Review of Haven Thornwick Bay, Flamborough, East Yorkshire
As the wind howled and the rain poured down, I began to wonder what on earth we were doing camping on the cliff-tops at Thornwick Bay, Flamborough.
Our small tent was battered throughout the night, with the sides blowing in so much I felt like I was being hit in the face with a wet towel every five seconds.
Lying there wide awake, I was jealous of our mates’ much bigger model, only to find in the morning that their higher roof had suffered even more badly in the gales, causing a partial collapse.
With the new day bringing similarly lousy weather for the great outdoors, it says a lot about the quality of the Haven-owned site that we didn’t immediately pack-up and leave.
Instead, after a brilliant first evening, we decided to persevere and hope the sun would show up.
The holiday firm has recently invested £10m in the site and it shows.
From the sweeping, landscaped entrance onwards, there’s no doubting the intent to tempt holidaymakers away from the likes of CenterParcs and a resurgent Butlins.
My husband and I put the new facilities to the test with our six-year-old son Kasper, accompanied by his best friend Isaac and family, including nine-year-old big sister Florence.
There are holiday homes available to own or rent but we opted to camp, and after setting up our equipment, headed straight to see the Thornwick Theatre Company in action.
There was an interactive show that our three kids got stuck into, even appearing on stage with the entertaining presenters.
A current Haven offer for a four- night self-catering holiday staying at Thornwick Bay Holiday Village in Yorkshire starts from £519 (a saving of 20 per cent) per family.
Price is based on a family of six sharing Deluxe accommodation on August 8 and includes kids’ clubs and family entertainment. To find out more about this holiday or to book, visit www.haven.com or call 0333 2025305.
Holiday home ownership at Thornwick Bay starts from £14,995.
Owners can experience a whole range of exclusive benefits including fishing on the lake and free owners’ parties, clubs and events. They also receive a privilege card, which entitles them to 15 per cent discount off purchases across the park.
Visit www.havenholidayhomes.com or call 0333 2021460 for more information about holiday home ownership.
Next up came a highly polished rock music show that fitted the easy-going, family-friendly atmosphere.
We enjoyed all of it while tucking into wood-fired takeaway pizzas from the nearby Lighthouse restaurant, which you can bring into the arena.
There was no inkling of the rough night ahead when we turned in for the evening and, after a sleepless night, our first thoughts were to head straight back to the Lighthouse for a warming breakfast.
Again it was delicious and the prices very reasonable, especially considering there is a captive audience.
Keen not to let the conditions get us down, we ploughed on with our first activity of the day booked as part of Haven’s Nature Rockz programme.
The youngsters got stuck into sand sculpture building with ranger Elliot Banks, whose enthusiasm, despite the less than perfect weather, totally engaged them throughout.
Then it was time to explore the indoor pool, where there were slides, games and room to swim about, even though the place was packed.
By the time we left, the clouds and wind had finally disappeared just in time for the kids’ fire-making session.
Led once again by ranger Elliot, they impressed us with how grown-up and sensible they were, using a flint to create sparks to burn sticks and twigs before enjoying hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows around the flames.
After plenty of time running around the smart play area and more than a few matches of French cricket, frisbee and football, we were all ready for something to eat by teatime and headed back to the tents for a barbecue.
It was difficult to walk past the lovely- smelling on-site chip shop and start cooking for ourselves, but our burgers and hotdogs were delicious.
We even indulged in a few more marshmallows melted over the coals and then sandwiched between chocolate digestives.
More impressive home-cooking was to come in the morning with nine-year-old Florence helping to rustle up perfect pancakes for our breakfast.
After Sunday morning playtime, Florence, Isaac and Kasper took part in a fencing lesson, which was expertly led by another of Haven’s excellent staff members.
The grown-ups didn’t miss out either, thanks to a Segway session offering a great opportunity to take in views along the coast.
It was then time to pack up and leave and it seemed every minute had been filled, yet we barely scratched the surface of what is on offer.
Other activities include the chance to break a Guinness World Record live on stage, bug hunts, bike hire and indoor pursuits such as painting and ceramic making.
We didn’t even find time to head to the beach, which was part of what attracted Haven to take on Thornwick Bay.
Its location is naturally stunning and the new developments all have more than a hint of inspiration taken from the surroundings.
It’s impressive stuff and we can’t wait to return, although next time we might book a cosy caravan just in case the weather lets us down.