It’s the end of our bank holiday weekend at Potters Resort and I am waving a green paper napkin in the air, singing “ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta!” between bites of a bacon sarnie. My girls join in, wiping pancake crumbs and Nutella from their faces. Hubby slinks down and pretends to read the paper.
I’m not the only one singing – the entire 600-seat Garden Restaurant is doing the same thing. Led by Mark Brewer, chief entertainer with the resort for 32 years, they are marking the end of their break. Many have been coming since they were kids and will be back again next year. I know this because I’ve heard several families talking over plans in the hall on the way to breakfast.
We’re on a review trip to Potters Resort, a holiday village on the Norfolk coast near Yarmouth. Arguably it is the mother of all holiday camps, originating when Herbert Potter returned from WWI and after winning £500 from a newspaper competition, built a line of timber holiday bungalows on the Norfolk beach. Other holiday camps followed suit and the Hi-De-Hi generation was born, offering the everyday family time away at the seaside – with food, organised activities and entertainment for one reasonable, all-inclusive price.
When the lure of cheap packaged holidays to Spain beckoned, most of these camps fell by the wayside. But Potters reinvented and reinvested in their facilities, offering a lot more bang for your pound.
Potters Resort has all the ingredients of a traditional British beach break: Gorgeous Norfolk seaside, comfortable accommodation, meals, organised sporting and leisure activities topped by an evening of entertainment.
Potters was classed in 2002 as “Britain’s First” 5-star holiday village, but don’t confuse this with a 5-star hotel. The accommodation, while nice, is not why people come here (and they come back in droves, the resort has an 80% repeat customer base). They come for the experience. There’s a real community feel that you don’t often experience. It’s similar to the US family camps, and what I suspect holidays in the UK used to be like.
Generations of families have holidayed at Potter Resort since the 1920s. There are often large extended family groups – babies, teens, aunts, grandparents and great grandparents. Amazingly – Potters caters to them all. There are “mind sports” (bingo, backgammon, cribbage) for older family members that can’t partake in the physical activities, segways for teens and young adults, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, there’s even a Green Goddess dance class (led by Brewer in skin-tight Chartreuse tights). The list goes on and on.
Mention Potters to anyone who has been there before and they gush with memories of how much they loved it when they were kids. In fact, the company does zero advertising, and relies mainly on word-of-mouth recommendations.
There’s 1 member of staff for every 1.5 guests. There’s so many activities on offer you could not possibly get bored. What I was impressed with was the attention to the multi generations. There’s something for everyone from fussy toddlers to surly teens to great grandparents. Potters is full of family groups – all enjoying some quality time together. If you tire of organised activities, take the short stroll across the lovely grassy field to the sand beach and dip your toes in the sea.
My 12-year-old’s perspective
I was super excited to try the Pro Gliders (Hover Boards) because I’ve heard all about them and finally got to try it for myself. Once you get used to it, it’s really easy. I also really enjoyed the bungee trampoline – my mum has never let me try it before because it is always really expensive. You just turn up and you can do it as many times as you like!
There’s a choice between bungalows (according to trip advisor they are compact and basic, but squeaky clean) or the newer roomier and fancier hotel accommodation. In the winter many opt for the hotel as you can walk to most activities under cover. However, many of the bungalows have sea views and are in a quiet location.
We stayed in two premium hotel rooms with interconnecting doors. They were spacious and clean and very comfortable. Each had its own little patio, overlooking an outdoors bowls rink.
The beds deserve a special mention. The top of the range hotel specification mattress from Sleepeezee is exclusively made for Potter Resort and are very comfortable. You can even purchase your own for £1,700! (yes, we are considering it).
There’s strict noise control in sleeping areas – and I have to say it works!
Potters resort is all-inclusive (you only pay for drinks, which are reasonably priced). It includes four meals a day, the last being a midnight snack – which we never tried but it always sounded very tempting. You are assigned a table throughout your stay, with the same friendly waiter who by the end of your stay will know if you take your coffee black and if you prefer white or wheat toast.
Breakfast is the usual full English, with fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner are three courses with choice of buffet and menu items. Dinner always includes a carvery which is nice, and the made-to-order scampi and chips were good. My girls loved that they could pick what they wanted in suitable quantities.
My 14-year-old’s perspective
I really liked the variety of food at Potters Resort. Everyday there was the option of a buffet, salad bars, carver, kids buffet and food to order. Even very picky eaters (like my mum) will find something they will like. My favourite meals were the Mexican fajitas with guacamole and salsa and pancakes for breakfast.
We were given a schedule of activities when we arrived – the girls had fun going through it and picking what they wanted to do. The choice is vast for all ages. Note that children under 8 need to be accompanied by responsible adult.
We tried the Segways, a bungee trampoline, tennis (several times as a family), Pro Gliders, the Army assault course, the Sweeper, 9 hole Pitch and Put golf and the climbing wall, amongst others.
There are a few very good photographers roving around taking photos. They are all for sale – and are very reasonably priced. I bought a few pics of the girls.
My 11-year-old’s perspective
At Potters Resort there are so many fun and exciting activities that we never got bored. All of the activities are included, so you could do them as much as you wanted and I didn’t have to ask mum and dad for money. We had so much fun and such a busy jam-packed day that I forgot all about my phone and greens – which is saying a lot. My favourite activities were the bungee trampoline – it was really fun because you could go really high and it was really bouncy. You can even do flips! The Segway were really fun too and much easier than I expected. I definitely want to try them again.
Potters has its own 1,000-seat theatre and is home of the Potters Theatre Company. They recruit nationally and have some of the best talent outside of London’s West End. Many performers use it as a stepping stone on their career.
The result is pretty fantastic and makes great viewing. We caught the beginning of the season with new shows including Cool Britannia – a soundtrack to each decade with classics from the sixties to today and Theatreland – a blend of feel-good music from some of the world’s favourite musicals including Greece, Mama Mia, Les Miserable, Phantom of the Opera and more.
There was also traditionally called Bingo (thank you whistlers) and a priceless kids talent show with 4-year-olds dancing to Frozen and 6-year-olds telling original jokes.
My 11-year-old’s perspective
The evening show was very entertaining and enjoyable. It was fun to watch because of the singing, dancing and bright costumes. The night we watched there was lots and singing and dancing from well-known musicals such as Grease and Mamma Mia. Before that was a kids talent show and there was a 4-year-old dancing to Frozen and it was adorable!
IF YOU GO
Potters Resort Coast Rd, Hopton, Great Yarmouth NR31 9BX +44 0333 320 7465 pottersholidays.com
The Modern Family were guests of Potters resort for the purpose of this review. As always, my opinion and that of my family are entirely our own.