I know that a caravan isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun holiday, but they’ve always held a special kind of excitement for me.
I think it started when I was about seven or eight and we went on a caravan holiday to Cornwall with my Gran and Grandad. We stayed in a separate caravan from them, but nearby, so I was allowed to run on my own to my Gran and Grandad’s caravan and knock on the door to play games with my Grandad.
There are two things I particularly remember from that holiday. The first is that we went on a trip to Goonhilly power station and my Gran had TWO milkshakes in the cafe, made with real ice cream. To me this was the ultimate in decadence, the kind of thing I could only DREAM of doing as a grown up.
The second was being allowed to spend the night in my Gran and Grandad’s caravan. It was like a holiday INSIDE a holiday – madness!
I’ve since been on loads of UK caravan holidays, especially when the girls were smaller. Caravan parks are ideal for holidays with kids as you normally get a good range of facilities on site should you want them, but you have the freedom and independence that comes with a self catering holiday.
Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park
This summer we went to Haven’s Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park in North Wales. And by North Wales I mean REALLY North Wales. It was FAR. We drove across Wales through the Brecon Beacons though, which was very pretty.
We stayed in a two bedroom caravan from the Platnium range, which was very clean and modern and had a little balcony attached too. I’m not going to bore you with pictures of the inside of a caravan when you can have a proper look here, suffice to say there was plenty of room for Belle to arrange her make-up, which is clearly the most important thing to consider when planning a caravan holiday.
Hafan Y Môr has a lot going for it as a holiday park. For a start its pool has recently been completely refurbished, which is a big bonus. The pool complex can be a little bit hit and miss in some holiday parks, so knowing that everything is going to be clean and new before you even get there is definitely a big plus.
There are loads of daytime activities to choose from, including a boating lake with swan pedalos, crazy golf, and bookable things like high ropes, fencing and swimming classes. Hafan Y Môr also has a slightly different approach to the classic holiday park evening entertainment.
Hafan Y Môr has invested in a new Theatre Company – a group of professional singers, dancers and actors who have trained at some of the best theatre schools, to bring you high class entertainment for all the family.
Although I would say that a lot of the activities were probably better suited to younger children, there was still plenty that appealed to Belle, plus you’re in a really beautiful part of the country, so you don’t have to just stay on the site.
Activities at Hafan y Môr
When we went for our first stroll around the park, we were very excited to see that there was a Starbucks on site. This might sound like a bit of a sad thing to say, but Bee works in a Starbucks at the moment and whenever we go to a new one she likes us to send her a photo of the interior. That’s just the kind of crazy family we are.
Following on the crazy theme, we then went for a round of crazy golf. It was a lot of fun, although I think Belle’s best bit was me falling over. I was wearing flip flops, the ground was a little bit wet… Yes, yes, hilarious. Middle aged woman falls over on a crazy golf course.
We also had a go at Segway.
I have to say that I was pretty nervous about this as I’ve never done it before and I’m not known for my balance. (See falling over incident above.) When we arrived for our session though, I discovered that the other mum in the group had a fake leg, and so I figured that if she could do it, then I had no excuse.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT.
Honestly, if you’ve not done it before and you get the chance then you MUST DO IT. It’s a bit like riding a bike, in that you move quickly and get to feel the wind blowing your hair, but you have to put in pretty much zero effort, which is exactly what I look for in a physical activity.
In fact, we loved the introduction to Segway at Hafan y Môr so much that the same afternoon we went to a nearby forest and did a forest Segway challenge. It was awesome.
Food at Hafan y Môr
Although one of the great things about staying in a caravan is that you get to save cash by cooking for yourself, I do also like to NOT cook for myself on holiday, so we balanced out a few evenings of pasta and beans on toast by trying some of the food options on site. One VERY exciting option is to get Papa Johns pizza delivered TO YOUR CARAVAN.
Who knew that was even a thing??
We don’t normally get Papa Johns at home but we are now total converts due to the fresh pineapple on our ham and pineapple pizza. It was just really GOOD pizza. Good quality ingredients and great dough. Very tasty.
On another night we went for a cosy dinner a deux at the Mash and Barrel – Hafan Y Môr’s family restaurant. We went on curry night, where you can choose from loads of different curry options in a buffet style set up, so I went for a Thai green fish curry, which was ace. The service was very friendly and the cocktails were excellent.
(Research darling, research.)
One of the things we enjoyed most about the Mash and Barrel was thinking up different names to casually call it in conversation.
‘What do you like most about the Stoat and Weasel then?’
‘It’s busy this evening at the Tash and Beard isn’t is?’
‘I really like that the Kit and Sorrel does a fruit platter for dessert!’
(I have nieces called Kit and Sorrel.)
You get the idea.
Oh what fun we have!
Other things to do near Hafan y Môr
When we’re on holiday in the UK we have a fairly standard way of doing things on a day to day basis – we have a bit of a lie in, spot of breakfast, go for a little outing just in time for lunch somewhere nice, mooch about a bit, and then come home in time for dinner. We really are rock and roll aren’t we? Belle likes hanging out wherever we’re staying, whether it’s a caravan or a hotel or a whatever, so I plan in time in the evenings for her to do that.
We went on a lot of outings during our week at Hafan Y Môr, all roughly within an hour’s drive, and these are the ones we would definitely recommend:
I’ve never watched The Prisoner, which was filmed here, but it was still very much worth visiting. Portmeirion was designed and built between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village, as an experiment to show that building a new development can be done in a sympathetic and beautiful way.
For optimum family fun, take a ride into the wood on a mini train along a path that definitely was NOT designed for mini trains and get authentic Italian gelato at the Caffi’r Angel Ices.
I saw a sign for this on our very first day and nagged and nagged at Belle to go for the whole week. (I’m such a baby.) She let me, eventually, on the way home on the last day and she was very glad she did as we got there just in time for puppy handling!
It’s only a small place but you get to hold the rabbits, play with puppies and have an ice cream.
Betws-y-Coed is a charming little town with lots of pubs, cafes and craft shops. It has its own train station, which is also home to a miniature railway. It’s perfect for an afternoon mooch with stops for coffee and ice creams. (Are you picking up that ice cream is very important to me on a holiday?)
Plus it had the best commemorative plaque I’ve ever seen.
Llandudno was a little bit of a longer drive, but there is lots to do there so it’s worth going for a whole day. We wanted to go for the cable car that goes up to Great Orme. There was a MASSIVE queue, but it was totally worth it. (Plus there is a cafe nearby so one of you can hold the place in the queue and the other can run and get ice cream…)
Both Belle and I really loved the cable car. The downside is that if you want to do a return trip you have to get off at the other end and queue all over again, you’re not allowed to do a loop. We came down on the tram instead as the queue was shorter. That was fun too.
If you’re looking for a classic British self-catering family holiday then Hafan Y Môr is definitely worth considering. There were loads of things to do, and the standard of the key things like the pool complex and the entertainment was high. We loved the option to try new things, like Segway, and I did like little things like the option of strolling down to Starbucks for a coffee in the morning as a treat.
Like any similar holiday park, I’d say there was definitelysome variation in the quality of the accommodation and facilities, but I think that’s to be expected as parks redevelop – there is always going to be something that’s the next thing on the list.
Overall though we had a really lovely time and it was great to get to visit a part of the country that we don’t know well, and to explore the local area. There is a lot of really beautiful landscape around Hafan Y Môr, so if you do visit, make sure to get out and about and explore.
Thank you to Haven for having us for our summer holiday!
We were guests at Haven’s Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park for a week for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. All of our travel and off site activities were self-funded.