Choosing Haven Accommodation - The Differences Between Caravans

If you are considering going to a Haven site for a holiday and you are wondering what accommodation options they offer or you want to know what the different caravan types are then this post is for you. It talks you through the 5 different grades of caravans and whether you should consider privately renting a caravan. Before you book you should also check out my post with more essential information to know before booking a Haven holiday

Choosing the right caravan type for your family holiday at Haven. Showing caravans, children and a large puddle
There are lots of different types of caravan at Haven, find out the differences between them


Accommodation Options At Haven Holiday Sites

Haven has 37 family holiday parks in the UK which primarily offer caravan based accommodation. Some of the sites offer other options as well including: chalets, apartments, beach houses, deck houses, luxury lodges and glamping. There are also a few that where you can book a pitch to bring a touring caravan or go camping.  Caravans booked through Haven are owned and run by Haven, but there are privately owned caravans on Haven sites as well and some owners then rent their caravans out privately (find out more about private renting below).

When you book a caravan you have the choice of a standard booking or a cheaper “Haven Hideaway” holiday. You save money with the "Haven Hideaway" bookings because you don't get a Play Pass. Play Passes are required if you want to use the swimming pools, entertainment or book onto activities. Booking a "Haven Hideaway" stay at peak times can save you quite a bit, compared to a standard booking, but the difference is less off peak. If you aren’t planning on using the facilities at the site you might save even more by renting a caravan privately (see the advantages of Private bookings below).


The Differences Between Haven Caravan Types - Which Caravan To Choose For Your Family

When booking directly with Haven you can choose from 5 different grades of caravan. The names and specifications were updated in late 2021 and they are now called: Saver, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Signature caravans.

All the caravans have a TV in the lounge area, a fridge, a microwave and beds made up on arrival (find out what you'll need to pack for your holiday in this post). The main differences between the grades are: Saver caravans may not have heating in the bedrooms and Saver and Bronze caravans don’t have towels provided. In Silver caravans upwards you get outside decking space. Gold Caravans are the largest and have the most extras including: a second toilet, a dishwasher and parking next to your caravan (other grades you may need to park a short walk away). Signature caravans are similar to Silver (although some can be nicer) but the key selling point of Signature caravans is their location because you are guaranteed a good view.

Obviously all the caravans at each site haven’t been bought at the same time and there is variability between caravans within a grade including their age, layout and quality of furnishings. Haven tell you what you can expect as a minimum in your caravan based on your grade, but you sometimes get lucky and receive more than you expected which is why I say “may” a few times in the descriptions eg if a caravan doesn’t have heating in the bedrooms it can now only be classed as a Saver caravan, but it could be an older caravan which is quite large and has an ensuite toilet. 

Saver Caravans 

Saver caravans only guarantee to have a heater in the lounge. As the most basic option they are the cheapest available at each site. Without central heating they may get cold at Easter (and cooler months) so you might want to bring extra blankets. If you are looking for a budget stay and not planning to spend much time in the caravan (or cooking) they are good for a value holiday. Saver caravans are similar to the old Standard grade and some Deluxe accommodation.

Bronze Caravans

Bronze caravans are generally wider than Saver, they have double glazing and central heating. Other than that they are still fairly basic in their provisions, but in colder weather you will appreciate the upgrade from Saver. This is a mix of caravans that were the nicer Deluxe ones and some of the Prestige ones.

Silver Caravans

Silver caravans have more facilities than Bronze or Saver. They include a hairdryer, a TV in the master bedroom rather than just the lounge, outside decking, a fridge freezer (you wont necessarily have a freezer section in Bronze), a DVD player and you get towels provided. They can be the same size as Bronze caravans but having the bonus of decking as additional space in nice weather.  Similar to the old Prestige with Decking grade.

Gold Caravans

Gold Caravans are the premium quality caravans available. They are wider, have wrap around decking (instead of just at one end) and outdoor furniture. You get an extra toilet as an ensuite to the master bedroom, a dishwasher and you can park next to your caravan. Similar to the old Platinum Plus accommodation

Signature Caravans

Although the way the grades are ordered might make you think Signature caravans are the best quality, they can actually be smaller than Gold grade ones and their minimum standards are more similar to Silver caravans. The key thing about Signature caravans is they have a good view, this might be a sea view or a lake.


Is It Better To Book A Haven Caravan or A Privately Rented Caravan on a Haven Site?

On Haven holiday sites there are caravans run by Haven and also privately owned caravans which the owners rent out. The Haven caravans are all of a standard quality, but the private caravans are more variable. 

Advantages of Private Bookings

● You can save a lot of money by booking a private caravan on a Haven site. They are available to book via a wide range of websites like UK Caravans 4 Hire or Direct Holiday Homes and filtering to the site you are interested in staying at. It's worth comparing the prices to Haven prices to ensure you are getting a good deal. Click here for more money saving tips when booking your Haven holiday.

● You will know exactly what you are getting. When booking you can see photographs of the actual van you are booking. In comparison with Haven where you get told the minimum standard to expect and they can be VERY variable. 

● You can choose your location. When booking privately you can find out the location of the caravan, but with a Haven van they don’t allocate the caravans until closer to your stay so you could be anywhere on the site, some distance from facilities, or right next to the bar and get a lot of noise late at night. You can pay extra to choose your location with Haven though, but not for breaks where you arrive on a Saturday or that are longer than 7 nights.


Disadvantages of Private Bookings

● The main disadvantage of booking privately is that you have to buy the Play Pass to access the Pool or Entertainment. Some sites are trialling a platform to buy the pass in advance, but until this is fully rolled out you may have to buy your pass on arrival and factor this cost into your budget. If you aren’t planning to use these facilities it wont bother you though. 

● Activities, including the pool, need to be prebooked in 2022 and it's not known how long this will continue. Anyone booking directly with Haven has access to the booking system 4 weeks before they arrive, if you are booking privately you can only book your slots when you have bought your Play Pass. In Peak Times this may mean you have trouble booking the activities you want.

● Some private rented caravans are very dated because they wont have the budget to refresh the accommodation in the same way that Haven does. Look at photographs and reviews to get an idea of what you will get.


Advice for Booking A Caravan If You Have A Large Family

Haven are strict on their booking capacities so even if you have a baby who doesn’t require a bed they count as a full guest. The maximum number of guests is 8, but in most of their 3 bed caravans the maximum capacity is 6. 

As the caravans have a maximum of 3 bedrooms, the extra 2 bed spaces are provided by a pull out bed in the lounge so you will need to fold it away each night. This function is only available in Bronze caravans so you miss out on the advantages of higher grade caravans including: a second toilet, decking, dishwasher or towels. There are limited numbers of these caravans and they can sell out quickly.

If you are a family of 5 or 6 then you can get a 2 bed (Bronze) caravan with pull out bed in the lounge or 3 bedroom caravans across all standards. Obviously going for a 2 bedroom with pull out bed is cheaper than a 3 bedroom caravan so is worth considering if on a tight budget.

If you want to go away with a family larger than 8 you would need to get multiple caravans.

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