Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

Family days out Disneyland Paris, France Family days out Avoncroft building museum Family days out zoos Family days out childrens farm Family days out Magna Science and Technology Centre Family days out London area Family days out Magna Science and Technology Centre

The other big complaint that I had from our holiday this year was the state of the accommodation at the Haven, Craig Tara site in Ayr, Scotland. At the time of booking we had the choice of a Silver Standard Apartment or Silver Standard Caravan. We chose the apartment and ended up regretting it.

The apartments were in appalling condition, both in terms of maintenance and cleaning. We even had the accommodation swapped once, but the replacement wasn't much better. My biggest concern was with the external metal stairs providing the only access into the apartment. Whoever decided that these steps would be a good idea for family accommodation to be used for young children should try taking their own children to stay in one of these.

If holidaying with a family then I would suggest staying well clear of any Haven apartments unless they can guarantee that they are on the ground floor. Even then the condition of the apartments is still well below the standard I would hope to stay in.

Fortunately the week after we stayed in a Haven caravan which was completely the opposite, but more about that site another time.

The condition of the apartment was so bad that I've written a letter of complaint to Haven Holidays which is included below:

Letter of complain to Haven and British Holidays on the state of the accommodation at the Haven Craig Tara, site in Ayr Scotland

I am writing in complaint about the state of the accommodation that we were given for our holiday at Craig Tara. The holiday was from 30 June to 7 July 2007, booking reference 1914582, which cost nearly £500. We thought we were paying for Silver standard accommodation but what we got was far below what I would expect for basic accommodation let alone Silver Standard.

The first apartment we were provided with was in my opinion not fit for use, let alone the silver standard accommodation we were charged for, our replacement was not much better and still far below the standard I would expect from Sliver accommodation.

The first apartment we were provided with was in the Burns Squares, Ellisland 104.

The first issue are the stairs leading up to the first floor where the apartment was. Instead of the stairs being inside the building they are metal stairs up the outside. It was wet when we arrived and as such the stairs were quite slippery. As metal external stairs these are in my opinion completely unsuitable for children that need to be carried, young children or pregnant women due to the risk of slipping on them. I had a one year old daughter and a pregnant wife on holiday with me, but the only access to the accommodation was up these steps.

Metal external steps on Haven apartment

In addition the stairs to the first accommodation we were provided with were badly maintained and as a result raised further safety concerns. The wooden step at the top of the metal step was loose and moved when stepped on. This gave me great concern that someone stepping on that step could slip down the stairs.

The bannister at the half-way point of the stairs was damaged. With much of the wooden panelling missing and one of the fastenings completely broken through as in the photograph below.

Damaged safety guards on metal steps on Haven apartment

Upon entering the accommodation there was a very strong smell of cigarettes which continued through the apartment. There is no indication of what the policy is for smoking in the accommodation, but it was very unpleasant. It also appeared to be very recent, and there were some cigarettes in the bin, suggesting either that the cleaners had not bothered to check the bin, or that they had only recently been disposed of.

Cigarettes in the bin

In the living area the sofas were in a dreadful condition. The coverings were badly damaged including bad wear on the material and cigarette burns.

Sofas containing holes and cigarette burns at Haven Holidays Craig Tara

Cigarette burn in the sofa at Haven's Craig Tara caravan site, Ayr Scotland

In the kitchen the cooker was in very poor condition and the baking tray was very dirty

Filthy oven pan at Haven, Ayr Scotland

In the main bedroom the electric heater was falling from the wall.

Haven Holidays, electric heater falling off the wall

In the twin bedroom the window was in poor condition. It did not have any mechanism to prevent it from being opened wide and could have allowed a child to fall out of the first floor window.

After seeing the condition of this first apartment we went to complain at the customer service desk. Although they did change our accommodation, they were unable to provide any accommodation that did not involve climbing external stairs.

The accommodation we were provided the second time was Barskimming 102. Although this was in better condition than the first apartment it still suffered from many of the same complaints, including the dangerous climb up wet stairs, a bedroom window that was in very bad condition and paint that was pealing from the ceiling. In addition the bin was located in the cleaning cupboard and still contained rubbish from the previous occupants.

Previous Occupants rubbish at Haven Holidays UK site

The remote control for the TV did not work, which we reported. Although someone came around and either swapped the remote or the batteries it still did not work. The batteries had been inserted incorrectly so it was obvious that the person that changed this did not even test the remote control was working.

Needless to say I was very disappointed by the state of the accommodation which was not conducive to a good holiday, and was certainly not in keeping with the amount we paid for the accommodation.