The last time I had a caravan holiday, Harold Macmillan was in No. 10 and Craig Douglas was at No. 1 with Only Sixteen.
Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson were our Eurovision hopefuls (they came second) and back then, a loaf of bread cost less than sixpence. Oh, and the average house price was £2,500.
Okay, I’m turning the clock back to 1959, when I was just 11, but the memories of that holiday are still crystal clear – and not necessarily in a good way.
It was a family holiday in Abergele, North Wales. We stayed in a Bluebird caravan on a permanent site sandwiched between a main road and a railway line.
I have vivid memories of spending hours every day playing cards and board games as my sister and I waited in hopeful anticipation of the rain finally stopping.
Fast forward nearly 60 years and those memories came flooding back as I drove into Haven’s Primrose Valley Holiday Park near Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Not that there was any comparison between this large, well-ordered holiday park and that rain-sodden site of my youth.
I knew that things had moved on a bit in the caravan world since my Welsh wash-out but I wasn’t expecting my static home for the next few days to be quite as impressive as it turned out to be.
Our lovely Prestige 2 model offered everything we needed – a true home from home. It had a good-sized double bedroom, a smaller room with two single beds and two bathrooms. The spacious lounge boasted a flat screen TV, two comfy sofas and French windows leading to a balcony, where my wife and I sat taking in some late summer sunshine. We could even see the sea in the distance.
With double glazing, a gas fire and central heating, you can stay snug at any time of the year and our kitchen was equipped with such musts as an electric kettle, a toaster and a microwave.
Not that we intended to stay indoors for long, lovely though it was. There’s so much to do on the park and in the surrounding area that you could easily spend nearly all your time away from your caravan.
For instance, there’s a marvelous outdoor heated swimming pool for when the weather’s good and a multi level indoor pool complex (both heated) for when it’s not. Then there are the activities which could encourage you to brush up on old skills or develop new ones. Anyone for archery? Or if that’s not one of your targets, how about attacking the challenging climbing wall?
With activities such as football coaching and mini fencing (don’t worry – the swords are light and rubbery) and crazy golf, there’s so much for the grandchildren, and indeed the whole family to do together. There’s even a boating and fishing lake and funfair, as well as a massive amusement arcade.
And don’t think the fun is restricted to the daytime. At night there’s a great live show featuring either the park’s hugely talented and energetic showteam or a visiting guest act, such as a magician.
For many, though, one of the main attractions for holidaying in this beautiful corner of Yorkshire is the location itself, perched on a craggy clifftop overlooking miles of golden sands.
This is a wonderful area for touring. Set off on foot from the park and head down to the beach from where you can walk along the golden sands to Filey. Just along the coast are the charming seaside towns of Whitby, Bridlington and Scarborough, with its fascinating Sea Life Sanctuary.
Inland is the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors National Park, including a steam railway which chuffs happily along from Pickering to Whitby, and grandchildren will love Flamingo Land theme park and zoo at Malton.
After working up an appetite on the moors, we dived into the Mash and Barrel Bar and Restaurant on our return (one of several eateries on site) for a scrumptious meal. There’s also a well-stocked SPAR convenience store nearby.
The delightfully named Primrose Valley isn’t Haven’s only park in these parts. Not far away is the lovely Blue Dolphin park, while golfers might prefer Reighton Sands, with its spectacular 9-hole par 34 golf course set in 140 beautifully landscaped acres with lovely sea views.
All three sites are run to an equally high standard, and there’s a much wider choice of Haven parks dotted around the coastline of the UK.
One thing is certain, I won’t be leaving it too long before my next caravanning experience. After my belated and all too brief return to this form of holidaying, it’s safe to say I’m hooked!
For full details visit the Haven website.