I TRIED out the holiday park right next to the best beach in the UK – and my kids were sold.

Haven's only inland, Haven Wild Duck, is the only one of the group's 38 sites that's not directly on the coast.

Having said that, Gorleston-on-Sea, which was named the best UK beach in TripAdvisor's 2023 Travellers' Choice awards, is only 10 minutes away, so it's still a great place to stay if you love a bit of sea and sand on your getaway.

The wide golden sands stretch for three miles and were more or less empty when we visited on one of the hottest days of the summer so you can get away from the crowds that often head for Great Yarmouth when the sun is shining.

But the park's wildlife and outdoor activities make it different from the other Haven parks.

Wild Duck is set in mature woodland and there are squirrels and ducks roaming right up to the caravans to be fed, just like at Center Parcs.

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The ponds and plaza at the heart of the Haven site reminded me very much of the Parc village centre and there are even some of the same activities, like archery, bike hire and trails through the trees.

There's a nature ranger station where kids can have a go at pond dipping, minibeast hunts and the like, so the site really does make great use of the flora and fauna that's all around you.

The woodland is even used to screen accommodation to provide a bit of privacy, in much the same way that the lodges at Center Parcs are set among the trees so guests aren't overlooking each other.

On our last night at Wild Duck, I watched the sun setting through the leaves on one side of the caravan, while also spotting a little girl feeding a gaggle of ducks on the other side.

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With a glass of wine in hand, it felt like the perfect end to a very chilled out woodland break. 

If you love swimming, there are two pools on site, although neither is a patch on the subtropical swimming paradise at Center Parcs.

Wild Duck's indoor pool has a kiddie area and a slide, as well as add-on activities like an inflatable obstacle course that you can pay extra for.

My two older boys declared the aquajets to be the most fun holiday park activity ever, so I think it was worth splashing out £12 each.

The outdoor pool is only open over the peak summer season and doesn't have any slides or extra features.

Both are fine for whiling away an hour or two, but if you love to spend all day in the pool, this probably isn't the park for you.

As well as Haven's normal caravans, Wild Duck also has more luxurious accommodation set around the water, so you could pay to upgrade if you wanted a bit more space and comfort.

If you're happy in a caravan, the prices are just a fraction of what you'd spend at Center Parcs, with an October midweek starting at just £100 for a two-bed caravan, compared to £850 for the same week at Whinfell Forest Center Parcs.

Lakeside lodges at Wild Duck would be £629, so still a good saving to be made. And there's a range of free children's activities included at Haven, so that's a win as well.


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If you want to live Parc life, you're in luck at Wild Duck.

We've visited all four Haven parks near Great Yarmouth now and this one is wonderful if you're wild about wildlife and woodland.

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