You may think that a holiday isn’t a holiday if you’re not getting on a plane, but in my experience some of our favourite memories involve a UK family holiday. There really is nothing better than a British seaside holiday, and fears over climate change, and Brexit (sorry, I said the B word!) mean that holidaymakers are increasingly choosing a staycation over expensive trips abroad. Richardsons Hemsby Beach, on the Norfolk coast, was the perfect holiday for us this summer. Take a look at our video at the end of this post to see just how much there is for families to do, and read on for our tips on how to get the most out of a holiday at Hemsby Beach Holiday Park.
Hemsby Beach Holiday Park review
*The law requires me to declare third party partnerships at the top of any articles written in collaboration with a brand. However, I did not receive payment for this post, and all opinion, words, and imagery are my own.
Accommodation at Hemsby Beach
The park has recently undergone a £10 million investment, with the addition of 300 new accommodations, so there’s plenty to choose from, whatever the shape and size of your party. We stayed in one of the new Platinum Lodge Spas. This is very similar to the mobile homes of our Eurocamp trips, but so, so much bigger. The space is amazing, including a proper sized double bed, room to move between the twin beds, and a kitchen and lounge area you can actually walk around in. There are also two double doors opening onto a wide deck with seating and your own private hot tub. Total bliss.
If you can stretch to it (costs below), I think the Platinum Lodge is the best bet for a family of four, especially if you have older kids, as it gives everyone more space, but the site also offers Gold and Silver Standard caravans, which are even dog-friendly. They sleep up to 6 so are a good option for larger families or multi-generational holidays. Nine of the Gold Caravans have hot tubs too, so book early if you’d like one of these.
In addition, there are apartments, chalets and bungalows on the park, including accommodation for disabled holidaymakers, and for larger groups. Take a look at all the options here.
What do we need to pack?
Although the accommodation is fantastic, there’s very little provided for you, so pack everything you’d usually use in a normal week at home. This includes toilet roll, washing up liquid or dishwasher tablets (there’s a dishwasher in the Platinum Lodge Spa, as well as a tall fridge/freezer and a microwave), towels, and shower gel. Bedlinen is provided, and the beds are made up on arrival, which impressed me, but I would have liked to see more of the basics included. That said, if you forget your hairdryer, you can hire them from a well equipped shop near the receptions, along with other items such as irons and high chairs. Families with small children might want to take a stairgate for the deck, and pool/beach towels are a must.
Barbeques aren’t provided, but you can bring your own, as long as they’re disposable. It’s also worth taking some basic food and drink staples; there wasn’t a shop on the park that we could see, and although there is a convenience store on the main road, the supplies are limited, so it’s good to arrive with the things you love the most.
What’s the food like at Hemsby Beach Holiday Park?
There are two places to eat at the park: The Quarterdeck restaurant (above) is a fairly traditional dining area, just off the main bar, that serves good standard pub fayre. We had a really well-cooked steak (my daughter likes medium-rare, and it was), a fantastic pepperoni pizza, gammon an chips, and a giant burger. Burgers seem to be something of a speciality, with plenty of choices, so if you’re a meat lover, you’re in for a treat. Vegetarian options were slim on the main menu, but there are daily specials, some of which are vegetarian, jacket potatoes, and a vegetarian cooked breakfast. You can see some of our choices in the short video tour I’ve included below.
At the opposite end of the park, close to the pool and most of the activities, is a café-bar with a proper fish and chip bar, so you can catch the football match and get chippy tea in once the kids are finished having fun.
Talking of which…
What is there for kids to do at Hemsby Beach?
The swimming pool is at the centre of all the action at Hemsby Beach. It’s open for most of the day, and it does get busy, so if you have early risers it’s a good idea to get there first thing at 9am. Once it’s full though, there’s a one in-one out policy that’s well managed, so it’s worth queuing if that’s what your kids want to do. There’s lots of action around the pool, so kids can easily occupy themselves with a pool game, the outdoor play area, or soft play while parents hold their place in the queue!
Go Active fun
As well as the pool and games area, there’s a gym for adults, and a really impressive choice of organised activities for the kids. Hoseasons Hemsby Beach runs the Go Active programme of supervised sessions that lets kids try all sorts of new things, from archery to balance bikes, body zorbing and fencing. You can even zoom around the pool with sea scooters – a small motorised device pulls you around underwater to perfect your movements through hoops, and picking up trinkets from the pool floor. We did this on our Cornwall Hoseasons holiday, as well as walking on water in giant inflatable spheres. Click the link to see what that looks like, and scroll down to our video to see the Hemsby Beach holiday park high ropes.
This time the kids tried Air Boardz – basically the closest they’re ever going to get to a hoverboard (remember Back to the Future?). They went from hilarious wobbles, only staying upright thanks to the expert teachers, to being able to weave in and out of the cones, go backwards, and even perform a spin, in the space of an hour. Take a look at the video to see how much fun it was! There are activities for all ages, and some that can be done as a family. This is definitely something you’re going to want to look at in advance, and book, as the spaces do get filled in advance. You’ll see the full range of activities on the website.
If you’re going with children, do expect to spend some time in the amusement arcades. Hemsby Beach itself is full of them, and the holiday park has its own arcade, Caesars, close to the activity area and fish bar. Once I’d got used to the idea, I found that this was a brilliant way to entertain the kids, for not as much money as I’d expected. I gave them each £10, and together they were gone for well over an hour, as they pushed two-penny pieces over falls, and hammered little gremlins back into their holes. They honestly had the best time, and came out with some fun holiday tat in the way of prizes. It gave Jason and I the time to have a drink in the bar together, and marvel about how well our teenagers get on – sometimes!
Is there anything to do in the evenings at Hemsby?
Is there?! Absolutely. The Quarterdeck show lounge is a brand new entertainments area. There’s a huge lounge, with nightly performances from cover bands, magic shows and dance performances. There’s also a very popular bingo session in the early part of the evenings, followed by a kids disco, before the show begins.
What is Hemsby itself like?
Hemsby is a village right on coast of east Norfolk, about a 20 minute drive north of Great Yarmouth. The main road to the beach is lined with holiday parks, of which Hemsby Beach Holiday Park is the biggest, and most well-equipped. It’s a proper British seaside town, with all the accessories. Think go-cart tracks, amusement arcades, rock shops and stalls to buy piping hot chips and munch on the beach, which is wide, open, and sandy. There’s also a small funfair (which I tried hard to resist, but couldn’t), fireworks on the beach in summer, and a couple of pubs with good reviews should you fancy venturing out.
It’s worthwhile venturing further afield too. Great Yarmouth is a lovely day out, with a good old fashioned British pier to walk, donkey rides, the famous pleasure beach, and more ice-cream stalls than you could ever need on a hot day. And if it’s not hot, there’s always Sea Life to visit! We also took a drive out to the Norfolk Broads, where you can hire a boat to explore the picturesque scenery, or find yet another country pub to while away a warm afternoon…
If you’re inspired to stay in the UK for your next holiday, you might also like:
- A charming country cottage in the heart of Somerset
- The time we had so much fun in a yurt, we missed school!
- Camping without the hassle of setting up a tent. or packing the equipment, in Dorset
- Camping at the National Trust in Polesden Lacey
Watch the video
A 7-night break at Hemsby Beach Holiday Park in the Platinum Lodge for up to four people costs from £811 off-peak, peak costs from £1449. Prices accurate at the time of writing and subject to availability. Check in for lodges is after 2pm, and checkout 10am. For more information or to book, visit www.richardsonsholidayparks.co.uk or call 01493 809903.
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