As our family are great beach lovers, any chance to feel the sand between our toes is always going to be a winner. The opportunity to go to Norfolk rather than our usual comfort zone of Devon and Cornwall, while still getting the longed for beach experience was very exciting too, for two small boys, their parents and Grandma too (Babysitter? You bet!).
Park Resorts’ California Cliffs Holiday Park at Scratby near Great Yarmouth was our chosen destination. We arrived in the late afternoon, collected our keys and found our Gold level caravan. The three bedroom caravan was clean, pleasant and the beds were already made up so all that was left was for us to do was unpack and have a quick explore before teatime.
Accommodation at all Park Resorts’ centres is self-catering, so our caravan included a kitchen with a good selection of crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment plus a cooker, fridge and microwave. The on-site supermarket was very handy for an urgently required pint of milk and there were plenty of places to eat within and near to the park if we didn’t fancy cooking, including a fish & chip shop with quite excellent chips, a Chinese take-away and bar meals served in the Waterside Bar.
Of course the kids wanted to try out all the entertainment. The adventure playground was a constant favourite, the crazy golf went down well but the real winner was California Cliffs’ swimming pool. The heated pool has both indoor and outdoor sections plus a water slide which was the real highlight for the boys, indeed they went on it again and again and again.
The beach is just a few minutes’ walk from the park, and it is beautiful, clean and was not crowded even on a warm sunny day. This proximity to the sea was an important factor for us and we were not disappointed. The beach at Scratby is sandy with some bands of stones. There is plenty of sand to make sandcastles, however to paddle in the sea does require either a high pain threshold or waterproof footwear.
Mind you we saw plenty of people swimming in the sea as well as lots of boogie boarders, so maybe the people of Norfolk are a hardier bunch than us. From the beach it is also possible to see one of the largest wind farms in Europe, with its 30 majestic wind turbines generating enough energy to supply over 30,000 homes.
Once we were ready to venture further afield, we discovered that this part of Norfolk boasts a huge selection of attractions to visit. After picking up a sheaf of leaflets from reception, we were quite overwhelmed with the choice of places to visit. In Great Yarmouth alone there are enough attractions and museums to fill up many holidays, and the surrounding area offered even more tempting things to do.
The newish Bewilderwood Treehouse Adventure Park at Wroxham, just 15 miles away, went down particularly well, as it is large enough for all the family to go on (although Grandma gave that one a miss, mind you).
Amazingly, the kids still had plenty of energy left when evening arrived and so along we went to the Clifftop Showbar for the Sparky’s Krew show, which encourages all the children to get involved whether listening to a story, playing games or joining in with the dancing. The hosts showed boundless energy and I was particularly impressed by the fact that any cheating in the competitions was penalised and that any booing was firmly dealt with as well.
Later in the evening there was entertainment for the grown-ups, although there were plenty of kids around for this too – it was all suitable for a family audience. One unusual thing about the bars at California Cliffs is the fact that everyone queued up nicely in both the Waterside bar and the Clifftop Showbar to buy their drinks, adding to the friendly feeling in the park.
The park was surprisingly quiet and peaceful as well as friendly and tidy. The staff were helpful and the accommodation was comfortable, although the single beds were narrower than some were used to. There were people of all ages there, with everyone from babies to grandparents. We were fortunate to get one of the few comparatively rain-free weeks of the summer and we all went home having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
About the Author: Jacqui O’Brien is the editor of eParenting. Photos by Alan O’Brien.