When it comes to Haven holidays, I’ll admit that I had heard some mixed reviews previously of various Haven holiday sites, so when we were lucky enough to be invited once again on holiday with all of Adam’s side of the family (so 15 of us in total!), I genuinely didn’t know what to expect from Haven Allhallows.
Adam’s brother and sister-in-law had been in the summer previously and given it a thumbs up, and after trekking down to Dorset in previous half terms, which is always lovely but a long drive, what appealed about Haven Allhallows was the relatively short journey for us all from South East London to the north Kent coast (around an hour), especially as we’d had a previous hectic 5 days at Disneyland Paris.
Well, I needn’t have worried, as the actual Haven resort at Allhallows was lovely, and despite being armed with a plethora of cleaning products, we arrived to a spacious, spotless Gold Caravan with stunning views of the estuary and Southend in the distance!
I’ll write more about our accommodation in another blog post, but I was delighted with how roomy and homely it felt, and our location in the ‘Lakeview’ area of the site was just lovely (after chatting to a staff member we discovered that our caravan and ‘Lakeview’ was a fairly new caravan and area of the site, which might account for its good condition).
Facilities and activities
Definitely the huge draw for a child-centred break in October half term. Whilst we actually had quite mild and sunny weather for most of our Monday-Friday trip, it’s not the height of summer, so we knew that we would want to make the most of the facilities and activities on offer. The Haven app was actually great for seeing what might be available prior to our visit, and whilst you could book in advance (and I normally like to do this as a ‘planner’), with 7 children aged from 2- 11 to consider, we actually booked most stuff whilst we were there as we weren’t sure what everyone would feel like doing.
Options included climbing, go-karting, archery, ‘The Jump’, arial obstacle course, pumpkin carving, slime making, football camp and much more. We opted to do a handful of these things which the kids loved, and it gave some structure to the day, especially as we weren’t planning to particularly go off site as the children just want to hang out with their cousins!
We of course went swimming most days, and it was interesting as the app had made out that swimming got booked up well in advance (we only managed to book two sessions before arrival, knowing that this would be something that the children would definitely want to do). However, on one of the days I managed to book swimming for all 15 of us for the next afternoon at 2.30, so I do wonder if they hold some slots back for later session bookings.
The indoor pool was a nice size and lovely and warm (a rare thing!), and I think they got the numbers right by not letting too many people in. Whilst the pool was clean, my only complaint was that the changing rooms and toilets weren’t the best and seemed to always lack loo roll and were a bit grubby (bring flip flops!). Lockers were plentiful for the number of people swimming, just remember to bring a pound. There is also an outdoor pool which I’m sure gets plenty of use in the summer, but this was closed due to the time of year.
A huge draw for the children was the arcade as it’s something we don’t get to do often, and they were all hooked on the 2p machines and winning tat and sweets with their tickets!
What I really liked about Haven Allhallows for the children was a huge adventure playground which is set in artificial grass, meaning that it can be used at all times of year without the kids getting filthy dirty, plus the outlook overlooking the water is stunning.
Food and drink
The site at Haven Allhallows has its own restaurant on site where we ate out twice, which was reasonably priced and the food was delicious, which again, I was pleasantly surprised about considering how many people they had to cater for. The menu was varied, with decent kids options too, and they coped well with the orders for our large party. I had a Katsu curry one night, and a chicken Caesar salad the other night – both really tasty. There is also a Burger King that we treated ourselves to one meal time, and a Papa Johns to collect pizzas from.
There was a full entertainment programme running for the duration of our stay, with plenty to keep both children and grown ups occupied. The kids went to a magic show one morning (I can’t judge this as I was actually in the caravan then doing some work), and there was also a post-lunch circus show one day. There was bingo each day at what I thought was a bit of a weird time of 4.30-5.30 as it was for adults (kids welcome if quiet), and then some evening entertainment with either a singer or comedian, which we didn’t tend to bother with tbh.
Everyone I came across at Haven Allhallows was really lovely and helpful, with specials props going to a guy called Neil, who helped patch Arlo up initially after he split his head open in the playground on our second day, resulting in a 7 hour trip to Medway Hospital (never again, please!) to have his head glued back together.
The views onto the estuary and fishing lake from our caravan were stunning, and I THINK all caravans seem to face in the direction of the water so the majority will get a lovely view. I know Rochester is nearby, and Chatham too for nice days out, but the actual location seemed quite desolate so if sightseeing is your thing, this probably isn’t the Haven for you to just ‘pop’ and do things. The nearest hospital in Gillingham when we took Arlo was still half an hour drive with not much on the way, but overall the site is perfect for an activity-focused break.
Overall we really enjoyed our 5 day break, and the children would’ve stayed longer to hang out with their cousins and new friends and just play football and run around on the playground if they could! The site felt safe, and it meant we felt comfortable with the older children aged 8-11 walking around together, giving them some great independence.
Is it a relaxing break? Probably not if you’re used to lounging on sun beds by the pool all day when on holiday in The Med, but it’s great for children, and I was really chuffed with our caravan. The decent-sized living room with large TV within it meant that you really could relax after the day hairing around with the children. Check in and out was easy, and everything that we expected was there waiting for us in our caravan.
If you’re Haven newbies like we were, then trying a 5 day break like this on a smaller site is a great way of ‘dipping your toe in’ so to speak, before making perhaps a bigger holiday commitment.
It’s a ‘yes’ overall from us for a fun kids holiday!
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