Please find below my Haven Craig Tara review – hopefully it will help you make your mind up if you are considering going on holiday there.
Our last few holidays have all been overseas and have included a week in a private villa in Andalucia and a week in an all inclusive resort in Gran Canaria. Once kids come along, holiday prices skyrocket for numerous reasons – not only do you need much larger accommodation than you did when it was just the two of you, but once they turn two, they have their own seat on the plane as well (which bumps the flight costs up significantly). Plus, once the kids are crawling or even worse, walking, those relaxing foreign holidays in the sunshine of days gone past are anything but relaxing!
So when planning our main family holiday for 2018, now that we have two kids (who were 2.5 and almost 1 at the time of the holiday in April) we decided to do something totally different. We wanted to go somewhere not only in the UK, but within a short drive from our home in Edinburgh. My husband had booked his week off work ages ago, not realising that it was in the school Easter holidays – oops. As such, a lot of accommodation was already sold out and what was left was very expensive. Which lead us to thinking outside the box in terms of the type of holiday we were looking for… and we eventually decided to try a week in a caravan at the Haven Craig Tara resort. We haven’t done this type of holiday before, but it seemed to tick a lot of boxes in terms of cost, location and things to do to keep our toddler happy.
We paid £391 for 4 nights (Monday – Friday) in a Deluxe 3 Bedroom caravan during the school Easter holidays. Note: this trip was entirely paid for by ourselves.
I am ashamed to admit this, but on our two hour drive to Craig Tara, I turned to my husband and whispered “if it’s awful, we can always just go home early”. I just didn’t know what to expect – caravan resorts at the British seaside sometimes have a bit of a run down, down-market reputation, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I was a little nervous that this reputation would be well-deserved.
Upon arrival, we parked at reception, my husband took the kids for a wander whilst I queued at the check in desk. The queue was enormous, but actually it was probably less than half an hour before I made it to the front and got my keys. What awaited us at the caravan was quite unexpected:
Wow! It was immaculately clean and beautifully furnished. The living area and kitchen were remarkably spacious. I couldn’t believe that not only was there a shower room with a toilet in it, but also a separate WC too. I’ve lived in flats less well equipped than our caravan! The 3 bedrooms were small but perfectly adequate, each with plenty of space to hang clothes. The kitchen was well equipped, with a large fridge, freezer, microwave, oven with hob, kettle, toaster and all the utensils you need. You need to bring your own towels, tea towels, washing up liquid and toiletries. We forgot to bring kitchen roll, washing up liquid and a dish sponge but all these were available at the Nisa shop onsite, which I was surprised to find was reasonably priced given that they have a captive audience.
There are so many activities for kids, but most of them started from age 4+, so we didn’t get involved – we look forward to signing up in the future. Instead, we spent our days at the beautiful beach and at the indoor swimming pool.
One of the highlights for us was the Seaside Squad’s kids show each evening. Our daughter, Lauren, took a special shining to Rory the tiger – over two months later, he still crops up in conversation almost every day. She can’t wait to go back to see him again. Until then, she has a stuffed Rory toy to cuddle in bed each night. The below picture is of her meeting her idol and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about how happy she was – such a magical moment. We could have spent £5,000 going to the Maldives and she wouldn’t have had as much fun as she did at Craig Tara.
Given that it was the Easter holidays and the resort was fully booked, I was expecting the site to be really busy, with queues everywhere. The only time I was really aware of it being busy was at the start of the kids show at night, where there was a mad dash by everybody to get the best tables up near the stage. With having small kids, we didn’t have a chance to check out the entertainment later on in the evening… maybe next time we will have to go back with the grandparents who might be so kind as to babysit one night.
I must mention one of the other things we did – twice, because it was so good. We travelled down the coast to Culzean Castle, which is a National Trust for Scotland property. It has an absolutely amazing outdoor kids play area which Lauren loved. As we are members, we got free entry. Also, next door to Craig Tara is Heads of Ayr farm which we ran out of time to do, but we will definitely visit next time.
I hope you enjoyed my Haven Craig Tara review. Have you been there before? Are there any other Haven resorts you recommend? I’d love to check out Haggerston Castle in the future.