Kelling Heath Holiday Park: The perfect setting for our North Norfolk family break.
Norfolk Holidays before Kelling Heath.
We love Norfolk and we’ve been numerous times over the years. It has a spectacular coastline, lovely beaches, pretty towns and villages and fantastic places to visit like Sandringham House and Holkham Hall. However, we usually stay at the Caravan Club Site at Sandringham. We’ve tended to stick to Caravan Club sites because, as a brand, they always offer a high-quality site and service (the Caravan equivalent of the National Trust). In our experience, Caravan Club sites are usually well managed and well maintained, the loos and showers are clean and modern, and the staff are (usually) friendly and helpful.
We’d visited Kelling Heath Holiday Park in our caravan on a previous occasion, with some of the other families from eldest’s school. However, it was about six years ago and we were only there for a weekend, so didn’t take advantage of all the facilities. We’d knew the site had been extensively refurbished since our last visit, so as well as looking forward to catching up with our friends, we were curious to see what had changed.
As we set off in Penny for our 6-night stay, I couldn’t help wondering whether Kelling Heath Holiday Park, with it’s new and improved facilities, would be able to compete with one of our favourite caravan sites, The Caravan Club site at Sandringham.
Kelling Heath Holiday Park.
The moment you turn into the driveway of Kelling Heath Holiday Park and see the road meander through lush vegetation, trees and shrubs, you feel a swell of eager anticipation and the cares of the working week begin to recede. If your idea of a caravan park is row upon row of gleaming metal boxes as far as the eye can see, then you can let go of that ghastly image straight away. Instead, the caravans and lodges are nestled amidst trees or scattered sparingly amongst the acres of flowering heathland.
Kelling Heath is a truly unique base for a holiday, set among 300 acres of woodland and rare open heathland in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s ideally situated for exploring North Norfolk too, nestled close to the glorious Norfolk coastline at Weybourne, just a stone’s throw from the beautiful village of Holt and the seaside town of Sheringham.
As well as the range of sports and leisure facilities on offer in and around the main Village Square, Kelling Heath Holiday Park also boasts miles of woodland and heathland trails for walking and cycling. There’s a wonderfully diverse range of wildlife and many species of birds waiting to be discovered and enjoyed, too. You can even buy some animal feed from the Village Store and feed the resident sheep.
After driving along the leafy lane to the car park, I hopped out of the car to book in at the Reception building on the Village Square. This is the main hub of the Holiday Park where you’ll find the Pizzeria, Forge Restaurant and Terrace Bar, Health & Fitness Club, Village Store, cycle hire, Petanque pitches and table tennis tables.
When I arrived, the staff on reception were attentive and friendly and as well as welcoming me to the Holiday Park, the lady on reception gave me information about our pitch and the location of the shower block and washing facilities. She also gave me an information pack. The pack contained a number of pieces of information, including a general information booklet and an Acorn Activities leaflet with a timetable of all the children’s activities and events.
We stayed on one of Kelling Heath’s premium serviced pitches, a few minutes’ walk from the main Village Square. The pitch was level and a generous size, with plenty of room for our estate car and full-length awning. Caravans and tents share the same areas rather than being segregated, which was an advantage when we visited with our tent-dwelling friends six years ago.
Although we opted to bring our touring caravan, you can bring your own tent or stay in one of the impressive woodland lodges or a luxury holiday caravan.
2017 prices for tents and touring caravans range from £19.80 (low season) – £36.50 (high season) per night for a serviced pitch and £27.45 (low) – £46.95 (high) per night for a fully serviced hard standing pitch (TV connection, water, waste, electricity). Costs include up to 6 people (unlike Caravan Club sites who charge for each person as well as a pitch fee), with an additional fee for awnings, pup tents, gazebos and dogs.
Woodland lodges are available in 2-bed and 3-bed options for short breaks or 7-night breaks (Fri-Fri). Prices for a 7 night stay in a 2-bed Woodland Lodge start from £570, rising to £1,436 in high season (summer).
Luxury Holiday Homes (caravans) can be also be booked for short breaks and 7 night stays. Prices for a 7-night stay in a Heron Luxury Holiday Home start from £277 (low season), rising to £909 in the summer.
The toilet/shower block and dishwashing and laundry facilities near our pitch were of a high standard. There were two sets of showers and toilet facilities for men and women within the same building, with one set having undergone a recent refurbishment. Unless they were being cleaned, we tended to use the newly refurbished showers and toilets, although the others were fine too.
Food & shopping.
The Village Store is definitely worth a browse, even if you don’t need anything! The well-stocked shelves are brimming with lots of locally sourced goodies, newspapers and gifts.
Although we chose to eat out whilst on our day trips or cook our own meals in the evening, there are a number of places you can eat on-site. The Pizzeria on the Village square is popular and reasonably priced and there’s the option to eat in or takeaway.
The Forge restaurant and Terrace bar offer a good selection of reasonably priced meals (with locally sourced ingredients in many cases), including a children’s menu and daily specials. If you can’t decide between a full English breakfast or toast and cereal, there’s a buffet-style breakfast served daily in the Forge.
Entertainment and activities.
As well as the daily activities organised for children, the Village Square is the setting for a whole range of activities, especially during the evening when the Folly or Terrace plays host to a variety of traditional entertainment. Although we didn’t sample any of the organised activities or entertainment during our stay, they included a jazz band and a number of male and female vocalists. Children’s activities included Dave Doughnut, Stevie Spud and Rollo the clown!
Sport and leisure.
One of the highlights of our stay at Kelling Heath Holiday Park was the range of sports and leisure activities on offer. In fact, I’d go as far as to say there’s something for everyone, no matter your age or ability.
a) Cycle hire.
If you don’t bring your own bikes, I thoroughly recommend hiring them so you can explore the acres of stunning scenery along the numerous cycling trails. The onsite cycle hire shop, Huff & Puff, offers very reasonable prices on 3 hr and 1-day bike hire, with children’s bike hire from £6 per day and adult bikes costing £11-£18 per day, depending on wheel size.
As well as mountain bikes and hybrid bikes, you can hire tricycles, toddler buggies, tandems and electric bikes. Helmets, panniers, cycle clips and locks are included in the price. What’s more, if you want to make the most of your day, you can pick up your cycles after 4.30pm the day before so you can keep them for the full 24 hour period. For more details about cycle hire prices, visit: http://www.huffandpuffcycles.co.uk/
We thoroughly enjoyed our bike rides during our stay at Kelling. The scenery is stunning and we loved picking out our favourite lodges and locations along the way. I can recommend the main 50 stage Kelling Heath cycle trail. This circular route takes around 45 minutes to complete. The route is clearly signposted and fairly level, too, making it suitable for most riders. The cycle trail takes you along the edge of the Holiday Park, where you can drink in glorious views of the sea and follow the route of the steam train, before heading across heathland and into the woods. There are lots of picturesque places to stop for a picnic, too, like the idyllic lilypad strewn pond we chose for our pit-stop.
b) Health and Fitness Club.
I have to say we were impressed by the Health and Fitness centre. There’s an indoor pool area (complete with a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi), an outdoor pool (open from May to the end of August), a gym and changing rooms. This popular facility underwent a full refurbishment of the gym, reception area, and male, female and disabled changing rooms in 2016. From what I can see, they haven’t skimped when it comes to the design, furnishings, equipment or interior decor. The whole Club has been finished to a very high standard, creating a pleasant, clean and modern environment.
It’s refreshing to come across a company who are willing to invest heavily in the facilities and are keen to learn from customer feedback (there are feedback forms in the welcome pack and they send an email after your visit asking you to rate your experience. From that I can tell, the owners are keen to continue improving the facilities, with upgrades to the tennis courts and a phased replacement of the cardiovascular equipment in the gym scheduled too.
Unless you’re staying in Kelling’s Lodges, you’ll need to pay for a pass to use the Health and Fitness Centre facilities. Day passes cost £11.25 for adults and £5.75 for children. However, I’d recommend buying a 3-day flexi pass, (Adult £20.50, Child £10.25) or a weekly pass, (Adult £31, Child £15.50) if you plan on visiting the centre regularly during your stay.
My good friend and I left the kids with our other halves and escaped to the indoor pool for an hour or two, enjoying a peaceful swim after the family swim hours were over. We had the place to ourselves for some of it, too, and it was a treat to catch up on each other’s news as we chatted in the sauna and steam room and relaxed in the jacuzzi.
As with cycling, there are plenty of routes and trails around Kelling Heath. My friend and enjoyed a lovely walk through the Holiday Park, down into the village of Weybourne and all the way down to the beach. It didn’t seem to take us that long but, the kilometres tend to slip by when you hardly pause for breath!
d) Other activities.
If the health and fitness club and bike hire facilities aren’t enough to wear you out, there are plenty of other activities on offer. As I’ve already mentioned, in the Village Square, you can play table tennis and petanque. In the pub, younger children can enjoy the soft play area, whilst older children and adults can play pool and snooker, or visit the games room with its slot machines and arcade games.
A short walk from the square, there are a couple of tennis courts, or you can have fun trying out the outdoor ‘gym’ along the ‘Trim trail’. For older children, there’s an adventure playground in the woodland, close to the Village Square. If you have younger children, there’s also a junior trim trail and playground near the touring pitches.
For the anglers among you, there’s even a fishing pond, although I think you need a permit. Mr T and I enjoyed a pleasant walk down to the fishing pond with the girls one evening.
What’s so special about Kelling Heath Holiday Park?
Not many Holiday Parks can boast almost 300 acres of heathland and woodland and a Red Squirrel breeding programme. Kelling Heath even has a dedicated Countryside Team who care for their very special natural environment, and related activities for our guests to enjoy. Such is their commitment to conservation and environmental work, they’ve earned a number of national and international environmental awards.
With little in the way of light pollution, Kelling Heath is the perfect place to star gaze. The Park even hosts star parties for the Spring and Autumn equinox.
The Poppy Line.
If you’re still not convinced Kelling Heath is a unique and special base for a family holiday in North Norfolk, perhaps the fact it has it’s very own train stop will be enough to persuade you! From Kelling Halt you can hop on The Poppy Line, an old fashioned steam and diesel train line running from Holt to Sheringham and back.
Kelling Heath is located between Holt and Weybourne and you can board the steam train at Kelling Halt and travel to Sheringham. However, unusually the train can’t stop at Kelling Heath on the way back from Sheringham (the incline is too steep) so you’ll have to carry on to Holt and then stop on the way back to Sheringham again!
We’ll be back.
During the course of the week, we found our affection for the Caravan Club site at Sandringham waning a little as we fell in love with Kelling Heath Holiday Park. It’s the perfect base for exploring Holt, Sheringham and all the other delights of North Norfolk (such as Wells-next-the-sea and Holkham Hall). In fact, there’s so much to do on-site that you could happily spend a week there without venturing beyond the end of the driveway.
Our experience at Kelling Heath Holiday Park couldn’t have been better. The setting is beautiful, the walks, trails and wildlife are truly outstanding and the facilities are fantastic and maintained to a high standard. Admittedly, we had glorious weather so we could enjoy all the park had to offer. However, with its health and fitness club and other indoor activities, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on rainy days, too.
When the time came for us to leave, we didn’t want to go. Kelling Heath enchanted us with its beauty and abundant wildlife. Despite our activities, we’d unwound and relaxed in our prime spot amid the flowering gorse. We’d explored acre upon acre of heaths and woodland and felt a million miles from work and responsibilities.
The only thing that made it easier to leave Kelling Heath Holiday Park, was the knowledge we’d come back. In the meantime, we’d be taking some wonderful memories with us, until we can return to create some new ones.
Find out more.
For more information about Kelling Heath Holiday Park, Click here: Kelling Heath Holiday Park.