• The Lake as in Lakeside

    The Lake as in Lakeside

    For those unaware, Warners is a holiday company that brings cruising to dry land.
    They have quite a few holiday park complexes around the UK, specialising in short
    breaks of two to four days, where guests have high quality rooms, food included, live
    entertainment every night, daytime activities, and are encouraged to stay onboard
    the complex throughout the stay.
    Pam and I have recently been to Lakeside, which is on Hayling Island, part of UK’s
    south coast. It’s not that far from Chichester, just before Portsmouth, with a ferry
    connecting Hayling Island to Portsmouth. There is one road in and off the island, one
    bridge with one lane in each direction, so it’s fair to assume that if there is any
    criminal activity police simply have to stop and check on the bridge.
    It only has a population of just over 16,000, is just over four miles from north to
    south, one main road with fields either side until you get to the main habitation on the
    south shore. This is mainly comprised of opulent houses, not so wealthy homes, a
    fun fair, a long south shore with abundant parking, and lots of caravan and tented
    enclaves. Warners has two properties, Sinah Warren on the western side, and
    Lakeside on the east.
    MAin outside seating area

    Main outside seating area

    I only drove in and out of the former, just to see what it was like, and the impression

    was pretty good, with larger chalets around the main building complex. That is where
    we will take our next Hayling break, however our two night stay was at Lakeside. The
    best thing to do with these places is to keep your luggage in the car, park close to
    reception, ascertain your accommodation location, then drive round to it with your
    key. Our chalet was in a block of eight, backing onto a further identical group. These
    had obviously been refurbished to quite a high quality, one basic room with en suite
    walk in shower room. The bed was 5ft, wardrobe, two bedside cabinets, long desk,
    two chairs, wall tv, all you could wish for. Outside there was a small table with metal
    chairs opposite an identical block with yet more tables and chairs.
    More dining

    More dining

    We visited in August, with flowers in abundance, they have a devoted team of

    gardeners maintaining the grounds to quite a high standard, it’s a wonder they ever
    get any work done because guests are forever talking to them. The paths are nice
    and wide between the blocks, the whole area is well designed to include the
    maximum while appearing open plan. The main complex is comprehensive, with
    reception, shop that opens a few hours every day for tourism essentials, the dining
    room that doubles up as evening entertainment venue, a smaller entertainment bar,
    and outbuildings containing a small cinema and a separate swimming pool.
    Our refurbished bedroom

    Our refurbished bedroom

    The grounds are extensive, with archery, pitch and putt, long walks around the

    shore. You are a good ten minute walk along a side road away from any activity such
    as shops or pubs, which doesn’t seem to matter. There is a company coach to take
    you out for the day an extra fee to the Isle of Wight, or Portsmouth. Even if the
    weather is simply awful, it seems as if there is something to do, for people of all
    physical abilities. There was a preponderance of wheelchairs and walkers, they were
    simply integrated into the pleasant atmosphere of the place.
  • All the staff are so lovely, greeting with a smile, you are made to feel welcome, in a
    way it has a holiday camp feel without the impression of cheapness. Holiday camps
    can be pretty basic, improved considerably over the years, this seems just a little
    more upmarket, not too surprising because Warners is owned by the same people
    as Haven and Butlins.
    pleasant well maintained paths

    pleasant well maintained paths

    We felt they let themselves down in the main public area, where our table was the

    same for all meals, as well as sitting there for the evening. The frantic waiting staff
    were mainly able to cope, our chap struggled not just with basic English but
    providing us with what we had ordered. The vast majority of main courses come from
    the self service area, on both evenings the food was cheap, flavourless, luke warm,
    overcooked, or tough meat. Breakfasts were fine. This is okay for more budget
    accommodation, but we were paying £75 per person per night for dinner bed and
    breakfast including entertainment.
    The drinks were horrendously expensive, £8.10 for a 250ml glass of not particularly
    nice Malbec for example, before dinner each evening Pam had a large vodka and
    bottled lemonade, I had a large house brandy and bottled dry ginger, a jaw-dropping
    £16.80 for just these two. We didn’t see any drinks packages available, apart from
    10% discount for buying three bottles of wine at the same time.
    Warners is not for the budget end of the market, it is geared up for over 50s who like
    old fashioned standards. They mainly succeed, but it might be a good idea if the
    three secretive families that own the parent company with millions paid out every
    year in dividends maybe stayed incognito, listening to the customers.