“ Address: Long Beach / Hemsby / Great Yarmouth NR29 4JD „
This year we decided to go camping for our annual summer holiday. We have camped in various places in the north of England and decided that we would like to go back to a camping and caravan site that we had stayed on in 2005 and 2006 in our caravan.
I checked on the Long Beach (www.long-beach.co.uk) website at the end of May 2012 to get some idea of the prices I would be facing, happily for me the pricing structure was very simple and I could easily work out that for 4 nights arriving on the 9th of July and departing on the 13th of July it would cost me £84.00. That price breaks down to £14.00 a night for the tent + £3.50 a night for electrical hook up and an extra £3.50 a night as we had a large footprint tent. I could have proceeded to book online but I wanted to request a specific type of plot so I gave them a call (01493730023)
The plot I wanted on the Long Beach Tenting and Touring Site was a bungalow plot; this is where a holiday bungalow or chalet has previously stood and when the bungalow has become run down the bungalow has been demolished and the ground prepared for camping. Each plot has a picket fence or a hedge and access is gained via a drive style entrance. Happily for me the person I spoke to on the phone said there were plots available on my requested dates and I was booked in, I paid a deposit of £20 over the phone and received confirmation and a receipt in the post two days later.
Due to the atrocious weather we had been having I called the campsite up the Saturday before we were due to arrive and they honestly told me that although the weather had been a bit miserable it seemed to be better than the weather reports were predicting, so with that bit of information we decided to go for it.
When we arrived at the campsite after a long 4 hour drive we pulled up at the office. We were greeted in a friendly manner. Our eldest daughter had decided to tag along, when we informed the site manager of this he was perfectly happy and he added the extra £3.50 a night on for our daughter, we then paid the balance via chip and pin and purchased two toilet and shower block keys for the refundable sum of £2 each. The site manager then walked our car down to our plot. He told us where the toilets and shower block were and where the water taps were located and told us the opening times for the small onsite laundry and shop and also told us that the Dolphin bar was open pretty much all day and that meals were serves between 12.30pm and 2.30pm and evening meals were served 6.00pm to 8.30pm. He then left us to admire our pitch.
The pitch we had been given measured roughly 40ft by 30ft and had a small fence all the way around apart from the entrance, we had bungalows either side of us but as there were no windows looking out into our pitch we still felt private. There was more than enough room to erect our 7m x7m tent, park the car and store the trailer and still have room for sitting or cooking outside the tent. The ground of the pitch was more or less level and the area was free from rocks, stones or litter. The electrical hook up was easy to locate and we soon had all our air beds and sofa's pumped up and the heater on.
I was really pleased by the fact that our plot had a partial sea view, and we were less than a 5 minute walk away from the private beach. After setting up we headed off to the Dolphin bar for a bite to eat, the meals are pretty basic home cooked food and cost about £7 a head, the drinks and snacks at the bar are quite pricey it cost me £1.80 for a Wispa and a bag of Milky Bar Buttons, £4.00 for a bottle of Kopparberg and £2.60 for a large coke or lemonade so we stuck to pints of squash at a £1 for the kids. There is entertainment on at the bar most evenings during peak times, as we had arrived before the season had started and the bad weather had been putting people off the bar was very empty. We had a couple of meals at the bar during our stay and the food was consistently of a good standard and the portions were of a large size.
A short walk from the camp site is Hemsby beach front where you will find various shops, arcades and cafés. We never ventured further than Hemsby beach front as it catered to all our arcade needs nicely. A 1 minute drive away from the coast will bring you to Hemsby village; this is a quiet village with a post office, chemist, spar, pubs and a couple of takeaways.
The amenities at the campsite are of quite a high standard, the toilet block is kept clean and there is a plentiful supply of toilet rolls, the sink area is clean and fresh, there is a small bar of soap on each sink but nothing to dry your hands with, the toilets are accessible 24 hours a day. The toilets are separated into ladies and gents as are the showers. The shower blocks are also kept clean and the shower enclosures are nice and spacious, the shower curtain separates your dry stuff from the shower area, the showers are strong and hot, the only downside is that it is a push button shower, so the water does keep cutting out on you, but after a long day on the beach those showers feel like the best ones in the world. Also in the showers there are mirrors and plug sockets. There is also a small laundry where you can hand wash clothes and there is an ironing board if you are of a mind to iron while on holiday.
The onsite laundrette has 3 top loading washing machines and 2 large tumble driers, you have to purchase a token from the site office at a cost of £2.50 per wash for the washing machines and the tumble driers cost a £1 for 35 minutes or 20p for seven minutes. While on holiday my husband was in charge of the laundry so as to give me a break, he did at least one wash each day while we were away, you do have to provide your own wash powder, and a word to the wise, don't leave your box of powder in the laundry unattended as my husband did, he came back to a half empty box. Each wash takes 22 minutes and the driers only take 35 minutes to dry two loads from the washer at once. It was nice not to bring home bin liners full of wet sandy beach clothes and towels.
The small on site shop opens at 8am and closes at 4.30pm; it also shuts between 1pm and 2 pm for dinner. The shop sells a bit of everything, but as you can imagine the prices are quite high.
There is a small children's play park at the back of the Dolphin Bar, it looks well maintained, there is a climbing frame, swings slides etc, there are also some swings near the main toilet and shower block.
The whole campsite is very well maintained, the grass is kept short, the hedges are neatly cut and I can't recall seeing a single piece of litter. In the evenings there is minimal lighting around the site so I do recommend taking a torch as it can be a bit unnerving pottering to the toilets last thing at night.
During our stay we found the campsite to be very quiet at night, once we had dropped off nothing woke us up. Unfortunately we did have a few rain days and ended up with a puddle at the side of the tent, and the ground felt quite churned up under the ground sheet. I think they should try to improve drainage a bit, but apart from that the pitch coped very well.
During our stay my eldest son and his fiancé came for a few days (they were travelling back from Germany and thought it would make a nice break before they got home) they pitched a small two man tent up next to ours; we decided to stay two extra days, the site manager was more than accommodating even though he had booked our pitch out for the weekend, he moved the booking and charged us another £54 for both extra nights. On the Friday my eldest daughters' boyfriend turned up and the site manager said he could stop for free as he was staying in our 6 man tent. I thought this was very good of him.
The site is mainly static vans that are privately owned and privately owned holiday bungalows, this makes for a nice quiet site. The earliest you can arrive is 11am on you day of arrival and all plots must be vacated by 11am on your day of departure unless you have made a prior arrangement with the management. when we had packed up on the last day we were able to park up with our trailer at the side of the Dolphin Bar and have one last walk into Hemsby. If you think you may be arriving later then 5pm you can be booked in at the Dolphin Bar as the site office will be shut.
Overall I thoroughly recommend this campsite, the majority of the staff is English speaking Polish, and they are incredibly hard working and a credit to the management. The site manager runs an excellent site and we are going back for a Saturday to Saturday stay at the beginning of July next year with our two dogs, as dogs are welcome on the site provided you keep them under control at all times.
The location of the site is perfect as you are a stones throw from a private beach, the beach is spotless and the dunes are excellent and make for some strenuous evening walks. You are a short walk from Hemsby beach front and Hemsby village and a 15 minute drive from great Yarmouth, there are plenty of supermarkets and shops for all your camping needs. The site office and Dolphin Bar have massive racks of leaflets full of information about local attractions; this is where I got my 3 for 2 vouchers for Pleasurewood Hills. All things considered I thoroughly recommend Long Beach Caravan and Camping Site, all information can be found on there website www.long-beach.co.uk. They have a couple of other sites that can be booked from the same website so make sure you are on the right section.
Thank you for reading. All reads rates and comments are appreciated.