Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

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View of the beach from MablethorpeDuring May we had a weekend break at the Haven Golden Sands Caravan Park in Mablethorpe. In this post I'll describe some of the general things about the holiday and about the caravan, and in subsequent posts I will mention the two seal sanctuaries, one at Mablethorpe and the other at Skegness.

We took our baby daughter with us, of course, although she was 10 months old so is a lot easier to manage on holidays compared with our earlier trips to Paris, Disneyland Paris and Center Parcs Oasis near the Lake District.

We arrived early, so spent a couple of hours in Mablethorpe first. There was a £2 charge for parking, although it allowed all day parking. Most of Mablethorpe is gift shops, and most of them were cheap and tacky. We had a walk on the beach and went in search of baby changing facilities. We used the public toilets on a car park near the sea front. They did have a baby changing room, but facilities were very basic and the only surface was directly on metal, although we always carry a small changing mat, so that was OK. The main aim was obviously to make them vandal proof.

We ate lunch at a fish and chip shop, which had highchairs. We didn't realise until later that smoking was allowed in the area we were in. Although thankfully we were about to leave then anyway. There is a non-smoking area upstairs, but this wasn't clear until we went upstairs to use the toilets. There were no baby changing facilities.

We then headed for check-in at the Haven caravan park. We were staying in a silver caravan which meant we had an early check-in time. (Gold was 1.30pm, Silver 2.30pm and Bronze 4.00pm). It wasn't particularly well sign-posted where to go, but when we did get there we were given our pack straight away. We had arrived at about 3:00pm. If you are in a silver or gold it's definately worth arriving before the bronze check-in time if you can as there were quite a lot of people waiting even an hour before their check-in time.

The caravan was very nice. There was one light that was not working (missing cover as well), but other than that it was in excellant condition. There was an option to hire a cot and highchair when booking, although we didn't take that option. The cost I think was £10 each, and as we had a roof box and plenty of space in the car we took our own folding cot and a booster seat. There was no where to tie the booster seat on to, we made sure that someone was next to it whenever it was in use.

One thing I noticed when booking was that the Rory Caravans don't include a microwave as standard. These are caravans decorated on the outside with the mascots of the children's clubs. I thought that these would have a microwave as they were designed for children, and cost the same as the silver caravans.

There is a swimming pool on site. Including both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. The pool is only open from 10.00 am till 5.00 pm, and as we were off site during the day it meant we only used the pool once. There are no family changing rooms, just a baby changing fold-down table in each of the changing rooms. The pool was fairly basic and very busy.

There is a good shop on site which is well stocked an open relatively late. There is also a co-op in Mablethorpe. There is a restraunt in the entertainment building which had good food. There is also a fast food counter in the main entertainment area which was poor quality and cold. We ventured into mablethorpe for fish and chips from the nearby chip shop (attached to the nearest grocery store), but that was no better.

The evening entertainment was good, although smoking was allowed in the main area. There was a small non-smoking section, but this just meant that those that were in that section stood at the edge of the non-smoking area, smoking next to young children and babies. So instead of smoking next to their own children they were smoking next to other peoples. For a family orientated place I would like to see the majority of it being non-smoking at least. At least when the UK smoking ban comes into force they will not be able to smoke anywhere in the building.

The caravan site was only a short distance from a sandy beach, although the weather in May meant that we didn't visit this. The Mablethorpe Seal Sanctury is just across the road, and Mablethorpe is within (reasonable) walking distance.

The GPS address of the site is:

Lattitude 53°21'N

Longitude 0°15'E