We wanted one last trip as a family of three before baby came along & money couldn’t stretch to get us abroad as we also need a new car before June so we decided to look closer to home for a staycation and after hours browsing the web, I decided on a Haven Holiday. I have fond memories of visiting Hopton & Caister in Great Yarmouth when I was younger & dancing to Rory the Tiger at the mini disco in the evenings.
Hopton Holiday Village describes as ‘the perfect park for a break away with your under 5s’ and that statement couldn’t be more true. We were absolutely blown away with the amount to do for Frankie & the entire park and concept that is ‘Haven Holidays’ has had a total overhaul! It is also only a 2-3 hour drive away for us.
We booked a Prestige 2 bedroom Caravan for our Friday-Monday stay as there wasn’t a big price difference between Basic & Prestige so we decided to go ‘all out’. Check-in was faultless, we went to reception where we were greeted and asked if we wanted to upgrade for £20 for a caravan with decking, TV in the bedroom & hairdryer which we accepted, Frankie was given an activity pack & a lady called Debbie talked us through the map, activities & site plan.
Our caravan was plotted on ‘Birkdale’ & was less than a 10 minute walk from the centre. Our upgrade was worth every penny! Our ‘Beaumont’ caravan had two bedrooms, a living area, TV with Netflix & DVD player, touch screen bluetooth speakers throughout, pantry, dishwasher, washing machine, fire, en suite with a BATH, dressing room area & A WALK IN WARDROBE! Frankie literally giggled in delight running in and out of the rooms, we had SO much space – I have no idea how we will ever stay in a basic berth caravan again! It was absolutely delightful having a dishwasher for our stay as we don’t have that luxury at home either!
We couldn’t work out how to switch the heating on, so we looked in our welcome pack, texted the ‘help number Debbie’ and a siteperson was sent to us within less than 15 minutes who talked us through the controls.
Haven have overhauled their activity programme and Hopton boasts a wide range of activities from ‘Science Tots’, Slime Making, Les Mills classes, Pic N Paint, ‘Nature Rockz’, ‘Gym Tots’ & so much more. All activities are available to view on the app or bookable at any activity point. I couldn’t believe how much there was to do throughout the day, we pre-booked a few activities to do with Frankie which he thoroughly enjoyed & they were really well run!
I pre-booked on the app for just £5 for the session, which was held in the Marina Bar, included experiments with foam/washing up liquid, balloons & slime, which Frankie found fascinating and was worth every penny. The lady was so nice & engaging with Frankie, it was nice to sit back for 45 minutes and let him have fun whilst I enjoyed a drink (appletiser..).
Whilst at Science Tots, Gym Tots was in the middle of the Marina Bar, with softplay mats, stilts & more. Frankie loved running around with a few of the other children booked on & the staff again were really engaging at playing games.
Hopton has a heated indoor pool with a water flume, indoor SplashZone with palm trees & coconuts that pour down water, a heated bubble pool & an outdoor pool (which we obviously didn’t use) swimming is free for fun pass holders, the changing rooms were big enough with family facilities for us all to change and very clean. There is also a swim shop on site where you an buy swimming aids/inflatables etc.
They also have pool activities on the app to book including Aqua Jets, Aqua Paddlers and more, which Frankie unfortunately was too young to use but looked great fun!
Inside The Marina Lounge there is a multi floor softplay area with an under 3’s area at the front. I loved getting myself a coffee from one of many Costa points around the parks & letting Frankie run wild. We found it emptier first thing and around 3pm, in the evenings it was a bit manic for Frankie’s age as there were bigger kids running around.
Oodles family amusements centre
There were plenty of amusements and games to keep Frankie happy (& my purse well and truly empty).. Most of the games have tickets which you can exchange at the end for prizes. We chose a Monsters Inc cup, slime (my fave not), thomas colour in money box & some sweets – so it wasn’t all bad! We couldn’t keep Frankie away from the bowling game & he loves a 2p machine, which also brandished the Minions! #winwin.
Adventure Golf Course
Out the back of The Garden House there is a huge adventure golf course, which we played on our last morning at Havens before we came home.
On the app there are so many sporting activities pre-bookable, we booked Frankie in for scooter riding but ended up missing it completely as we spent longer down Great Yarmouth Pier than I predicted but they even had Spanish football! There are also tennis courts, a 9 hole golf course and more!
Surrounding the park is a nature trail & a heavy focus on Nature Bugz and Rockz sessions, pre-bookable on the app. They looked great!
Pic N Paint
Next to Cooks is Pic N Paint, where the kiddies can paint pottery, make sand bottles and more. It was always busy when we walked past! I didn’t book Frankie in as I didn’t think he’d sit long enough to paint or stay engaged but for the older ones it’s inexpensive and a great souvenir to take home.
Entertainment & The Seaside Squad
The main evening entertainment is in The Marina Lounge, Rory the Tiger is still very much in showbiz, as is Bradley Bear (if you remember them from your younger days) but with the added characters that make up the ‘Seaside Squad’. They dance every night from 6:15pm-7pm & then put on a show around 8ish for the children in a ‘Go Global Adventure’. In between there is a round of ‘Boogie Beats’, a bingo game aimed at families, no cash wins, just soft toys! Which we were lucky enough to win and bag our very own ‘Tigee Rory’ who now sits pride of place at the end of Frankie’s bed.
Cash bingo is on throughout the day & at the earlier time of 5:15pm, which I must say I missed, we would never of got down for that time & I think that parents visiting a holiday camp such as Havens would like incorporated in the evening, though Boogie Beats is fun for all ages, a cash win is definently more appreciated than a cuddly toy!
Frankie was so tuckered out by the time the disco finished from all the dancing so we didn’t manage to stay out to see the live bands, but they start at 9pm.
I loved The Seaside Squad, their presence was everywhere around the park we saw them walking from activities, daytime shows & pre-bookable breakfast with the kids. They were never too busy to high five or take pictures. There is an opportunity after every ‘Seaside Squad Adventure’ for pictures with the gang. You can take your own or purchase in the shop which sells sweets, light up toys and Seaside Squad toys.
On caravan holidays I always take the essentials, milk, bread, juice, crisps, snacks etc. & we also cook our own breakfast, it’s one of the fun things being in a caravan treating yourself to a full english every day! We also made a pasta bake one night for dinner but seeing as I’m pregnant and we weren’t spending money on evening drinks, we did each lunch & dinner out most days!
The Garden House
The main restaurant on Hopton Holiday Village, it’s typical ‘pub grub’, everything from burgers, pies, bar snacks etc & reasonably priced! We had an ‘after swim snack’ of nachos & calamari one day & the next we had burger and chips for lunch and Frankie had the children’s pizza, which were all lovely! We wished we had tried the desert menu whilst there too it looked fantastic! They also offer a Sunday Carvery for just £9.99 an adult which looked amazing! It overlooks the swimming pool & there is a small park at the back for enjoying a drink in the sun.
Cooks Fish and Chips
OMG, Cooks! Hands down one of the BEST fish and chips I have EVER had! We visited the pier during the day & planned on having fish & chips out for lunch, it must of been the time of year we went but there was not one chippy open! & I was sceptical that an ‘on site’ fish & chip shop couldn’t be as good as a seaside offering BUT how wrong was I! Cooks only opened March 2019 and everything was cooked fresh. We had x2 large cods, chips & a sausage in batter, Frankie had kids cod bites, chips & a capri sun, for under £30 for it all! You honestly have to eat there at least one meal!
Papa John’s Pizza
Inside The Marina Lounge, where the main entertainment takes place is a Papa John’s Pizza, you can have it delivered to your accommodation (number in the welcome pack) or eat whilst in the Marina Lounge. On our first night we ordered a pizza to our table, they buzz you when it’s ready & they were handing out slices of free pizza for the children when we arrived! #winner.
We bought our breakfast essentials, sausages, eggs, bacon, hash browns & some snacks and sweets from the Mini Market whilst there and Frankie of course had his fair share of rock flavoured ‘dummies’ & sweets whilst there. It’s a Co-Op and we found it reasonably priced, not much price difference in what you’d pay in a mainstream supermarket. & of course you can buy sticks of rock for the family! (even curry flavour)
Though I had planned to take Frankie either to Africa Alive! or Pleasurewood Hills for the day, we felt with the activities on offer at Hopton we didn’t really need to & as we were only there 3 days it seemed a waste to drive out but we did go down to Great Yarmouth Pier.
As we went ‘out of season’ not much was open, unfortunately nor was the Pleasure Beach rides but we found a small theme park further up & Frankie could go on all the rides in Joyland, which was a short walk along the sea wall & only £15 for 12 tokens (each ride is just 1 token per person) so we definently got our moneys worth!
We also played in the amusements at Britannia Pier and got an ice cream on the beach, it was a lovely few hours out & a lot of food places along the seafront.
& the rest
The beach path is only a 5 minute walk from the centre at Hopton Holiday Village, we didn’t go down there as we went out to the beach but in the summer it will be great as it’s right on top of the seaside! Not far to go with sandy toes!
There are park areas dotted about the holiday village too, you are never far away from a little area of solace while the kids play!
If you are on a budget this summer & can’t afford to go abroad or Brexit is giving you uncertainty, check out Hopton Holiday Village! We are already planning our next trip down, this time with Baby Kev! Frankie was so sad to leave he cried most of the journey home until he eventually fell asleep!
Hopton Holiday Village, Hopton-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR31 9BW