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.
Well what can I say that most people have already said. The site is fabulous. One of the best we have stayed at. The showers and toilets were immaculate. The reception staff were very helpful, and we liked the way a member of staff actually walked down to show us our pitch. The shop was very handy and the take away was very good and at a reasonable price. We enjoyed some lovely walks from the site. We will come back again and will recommend it to our friends.
Just returned from a week here. Had a great time. The area is beautiful. We had a lovely view across the rolling countryside from our pitch. We prefer the quieter, less touristy western side of the island and this site is only a short drive to the lovely south coast, it's also only about 20 mins from the Needles.
There is no clubhouse or evening entertainment - one reason we chose this site! The children loved the pools. Pool areas were all clean and well maintained. Use of the pools was included in the pitch price, I saw that earlier reviewers were charged so I guess this is something that has changed recently. There is a toddler play frame and one for older children. Our 6 and 7 year olds enjoyed both.
Facilities block was excellent, very modern and well maintained. Very clean, especially considering the site was busy. Shower cubicles were huge, with plenty of room to shower the children without getting clothes, shoes, or me, wet! Never had to queue.
Shop was useful for the basics and small number of souvenirs and pocket money toys for the children to buy. Also sold pool/beach toys, very useful.
Can't comment on the on-site takeaway as we didn't use it. Can recommend 'Rainbow' fish and chips in Freshwater - good sized portions, good service.
Reception staff were friendly and helpful, from booking to 'checking out'.
We were lucky that the site was not full when we stayed as this meant we had extra space around our pitch. I imagine some pitches could feel a little jammed in if all were full. However, it is the school summer holidays and to be anticipated and I think this is only a minor negative on an otherwise excellent site.
From reading the previous couple of reviews, I think this site has improved since last year.
We stayed over half term and found it a very pleasant site. It was busy but we didn't feel crowded on our pitch - they're not hugely private as the fields are quite open but they're big enough. All well kept and tidy with nice lush grass. There's a big open field at the back (possibly used for overflow camping at really busy times) where the kids could take their footballs and play without disturbing other campers. Lots of families playing frisbee etc in the main field though and a nice friendly feel to the site.
Shower and toilet blocks are absolutely top notch, the best we have seen on any campsite. Loved the music, it felt very welcoming especially for those late night visits!
With our children aged 8 and 7, we found the indoor pool a nice extra (you can swim an hour for free, there is a wristband system to stop it getting too crowded) and I am sure the outdoor pool would be great in better weather. Shop is well stocked and friendly. Takeaway was a disappointment, very busy and food not very nice.
It's a good position for exploring the Island. Of the nearby pubs, our favourite is the New Inn at Shalfleet - fantastic local food.
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