Here's the full description of a holiday in this place, at a glance. "You get what you pay for" is an old saying, and St Oyth caravan site is priced cheaper for a reason, but in spite of the disadvantages (that they don't tell you about) , there are a surprising number of advantages that makes this a holiday worth considering :
1) It's cheap, very cheap
2) A few people have said on tripadvisor that their caravan was bad; ours I have to say was very nice, it was a 'silver' level caravan. All the linen is provided - and all gas and electric is FREE - no fiddling about with meters, very clean on arrival; and actually had a decent-sized loo, even more so than some more expensive caravans we've hired at other sites in the past.
3) No extra charge to bring a pet
4) There is a brand spanking new indoor swimming pool on site. It can get packed, so that's simply an excuse to get out of bed a bit earlier :-) But it was very clean, nice slides, looks all new and modern and clean; staffed adequately
5) There is a kick-about astra-turf area with goals and basketball hoops on site; this seemed nice and new and in good repair
6) St Osyth is statistically the driest place in the UK. We had a week there in the summer and I think it only drizzled a bit for one evening.
7) St Osyth is about 2 miles away; probably too far to walk but it is quite quaint with a curry house and pubs.
8) The caravan park is not far from Clacton-on-Sea; you can either walk the almost 3-miles along the seafront, or much better to drive, but in any case the site is a nice 'base' for visiting Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze a bit further up. Clacton by the way is excellent; the town centre has been poshed up, there's loads of old interesting shops plus the usual highstreet chains and of course the amusements; the beach is nice n sandy; lots of stuff to do - kids mini-funfair, pier, etc. Walton-on-the-Naze however has an even nicer beach, and is a quaint small village (although with a massive pier!) and the beach there is probably the best sandcastle-building beach I have ever known; the beach is deep sand but uneven which means large mini 'lakes' (or giant puddles) remain long after the tide has gone out, which means if you want a sandcastle with a fancy moat, you just make a channel to one of these lakes/puddles. Great fun. Parking in Clacton can be a nightmare, so get there early; parking in Walton is much much easier.
9) The site has a boozer/club on site with entertainment most nights, if that's your thing
10) The site in general, on our visit anyway, was kept extremely clean.
11) There is a chippy nearby in the neighbouring site, about 3 minute's walk away.
12) The site is a gated community; the whole site is surrounded by secure but unobtrusive security fencing; in stark contrast to the adjoining caravan site (the one with the chippy) where anyone can wander in.
1) You're not allowed to park by your caravan; you have to park in the many mini car-parks and walk to the caravan; it's not far - say 50 yards, but that is very long 50 yards with a heavy suitcase! Some people I got the impression were simply ignoring the rules, but there are private caravans on site so maybe they are allowed? don't know. But that was the one thing I really didn't like about it.
2) The site is in the middle of nowhere. You can walk 3 miles to Clacton (ouch) along the seafront, or its a 6 mile-drive approx. You also need to drive to St Osyth a) because it's too far to walk and b) the roads are dangerously narrow with viscious 90-degree bends; I wouldn't want to walk or cycle it.
3) There are miles of unbroken beaches - true, however the 'beach' is a dog-beach really; I got the impression the local council don't clear it up; there's rubbish about and it all looks very past its heyday. However if you have a dog and like long, unbroken walks by the sea, free from crowds, it's ideal. But with kids; well you have to drive to Clacton to be honest. The 'beach' is right next to the site, which is good, and it makes for a nice morning walk, and you can set up a towel there on the higher parts of the beach and its OK but it's mainly a stone beach to be honest; and some of the nearby beaches are a little bit on the quick-sandy side for me. You won't die, but you might lose a shoe. Should be signs up about it really. Lots of dogs everywhere, so just make sure you understand this before going..
4) The site would be brilliant if you could hire a bike; then you could get into Clacton on the traffic-free seafront in no time, but there's no bike hire available, nor any in St Osyth, nor any in Clacton! Ridiculous.
5) It's an honest. non-nonsense blue-collar holiday park. I was in a very small minority of people without tattoos... But that said, I think the clientele here come from the old-fashioned 'honest' working classes; everyone we met was friendly, there was no aggro or anything. But yes, if you are an un-tattooed member of human race, you can feel a little out of place here!
6) Because of their strong Essex accent, sometimes the staff cannot understand what you are saying. Here's a tip. St Osyth is NOT pronounced "santa - sythe" which is the way it reads. If you say this, they will not understand you, and look at you as if you were from Mars.. I found out eventually that the pronunciation is "Saynt OH - Zith." Say that and you will be fine.
6) The staff are friendly, but clueless. Tired of driving to Clacton, I enquired whether there was a bus service nearby. "Nah busses araaahnd 'ere. Nuffink." In fact, I subsequently found out that there WAS a bus to Clacton -the bus-stop being about 3 minute's walk from the site, basically in the adjoining caravan park next to the chippy, busses running every hour.
7) Jaywick. To describe the full horror of this place would take up too much space, but basically if you walk about 15 minutes towards Clacton you have to walk past Jaywick, statistically the most deprived area in the UK. A scary place, with nearly all amenities boarded up or vandalized, but that said walking past in the day I didn't get any hassle, but for Goodness' sake, don't wander in there at night.
8) As said our caravan was spotless when we arrived, but when we checked out, very disturbingly, there is no procedure to look over your caravan, which every other caravan site I've ever been to IN MY LIFE has as a requirement; they just say drop your keys in the pot and goodbye! This kind of suggests either they don't care about the state of their caravans, or the crowd they get there are so clean and tidy they don't need to bother. Bit odd I thought. I did see some caravans that were falling to bits but they weren't hired out. In fact a Tractor arrived the week we were there to tow one away. I guess the owners are at least trying to posh it all up a bit; in fact it is very heavy on the sales front - lots of adverts to buy your own caravan etc, and in fact, they are cheap, very cheap, for what you get, it would be good value for money if that was your thing.
9) Just a small point, but the vast majority of the caravans on site do not have beautification panels. The private ones do, but not all the others; all the underneath and pipes and wheels are on show; and the caravans are perched on, it has to be said, rather rough and ready looking crumbling concrete slabs. As a result, the whole site, although very clean; does have a 'council' caravan site feel and look about it. Just this one addition would brighten the whole place up a lot, I think.
It does what it says on the tin. As long as you are aware of the disadvantages, it can be a good, cheap, clean, rain-free holiday, as long as you treat it as a base - if you have kids, you absolutely NEED a car to get to Clacton or Walton-on-the-naze. By contrast there is another caravan park at Walton, but it is much dearer. Swings and roundabouts, make your choice.
Did we have a good holiday? Yes,we did to be honest. Would I go back? I'd probably push the boat out a bit further to be honest and go for a slightly more salubrious site in future; but that said, if you are on limited means, I think it's good value for money. As for Clacton and Walton though, I'll definitely be going back there at some point in the future.
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