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“'scary reality, of holiday parks today!'” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park

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Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park
Billericay, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“'scary reality, of holiday parks today!'”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 12, 2013

it was awful. we arrived there at 1 oclock too have too wait around till 4 o clock with nothing to do, with great anticipation we went off too our rooms after finally checking in. The carpet and bathroom were covered in stains, and the damp musk smell could not be moved from our noses after an hour there, we had a look around and realised what a disgrace it really was, we got changed- without having a shower and then went on too dinner, the hall resembled a school canteen, it was utter madness. useless. would never go there again, it is a scary reality of holiday parks today.

Room Tip: double rooms- just awful,
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Jessica T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (363)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Stowmarket, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2013

We booked last minute (the day before!) due to another trip having to be cancelled. We'd never stayed at a Pontins before although we have a caravan and regularly stay in Kessingland just down the road so had passed this one. With young children (4 and 6) we enjoy places where we can go out in the evening which keep them entertained but where we can go 'home' easily when they get tired and this seems like a good winter alternative to our usual campsite which are shut at this time of year.

On arrival we weren't really sure what we were supposed to do or where we were supposed to go - to be honest I think most people there were regulars/returners and as we'd only booked online the day before we hadn't had any paperwork. We were directed to a car park and told that we could get to our accommodation at 4pm as we expected.

We went into the 'ballroom' and were pleased that the drink prices were comparable with pub prices. There seemed to be quite a bit of activity in here and throughout the day on our whole stay, with bingo, quizzes etc. They also had 'happy hour' from 5pm to 7pm each night, but it eventually turned into the whole evening for both New Year’s Eve and the next day, with pints and glasses of wine at around £2.

The arcade was good with plenty of 'penny machines' for the children and there was also a small cafe selling drinks and chips etc.

As there were a lot of people to check in due to the set breaks, keys were handed out in the ballroom and it seemed quite organised and we were soon off to our accommodation armed with information about everything that was going on on site and meals times.

The chalet was basic but with plenty of room and beds were comfortable and everything was clean. They're dated but I don't come on holiday to spend time in my room so it really was just a place to sleep. Similar to Travelodge accommodation but with another bedroom for the children. I would recommend taking an extension cable as sockets are limited - when they were build I guess we didn't have chargers for laptops, phones, DSs, etc!

We were really pleastantly surprised with the food available. There is a large 'canteen' area although the feature of seating in huge 'boats' (to go with a nautical theme throughout) was a real novelty for the children and something we had to aim for each meal time! There were a lot of staff around clearing table and cleaning up - they worked constantly at their stations throughout meal times.

The food was of a huge variety and completely changed each night we were there. There was soup and rolls available each night, a salad bar with quiche/pasties/sausage rolls, jacket potatoes on two nights and omelettes being cooked on the other, then a selection of hot meals being served such as casserole, spaghetti Bolognese, chicken breasts, breaded place, burgers, cod mornay, vegetarian pies and then vegetable accompaniments you could help yourself to. There were also some nice touches like a bowl of tartar sauce and lemon on the night with plaice. Desserts were mainly plated cakes and one hot choice like crumble, and vanilla ice cream 'tinned' fruit salad. Tea, coffee and juice were also freely available.

Breakfast was similarly as good, with porridge, cereal, fruit and yogurt onto a full English with the usual choices, or even kipper if you fancied them! There was also toast available (already toasted, so not the queues you get in hotels for the toast machine!), bread and jams. Fresh orange juice was also available.

We didn't have any problems with queues and went at different times of service. The fact that we could eat as much as we liked and try a bit of everything was a big plus when eating with children. They really enjoyed being able to pick different things to us and also not being subjected to a children’s menu of nuggets every night! On New Year’s Day, there were also Christmassy table clothes, napkins and crackers (although like someone has pointed out if you do sit at a table that has been used these will probably have gone - we just got them from another empty table as we were on the boat!). We didn't really need to each lunch with such good meals so it was really full board for us!

The evening entertainment was good, varied and family friendly: plenty of disco music to dance to, a live band Abba tribute, a glow in the dark show, and games with the Bluecoats. On NYE they also handed out party bags to each table which was a lovely touch - party poppers, streamers, hats and balloons. We had no problems getting a table on any night during our stay.

We didn't make a lot of use of the facilities with it being winter although the playgrounds looked good and we played mini golf once which was a good little course. There is a decent games rooms with pool tables, snooker tables, darts, table tennis and bowls which was attended.

The swimming pool was a really good size and lovely and warm. There were plenty of floats, woggles, balls etc available and a small splash pool. The flume wasn't on but when we asked they opened it up for us. The changing rooms were basic but with plenty of lockers (for a refundable 10p!).

Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves and I'd definitely look to book again at the price we paid (around £80 a day for the four of us half board) as we'd struggle to find anything anywhere near comparable over NYE with this much to offer. With a caravan and similar things being offered in the summer elsewhere, I probably wouldn't return then but would definitely consider it out of season at other times.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Paypolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2013

We stayed 3 nights over new-years break, seemingly at a hugely reduced rate.

We were not expecting the Ritz, and following the poor reviews on here we were expecting 'rather disgusting', but it was great!

The apartment was basic and a little dated, but was clean and functional, perfect for sleeping and storing our stuff. New beds, bedding, carpets and curtains were apparent, and heating was good. TV was tiny but who cares. Even on new-years eve it was quiet on site, no rowdy behaviour at all.

We weren't really aware that all meals were self-serve buffets, but this was a great bonus. For the very low price we paid this worked out cheaper than going out to dinner each evening and then the entertainment and accomodation, facilities was included too! The food was obviously not Michelin Star, but was perfectly suitable, always presentable and served quickly and to correct temperature. Queues were not an issue. Huge range of food (breakfast was porridge, cereals, fruits, yoghurts and full English options, OR HAVE THEM ALL. DInner was soup, salads, roasts, fish, savoury, hot/cold deserts, etc). We ate so well at breakfast&dinner that we didn't bother with lunch, so it really was 'full-board' for us.

Being winter, we didn't use the facilities to full effect... the golf and playgrounds would have been better for our kids in summer, and we didn't even venture to the beach. The evening entertainment was fine for us... we were happy to sit and relax and drink and listen to whatever is on, so the bands/acts/etc were all fine. Kids/parents had a chance to boogie. The place was very busy... hundreds of people, though there were still no queues at the bar, nor a problem with getting seats. I guess this is more of a problem in summer, but people had been moaning on here about no seats for meals/showbar in winter either... we had NO problems.

We are not drunks, but were very pleased when New Years Eve and New Years Day were 'happy hour' all day/evening!! Drinks were normal pub-prices originally, but even with a captive audience they decided to sell pints for £2 all night! Bargain.

Swimming pool was nice and warm, and flumes were turned on when requested.

The area is a good centre for various local activities/locations/attractions.

All in all, we loved it. We know it's not classy or cultural, and anyone expecting it to be such are clearly too daft to be allowed to then moan about it not being so. Our kids are young and want some penny-machines and a disco and we all enjoyed the short stay away. We will be going again next new-year and if we didn't have paid-up commitments for other holidays we would be going other times in the year too.

Room Tip: We got the basic/cheapest room... it was basic but fine.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KMLStowmarket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2013

Well i never normally write a review on here and im a keen holiday goer here and abroad but after such a fantastic time and few bad reviews i had to write a HONEST review, well i actually went pontins for the festive break but after such a great time extended and done twixmas and new years, well this place can honestly not fault, will start with food as key for all of us, well breakfast theres something for everyone, fried breakfast every item barr black pudding but who really likes that lol, cereal, yogurts, toast all with fresh juice, water, tea or coffee, dinner id say theres choice of around 3 dishes excluding veggies which are catered for to for adults then dishes for kids or they can just have adults dishes but smaller portions, loads of desert to choose from aswell and same drinks barr fresh juice to choose from aswell, so if you have problem with food here your in my opinion either a liar who has nout better to do than try put people off or you just dont have taste buds !! now entertainment, theres something for everyone, adults and kids, day time kids have face painting, cake decorating, olympics being egg spoon races etc lol, adults have bingo, family bingo, hoy bingo, cine racing and talent shows for adults and kids, all this aside you have sky tv at the vic with EVERY channel, swimming, play area for kids aswell as games room with darts snooker bowls and table tennis, if you cant find nout to do here suggest you go see a gp as you clearly have a problem, night entertainment, well you have stuff for both adults and kids, kids have characters, party dances, mini disco then adults have bingo followed by singers, magicians, comedians and even tribute acts such as robbie williams and abba that are fab, i see a review earlier someone moaning kids round after 9, my advice to you be go get back in your oap home as its a holiday site which means its different to when your home, that or go to a site no kids allowed, cant understand people like that, lucky enough all oaps i met some of what staying in contact with wernt like that and loved watching kids enjoy themselves, hope im like that at their age, also biggest point have to make are blue coats here are fantastic, warren, robert, matthew and especially harry out guys and the girls were all fantastic, they were brilliant with adults and kids, our kids loved them, id love to go back even more so if they are here so if your reading mr brittania snap them up for next year lively, so everyone reading, DONT be put off by moany oaps, liars and people moaning about a luck of paint, get yourselves to pontins pakefield and have great time you wont forget !! Darren from Romford Essex

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank chelseajacko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2013

We made a last minute reservation for the new years eve break and though it certainly was cheap and cheerful, we had a great time. Good and bad points as with everything. Yes the food was luke warm, and if you arrived towards the end of service there was little left and hard to get a clean table but the staff in there were so polite and hard working.
Other Minor irritations
The age of the average guest was 198, which was fine except for the grumpies
People thought that by leaving a piece of tinsel and a tube of pringles the table in the ballroom was theirs for the duration of the holiday (need dealing with - it is worse than towels on sunbeds)
Some naughty kids were left unsupervied by adults and the bluecoats were too lovely to deal with them, spoilt it for the others and at times was unsafe (they were chasing each other round with pool cues) and insisted they played bulldogs squashing several toddlers. Pontins need security/ management with younger blues in a venue away from main building
The soft play area lady talked on the phone none stop except to snap at my child mainly critising the other guests
My children were lead off in a croc march out in a ploy to get them in a photo I was not aloud to take myself which all the other camps/ Butlins/madame tussauds let you
The place needs some money injecting but I believe this is in hand
Showers didn't work in the pool and there were no slides/ hamster balls/ swimming lessons
Positives
A real effort had been made to make the place festive and on the first night the kids club puppet show and the dayglow in the dark cabaret was brilliant
The booze was cheap and they turned a blind eye ino smuggling your own in
The blues were so sweet and enthusiastic and Harry the blue and the entertainments manager were classic Hi de Hi characters that put the camp into holiday camp and made everyone laugh. Harry made each and every guest feel special. They all worked so hard none stop.
New years day sunshine on the beach was stunning
New years eve had a real party complete with party packs for each table.
Skull island was fun
Despite everything the positives far outweighed the negatives and we will certainly be back. Thankyou Pakefield Happy New year

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank melflynnhaddon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2013

from our first contact with the resort reception , i had arrived a day earlier than i was booked for by my booking error, everyone was so so helpful
it did not faze the reception staff at all they offered to just bring my booking forward a day , but we made , as it turns out , the best decision by opting to just lengthen the stay by an extra day
the chalet was as usual perfectly clean and after a short time very warm and snug then the first meal wow it was always pretty good but this time they had made a few extra tweaks that made meal times even better .
the usual 3 choices of main course and a mamouth salad bar with lots of choices of cold meats , pork pies ect , lovely piping hot soup , the freshly made omlett bar and jacket potatoes , even the hardest to please , even me !!!!!, could not fail to be impressed.
this standard of food carried on for the whole of our stay with new years eve even having prawn cocktails on the salad bar and cheese and biiscuits as an addition to the already large dessert choice .

then the entertainment . the blue coats had always been really good at pakefield but shock 2 had left since out last visit in october what would the 2 new ones be like and would they fit in well with the others in the team especially as one was acctually on his first day as a blue coat .

flipping heck were we surprised , the new members of the team fitted in like they had been together for years
it would be imposible to pick out one who was any better than the rest
established blues warren , beth , wendy were as usual fantastic , rhianna a fairly new crew member has settled in perfectly , and the very recent member harry was born to be a blue --great showman and then to matt who was on his first week as a blue coat what a star he threw himself into every thing the result was the best set of blues ever .
not forgetting robert who is not so prominent as entertainment manager must have a lot of work to do behind the sceens but when needed he too joined the others to provide great entertainment
then the visiting guest artists
the dayglo puppet show the best family entertainment ive ever seen at pontins entertaining both children and adults alike
the other gust artist too werre really good and kept the entertainment flowing perfectaly

but basically the whole holiday is easy to sum up

perfect holiday could not be beaten and not only that good value prices too
we have already booked the break for next new year
thanks to every single member of staff for making the holiday so so good .

Room Tip: to be honest it doesnt matter where you are the whole hoiday is so so good you cannot fail to have a...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank steve_and_oli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Witham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

We have been going to pakefield at Xmas and Easter for the last 4 years. Initially it was superb with excellent entertainment and lots of thought out extras/surprises.

Years ago there must have been 8 - 10 bluecoats, now there is 5 or 6.

The camp is in a state with little maintenance being carried out. Glasses and plates are left out for long periods as there are no staff to clear up.

The on site shop was either running low or out of stock of many food and drink items. Canteen food was cold and lacking flavour.

One bonus was the swimming pool is a lot warmer than previous years.

I am not a moaner, I give subjective views but unless the management do something this place is going to fail. The staff and blue coats are very friendly and work hard, but they can only do so much.

Management it's time to act and invest.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GavT
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
Location: 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 Specialty 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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