Scotland on Sunday travel
It wasn’t that long ago that I would have scoffed at the notion of going to a holiday park for a summer break, yet two children later here we were, raring to go to Haven at Craig Tara on the beautiful Ayrshire coast for the second time.
We had so much fun a couple of years ago that when we heard about the brand new multi-million-pound entertainment complex opening this summer, we wanted to be among the first to try it out.
Budget or boutique?
Holidays at Craig Tara are definitely in the more affordable price bracket. There are also options to crank up the luxury for a little more. We chose to stay in a more pricey Prestige caravan. The cost included the static caravan accommodation and access to the Splashaway Bay pool complex, indoor and outdoor play areas, daytime and evening live entertainment and lots of other leisure activities. There are also oodles of other activities for all ages available to book for an additional charge.
Our caravan had stylish furniture, a well-appointed kitchen, private parking space and a lovely decking area with a sea view. There were two bedrooms (one en-suite) which was perfect for the four of us and we had plenty of living space for a very comfortable stay. There was a large TV in the lounge area and another in the master bedroom, so no need to fight over which programmes to watch.
The kitchen had everything you’d need to fully self-cater, including a large freezer for all those bags of chicken nuggets that my son Reuben (five) lives off. We had a dining table and chairs in the kitchen area and another outside on the decking.
Bedding is included in your accommodation but towels and sundries are not, so make sure you pack dishcloths, washing up liquid, dish washer tablets and hand soap along with your usual toiletries.
Wining and dining
Craig Tara has a number of dining-in options, including Burger King, Cook’s traditional Fish & Chips and the popular Briggs of Ayr bar and restaurant which offers a wide range of classic pub fare and family favourites. There is also a Chinese takeaway (in a van) and Papa John’s pizza, which will deliver to your caravan.
Rather self cater? There is a handy Nisa store on site.
Worth getting out of bed for
There is so much to do in the holiday park that it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s where the new Haven App comes to the rescue. It clearly lists what’s on at any given time or day, cost, location, age group and whether you need to book.
Now that the new Lighthouse Harbour leisure complex is open, Craig Tara offers a host of new activities including hi-tech climbing walls, aerial assault courses, an indoor toddler play area, crazy golf, a craft studio and a cookery studio. It also has an arena which is used for a range of classes, a pub with a Millie’s Cookies counter and the “boathouse” stage area for kids’ daytime shows. The décor is fun and quirky and we all enjoyed its facilities.
My three-year-old, Sarah, had a balance bike lesson in the arena, and Reuben tried out the climbing wall (with a coach to help him) and the tots aerial assault course, which he loved. We all had a giggle at the beach-themed crazy golf, especially when Sarah won.
When we weren’t taking part in classes, you would find us at the amazing on-site water park Splashaway Bay. With slides and areas to explore for all ages and levels of bravery, we all had a blast. The lazy river was our favourite and the pink “severe” flume that my wife Sine accidentally went on was definitely adrenalin inducing. Reuben loved his aqua glider (low-powered inflatable jet ski) class.
On our last day we ventured out of Haven and two minutes up the road to Heads of Ayr Farm Park. With mini zoo and petting farm, extensive themed adventure play areas, huge indoor soft play, cafés, and a brilliant ball-shooting gallery, we stayed all day.
The free Haven App proved to be invaluable.
Guest book comments
The perfect get-away for active families without breaking the bank. We will definitely be back for a third time.
Three-night self-catering off-peak break from £206 per family. Four-night self-catering off-peak from £140 per family. Seven-night self-catering off-peak holiday from £344 per family. Prices include family-friendly entertainment (0333 202 5250, www.haven.com)