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Haven Holiday - Golden Sands Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire
Golden Sands Holiday Park
Member Name: twism06
Golden Sands Holiday Park
Advantages: Childrens Activities, Clean Beach
Disadvantages: Cost of add ons can quickly increase the overall cost of the holiday
Dates Saturday 5th August – Saturday 12th August 2006
Final Cost £573 (Booked & Paid in full May 06)
8 berth, 3 Star Caravan (self catering) £539
2 X Dogs £40 ea
Bedroom linen £10 per rm (X3)
Linen deposit £10 (refunded on departure)
Rac Breakdown cover for 1 vehicle £12
Cancel Plan £22
Less £120 (7 nights for price of three offer)
I have previously holidayed with Park Resorts in Anglia but this year with bigger budget and more time to plan decided to go for something with more activities for children and in a different location to where we usually go. Also mainly wanted focus to be on enjoying facilities on park rather than driving around looking for entertainment.
Researched this holiday using Havens own site and a few reviews by previous holiday makers on this and other sites. TBH found those reviews based on personal experience a bit lacking so vowed to do a comprehensive review myself after I had been.
Holiday party included 3 children 12, 7 and 4
4 adults (2 of which s citizens)
From Milton Keynes in approx 3.5 hrs. Travel to the park was not too difficult even though the route included quite a few single carriage A roads. Our passage was clear there and back but there is potential for traffic difficulties especially if you get stuck behind farm vehicle or such like.
Mablethorpe and surrounds appear to be quieter than other seaside destinations that I have been to but this certainly shouldn’t dissuade anyone from visiting. There are two Haven sites, one for tourers which has a fishing lake and some caravan accom and the main site which is where we stayed. If you drive through the main high street and left onto the seafront, you should go past the first Haven site and continue towards the seal sanctuary. You will then see a large sign with the Haven logo on it. This is the main site.
The surrounding area also offers lots of opportunities for fishing, course and fly. There are several good locations within 20-30 mins drive of the park.
Mablethorpe has a small selection of local shops but don’t expect too much. Most useful was factory sports outlet and the co-op supermarket. There is a “train” which runs from the site down to the shops although you could walk if necessary in about 15-20 minutes. Car parking is available adjacent to the Mablethorpe beach which is lovely and clean. Expect to pay different parking charges per cpl hrs (£3-£6) depending on what side of bed the car park man got out of.
There is indirect beach access from the Haven site. I say indirect because you are required to walk back to the park entrance, cross the road and then navigate wooden steps (some large), dog poo and sand to access the beach. It can be quite a strenuous walk and my Dads dog (lab) that has arthritic shoulders didn’t fare too well, especially because the sand nearer the actual beach is particularly dense.
The journey to the beach is made bearable by the actual beach which is lovely and clean. There was also a “mobile café” selling teas, drinks etc. We spent an afternoon there when the sun permitted and were glad that we did.
Ingoldmells (sp) is 20/30 mins drive away; it has a large outdoor market, few shops McDonalds and funfair type adventure park. Great for visiting, in the late afternoon into the evening in order to see the rides when lit up.
Skegness is 40/50 mins drive away. It has a small indoor shopping arcade with co-op supermarket, lots of outdoor shops (some chains), fish n chips and all the usual seaside endeavours.
Depending on which level of accom you are staying in you will be given a pre arranged check in time. Luxury being first at 12 or 1pm down to bronze and three star at 3pm. As we were staying in a 3 star van our check in time was 3.30pm. We arrived about 4pm so I guess we must have missed the rush as there wasn’t much of a queue. You will be given the keys to your van and a pack containing useful information i.e. health and safety and entertainment info. You will also receive your passes, which must be used throughout your stay to access some of the facilities i.e. the arcade and the shop.
I was aware in advance that some of the activities for children would have to be paid for and that they were offered on first come first served basis. I used check in as my opportunity to book the kids for a couple of sessions of swimming £3 for half hr and football £4 for 1hr. Archery and Basketball sessions are also available – not sure at what cost.
If you have booked linen you will be required to go to the linen office to pick it up before going to your van. (You will have to take your linen back at the end of the hol to get your deposit back)
Overall check in was smooth, the only downside being that as soon as you had arrived you had to find somewhere to park your car before getting out in order to walk back to the check in lounge in one of the show bars.
NB Golden Sands is a MASSIVE Park; this only became clear at check in when we received our map of the site. There are also signs around the park stating that there are over 700 owner occupiers.
Pets are only allowed in Bronze and three star vans. At the time of booking only a three star van was available at this park so I didn’t have much choice on this aspect.
I have holidayed in caravans before and my general expectation is to expect the worst. I always do a general freshen up/disinfect on arrival to bring things up to my standard.
The state of repair of the van was fair but the cleanliness left a lot to be desired. The seating was absolutely filthy almost to the point where you wouldn’t want to sit on it and dog hairs were still visible on the carpet. Luckily I travelled with my hoover so I could fix the latter and I made sure that when the children were indoors they always wore something on their feet.
The shower was also horrendous but this was easily fixed by thick bleach being skirted around it on arrival and then leaving it to do its work. After that it was great with plenty of hot water which came in a steady stream.**Using kitchen taps at the same time will turn the water cold**
The person who cleaned the van left a courtesy card with their name on it and you are advised that you can get the van re cleaned if it is not to your satisfaction.**I chose not to pursue this avenue.**
Duvets and blankets appear to be left in the vans from one set of visitors to the next. Those that were there on my arrival were atrocious and I did not even contemplate using them. I advised the staff at the linen office and they arranged for replacements to be delivered promptly. These too left something to be desired but they were a marked improvement on what we had previously.
There was a TV in the van although there wasn’t a remote (no good for lard butts) we connected a portable DVD to the TV but it didn’t work, this was no big thing as most of our time was occupied.
Not all vans have parking immediately next to them so if you have mobility issues when booking you may need to specify if this will be a problem for you. We saw several holiday makers who were using wheelchairs so I am assuming that the park is accessible for the most part.
Overall cleanliness could be much much better. Reading between the lines I suspect focus on revenue means Haven wouldn’t want to lose money on having vans vacant for any time whatsoever in order to give them a thorough clean. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cleaners were paid per van they clean meaning the focus is on expedience and not attention to detail.
Whilst we were there the children took part in football coaching and swimming which were paid additions. There were also free clubs organised by the teamstars that provided, colouring, puppet making, dancing and storytelling amongst other things.
Certificates were given for both swimming and football and my son and niece received a sew on badge for passing certain swimming milestones. The indoor swimming pool is really warm and welcoming although generally the pool area (in and out) could do with a revamp.
Whilst there, we also watched a wrestling extravaganza and the Cinderella pantomime in the Falcon show bar. Both were enjoyable with good crowd participation. Both events were held during the afternoon enabling the whole family to attend. My advice would be to get there early and because of the expense of confectionary to bring your own drinks and snacks for the kids.
On both occasions the Haven staff came round selling flashing light toys etc which were about £4 each so be prepared and if you plan on going to such an event bring your own from your local £1 shop (as I did for Cinderella).
There is a jungle gym/ball pit which is free to enter, and an outdoor park. The outdoor trampolines and bouncy castle next to the park are not free which is disappointing given the cost of an average holiday. From memory I think the b castle was £1 for 20 mins and the trampoline £2. You buy a ticket from a machine which you then give to the member of staff “policing” the area.
Overall all activities were reasonably organised and the children in my party certainly enjoyed them
I would consider booking a holiday with Haven but probably not at Golden Sands (like to try different places). I may also consider leaving the pets in Kennels next time in favour of upgrading to a higher standard of accommodation.
Ultimately the holiday was enjoyable, the children had a brilliant time and will have something to talk about when they go back to school…….mission accomplished!
Whatever your budget, the cost of adds ons (linen, microwave, coached activities) can decrease the value for money that you end up getting from your holiday. You can lessen this to an extent by planning your meals well, bringing extra snacks and treats for your children to eat during shows and bringing a cool box so you can make a packed lunch for journeys to the beach etc.
Tips on extras to carry
Set of bathroom mats
Thick bleach to pour in the shower and leave
Small hoover (if possible)
Fan heater for bedrooms
Fishing Rod (loads of great places to fish nearby)
Summary: Worth a try even if only once, not for you if you're expecting Hilton standards!
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