What To Pack For A Haven Caravan Holiday With Children

Over the long Easter weekend we had a great holiday at Haven Seashore in Great Yarmouth. It was the first time I have stayed in a caravan since I was a child and back then all I wanted to pack were toys. So when you are staying in a self-catering caravan park what do you need to take with you? From my research and mistakes I have pulled together a list of everything you need to pack and take with you on holiday.

A view of caravans at Haven seashore taken from the boardwalk leading to the sand dunes

Depending on the size of your car (and your budget) you will want to adjust my list, but there will probably be a few things you hadn't thought of. If you have a small car, hire what you can and buy food from a nearby supermarket when you arrive. If you are trying to be as frugal as possible bring more from home (and see these money saving tips for your holiday).

What You Can Hire

At Haven sites the bed linen is included, but it’s worth double checking when you book at other caravan sites. If you are staying in a privately owned caravan on a Haven site you will need to check with the agent you booked through if linen and towels are included. Not only does having bed linen included mean one less thing to pack, but more importantly all the beds will all be made up when you arrive.
Towels are provided in Gold and Signature Haven caravans. You can expect to get a bath towel per person and a hand towel per bathroom. In Silver, Bronze and Saver caravan no towels are provided. Find out the differences between caravan types in this post. At most holiday parks you can hire towels, but it is worth checking in advance if you are depending on this.
What else you can hire varies between sites, but it usually includes: a highchair, cot, pushchair and a bed guard for children. It is recommended you book these in advance via your account and you get the £10 deposit back afterwards. 

Bits For The Kitchen

Even if you eat out for dinner or get takeaway you will probably want to use the kitchen for snacks and a few meals. The kitchens contain a fridge (with either a mini freezer compartment or separate freezer), microwave, hob, oven, kettle and toaster. They are also well stocked with everything from saucepans to bottle openers, but a few additions will be needed:
  • Washing up liquid
  • Kitchen Cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Tea towels
  • Kitchen roll
  • Bin Bags
  • Foil (reduces the washing up if you are cooking in the oven)
  • Plastic plates, cups and cutlery if you have young kids
  • I took a sharp veg prep knife and scissors because I'm particular about the quality, but they had basic ones there.
  • If you have a dishwasher at home it's worth taking a few tabs with you. You get a dishwasher in all Gold caravans, but you can be lucky and get them in other grade caravans too.

Food and Drink

Everything you consume over your stay will need to be brought with you or purchased after you arrive. There are restaurants on site as well as a reasonably priced shop, but taking food with you (or popping out to a nearby supermarket) will save you a lot of money. We found it easy to have breakfast in our caravan as well as either lunch or dinner depending on our plans for the day.

Don’t forget the staples:
  • Salt
  • Pepper and any other spices you use regularly 
  • Tomato ketchup (well it's a staple in our house)
  • Oil
  • Fruit Squash
  • Tea bags/ coffee
  • Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Because children like to eat regularly.

You might want to buy butter and milk when you are there if you are travelling for more than an hour.

For The Bathroom

  • Hand soap
  • Toilet roll (there will be one in each bathroom, but you will probably need more)
  • Hand towel
  • Body towels (unless you they are provided in your grade of caravan)
  • Bath mat to stop the floor getting wet when you get out of the shower
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Any other essential toiletries and cosmetics
  • Suncream
  • The caravan's have showers so if you need a baby bath bring one, it might be tricky to fill though so you could try using the kitchen sink for a short stay.

A view taken of a bedroom with twin beds and very little space between them. Soft toys are strewn around

First Aid

  • Plasters
  • Calpol/ Nurofen
  • Piriton
  • Tweezers
  • Anthisan
  • Thermometer
  • Painkillers for adults
  • A mini first aid kit

Clothes etc

  • Lots of outfits. Depending on the time of year you will want 1 or 2 changes of clothes per day (and probably more the younger the children are). Some people dress up for the evenings entertainment, but it is pretty much anything goes so it's up to you.
  • Swimming costumes/ trunks. We take 2 per person because we go swimming every day and they needed time to dry.
  • Goggles, armbands etc
  • Swimming towels
  • Wellies, flip flops or other beach footwear
  • Waterproofs
  • Jumpers, even in summer the evenings can get cold. 
  • Nightwear

Other Essentials

  • Chargers for every electrical device you are bringing.
  • A night light if your children don't like their rooms to get totally dark at night.
  • Entertainment for the journey: this means an iPad and music for us as well as travel games (affiliate link). Alternatively if your children get travel sick I wrote this post of suggestions of games to play in the car.
  • Toys and entertainment for in the caravan because the TV alone wont be enough if you spend much time indoors eg travel games as well as colouring pencils and paper.
  • Most Havens are near the beach so in nice weather you are likely to spend time there. Bring bucket and spades, a ball and other beach toys.
  • If you get disturbed easily at night you might want to take ear plugs and an eye mask. I found our neighbours quiet, but the rain and sea (which we were very close to) were less so. 
  • The curtains varied in our rooms so if your children need darkness to get to sleep a temporary black out blind might be helpful. Luckily our caravans have had good curtains in the children's rooms and I have used an eye mask to compensate for the thinner curtains in the main bedroom.
  • If you have a baby you will also need nappies, wipes and anything necessary for feeding (including sterilising equipment and bib). I actually managed to forget nappies on one trip away. Check out these suggestions for essentials when travelling with a baby.
The main changes at Haven sites following Covid is that activities and swimming pool sessions need to be prebooked (you can book up to 4 weeks before your stay) although after 6pm booking isn't required. Find out how to book extra swimming sessions in this post.

Text saying What to pack for a Haven self-catering caravan holiday with kids above a photo of caravans

I hope this list helps, please comment and let me know if you think anything needs adding.


  1. We are heading out to Coombes haven Park in Hastings today and this was super helpful to do final checks. Thank you so much :)

    1. Thank you, I hope you have a great time and the rain holds off 🙂

  2. Great tips, the best so far

  3. Very useful. Many thanks

  4. These are great tips! I've never been on a caravan holiday so these tips were really helpful. Using your list as I pack to go today! Thank you!!

  5. Best list I have found so far, thank You

  6. Really helpful thank you!!

  7. Super helpful great for first time packing ! 😊🥰x


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