Looking back at Britain's oldest holiday camp in Norfolk

Caister Holiday Park opened in 1906 by Fletcher Dodd.

Caister Holiday Park opened in 1906 by Fletcher Dodd. - Credit: Haven

‘Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside’ was written by John Glover-Kind in 1907 - just a year after Britain’s oldest holiday park opened on Norfolk’s coast. 

Caister Holiday Park first opened as a ‘Socialist Camp’ in 1906 by Fletcher Dodd who was a member of the Independent Labour Party. 

Bells tents at Caister Holiday Park which opened in 1906.

Bells tents at Caister Holiday Park which opened in 1906 by Fletcher Dodd. - Credit: Haven

It started with three bell tents in his garden as he offered cheap holidays and breaks to the working people of East London. 

As the holiday camp became more popular, the number of tents increased and, after the First World War, they were soon replaced with chalets. 

According to the Caister Caravan website, during the 1930s, the holiday camp built the largest dance hall for miles around.   

Caister Holiday Park camp staff pictured in 1934.

Caister Holiday Park camp staff pictured in 1934. - Credit: Haven

They wrote: “When the Second World War came the entire camp was taken over by the military and used as a training centre by the army and to house Italian and other prisoners of war.  

“When the war was over it was time to improve and modernise the camp and offer holidays to all families regardless of background. The 1950s saw an important change and various petty rules and customs were abolished.  

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp in 1952.

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp in 1952. - Credit: Haven

Fletcher Dodd, the creator of a seaside tradition, died aged 90 in 1952, but his great legacy lives on. 

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The site continued: “Caister camp was now starting to become a real family holiday camp with upgraded accommodation and a choice of bars and entertainment. Soon, the ever-popular shops, bingo halls and sports facilities started appearing. 

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp, which opened in 1906.

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp, which opened in 1906. - Credit: Haven

“Today, the self-catering Caister Holiday Park is owned by Bourne Leisure, trading as Haven, and is a vast, modern, busy holiday centre catering for all ages with comfortable static caravan accommodation, excellent bars and restaurants, and some of the best family holiday entertainment, facilities and amenities in the UK.” 

From magic shows, tandem bikes and donkey rides, families have been making happy memories at the site for more than 100 years.

Although there have been many changes and additions to the park's entertainment offering over the years, photos of wheel barrow races and children running through fields shows they didn't need much to have fun.

The former dining room at Caister Holiday Camp. It first opened in 1906.

The former dining room at Caister Holiday Camp. It first opened in 1906. - Credit: Haven

A magic show at Caister Holiday Camp. The site first opened in 1906.

A magic show at Caister Holiday Camp. The site first opened in 1906. - Credit: Haven

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp. The site first opened in 1906.

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp. The site first opened in 1906. - Credit: Haven

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp. The site first opened in 1906.

Holidaymakers at Caister Holiday Camp. The site first opened in 1906. - Credit: Haven


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