Newest Review: ... about an hour and a half at busier periods). This bus also travels through Musselburgh and Portabello, too, though, so is handy for day t... more
Haven Seton Sands
Seton Sands Holiday Village
Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
Seton Sands Holiday Village
Advantages: Great location, cheap price.
Disadvantages: Wasn't a great deal to do compared to some other Haven sites.
I've enjoyed many caravan holidays as a kid and so was keen to try one out again when I went to Craig Tara last September. My boyfriend and I enjoyed that so much that we booked another one at another Haven site, that of Seton Sands, for the end of March. Seton Sands is just outside of Edinburgh and is fairly large with space for both static caravans and tents and mobile vans.
We booked our breaks through The Sun newspaper's holiday promotion which meant we got the whole thing for under £100 (including entertainment passes, linen charges and electricity charges). We could have opted out of the entertainment pass and linen charges and got it for even less but for 4 nights even £100 is a bargain.
Ordinary prices vary, obviously, by site and by time of year travelling with school holidays being the dearest time to travel. Haven advertises various special offers on their website, though, with some being quite reasonable (eg. £79.99 for a family for four nights).
It is a great location as it is just across the road from the sea which is a lovely view, particularly on a nice day. It is also conveniently close to Musselburgh, Portabello and Edinburgh. Unfortunately, Seton Sands itself is really just a small village and only have some eating places, pubs, a Co-Op and a church bric-a-brac shop in it. It is nice for a walk around on a nice day, though.
It is also easy to access on public transport with Lothian buses No. 26 travelling there frequently (every 10-15 minutes). Be aware, though, that only every second 26 travels to Seton Sands, with the other bus travelling to Tranent so make sure the bus states Seton Sands on the front before hopping on. Lothian buses have the advantage of an easy pricing system: £1.40 for a single any distance and £3.50 for an all day ticket. The journey from Edinburgh to Seton Sands can be lengthy, especially at busy times of day and especially with the tram line roadworks going on (expect a little over an hour for the journey time at quiet times and about an hour and a half at busier periods). This bus also travels through Musselburgh and Portabello, too, though, so is handy for day trips out.
Check in was after 4pm for us and we arrived just before 6. I think check-in shuts at 6, so we made it in the nick of time. Staff were well-presented, polite and helpful. They gave us our keys and directions to our van and it was a change from what we'd experienced at Craig Tara where staff and visitors seemed very confused and the whole system seemed disorganised.
The van was tricky to find but we made it in the end and although there were small bits of litter outside our van, it was clean inside with the exception of some dirty pots and pans. I know that for many people this would be a major bone of contention but I didn't mind giving them a clean considering how little we'd paid for the holiday.
We had only paid for a standard van and at Craig Tara the van we'd had was 2 bedrooms and fairly small. This van, however, had three bedrooms (a double and two twins), a fairly spacious bathroom (for a caravan), the galley kitchen and a fairly large living room area with a small flat screen TV. The caravan, both here and at Craig Tara, had small fires in the living area but no heating elsewhere which leads to freezing bedrooms. We went to Seton Sands during a warm snap but at night the bedroom was still so cold that I had to sleep in a jumper and also we had to borrow duvets from the single beds to put on top of ourselves in the double bed!
Facilities and Entertainment
This park seems to have less on offer than Craig Tara had in terms of size of FunWorks and also activities on offer. This was no major problem for us as we were two adults but if we had had kids with us, it may have been problematic.
We had phoned in advance to ask if they had a tennis court and had been told that they had so had brought tennis stuff but we couldn't seem to find one. They did have a concrete area with goal posts and this was on the map as a multi-sports court so I can only guess that this was the tennis court but there were no tennis markings and no net so we ended up giving it a miss.
The swimming pool at Seton Sands is also tiny. There are water activities available such as Turbo Jets but I'm not sure how much fun they would be for kids in such a tiny space. We didn't use the pool due to how small it seemed to be.
The amusements arcade had a range of machines but was smaller than the one at Craig Tara. Tickets could be collected from some machines but the ticket exchange always seemed to be closed and when it was open, the items offered for exchange seemed rather low quality considering the amount of money that would be pumped into machines in order to get enough tickets to exchange.
The FunWorks Showbar had entertainment every night and as with all Haven sites, this entertainment was aimed towards the families that are expected to attend Haven. We went a couple of times for something to do and as two adults without kids, it was alright for something to pass the time. One night there was a singer performing and another night we took part in Rock And Roll Bingo where songs feature on your card rather than numbers (which we won!) and then watched the FunStars battle it out to be top performer followed by Gunge Roulette (which involved some audience participation and was quite fun to watch).
There is a fairly large play park and it seems well looked after.
Activities run, like at all Haven parks, but here there seemed to be a more limited choice than at Craig Tara. Activities have to be paid for separately either individually or with the purchase of an Activity pass. At Seton Sands they included archery, water walkers, bike hire and cart hire. There was also a small mini golf but if was cheap and plastic and would probably have not impressed older kids although little ones would have had fun. For only £2.50 for 2 rounds, it probably was fairly priced for what it was.
On site there is a Spar shop (which is hugely overpriced.....I spotted a tin of Heinz spaghetti for £1.89)! This also stocks Haven souvenirs such as cuddly toys of the Haven characters. Next door there is a chip shop which is expensive but not as expensive as I'd anticipated considering the location of it. There is also a bar/restaurant area but the menu seemed quite limited and over-priced.
The Surrounding Area
However, fear not if you don't want to spend a fortune in the site Spar or chippy. Within walking distance of the site in Seton Sands itself there is a small Co-Op where you can buy groceries and there is also a Chinese restaurant and takeaway called the Dragon Way. There are a few other eating places including a pub across from the Co-Op. Further away in Prestonpans there is a Lidl supermarket and some more eating places including a pub called The Goth which has friendly service and also returns 95% of its profits into the Prestonpans community.
The staff here seemed much friendlier than at Craig Tara. Even on the last day before leaving when I went to the loo a FunStar shouted a cheerfully hello across the hall to me even though she could have easily have snuck away without bothering. We did, however, visit Craig Tara at the end of the season in September and Seton Sands at the start of the season in March so perhaps the staff at Seton Sands were still full of enthusiasm where the staff at Craig Tara were tired out.
The park seemed to have a pleasant overall atmosphere. It was clean with no litter or over-flowing bins and seemed to have a lot of private owners (many of whom seemed to be a bit older). It was a quiet time of year that we visited, too, so we didn't have too much hustle and bustle and enjoyed our stay. Kids might find it a tad boring after a few days but there are plenty of nearby attractions to entertain them, particularly if you have a car with you.
Overall, we had a good holiday. It was cheap and cheerful and for the price we paid, we got great value for money and would come here again.
Summary: A great budget holiday option.