In May half term, the Parent Friendly Stays team enjoyed a visit to one of Haven’s many family friendly coastal holiday resorts: Church Farm Holiday Village near Bognor Regis in West Sussex. Here’s our full tried and tested review of our Haven holiday! 

To book your own stay with Haven, see our hand-picked selection of parent friendly Haven resorts here, or visit the Haven website for up-to-date pricing and availability information.

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Our family friendly accommodation

Our Silver level Haven caravan

We’re a family of five, plus dog, and so required one of the larger holiday accommodation options at Haven’s Church Farm site. Ours was a ‘silver’ variant – a large, spacious, modern caravan with two bedrooms and a pull-out sofa bed in the living area.

Our overall impressions of our Haven accommodation were really positive, probably even more so than we expected.  The caravan was very clean, well equipped, and felt as if it was still quite new.  There were no obvious signs of dogs having stayed in the caravan before, despite it being one of the site’s pet friendly accommodation options.

The interior of our caravan

There was a big fridge freezer, comfy sofas, a small decked area with outdoor seating (perfect for people watching!) and nice little touches like solar lights around the exterior to help us navigate at night.  There were plenty of pillows – two for everyone – and our only small quibble was the absence of one set of bedding which we needed for the pull-out bed.  This was easily remedied with a quick phone call to the out-of-hours security office, who dropped something round a few minutes later (impressive customer service we thought!).

an open and safe child friendly environment

The caravan itself was situated with the Common Field area of the larger Haven site.  It’s a big place, sub-divided into many different smaller areas; at first we wondered if we’d ever quite get the hang of navigating around, but it didn’t take us long to become familiar with the layout. Common Field felt open and spacious, without the caravans feeling overly crammed in as has been our experience elsewhere, and it all seemed very safe with children of all ages free to roam around, scooter around the roads, kick a ball around and so on.  The central field in our area, surrounded by accommodation, was the perfect place to play football or cricket with our little ones.

Child and family friendly activities at Haven Church Farm Holiday Village

There was absolutely loads to do with the family during our Haven holiday, and we made sure to make the most of the on-site facilities throughout our short break.  Many of these needed to be booked in advance using the Haven app, which was very straightforward; we’d recommend doing this as early as you can, as we found some slots were fully booked at the times we’d ideally have chosen. In no particular order:

the popular outdoor swimming pool

Indoor swimming pool: clean, plenty of changing rooms/showers, with a fun slide/flume and a shallower area for toddlers. You could store clothes and shoes in buckets at the poolside if you arrived ready and changed in your swimwear, which in some ways was easier than faffing around with lockers.

Outdoor pool: an unexpected treat to enjoy, given the British weather, but we were really lucky as the sun shone throughout our break. It also turned out the outdoor pool had only opened for the summer season the weekend we arrived, and we loved it. Bigger than we expected, lots of sun loungers, and gave us a real holiday vibe. Not bookable like the indoor pool, so we arrived with fingers crossed each day that capacity hadn’t yet been reached. The only downside was some slightly rough ball play in the pool by older teens which no-one from the many watching staff seemed willing to ask them to tone down, leaving a few of the families with younger visitors (including us) feeling a bit anxious we were in constant danger of being hit!

the restaurant/bar

Bar/restaurant: This has both indoor and outdoor areas, and is big, with lots of seating. It got quite busy at times, so perhaps not to everyone’s taste; we enjoyed a couple of drinks on the terrace then dinner in the restaurant inside (important to have a pre-booked table).  There was some additional seating on a grassy area, which was movable and had been taken over by a fairly large group, so we chose not to sit there; however the setting by the pool and in the continuing evening sun made it look quite tempting.  Staff at the restaurant and bar were helpful and courteous, but felt a bit overstretched at times with the number of customers awaiting their attentiomn.  It was possible to order direct to your table if you don’t mind using the app, or you could flag down a member of staff and order directly through them.  The food quality was reasonable in our view – cheap and cheerful.  Lots of family friendly options, with our children enjoying a combination of pizzas, burgers, spaghetti Bolognese.  Unbeknownst to us until we came to pay, we benefitted from an excellent value deal where two of the children ate for £1 instead of the usual £6.99 – can’t argue with that!

a moment of calm during our ‘sand bottle creation’ session

Shop: We were impressed by this. Mainly Coop branded foodstuffs (which we love) and there was lots of choice covering all the main things you’d likely need during a short break.  Lots of treats were available too including ice creams, pic n mix sweets, chilled alcohol, Costa coffee machine and so on.

Outdoor play: There were a couple of outdoor play areas, though it took us a while to stumble across one of them. The main central activity area had football courts, zip wire, bouncing trampolines, archery and so on – and was always busy with youngsters. Behind the entertainment complex we found another play area with more traditional park type activities – climbing frame, slide, swings etc – but this only seemed to be accessible through the bar area which we felt made it a bit less likely we’d be happy sending our younger kids off to play on their own.

we absolutely loved the hireable go-karts

Other bookable activities: Our Haven site offered various wholesome-sounding activities and sports for an additional fee, including archery, grass head creation, bunker trampolines, junior segways, ‘build a bear’ workshops, mini fencing, pebble art, mini golf and so. Certainly no shortage of things to keep young ones happy! We tried ‘sand bottle creations’ with our eight year old – a calm, mindful experience which generated a meaningful souvenir of the holiday for an affordable £8. The session was run by a lovely and helpful member of staff who kindly encouraged the small number of participants with their creations, and it all seemed very well organised.  We also hired a family go-kart for £16, and on another day a two-person kart for £12; these provided a great hour of entertainment for the children, whose laughter we could hear all around the park as they tried their best to successfully navigate around.

one of the evening entertainment acts in full swing

Evening entertainment: this was always very busy and evidently popular with a wide spectrum of the holiday park’s guests. We found it a bit too dark and loud for our tastes (maybe we’re getting old!) so we didn’t stay long.  But there’s no denying the various musical and entertainment acts during our stay were proving a hit with the crowds.  The entertainment complex also hosts a large arcade area full of bright lights, whirring machinery and easy ways to children to part with their parents’ cash!

The wider area

the attractive beach at Pagham

Church Farm Holiday Park is set in the charming Sussex countryside not far from popular Bognor Regis.  Directly adjacent to the park is an attractive nature reserve, whose winding footpaths lead you from the holiday caravans directly to the seafront and picturesque pebble beach of Pagham.

We found the scenery here stunning, and on both our days with Haven holidays we walked down to Pagham Beach to enjoy the views while grabbing a treat from the local shop and café.

In summary..

the nature reserve at sunset

Our key takeaways from our holiday with Haven at Church Farm Holiday Village:

  • a comfortable, well-equipped and very clean caravan;
  • some brilliant facilities we really enjoyed using, including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hireable go-karts;
  • a beautiful countryside setting with an attractive nature reserve and beautiful pebble beach just a short stroll away;
  • plenty of other on-site activities and bustling facilities to suit all requirements including outdoor play areas, bar/restaurant, evening entertainment, arcades and more.

Are caravan holidays at a site like Haven’s for every family?  Probably not, we’d guess; you might want a bit more space perhaps, or privacy, or slightly less ‘commercial’ facilities which aren’t as busy all day or don’t need booking in advance.  But for us, Church Farm Holiday Village provided a lovely and affordable short break which all six of us really enjoyed, and we’d definitely return.

If you’ve been inspired to consider your own family holiday with Haven go direct to their website for the latest prices and to book.