First advice is don't use sat navigation as it puts you down pound lane and having towed a twin axle van with bikes on top of the car I can tell you it's not advised.
Let the orchards take the hassle out of booking the ferry for you. I did and it also worked out cheaper that way. Well done the orchards
Upon arrival I found the staff helpful and friendly. They showed us to out pitch which was number YA1. This is right next to a busy pathway through to the amenity block and swimming pool so gets very busy. On pitch size I have to say I was disappointed. It was big enough for the van and porch awning but you have to put the car across the front of the unit. In 20 years of caravanning this is one of the smaller pitches I have come across. The site is well laid out and well maintained. It's a little bit heavy on the rules for my liking but it does keep the place ticking along pleasantly. Too many signs and notices. I there are 2 pools an outdoor which is nice and an indoor one which at peak times and operates an 1 hours time slot approach. I am a bit frustrated that all children under the age of 16 HAVE to be watched swimming. It's normally nice for the children to go off and find a bit of independence whilst giving us time to settle down for an hour. The shower block is the best I have seen being modern and well appointed. I was slightly disappointed to be asked to pay a £2 deposit for a photocopy of a download able local cycle ride. This seems a bit tight to me. I went to wight link ferry port at yarmouth and asked the receptionist their and she took the time to colour photocopy me one for free even though I just walked in off the street. Well done wight link on cracking customer service.
The orchards is set in rambling countryside and is well appointed and we'll run. The negative comments are only minor but would improve the welcome no end if improved upon.
Would I come back YES
Would I rate as a top 100 park NOT YET, BIT WOULD NOT TAKE MUCH
Just returned from 10 day stay here. It was a return visit; we spent 6 nights here last summer.
The fact that we have come back for a 2nd year and are considering staying next summer says it all. This is an excellently thought-out and extremely well maintained site. Staff were always friendly and clearly worked hard to make the site run smoothly.
We were staying on a hardstanding pitch which had lovely views across the countryside. There was plenty of space for our car, caravan, awning and somewhere to sit in the sunshine. The site was quite busy but we didn't feel too jammed in considering it was peak, school holiday season.
The facilities block is excellent with plenty of showers, loos and sinks. Never had to queue and they were always clean, the cleaners worked at various times during the day and evening to ensure they were kept clean and tidy. The shower cubicles have loads of room to shower the kids without getting soaked myself. There is even a little area with hairdriers and sockets to plug in your own drier if your prefer, or hair straighteners.
We used the pools a number of times. Our kids (7 & 8) loved them. There is no additional payment for using them and they have good, long opening hours. No slides etc but still great feature of the site. Site also has a pool room, table tennis room and outside play area.
On-site shop is handy and has good basic range of food, drink & camping goods as well as some souvenirs.
We had fish and chips from the takeaway and also breakfast. It was good value. The kids especially liked that they could buy Mr whippy icecreams too.
We were really lucky and had fabulous weather so spent a fair amount of time on the beaches but would also recommend yarmouth, Needles old battery, fossil walk with Oliver from dinosaur expeditions cic, Osbourne house & carisbrook castle. Dinosaur isle at Sandown was also good and inspired the children to hunt for their own fossils! Bembridge lifeboat station is definitely worth a visit. We went back on a Tuesday evening to watch it launch.
All in all, an excellent site, we had a great stay.
Very nice site, the staff were very helpful, very clean, music playing 24/7 in the shower/toilet area, great swimming pools (indoor was a bit warm), the on site shop worked out cheaper than tesco but did run low on stock - but then it would because it was such great value. The take away I would give 10 out of 10 with a great menu and service, on the whole perfect, we will be returning.
We had a wonderful week on this brilliant site. There is a lovely play area for kids, a great indoor and outdoor pool and reasonable shop and take away. The pitches are large and well maintained, with ample water points and the best toilet / shower block we have ever come across. The position on the island is great and there was loads to do with our son and brilliant beaches a short distance away. Plenty of local pubs with gardens for children / dogs. I would have no hesitation recommending this site to anyone and we found nothing at all to criticise. Definitely one to try.
This is a lovely site. Functional with some frills, but nothing over the top - simplicity at its best. Our only negative point was that our pitch was on a slight hill, meaning our tent was on the lean, but we pitched so we slept head up hill :-) That said, I would happily take same pitch again as it was manageable. Everything about this site is lovely: In a lovely, quiet, rural area of the island but no more than a few minutes in the car from more action. You could stay on site all week as there is a nice shop stocking any essentials you might need (from tent pegs to souvenirs, eggs to ice cream). Most guests went out during the day, not sitting around tents and caravans all day. Prices are very reasonable in the shop and takeaway which was available for breakfast and dinner. We had one breakfast and two evening meals and all food was fresh (cooked to order) and very nice. The site is very quiet, everyone very polite and dogs well behaved. Separate field for ball games and no cycling / scooter rule meant kids were not running riot. We have two children and they LOVED this site - great play area, field for ball games, two lovely pools, small indoor games room. All really good (only negative would be that indoor pool was really hot for spectators). As for the facilities centre, this was amazing. I think I counted 14 toilets, 12 showers (each with own sink too) and 6 private wash basins, in addition to more washbasins for washing hands etc - this was just the ladies! I am assuming men had the same. I took both daughters into shower with me and had plenty of room. Perfect as one would shower, whilst one brushed teeth and I had room to assist both without getting wet. A couple of times we went in and people had not left toilets in useable state, but this was cleared up before our next visit to the facilities. We never had to wait to use toilets or showers - real bonus. Laundry / washing up room is great. All sinks face windows, overlooking amazing views (what a good idea). There are washing machines, tumble driers (for modest fee) and also ironing boards and irons. I spoke to people staying for a month and who do it every year. After staying a few days I could see why they return and for so long. Extra bonus was local radio playing in facilities centre. Could do with being a bit louder, but if no-one else was around I could catch up on news whilst washing up. Others have complained about taps and showers switching off after a few seconds. Not a reason to grumble - just get in habit of pressing button before it stops :-). We took showers morning, mid-day and evening (on different days) and there was always hot water. As others have said, staff are all really friendly. They clearly enjoy their jobs and are glad you are there to visit.
This is a superb site if you are looking for a quiet, well kept site, with a few well kept facilities and want to be away from the busier side of the island. Loved that there was no evening entertainment. Our last two nights saw the arrival of some louder guests who were up late giggling and chatting, which was annoying as they were not even close to us, yet could be heard. Did not get impression evening noise is monitored which is a concern. Was not every night though thank goodness.
We will be back again, but will avoid main school holidays, as fear could get noisy / rowdy if there are no evening patrols of the site.
Visited The Orchards on 5/7/14 for one weeks camping, this was my first visit to the site, and even though it is a 6 hour journey from my house, will probably visit again. On arrival was met by the very friendly site person, and as the site was surprisingly full, was given the choice of two pitches, I took the one by the trees, and left the one by the toilets for someone else! The toilets were fairly clean with a seemingly never ending supply of hot water, the pot wash sinks are in the same building and what looks like a freezer for cold packs.
This is a very large site being Haven, and all the pitches were quite large and all electric with the bonus of a fresh water tap on each hook-up point, they were also rather flat which was a bonus. The park itself is on a spit of land at the tip of point Clear in Essex and is surrounded by water on three sides. The beach is to the south and the Estuary takes up the other two sides with the marina of Brightlingsea located there. The entertainment complex is a nice walk away and you seem to be divorced from the noise it generates (though I did go out of season!). Next to the touring field is a large grassed area for the kids to play on with a few play items there.
Food wise, there are the usual favourites on site with a Papa Johns that delivers, and right at the end of the site near the point is the ferryboat Inn and café, also a Chinese take away which you pass on the way, a Spar shop, and just outside the main gate another Café. The thing I most enjoyed was the walk around the sea walk which takes in the whole site passing the beach and the quaint sea front properties (the path goes right in front of their windows) round the point and back up along the Estuary taking in the other side of the site. The path is accessed at the main gate by the café, and from the site itself across two bridges which cross the creek. You can hire pedalos to venture into the creek and small lagoon, and there are a couple of lakes on the site.
Nearby you have jaywick, Clacton on sea, Holland on sea, Frinton on sea and Walton on the naze, plus the larger Colchester with its Zoo, Castle and shopping. St Osyth, the nearest village has a number of local shops pubs and a couple of chippies (the Village chippie seems to be the most popular), though I never saw it, there is a small foot ferry which leaves from the point and goes to Mersea and Brightlingsea, and even, as far as I could make out, up into Colchester. All in all a good place to visit.
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