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“Not too bad for a uk holiday!”

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Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park
Romford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Not too bad for a uk holiday!”
Reviewed 23 August 2014 via mobile

We have just returned from a 4 night mon-fri break as a group of 2 adults, a 5 year old and an 18 month old and would like to say that some of these reviews are very harsh. We arrived at the camp around 4:30 and was checked in straight away. We then made our way to our chalet and was pleasantly surprised as it appeared we had been "upgraded" to a club chalet. Yes they are very basic but were clean and tidy. We had a double bed in the main area which also had a small kitchenette, microwave and fridge. The kids bedroom had bunk beds and the bathroom was adequate with a push button shower. Our bed was a bit squeaky but comfortable enough. We did have a small problem with flying ants but we were really impressed with how quickly the staff came to deal with it and we were also given a complimentary bottle of wine for our trouble (bonus). If you pay money to go away for the week to sit in your room then this is not the place for you but as we only used it to sleep and get ready then its totally fine.

The camp in general could do with a lick of paint here and there but not at all as run down as some reviewers have made out. The arcade was good with the right mix of machines and the crazy golf was good for free. The shop is a bit chaotic but had everything you needed. The children's parks were excellent and well maintained. The evening entertainment was really good especially ricky k (from bgt) and usually went bingo, , kids dancing, caberet and disco. One thing that would of been nice wouldve been to have the croc crew out and about more during the evenings and around the park during the week. My children saw them once on the first night and that was it.

Now comes to the food situation. Breakfast consisted of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, porridge and a full English. Dinner was different choice of mains (the gammon night and bbq pork were particularly good) with sides of chips potatoes and a vegetable dish. There was also a different soup each night and a nice salad bar if you didnt fancy chips! No one has paid top dollar for this holiday so please dont expect caviar and smoke salmon but overall the food was good. The only thing that let's it down is the queues but I totally believe that this is down to understaffing. Also if you go a bit later on and not before or as soon as the doors open then the queues are not that bad!

The camp is ideally situated to explore the surrounding areas ie pleasurewood hills, Lowestoft, great Yarmouth and Africa alive and only a short walk from a beautiful beach.

We had an excellent time and more importantly the kids loved it. Please dont expect the camp to be a 5* paradise but take it for what it is...a good value family uk holiday park.

Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank patten51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (373)
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English first
Stowmarket, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2014 via mobile

The apartment was poor...the mattress was lumpy and uncomfortable, windows didn't close properly and heating didn't work. The bathroom was grim, no toilet roll, beds not made and no fitted sheets? Found a condom and sanitary towel near my apartment. Inflatables were growing mould. For the evening meal you only had a choice of chips, new potatoes and sweetcorn as a side for your mains the whole 4 days we were there. Not a lot of entertainment for my kids (aged 2 and 5) for the daytime . Only went to 2 shows at night as they started so late. I found there was nothing for kids to do before 10am and between 3 and 7pm...so Just went to the park, or had to pay extra to use the trampolines and go karts. Oh and we only went to the pool once as there was nothing to do there and wasn't very big for the amount if people there! The skull island ran over lunchtime when kids are eating. In the evening we had to queue from 5.15 to get a table at night to eat....by the time we got our food it was near 6! Just wasn't great service! The idea of entertainment for little kids was making pirate maps....which I could have done in the apartment. I never saw the icecream hut open once! And was suppose to open between 11-3 daily. Stock not replenished in the shop, was told by staff to come back for toilet roll as they had none. We paid £5 for a go kart that squeaked round the whole park...It was obviously old! Oh and at other holiday parks there are lots of opportunities to see the characters....here my son met the "crok crew" once! There was no set activities to meet them again! And they never walked around the park!....One of the characters was 30 mins later than schedule to meet the kids!....timing there was awful....just looked like they were short staffed the whole time. The only good part of the holiday was the wrestling and count duckula theatre show which the park obviously hire in...shame that everything else about pontins pakefield was a disappointment. I can categorically say that me and my family will not be returning to this park again.

Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank lollypop1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Lowestoft hotels

Notts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2014 via mobile

A lovely place on the coast nice beach .thats where it ends it's had its day that's probably 30 years ago.no way on earth should anyone put up with this as a complex in 2014 .the Spanish have learned an gone forward but this as stood still it's for a better word crap need to upgrade most things esp the accomadation wow how bad is that food hall .food not to bad but organisation rubbish .out of ten I give 2 and that's being fair .i think more progress on accomadation and less on bluecoates prattling about . Failing this flatten it and it would make a great golf course

Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Brian T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2014 via mobile

Stayed at Pakefield Pontins for a Monday-Friday break. I booked prior to reading the reviews and after reading the reviews I very nearly cancelled our holiday...I am so pleased I didn't. We paid £289 half board for a club chalet and after reading reviews expectations were very low.
Arrival:
We arrived at around 5pm so I think we had missed the mass check in we went straight to reception to be greeted by a lovely lady who told us where to park and where to locate our chalet. She gave us lots of info and told us to come back if we needed anything else. As we were staying in a club chalet we had an allocated parking space which was ready for us to use.
Accommodation:
As said, we stayed in a club chalet. From looking at the classic chalets there doesn't seem to be much difference - club have French doors and Classic have an actual door. However the club chalets are (in my opinion) a better location. They are situated at the back of the park so seemed to be in a quieter area. There was a little noise at night when people returned to their chalets although not enough to wake up my 11 month old. The chalets themselves are very basic, but we found ours to be clean and tidy much to my relief after reading some of the reviews. They are very very compact and don't think I would like to have two older children with me but perfect for the 3 of us.There is a living/bedroom area which includes a fridge, toaster, kettle, utensils, crockery and a small sink. A tv (channels 1-5) a small table and 3 chairs. A small bathroom with a half bath (ideal for my baby) not really made for an adult, a shower (gym push on style) - small but clean and did what it needed it to do!
Bedroom fitted travel cot (took our own) and a single bed - although cosy! My daughter slept very well whilst away - sea air I think! Bedding and towels provided - again basic but did the job. If you are fussy about bedding take your own. Mattress not the comfiest so we used the duvet from daughter bed (she was in travel cot) as a mattress topper. I would take an additional duvet if I was to return.
Meals:
Canteen style.
Breakfast was fine - usual choice. Cereals, fruit, yoghurt, full English, toast.
Dinner - food ok. Very much geared up for kids e.g. Fish fingers/nuggets chips etc. nice salad bar. Only issue here is it gets so so busy not sure where all the people come from at dinner time! Queued for quite a while which is a little awkward when with a baby! Ate there 3 out of the 4 nights, one night we went to a Toby Cavery (20mins drive) for a break and a good veg meal! Generally ok if you can deal with canteen style and queuing.
Facilities:
Swimming pool - clean and well maintained. Changing area a little small but managed.
Croc Adventureland - great for my daughter. Loved the messy play, soft play, and cinema.
Playgrounds look like new - very bright and pleasing.
Shop - ok for basics, provides what to be expected on a holiday park. There's a Morrison's supermarket 2 mins down the round too.
Beach access is clear and easy to get to. Pebbly in parts but a lovely bit of beach and ideal for a picnic and dip in to the sea.
Can't comment on the entertainment as didn't see any - baby asleep by 8pm!
Overall, for what we paid I cannot complain,yes it is basic and some areas are in need of modernisation but it is what you make of it. Yes I could have taken pictures of scuffed wood work or a little mildew in the bathroom but had better things to do! We used our chalet as a base we visited nearby attractions: Norfolk Broads and Great Yarmouth - well worth a visit. Lots of other nearby places to. In my opinion some of the reviews are unfair and do not give an accurate account. I would return to the holiday park in the future and I am pleased we did not cancel.

Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Claire K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mexborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2014

Never again. Be warned if you go you have to take your own bedding. We wasnt told and had to go to near by shop n purchase £90 worth. The place is dirty. The beds r disgusting with springs stickin up and to top it off we came back today after a day out to find our chalet had been emptied. The cleaners had come in and cleaned the room takin all my new bedding with them along with stuff out the fride!! The food is disgusting and nothing much to do on site. First and last time I go. Next time we will stick to Butlins. At least its cleaner n cleaners dont come in until you are actually booked out

  • Stayed August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank deb0898
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2014

But only 4 out of 5 for an overall holiday experience – not quite as good as last year!

The positives:

Excellent holiday price and good accommodation that compares with silver standard at Butlins for a fraction of the price. No pressure to constantly spend on the holiday as there are numerous free activities to choose from, £5 family bike hire and reasonable bar prices with short queues. The reasonable bar and bike hire prices resulted in my spending far more there than at other holiday camps where I feel I am being ripped off. The newly developed ocean view bar and the free children’s play areas and tots zone were the best I have seen at ANY holiday park. Perfect for under 5s. Great swimming pool opening hours and some very friendly and helpful staff, including Terence in the QV bar and fantastic games room/hire staff.

The shows were not quite as good as last year. However, they compare well with Butlins peak season offerings – however you can always get a seat and a good view in the venue here. Always peaceful and quiet around the camp, both during the day and at night. They have tidied up the messy fish pond since last year as well! The camp was very clean. The games room here must be the best of any UK holiday camp these days (darts, table tennis, snooker and carpet bowls), although only a shadow of what you used to get at Butlins in its prime. Check-in was also fairly well organised for Pontins. I also noticed that they have also carefully fenced off and put signing up around their waste pile at the back of the camp, presumably after BBC Watchdog’s idiotic and fairly desperate report!

The negatives:

A few little niggles, which could have fairly easily been remedied, mainly caused by being a bit overcrowded and not coping with the increased demand, as well as under-staffing.

Parking was sometimes a bit of a squeeze.

One of the windows of a main entrance door into the dining room had been smashed and was 'temporarily' covered over in cardboard and gaffa tape. For the whole of the holiday! This gives a bad impression.

They ran short of golf balls for crazy golf, massively upsetting a number of customers, in spite of it being free! Just pop out and buy a batch to tide things over until the big order arrives? In fact, the crazy golf course as a whole was quite run down compared with last year. Just a bit of maintenance needed – for peak season.

The trampolines and quad bikes were frequently not open, apparently due to being short staffed. Again, surprising for the peak season, especially since these are pay activities, which would have financed the staffing to run them within a very short time. Meanwhile, customers were getting a very miffed about these facilities being closed, and unable to use their non-refundable Pontins tokens on them! Daft, obvious and unnecessary!

But by far the worst problem this year was the meal-times. Massive queues to get into the dining room at all times and then at the serving bays once inside. This meant that people really piled up their plates, slowing things down even more, and then left loads, costing Pontins £££s, as rejoining the long queue for seconds or alternative food wasn’t an option. I am used to lengthy holiday camp queues for meals, but this really was an eye-opener! Staff couldn’t keep up with stocking the serving trays or cleaning the tables. The whole thing was a terrible, terrible experience.

Having dinner starting at 4 pm instead of 5.30 and much longer opening hours during peak season would have easily solved this problem, and saved money. But surely this is fairly obvious!

A shame to let a few silly and avoidable little issues like this spoil a perfect holiday and lose repeat custom from so many people. Pontin's seems to attract lots of complainers who expect the earth for their budget summer holiday! However, there was much that was excellent about this holiday and so long as they keep the prices the same, I will definitely be coming back again and again.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank KAF2186336
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wakefield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2014

As other people have said, you get what you pay for. We went for a few days break away and didn't expect much. The only real issue we had was the ridiculous organisation for dinner time (you don't get told anything, you just follow the crowds and try to figure out what's going on yourself). There is a period between 5:30 and 7:30 for serving but on our first night when we turned up at 5:30 it took us a good 30 minutes before we got into the building and got some food due to the never-ending queues. There are 3 counters all serving the same stuff but for literally thousands of people all storming in, there were 3 people serving the food (just the meats, the veg and other stuff you help yourself to). Some people I saw were getting 2 or 3 plates of food at a time, I guess for other people, so food disappears quickly and a lot of the time when I got to the counter things just weren't available (see photos). It's not the fault of the people serving, it's down to very poor management. Finding a clean table is sometimes hard as once people have finished they don't take their plates away, we always took our plates away and the people cleaning up always thanked us so I guess hardly anybody does this! The food is average at best and rubbish at worst.
There is a serious lack of things to do on site. There's a bunch of playground swing sets and so forth for kids, but that's about it. Didn't use the swimming pool as it looked small and packed with little kids all the time. A lot of people just seemed to be sitting in their rooms or outside smoking, looking completely bored out of their minds. The beach is a nice walk, we walked all the way to Lowestoft which took about an hour, although the beach is just pebbles, it's certainly not a beautiful beach that you would find abroad.
There is a Morrisons about a 10 minute walk away, which we visited 3 times in total - I guess this is the best place to go when staying at Pontins haha! There is a very small and awfully understock shop on site but it's also very expensive so my advice is go to Morrisons for a guaranteed fun adventure.
The bed mattress wasn't the best to be honest, it squeaked when you rolled off the sides and you could tell it was cheap as they come. The linen which we paid extra for is the lowest quality stuff you can imagine and it just slides off the bed all the time.
There is a small arcades but it's mostly all just slot machines, which is boring once you spend a few pennies for the sake of it. We watched Timmy Mallet on the one and only night we ventured out to see some entertainment. He was amusing but we only stayed for about 20 minutes. Before he showed up people were looking fed up and we felt the same, the 'entertainment' is pretty lame and you could tell they'd run out of ideas when they were getting 4/5 year olds up to tell jokes. Try drowning your sorrows if you can afford the rip off prices at the bar!
It's not a terrible place, it's just lacking in most areas, dated, under staffed and needs more attention. Been once now, won't be back again.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JohnnyDA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park

Property: Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park
Address: London Road Pakefield, Lowestoft NR33 7PF, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > East Anglia > Suffolk > Lowestoft
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Lowestoft
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park 2*
Number of rooms: 513
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Long established, friendly holiday park with many amenities for both young and young at heart. please note all rooms are non smoking for our guests' comfort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pontins Pakefield Hotel Lowestoft
Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park Lowestoft, Suffolk

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