I did ask for an extra key but was told there was only one available. Although a bit annoying, this wasn't too much of an issue for us, but I imagine it could be for groups of friends who want to share a caravan.
There are three grades of caravan; gold, silver and bronze. These vary in price and have different levels of furniture, fixtures and fittings, for example; gold caravans contain a flatscreen tv with dvd player and freeview, whereas silver and bronze just have a colour tv. Older model bronze caravans are the only ones that allow pets, at a price - it's £50 per week, or £30 per short break, there's a small charge of between £1 and £3 nightly for pets in tourers and tents. Fully accessible caravans are available in all three grades, but I noticed in the small print that electric wheelchairs are considered unsuitable due to size and weight. Travel cots and highchairs can be hired. We were booked into a silver caravan.
First impressions were good. The living area was light and quite well designed. There were a few large mirrors around which I think helped make it seem more light and spacious than it actually was. There was a small tv in the living room area and a rounded off triangular table set into one of the two seating areas. Not so sure about the upholstered pelmets, but you can't expect perfection. The kitchen had a gas cooker and a microwave oven. The fridge was tiny which we would have expected anyway. A door to the right led to two bedrooms: one twin with very narrow beds, my daughter kept falling out of hers; the other, a small double including a small double wardrobe with doors that could just about be opened out against the bottom of the bed. The beds were made up. There was a reasonable amount of cupboard space in general given the room available. In the bathroom were toilet, sink and good sized cabinet, shower and two doors which made for a lot of door clashing in this area.
Although I wouldn't say it was immaculate, it was clean and quite well maintained. The gas and electricity use was included in the price of the holiday.
There are five areas to the park: South Field, which has 185 caravans; North Field where we were, with 386 caravans; West field, with over 200; Farm Field with 70 and Touring, with 90 pitches. There's a dog walking area around the touring pitches. It's a big park so we were glad to be quite close to the entertainment complex and a children's play area.
There are two children's play areas. I was quite pleased about this as my daughter is at an age where the park is the best thing in the world, preferable to activities that cost a lot more, but I was disappointed by the quality of equipment available for young children.
One play area consisted mainly of an assault style course which was great for older children but not really for little ones, and two swings for older children. The other play area was supposed to have two toddler swings but the safety bar was broken on one of them and one had gone. Here there was also a climbing frame and slide but again, a bit big for toddlers, certainly nothing for very young children in the play areas.
Next to one of the play areas is a duck pond with lots of birds around when we visited. There were a lot of birds around the site, my daughter got a lot of pleasure just from sitting on the caravan steps throwing scraps to them, at one point I looked out to see her surrounded by moorhens, sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons and a family of ducks with several tiny chicks.
At the entrance behind the reception is the Entertainment Complex which houses eating and drinking areas, amusements, swimming pool, bowling alley and sports activities.
Opposite reception is the caravan sales shop which blasts quality music all day long; Bucks fizz being a firm favourite. Behind here is a shop, a launderette and 'The Kingdom' - an amusements arcade which includes a pool table and soft play area. The soft play costs £2.50 and is for children under 10, I had thought this might be free. It may not seem like much money, but I imagine all these extras would soon rack up for families with a few children. Behind this area on what used to be the way to the beach, there is a club and a chip shop. The fish and chips from here were both reasonably priced and tasty.
There are various 'Kid's Club' activities for children of different ages. In the leaflets and on the website much is made of a character called Sparky. This is a rabbit. In fact there are a couple of rabbits, a mouse and something that could be an elephant, but I'm not sure, (ah, checked the website - it's an aardvark!). These are called; Sparky, Sparkle, Pipsqueak and Naarky. Staff dress up in the costumes and do a meet n' greet at lunchtimes, but we never actually got to meet any of them, bad timing.
For under 5's there is Sparkle's Corner every morning in the show bar, from 9.45. I thought Sparkle the rabbit would be here, but when I took my daughter along on Saturday morning there was just a bored looking staff member with a box of dress up clothes, my little one couldn't get away fast enough. I tried again the next day for the 'Song Time', this consisted of a bored looking member of staff and a box of musical toys with a nursery rhyme CD playing in the background. Little attempt was made to actually sing with the children, but at least they got a picture of a rabbit to take back with them after half an hour. The next day was billed as 'building time', presumably a bored looking member of staff with a box of lego.
After Sparkle's corner, there's something called Sparky's Crew for 5 to 11's and later on activities for teenagers. There seemed to be something going on all day long for children of different ages. A few examples from the leaflet; Quiz time with the Krew, Festival of Football, table tennis, Sparky Crew Disco, Chocolate Party. There are no childminding activities, the welcome pack states that all children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
The amusements had some fun machines for children, (and adults). The typical fairground/resort machines, plus my daughter's favourites - a nice little carousel for very little ones at £1 a go, and a sega touch screen game which involved bashing ghosts with a magic stick, my daughter could play this and loved it, so we had a few goes at £1 for 4 games.
There are three bars; the show bar which was where most of the children's entertainment seemed to take place, the Pavillion and Sports bar. There are various visiting cabaret acts, karaoke, disco's, family shows, competitions etc going on, one of the acts for this year being 911. The only evening we spent in here there was bingo in the show bar, then games and dancing with children at the stage front, followed by a magician. There seems to be bingo early every evening and the night ends with a disco. In the sports bar the football was on, and to the back of here is a restaurant area which seemed to serve fairly traditional pub grub, but despite a quick glance at the menu we didn't eat here so I couldn't comment.
There is an indoor swimming pool. It's quite big although not very deep, 1.5 metres at the deep end. It's a regular rectangular shape but goes off to one side into a shallow step in area, where there is also a fountain which is switched on only at certain times of day, and a small jacuzzi bit. You can see it in the picture Dooyoo have put up. It was okay but nothing special, especially having experienced the much more child friendly pool at Cumbria's Center Parcs' last year. Between 12 and 1 each day there is a 'happy hour' when floats and inflatables are given out. We went in during the happy hour on Sunday. It was quite busy. There were lots of large tyre like rubber rings to play with, inflatable balls and various floats shaped like teddy bears and frogs. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
In this area there is also a sauna and steam room. At the side behind barriers is a seating area for family members who want to look on. Upstairs there are sunbeds which cost £1 for two minutes - no more than eight minutes a day allowed, and a gym which will cost £2.50 per session or there are graded tariffs for the week.
I was rather annoyed when I retrieved my clothes from the locker to discover that the pound I'd put in was not returned. It wasn't the cost that bothered me, it was just the fact that it was a sly extra charge that I wasn't expecting. I'd paid for an entertainments pass which covered the swimming pool, (people pay entrance to the pool if they don't have a pass), I think it's wrong to then have to also pay for a locker. I've never experienced that anywhere else. It's the same in the gym; an entrance fee and a non refundable locker fee of £1. An Entertainments pass costs £7.50 for use of the complex, these are usually included in the price of the holiday.
There is a water sports programme which includes water activities such as raft building (£5), snorkelling (£2), water walkers (inside an inflatable ball) and hover craft races amongst others. As well as priced activities such as these there are classes such as aqua baby, aqua ball, and water polo included in the swimming cost. There's a booking system for all of these activities.
There is a sports hall and a bowling alley. Organised games such as hockey and basketball ball can be played for £1.50 per person. Badminton costs £5 per hour. There are roller disco's, entrance is £1 plus skate hire is £1, (so make that £2). Pool, Darts and Football challenges take place on a regular basis. Apart from the swimming pool we never bothered with any of the other sporting activities. I'm sure I remember holidays as a child where all these sorts of things were free or very low cost. I loved the table tennis hall at Pontins back in the seventies but at the equivalent of £5 an hour which it costs here, I wouldn't have been able to do it. 5 a side football is £15 per hour. Looking at the leaflet that was in my welcome pack I am actually quite horrified at some of these prices. Ten pin bowling is priced at £10 an hour or £2.50 per person per game.
Wi-Fi access is available for what the website calls a 'small charge', having overheard someone asking about this in the reception area I can say that the cost is £7 per day or £4 per hour - not what I'd call a small charge.
The main attraction in this area is the coast. Cliffs run along the coastline which has suffered extensive erosion in the last few years with part of the road between Skipsea and neighbouring Ulrome having fallen into the sea. There used to be direct access to the beach from the park, but it has been blocked off and warning signs placed there. To get to the beach you need to walk out of the site and down the road for ten minutes, past some cliff edge buildings and caravan parks/campsites to find access. We used three access routes to and from the beach; the closest was down some metal steps which was okay, but big signs warned of danger when wet and my daughter clung anxiously to the rails, so we wandered further on through a campsite and used some wooden steps the next day, these were incredibly steep and I didn't want to use them again with my young child. Further along the beach the cliffs were not so steep and we climbed back up through a natural path - this was the easiest and pleasantest route although probably at least half an hours walk from the caravan park.
Some parts of the cliff have been shored up with ugly concrete blocks and along the beach towards Hornsea the sea has pulled some of these defences down. At one point a road leads up to and overhangs the edge of the cliff. There were some houses right on the cliff edges which were dangerously close to dropping off the edge, but brave people were still living in them.
There was a slightly dilapidated feel to the area; beach rubble, an abandoned amusements arcade, graffiti, but I didn't mind any of this, I think a bit of decay can sometimes add a romantic atmosphere to a seaside resort. Or perhaps the sunshine helped.
The beach itself is quite a narrow strip of sand and pebbles, the cliffs are boulder clay so we found some pretty rocks and fossils lying around. The sea didn't look too inviting, the clay makes it seem quite muddy, so we only paddled along the edges. There are still some wartime defences visible - a 'pill box' sits on the cliff top overlooking the beach.
Apart from a trip to the beach you really need a car to visit attractions in the surrounding area. The village of Skipsea is a couple of miles down the road and home to some castle remains. The seaside resort of Hornsea is about six miles south and Bridlington is 15 minutes drive North. Cruckley Animal Farm is about 15 minutes away by car. Hull is about 40 minutes away.
Prices are variable according to type of accommodation and time of year, special offers pop up all the time. To give a rough idea, three night breaks in July are currently available from £159 and 7 night Summer breaks have been reduced from £564 to £459.
It was a pleasant enough stay, although I have some mixed thoughts about the overall experience. We arrived in blazing sunshine which always makes for a good holiday, our experience may have been somewhat more miserable if the weather had been more typical of the last few Summers. The beach was interesting, certainly dramatic, but not ideal for bathing.
Although there were a lot of cheap or free activities for children I wasn't too impressed by all the little extra charges that kept popping up here and there. I wouldn't categorically rule out a further visit, but it's unlikely. On the way home we stopped off to spend Monday in Whitby, (about 40 miles up the coast), which was the most enjoyable day of our break.
For more details visit the website at http://www.park-resorts.com/holiday-parks/yorkshire/skipsea-sands/