IT’S late May and I’ve got the hot ticket of the season.
I’m staying in a caravan park with my two-year-old son – and more importantly, my mum is able to join us.
Five days after the Government allowed two families to go on a break together, we checked into Haven’s Hopton Holiday Village on the Norfolk coast, just south of Great Yarmouth.
Forget 5H hotels in Rome or luxury Maldives resorts, this year Covid means we all want a caravan on the coast with fresh air and social distance from neighbours.
Haven has been leading the charge since early last summer, when it was among the first UK holiday firms to introduce Covid-safe measures and flexible booking.
There are contact-free drive- thru check-ins, cleaned caravans sealed for each new guest and bar drinks delivered via app. But the number of cleaners in some higher-use areas is astonishing.
The indoor pool has hour-long slots, booked online to limit swimmers, and the changing rooms are cleaned between each session.
The same applies to most activity zones. The soft play area has similar booking times, as does the Marina Bar where the nightly entertainment shows take place.
We’re staying in a Prestige three-bedroom caravan. The size and comfort is impressive, especially in the open- plan kitchen/living area and the master bedroom.
The two twin rooms are small, with enough room between the beds to edge in. But there is clever storage for clothes.
It’s the textbook English seaside holiday. Yes, partly because we had fish and chips, visited an amusement arcade and bought a stick of rock, but also because it has rained . . . a lot.
But we haven’t been stuck in the holiday home playing board games.
By 1pm on Saturday, we’re exhausted, having already seen a toddler sing-along show, gone for a swim and visited a games arcade and soft play jungle gym.
Within four hours, we’ve fitted in more activities than in the last six months, thanks to the back-to-back lockdowns.
There’s more to come, too, with a walk to the beach in the afternoon and an evening show at the holiday village Marina Bar, consisting of a musical play about a pirate, and a mini gameshow.
The shows are tailored to entertain every age group, while punters can order drinks to their table via the Haven app, or pick up take-away pizza or fish and chips to eat during the show.
That’s only a fraction of what is on offer. There are pedal-powered go-karts for hire, Segways, archery, firefighting and den-building workshops, mini golf and a range of kids’ arts and crafts activities, to name just a few.
We’ve been non-stop since 9am on each day of our long weekend and have barely made a dent in the list of activities available.
In fact, we were so busy on our first two days that we didn’t even make it down to the beach, which is crazy, given how nice it is — a long stretch of sandy coastline with the backdrop of Great Yarmouth’s Ferris wheel in the distance.
Admittedly, the weather has also been too poor to bother, but when the sun finally shows its face, we leg it to the beach armed with buckets and spades.
And boy, is it worth the wait. Building sandcastles in the sunshine and dipping our toes in the (freezing) sea feels even more magical than it usually does, after that bleakest of winters.
The action-packed entertainment schedules are perfect for families who want to keep the kids as busy as possible.
But it’s also other holidaymakers’ worst nightmare, which is why Haven has launched two holiday options this year — the Stay And Play and the basic Stay.
The Stay And Play package is pricier and includes all the activities such as indoor and outdoor swimming, soft play and the evening shows.
It’s worth noting down when you can book the activities, as they are very popular, so you’ll want to jump in as soon as they are available to book online.
The Stay package allows guests to make use of a caravan while visiting the surrounding area, but also to visit the minimart, chippy and Papa John’s takeaways on site, or book a table at the Garden Restaurant.
While we dived straight in with the full package, holiday park newbies might want to take advantage of the no-frills package and work out if it’s the right kind of holiday for them.
With Haven’s 37 parks at some of the most scenic stretches of coast in Britain, you can’t really go wrong.
STAYING THERE: A three-night Stay break at Haven’s Hopton Holiday Village in Norfolk for a family of four in standard accommodation is from £201 in total, arriving June 11.
Price for a Stay+Play break is from £256 in total for standard accommodation and £295.50 for deluxe, both arriving June 11.
See haven.com or call 0333 202 5250 for details.
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