The week leading up to our house purchase completion, I had booked me and the children a caravan at a Haven park, Devon Cliffs in Exmouth. I have been to this park many times since I was a child and watched the changes it has undergone, and in all honesty, I am not really a fan of the Haven “in your face” entertainment style. It’s too much for me. I quite like seclusion, relaxation and idyllic scenery. But as far as a cheap last minute break away to distract the children goes, I will take it every time.
I mean – there is a beach, a fantastic swimming pool and 2p machines. Every mood of my children is covered by these 3 things. The added bonus of a couple of play parks and an easy to get to location help.
I had initially booked a lower grade caravan (prestige) and because it was term time early spring had gotten an already great deal. But they sent a message saying I could upgrade for as little as £20. So I called and asked what they had to offer – I could get the same grade but newer model for £20, same grade with decking for £30 or a platinum for £50. With platinum I could expect my 2pm check in moved forward to 1pm, complimentary towels as extras waiting for me, and decking. So I figured, why not. The Monday to Friday break had then cost me £180 once this had been considered.
We got there a little early, and went straight to lunch. Although the kitchen was still closing down from breakfast and reopening for lunch as we were so early, but they allowed us to order under the understanding that it may take a while. We didn’t mind, we just wanted to sit and chill… The children enjoyed that their sandwiches were served on a Frisbee they could take home. I went for bread and olives because I really needed to ensure I went dairy/meat free, I had had a few things that weren’t quite in the days leading up out of convenience and was already feeling the hurt. But all of the portions that came out were much bigger than I’d anticipated. Reasonably priced for sure.
After lunch we popped to the shop to get a few convenience items (the shop is well stocked, and slightly overpriced as per all holiday convenience stores) and then over to collect our keys and head to the caravan. There was parking immediately outside the caravan, and the caravan really was furnished to a high standard, with the large TV, “proper” central heating, decking and furniture, kitchen finishes such as the built in fridge, freezer and dishwasher. It was a touch of luxury to an otherwise budget trip. We were up in Hawthorn Mount. There was a problem when we got in though, and the towels/linen had not been included. I tried to call reception but I was being hung up on, or the line was engaged when i tried to call. So I had to go all the way back to reception, which was a pain. But it was very quickly resolved once I had done.
It was nice to wake up the first morning and enjoy breakfast on the decking overlooking the sea. The children thought it was the most amazing breakfast.
We are early risers – a 7am lie in is a rare treat. So once breakfast was done we were able to go for a wander around the park taking things in, like some changes I noticed: the park, which has always been a park for as long as I can remember, is no longer a park but a smaller, lower ropes course – paid activity, but they have installed a new park near the swimming pool. Which I guess makes sense for ease of location, but still nostalgia…
We made good use of the pool whilst we were there, as the children really have upped their confidence in the water. It was mostly me sat somewhere whilst they repeatedly went down different slides (there are many to chose from). And we spent a good whack of time on the beach too. They were treated to a new bucket and spade (in the tired chaos of trying to leave the house, I had forgotten to pack some the many million we own). Paddling in the sea, adventuring the rocks, building sandcastles. All items were covered.
On the final afternoon at the site, we had a “special” lunch at the South Beach Cafe, which I have always found expensive, but never really felt that the food lived up to the prices being charged. But still, I wanted it to feel special to the children so we did it. We sat outside above the cliff and had a meal down there. The kids menu was s expensive that when Caitlin said she wanted a Ploughman’s lunch from the adult menu I didn’t really see an issue (there was about £1’s difference to the prices of items on the kids menu) and Logan wanted the kids portion of muscles. It was alright, but I wouldn’t say it was amazing for the prices paid.
One thing of note – if you are on O2, there is very little signal on the site, definitely none on the main complex, but you may intermittently get some in the caravan and some down on/near the beach.