Holiday park is a pirate Haven – The Sun

WHOEVER thought of docking a children's pirate ship in a sandpit just yards from the bar at Haven's Thornwick Bay was a genius.

After a fruitless day driving to the stunning coast at Filey, North Yorks, then straight back again when our three-year-old flatly refused to go on the beach, my husband and I were gasping for a beer and some peace.

Not likely on a holiday with two small boys, we thought.

But there it stood, the answer to our prayers.

As we sipped our well-deserved drinks on the Lighthouse restaurant terrace, the sun beaming down, our little tykes Dylan and Joe were at the helm, quite happy and in safe view.

The genius behind the location of the pirate ship and neighbouring adventure playground was probably also the brains behind the outdoor gym trail along the mile-long Flamborough Cliffs path behind the park.

No doubt it would make for a breathtaking exercise circuit, with spectacular views across the North Sea.

But for us, clambering over the wooden apparatus dotted along the route was a way to keep our pre-schoolers entertained on a scenic walk.

Then there are the 2p slot machines in the games room.

Dylan was entranced by the flashing lights and funfair sounds, and with just 50p of copper and a plastic stool to reach the slots, he was in his element and we weren't going to break the bank.

In fact, children of all ages are so well catered for at Thornwick Bay it is hard to fit it all in.

The "Sports and Splash" timetable is jam-packed with classes for little ones and not-solittle ones alike.

During our stay, there was free mini-fencing and mini-archery for three to five-year-olds most mornings in the brand-new activity barn.

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Other sessions, such as Learn 2 Bike, Football Academy and Learn 2 Swim cost £4 per session, while the most expensive, at £20, were the Segway rides for kids aged 12 and over.

Haven boasts an innovative Nature Rockz scheme where families can channel their inner Bear Grylls by learning Bush Craft Fire in the teepee with Park Ranger Elliot Banks, or learn how to build a shelter.

For creative types, there is bird box-making, as well as Sand Art and a Pic 'N' Paint room.

The resort has recently undergone a £10million renovation and you can certainly tell — everywhere is stylish, comfortable and pristine.

The heated indoor pool is an absolute joy, with its quirky oversized ducks, water guns and slides. A huge overhead bucket tips without warning, accompanied by squeals of delight from children and shock from the adults underneath.

And if you aren't too exhausted by all that, there is plenty of entertainment in the evening, from Tots Discos to sing-alongs and comedy in the Smugglers bar.

Food-wise, the Lighthouse restaurant offers all your family favourites, with speciality pizzas costing between £8.95 and £11.95.

The park also has a chippy and the Coast cafe, plus there is a large Spar for all your essentials.

The park's location is perfectly situated for seaside trips to Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington.

The picturesque fishing port of Whitby — an inspiration for Dracula and home to some of the best fish and chips in the world — is about an hour away in the car.

Away from the coast, you can head to Flamingo Land adventure park or tour the historic country ll estate at Sewerby Hall and Gardens. And if you want to spot puffins, guillemots, gannets and a host of other birds, head to RSPB Bempton Cliffs, the UK's largest mainland seabird colony.

You can even walk there from the holiday park.

Haven also offers holiday home ownership, with a number of privileges for owners including an exclusive members' lounge, extended pool times, free use of the gym and park discounts.

Prices start from £14,995 and finance is available.

With such fantastic facilities, activities and comfy caravans in an ideal location, we spent the journey home daydreaming about owning our own little corner of Thornwick Bay.


STAYING THERE: A four-night midweek self-catering break at Haven's new Thornwick Bay park is from £263 per family, based on four sharing standard accommodation in October halfterm, arriving October 24. Price includes kids' clubs and family entertainment.

MORE INFORMATION: To book a break, go to or call 0333 202 5305.

For holiday home ownership, visit or call 0333 202 1460.

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