Caravan holidays have come a long way.
Back when I was a boy I remember enjoying delightful seaside holidays with my family on the picturesque Somerset coast.
The only drawback was the caravan was a rather ramshackled affair - the likes of which only Father Ted would choose to stop in for the purposes of a really good comedy show.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really loved these holidays and still have very fond memories of them 30 years later.
But, well ... there has to be something more to caravan life than having to convert the settee into a bed when you need to sleep or having to walk to the bottom of a field to use the toilet and shower facilities.
I’ve been enjoying Haven Holidays to the Yorkshire coast ever since, I’m a proud Yorkshireman afterall.
But, for a change of pace, I decided to head down to the Seashore resort just outside Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
The site is one of five Haven resorts to have received a facelift as part of a major £100m investment programme, with more than 250,000 holidaymakers flocking to the Norfolk coast through the company in 2018.
One of the things I really love about caravan holidays is the brilliant value (I am from Yorkshire, don’t forget) and still having all those lovely home comforts despite being so far away from home.
It makes life so much easier with a three year-old in tow for one thing.
I opted for the platinum caravan with decking, priced at £287 for a Monday to Friday to stay - and interestingly featuring both a living area that is better than my actual house and a main bedroom that actually has en-suite. It sure beats walking to the bottom of that field in the middle of the night with a torch.
But, if you prefer something a little cheaper, then a standard caravan comes in at just £111 for the four nights.
I remember my childhood caravan holidays being spent happily throwing, kicking and catching balls of all different shapes and sizes (do kids even do that these days).
It also involved my parents having to find other ways to keep me and my sister entertained. The caravan was located in a farmer’s field on top of the cliffs, great views, but really there wasn’t much to do at times.
Holidaymakers need a different experience now, they want lots of things to do and for it to be delivered in a convenient way.
And boy does the Seashore resort deliver, with a super variety of entertaining day-time activities, including a well-equipped playground for kids of all ages, biking, crazy golf, arts and crafts groups . . . and let’s not forget everybody’s favourite, the amusement arcade.
But what defines a good Haven, at least for me anyway, is not what is on the site but what is OFF the site.
For me I love to just go and walk and walk and walk, to leave the car parked up for the four days and to go off and explore.
And at Seashore that is more than do-able with miles and miles of beautiful dunnes and beach situated just across the road, with walking trails heading all the way into picturesque Great Yarmouth less than three miles away.
Great Yarmouth has been a seaside resort since 1760 and acts as a gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the North Sea.
In 1797, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the town was the main supply base for the North Sea Fleet.
It’s war-time ‘fame’ doesn’t end their either with the town suffering the first aerial bombardment in the UK by a Zeppelin on 19 January 1915.
Nowadays the town has a rather more sedate and, thankfully, peaceful charm to it with its calming boating garden, spacious promenades and bowling greens offering the perfect setting to soak up sunshine and drink in the seaside air.
But, for those with older kids who need more in the name of thrills, fear not, for Great Yarmouth’s Marine Parade has twelve Amusement Arcades within just two square miles and the sufficient sugar dosage demanded by the modern child.
After spending many hours, and many miles of walking off chips and sweets, it was finally time to head back to my enticing home away from home, which we made in much quicker time thanks to the land train, which runs between 10am and 5pm between Sheashore and Great Yarmouth.
So here’s another fun holiday fact about me. When I’m on a caravan holiday, after a long day of walking, I love to just sit back, soak up silence and stretch out with my kindle (ok, maybe I’m boring).
But I do find there is nowhere quite like it for peace and quiet, there’s no roads, no cars, few people going about life - and perhaps best of all, no household distractions.
Seashore, I’m pleased to say, didn’t let me down and I was lucky enough to enjoy four very restful evenings.
Of course not everyone is as dull as me and prefers a livelier form of night time entertainment.
And those folks will surely never be disappointed with the Seashore resort offering a regular evening entertainment programme for all the family.
There’s an excellent disco for the youngsters before it’s bed time, followed by a good variety of singers, performers and dancers to help wash down a much needed alcholic beverage.
And that, in a nutshell, is the beauty of Haven holidays for me - there really is something for all ages, tastes and interests.
A modern seaside holiday really is in safe hands.