In May we spent just short of two weeks camping at the Haven Lakeland. We love camping but we hadn’t done more than a long weekend for a couple of years, so I did wonder if the boys would get a bit restless and fed up. I needn’t have worried though – I don’t think I heard my children complain of boredom once during the whole holiday. In fact, I barely saw the biggest two unless it was a meal time. They spent their days enjoying the sunshine, their outdoor environment and the many, many activities which were on offer. Here’s what they got up to.
The thing I loved about swimming this year was that the two eldest children were old enough to go without me. I don’t mind visiting the pool but I am always ready to get out long before the children are. With a minimum age of 8 at the Haven pool, they could go without me but would still be supervised by the lifeguards. They went swimming most days and always had a great time.
I took our youngest child swimming too of course. We went in for the general swim sessions a couple of times but the highlight for him were the Tots Splash and Play sessions. These were free but you needed to book in advance.
I lost count of how many times the boys hired a cart but it must have been four or five over the course of the two weeks we were there. Available with either 2 or 4 seats, hiring the carts meant that the boys could explore a little bit farther afield than our part of the campsite. They had so much fun and managed only one grazed leg between them!
The carts were £10-£15 per hour with a £10 refundable deposit, and had to be signed for by an adult.
3. Woodland Walk
Anyone who knows our youngest child will know he is something of a child of nature. He is a huge fan of the outdoors and despises wearing shoes, and we affectionately nickname him Mowgli. One of his favourite things to do on site at Haven was to walk along the woodland path, barefoot. I tried to do it with him but my feet couldn’t take it, whereas the little one refused even to wear sandals. A highlight for me was walking alongside him and hearing him say ‘The countryside is amazing!’. Yes sunshine, yes it is.
Back to water based activity now and tongue pedalo we hired on the last day. The hire was half an hour I think, but I had to disembark with the toddler because he kept trying to go swimming in the lake. It isn’t easy to pedal and contain a wildling simultaneously so we went to the park instead. The boys carried on though and had a lovely ride around the lake, spotting various wildlife and admiring the fancy lodges on the waters edge.
5. Water fights
I hadn’t really banked on the weather being as hot as it was, and at times the boys struggled with the heat. We nipped to the onsite shop and bought six mini water guns, which were around £1 each, and the boys pent the next two hours trying to drench one another!
6. Junior Segway
One of the highlights for the bigger boys was the Segway session they did. They didn’t manage to fit in a second session because we just ran out of time, but the one they did was a lot of fun and the instructor was lovely and patient. The Segway takes place on an area that looks like a neglected bowling green, but it serves it’s purpose really well and is the perfect space for practising your balancing skills as a Segway beginner.
7. Aqua Jets
We couldn’t take any photos during the Aqua Jets session but the boys loved it a lot! Being jet powered through the water in a safe environment makes for happy boys and a happy mum. I was really impressed with the range of activities available to children who really want to try new things.
Haven Lakeland is right on the Lancashire cost line and the beach was just a few minutes walk from the tent. I went running a couple of times along the tops and was treated to some lovely views out to sea as I ran. The boys visited the beach a couple of times with friends they met during our holiday and had a lot of fun exploring. Sadly, my children are terrible at remembering to take photos and so you’ll have to just take my word for it about the fun.
9. Bat Walk
This is something we took our own equipment for, but given that Lakeland’s camp site has lots of trees and a large still water lake, we figured there was a good chance of hearing or seeing some bats. We had to wait until later on in the evening, but we took a stroll around dusk time and managed to pick up a few on the bat detector. We have enjoyed using our bat detector for almost seven years now – perhaps we should upgrade to a digital one so we can more easily identify the species we are hearing.
10. Splash n Bounce
A huge hit with the boys, they did the Splash and Bounce session twice during the holiday. Exactly what it says in the title, this is a bouncy assault course in the water and the children loved it. Splash n Bounce was £5 per person, per session and was on twice a week.
Canoeing is something the boys hadn’t ever tried before so it was food to see them branching out and giving it a go. I’m not sure they’ve quite got the hang of working as a team with the oars, but it’s a definite start! I forget how much the canoeing was but I’m hazarding a guess at around £15 per hour.
12. Aerial Adventure
Both the older boys had a go of the Aerial Adventure course. It was a personal challenge for my 8 year old, who isn’t. Great fan of heights really, but he pushed himself and managed to complete the course – twice. I was really proud of both of them for undertaking a course they weren’t 100% sure they wanted to do. Aerial Adventure is £15 per person if my memory serves me right and is available to book in advance twice a week.
As much as it might seem to be an expensive hour or so, the arcades don’t have to require a remortgage on your house. Our youngest son really loved the 2p machines and the mini-rides, and the older two had a budget of £5 each. Once that was gone, they were done! You don’t need to be in the arcades for hours, but I found that if I gave the boys a little bit to spend in there they didn’t keep asking if we could go.
14. Late night walks
No matter where you walk during the day, you can walk that same route after dark and it’s a different experience. It feels quieter, calmer. The sounds are different and you will maybe notice less birdsong and more activity from other creatures such as hedgehogs or bats. After dark walks are a good way to get excited children to calm down ready for bedtime too.
15. Rock Painting
Our youngest did a little rock painting while his brothers were on the Aerial Adventure course. The cost was £5 and for this he could decorate two large, shiny white pebbles using markers provided by Haven. Once he was done decorating, the ranger sprayed the rocks to make them suitable for keeping outdoors. It was a cute little activity to do but unfortunately the marker washed right off that same night.
16. Bug Hunt
The ranger at Haven was called John and he was incredibly patient with toddlers. We went with him on a bug hunt where we found spiders, beetles, worms and lots more mini-beasts on our adventure. My two year old wasn’t all that interested in the information about each creature, but John seemed knowledgeable and passionate about his job. Older children who came with us were completely immersed in the whole experience which was lovely to see.
There are a few play areas dotted about on the Haven Lakeland campsite. The one nearest to us was just a climbing frame but it was in a sand pit so that was a major pull for my youngest. There is also a small play area by the lake and he really took a shine to this spinning seat!
18. Tots Disco
We didn’t go to any of the evening entertainment on offer, but there is plenty. A tots disco just after tea time and then entertainment most nights for older children and grown ups. The drinks were really expensive though so for a family of five who would rather be outdoors it wasn’t something we decided to try.
19. Shelter Building
The boys didn’t have time to fit this in and they’ve done lots of shelter building before, but children at Haven Lakeland can attend guided sessions. During these, they will learn how to build a shelter from sticks off the ground as well as how to keep it warm and dry inside. This is always a fun thing to do – especially if you have time to actually chill out or even sleep in the shelter!
20. Pottery Painting
Another thing we didn’t manage to fit in was the pottery painting. With children aged 2, 8 and 11 I didn’t really have any who would enjoy this activity to its full potential. I think we’ll perhaps do it next year when the little one is that bit older. There were lots of ready made pottery items available to paint, and I think pieces started at around £6 but I’m not certain.
There were so many activities to choose from. Also,we visited during term time so there are extra sessions available during the holidays. Cost-wise, we spent £200 on activity passes, which seems like a lot on top of your holiday price. However, when I considered that the actual camping pitch with electric hook up was only £133 for two weeks, I was happy to consider the activities as part of the holiday price. I haven’t looked everywhere to compare but I think that just over three hundred pounds for a two week family holiday, with all of those activities and sessions to entertain the boys, was pretty good value.
A note about food: Another holiday cost is food – we took our own and I only ate in the restaurant once. The food was over priced and not great quality if I’m being honest, so it was better all round to cook at the tent.
I’m going to link this post up to Travel Guide Blog where you can find tales of adventure from lots of other bloggers too!