I’ve been craving a caravan holiday for a while. I wasn’t sure why however, after a week at Presthaven Sands in Prestatyn, North Wales, I now know…
Yes, travelling with a toddler is never going to be 100% peaceful, especially one like Little L who rarely stops talking, nevertheless the site at Presthaven is peaceful. Located by the sand dunes, it’s a large site and yet, as we walked around the quietness was calming and comforting. No teenagers running riot, no drunk people returning home, no shouts and screams from children playing in the morning. The most we were woken up by was seagulls making themselves known.
The caravan’s themselves are placed well so that you don’t feel like you’re on top of each other and our caravan, a deluxe newer model, was clean, modern and comfortable. In fact, I was really impressed with the caravan and so was Mr R who hadn’t experienced caravan living since he was a child.
It was also peace from everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, we love our family and friends more than anything, yet five days away as a family of three was just what we needed. Our son has loved having Daddy around more and we have made some great memories together.
One of the reasons I picked a Haven site was because there were lots of activities for the kids to get involved in. When we got here and started looking into which L could get involved in, it was clear that, due to his age, he was slightly limited. This didn’t stop him having fun though as, on site alone, there was:
- A park
- Sensory morning
- Puppet show
- Learn to Bike
- Play Gym
These were the ones he got involved in however there were also ones we didn’t get chance to do (we will next time we visit a Haven site!) such as Karts (pedalling ones), swimming confidence (lessons), Crazy Golf, beach games and a few others. The main point of holidays such as Haven ones is that they are mainly for the kids, so you have to embrace all the activities and the cheesiest of it all! The staff who run them are really friendly and helpful, making the whole thing really enjoyable.
L loved the amusements (which he called the “games”) and is now a certified 2p machine addict. We realised that him playing on these made it a lot cheaper than the £1 games! Mr Roversi and I desperately tried to win a Troll from the grabbers to no avail…I don’t know why I’m surprised, when does anyone ever win on those things?!
Obviously no holiday is free of tantrums and our biggest one happened in said arcades where our delightful son demanded money, stamped his feet and shouted…
So he ended up in a makeshift ‘Time out’ while he calmed down and then we discussed that stamping your feet for money was NOT appropriate.
We decided to have a day out of the campsite and drove 20 minutes to Rhyl which (according to Trip Advisor) had a miniature railway and an aquarium. TA was right about both however, unfortunately, the railway wasn’t open. I didn’t think to check opening times and, in April, it’s only open on a few days. Luckily L was napping at this time so he was none the wiser and no tantrum ensued.
We parked up and had a brisk walk along the front, my son and I geeking it up in our matching fisherman coats – don’t be jealous of our coolness.
Passing a fun fair (which, due to being closed, looked like something out of a horror film), we made our way to the SeaQuarium, as a family we love anything to do with animals and marine life, this little aquarium is no contest for larger aquariums such as the sea life centres around the country nonetheless it was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours with species from around the world in nine different zones, including the sea lions, sharks, and the usual celebrity fish, Nemo and Dory. They had a special area called “Fantastic Phobias” which immediately made me slightly nervous as I am terrified of snakes but try not to show this in front of the boy, luckily Little L is OBSESSED with jelly fish and as soon as he saw them he forgot about the snakes, spiders and rats. We practically had to drag him away from the tank…it was like he was in some sort of trance.
We ended our trip to Rhyl with a walk along the arcades (continuing to fail at winning a Troll) and a little stop in the ‘Corner Cafe‘ which was an amazing place that combined a lovely cafe with great food and an exclusive soft play for the customers only which was clean, fun and affordable.
We all had a sweet treat and L was very excited to see they served pancakes. If I’m honest, my little mind started to wonder about setting something similar up in Wakefield!
When researching the Haven holidays, I saw that every evening there was Go Tots entertainment starting at 6:15, with L being the mover and shaker that he is, I knew he would like it. As a teacher of Performing Arts, I knew I would have to close my ears for a few nights!
The Seaside Squad (below), along with the entertainment staff, sing and dance their way through and hour or so keeping your little bundles entertained with games and dance moves for them to copy. As the evening progresses, the games become more family orientated instead of child focused before the main entertainment begins at 9pm which involves more signing and dancing, occasionally a comedian too.
Sadly we only got to see the main event once, one the last night, as 9pm is a late night for Little Roversi. The only reason he managed it on the last day was because he had a massive nap in the afternoon which he never does anymore! The ‘party’ as we called it, made for excellent bribery throughout the day
“Well if you don’t eat your dinner then you won’t be able to go to the party.”
Everyone else gets through parenting with bribes too, don’t they? Good, glad it’s not just me. In all honestly, it was incredibly cute to see L mesmerised by the characters and staff on stage and one night, he even got involved in one of the games and was squealing with delight!
We got talking to a couple with a little girl a year older than Lucas so he had someone to dance with on the last night which was awfully cute plus, by that time, myself and the hubster needed someone else to talk to other than L and each other – ha ha, jokes…maybe not.
Presthaven is just a 45 minute drive from Chester Zoo and with the weather being so gorgeous on the day we were going, we decided to go there first for the day (you can’t check in till 3pm at the site anyway). We’ve been before, without children and with however L was only little at the time. This visit he was able to run around and fully enjoy everything the zoo has to offer. Again, I braved my fear of the bat cave and attempted not to squeal too much as they flew at my head so that our little man could enjoy it. The “eleflumps” were definitely his favourite, and probably mine this time as there were a few babies who were playing which each other, something I’d never seen before.
Mr Roversi had experienced something in the gorilla house last time we visited (it involved a gorilla pooping in his own hand and eating it – lots of gagging from us, and the people around, followed.) so he was wary. This time they were all feeling very loving, picking bugs off each other and laying around together… I actually felt like I’d interrupted a private moment!
Little L also experienced another “first” and this was having his face painted. He’s never been bothered for it before so we hadn’t encouraged it but this time he wanted it doing and chose a tiger design. He was really good at sitting still whilst she got to work and turning him into the striped animal and even showed off his knowledge of colours, pointing at the paint tubs and naming them. L’s been a little dodge with his colours over the last few months but seems to have really improved recently. Once complete, it was clear he was very excited about it and immediately ran up to an unsuspecting family and chased after them, roaring as he went. This continued as we left the “Islands” section of the zoo.
All in all, Chester Zoo is just a lovely place to spend a sunny day, you could literally be there from opening to closing if you wanted to and I’m sure we missed some of the animals however it’s difficult to see everything with little toddler legs. Either way, it was a great start to our holidays.
Typically, the first and last day of our holidays were the best, weather wise. We’d been undecided on how to spend our last day, thinking about going to Liverpool and Llandudno however, in the end, we decided to explore Prestatyn – where we’re been living all week and not seen! I’m so glad we did, it was a gloriously sunny day and we had a relaxing walk along the beach, our son loves being on the beach and happily makes shapes in the sand with a stick and picks up shells. We climbed on some rocks and explored rock pools then headed over to the park for a play, spotting Crazy Golf over the road.
The pictures below and my favourites of the whole holiday…
The hubby and I decided to let L experience another first and took him over to play, as expected he got a little fed up after the 13 or 14th hole but he did really well, and even got a hole in one with some assistance!
By the time we finished it was 2pm and we were conscious we still had to drive back home and L would probably fall asleep so we went into the Nova Centre for half an hour and found the most awesome soft play area! It looked pretty new and had a seaside/lighthouse theme with two ace slides – check out my Instagram page for a video of Daddy and L going down one in slow motion!
And that ends our holiday, five days of quality family time, dry and sometimes sunny weather and lots of fun.
We loved it so much we are planning a Haven holiday every Easter holidays! Have you been on a Haven Holiday? Can you recommend any other sites? Let me know by commenting below or contacting me via my Facebook or Twitter page!