In partnership with Haven
“Are we nearly there yet?”
That’s Richard, asking for the third time if we’re nearly there. We were driving along the A50 toward Stoke on Trent, about an hour into an epic six hour drive to Ayr in Scotland.
“Not quite yet, babe. Look out for signs for Scotland and then you’ll know we’re close!”
Four hours and three wee-stops (excuse the pun) later and we finally cheered! A Scotland sign!
Despite the long drive, we were all bursting with excitement because we were on our way to Haven Craig Tara in Scotland – our first family holiday in Scotland and our first ever caravan holiday. After investing millions into accommodation, infrastructure and facilities, Haven Craig Tara invited us along to be the first to try everything out.
To avoid spoiling any surprises, we deliberately avoided the temptation to search for pics and videos online, but in the interest of research I had a quick look at Haven Craig Tara’s history to find it was previously an old holiday park I actually visited as a child with my Grandma Audrey and my sister. I couldn’t wait to see how it had developed over the last 30 years, and particularly how the new facilities look.
Here’s our trip report!
After arriving and parking up, we made our way into the reception building to check-in. The process was fairly simple, first a quick chat with a receptionist before visiting the check-in desk to collect our keys and activity vouchers which we’d pre-booked online.
Our caravan was a short drive from the main Haven village, up on a hill-top in the ‘Arran View’ area. With tongue-in-cheek Tom and I affectionately named it ‘Hollywood Hill’ - quite a prestigious little neighbourhood of around 20 high-end static homes, each slightly unique but all boasting a terrace overlooking the Ayr countryside and Irish Sea, with Arran island on the horizon.
Our home for the week was a Platinum caravan with a terrace, perched right on top of Hollywood Hill (Arran View) with a fantastic view.
As caravanning newbies, we weren’t sure what to expect (I think we imagined something very basic and pokey). However, our Platinum caravan was very impressive; 14 ft wide with three bedrooms including a large double ensuite and a lovely big living area. It had all the mod-cons you’d expect from a rather nice holiday home – modern kitchen appliances including a dishwasher and silent washing machine and a bathroom with a lovely modern shower enclosure.
The kitchen is equipped with all the accessories you’ll need to cook ‘at home’. But you will need to pack a few basics (which we completely forgot!) including oil, tea and coffee, washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets. Likewise, the bathrooms are wonderfully clean and modern but you’ll need to bring your own shower gel and shampoo.
Check out our pics below (swipe image for more):
Haven Craig Tara activities
During our week at Haven Craig Tara, Lyall and Rich were treated to series of exciting activities, several of them taking place in the brand new Lighthouse Harbour Adventure Village, pictured below.
The Lighthouse Harbour Adventure Village is a huge, modern activity centre containing state-of-the-art interactive climbing walls, a high-ropes adventure and a mini-ropes adventure for little kids, an arts and crafts corner, play equipment, an indoor mini-golf, a large interactive ‘dance studio’ and a rather stylish coffee bar.
We’ve been to several holiday parks and theme parks and this really is the most impressive and well-designed activity centre we’ve ever seen.
Outside there’s a lovely beer terrace and an exciting ‘Flight Tower’ structure (it was just being finished during our stay) which is now open with outdoor aerial adventure activities.
The activities cost a little extra, by the way – between £5 and £20 and can be pre-booked before your trip. For up to date prices, check the Haven website here.
Here’s a quick summary of the boys’ favourite activities from Haven Craig Tara…
The pedal karts are hired for 30 minutes or an hour. There are single, two seat and four seat models but Lyall and Rich wanted their own individual karts. The boys were able to race all around the Haven park (we equipped them each with a walkie-talkie to ensure they returned on time!).
The Crazy Climber
The Crazy Climber is an interactive, electronic climbing wall experience. At around 15m high, these climbing walls have big buttons that are pushed on the way up to trigger lights and sounds. There’s also a ‘racing’ wall which pitches two climbers against each other, timing their ascent.
Taking place in the activity pool within Haven Craig Tara’s indoor water park, Aqua Jets are powered under-water devices, pulling the kids through the water at quite an admirable speed. The boys were supervised by trained lifeguards and the pool was quite shallow, by the way so there was very little risk involved!
The Aqua Gliders are inflatable jet skis for children. Again, very exciting – the boys were zipping around on their aqua gliders for a full 45 minutes (while Tom and I enjoyed a cookie and coffee in the spectators’ café).
Futsal to Football
The football activity took place within an indoor arena called AirSpace. The Haven football academy was Lyall’s favourite activity. A group of about 12 kids were put through their paces with a series of football training challenges and a mini-match.
With a harness and bungee cables, the boys bounced around on the bungee trampolines twice during our Haven Holiday. They reach quite a dizzy height and with a bit of practice both Rich and Lyall were able to wow the crowd (well, just me and Tom really) with somersaults and flips!
The Water Walkerz (or water wobblers as we called them) were hilarious – person-sized air filled balls on a big paddling pool which the boys were zipped into. I think the idea is you effectively walk on the water inside your ball however for our lads it was more of a frantic scramble!
Our holiday home had a lovely modern kitchen, so we dined ‘at home’ for the majority of our stay.
We visited Haven Craig Tara’s restaurant, The Brigs of Ayr twice for an evening meal during our holiday. It’s an up-market pub restaurant with classic pub dishes and a children’s menu.
At around the same price-point as a local pub at home, the food is tasty and well-presented - a meal for a family of four including two beers and two soft drinks costs around £45. Not bad at all – we were impressed. There are also three on-site fast-food takeaway outlets; a chippy, a Chinese takeaway and a Papa John’s pizza restaurant which delivers to the caravans. Yum!
Summary and booking info
Haven exceeded all our expectations of a caravanning holiday in a UK holiday park. The facilities were modern, clean and exciting. The caravan was large and comfortable and provided all the fixtures and fittings you’d expect from any high-end holiday home, plus a stunning sea view. The Haven Team were all lovely and made us feel very welcome.
So, in summary, we would visit Haven Craig Tara again in a flash – highly recommended!
To book your Haven holiday, visit the Haven website by clicking here.
A quick disclaimer. Here at Daddy & Dad we work with selected family-friendly brands to supplement our core content. This was a paid partnership with Haven. As always, all opinions belong to us, are completely honest and impartial. We’d like to say an enormous thank you to Haven and their PR agents for having us – we had a great time. Jamie, Tom and boys x