In December 2020, Haven made a pretty big change to the way that you book a holiday with them.
You can now pick from 'Haven Stay' or 'Haven Stay + Play' and there's quite a big difference between the type of holiday they offer.
The idea is that you can either book a holiday with lots of family friendly activities available (Haven Stay + Play) or you save yourself some money and just book the accommodation (Haven Stay). It's not really accurate to say that a Haven Stay + Play holiday is 'all inclusive' as you still pay for some activities, but it means you have the option of signing up for things.
From what I can tell, Haven are trying to appeal to holidaymakers who want Haven's prime seaside locations and the self-contained accommodation but aren't really interested in archery or sliding down a flume. It seems that Covid-19 has prompted a big change in the ages of people booking into Haven resorts for staycations, with more couples and older families wanting a simple seaside holiday.
From what I can tell (after looking at a few price comparisons) Haven haven't really increased the price of a 'normal' Haven holiday with this new scheme. Instead, they've lowered the price for someone who feels they won't use the facilities and just wants a base for days out.
Before you decide whether to book a Haven Stay or Haven Stay + Play holiday, here a few things to keep in mind:
What's the difference in price between a Haven Stay holiday and a Haven Stay + Play holiday?
Right, let's get to the interesting bit. How much extra does it cost to opt for a Haven Stay + Play holiday compared to a Haven Stay holiday? Is it worth paying the extra on the off-chance that you might decide you'd like to have a swim or watch a show in the entertainment venue?
We searched in December 2020 for a week's holiday for a family of four at five of the best Haven holiday parks. We searched for a holiday in August 2021 (peak time) and a holiday in early October 2021 (off peak).
So, the difference in price between a Haven Stay + Play holiday and a Haven Stay holiday for a week for a family of four varied by between £36 and £277. Per person, per night that means it would cost you anywhere between £1ish (off peak) and about £10ish (on peak) to use the facilities.
Unsurprisingly, you save a lot more with a Haven Stay holiday by opting out of activities and facilities at the best equipped resorts.
Personally, I would always pay for Haven Play + Stay for an off peak holiday. The saving is not really enough to take away the option of going for a swim if the weather is awful.
The exception would be if you are a couple or a group of friends holidaying without children who just want a self contained lodge or caravan for beach trips and walks. You're unlikely to want to visit a noisy swimming pool and you can still use the onsite restaurants with a Haven Stay holiday.
During the summer months and peak holiday times I would say it is worth taking a look at local attractions if you're sitting on the fence. You might save yourself £100-£200 but will you end up going out more and paying for days out?
As far as I can tell, you can't turn up and then decide that you want to buy a Play Pass after seeing everyone else having more fun than you... The official website says 'Play Passes are only available to those who have booked a Stay+Play break'.
See our guide to 10 of the best Haven holiday parks for ideas of where to stay.
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