Saturday 11 March 2017

Blue Waters & Warners Holiday Camps, Seaton, Devon

Long before the arrival of Butlins or Pontins holiday camps, Captain Harry Warner opened his first holiday camp in 1931 on Hayling Island. Warners in Seaton was opened in 1935 and continued under that name until it was taken over by Haven Holidays in the 1980's. Apart from the war years during WW2, the camp site remained in use until its closure and subsequent demolition in 2009. During the war it became an internment camp for German nationals already in the country, as well as POWs and some captured Nazis. Later it was used for the build up of troops as 'D' Day approached (including the Free Czechs & Free Polish Forces, the Free Spanish Army and some from the USA).

Blue Waters next door was owned by Ladbrooks until it too was bought out by Haven. The two camps were subsequently merged together and became Lyme Bay Holiday Village. Sold to Holly Bush Hotels, the Blue Waters part was later closed down and remained derelict for some years until it was demolished in 2008. All the photos are of the Blue Waters site, which I explored and photographed in 2006 & 2007, as the 'Warners side' was still in use right up until it too was demolished in 2009.


The former Blue Waters site comprised a main building, a row of chalets and a swimming pool near to the road entrance. To the left, and slightly isolated, was a circle of chalets where the staff lived, and the rest of its extensive site was pretty much empty apart from the hard-standings for caravans, along with the odd fire hoses, utility points and two funky little huts...all of which can still be seen on Google Earth. Having made a tentative foray into the chalet circle in December 2006, I made another visit in January 2007 to venture further. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and the first half of the photos are from that visit.

My son accompanied me, as it was one of my first explores on a large site and I was a little trepidatious. He wore his hair in very long dreadlocks at the time and sported an old and beaten up leather jacket, so I hoped that no-one would try and mess with us while he was there, lol, even though he's actually one of the most gentle of blokes. 

I didn't know about the swimming pool until on our way around the main building I noticed something blue between the slats of a fence. I was delighted to see the pool when I peeped through, and further along the fence had come down and we were able to see it properly.

We were thinking of scaling a small wall surrounding the swimming pool, as we could see that the back door of the club house was open, but then we heard the sound of breaking glass and decided against it.

The chalets on the main site, above and below.

I made another visit a few months later in 2007, when I explored on my own, as there was so much to see on that first visit that I hadn't taken many photos of the main building.

The Haven Holidays Fizzer Fun Club, above. And a rather scary looking blind below. 

The remains of a fence that was originally surrounding the pool area, with La Baguette (presumably a snack bar) in the background. 

Seagull at 11 o' clock!

I managed to take quite a few extra photos of and around the club house and swimming pool, then I ventured towards the bottom of the grounds, where there was a laundry room. Unfortunately, I was spotted from the other campsite, and before I knew it a car roared up with two very angry men inside. One of them jumped out and started shouting at me and threatened to call the police. As it happens, trespassing is a civil offence in Britain, not a criminal one, therefore I just apologised and offered to leave straight away. His bark must have been much worse than his bite, as the shouty man quickly calmed down and allowed me to take more photos on the way out if I wanted.

Another shot of the swimming pool, and to finish up, some photos of the chalet circle below.

And on the way out, after being 'escorted off the premises', I took this last photo. Oops!

Oh, and a self portrait taken in a window of the main building.


  1. My father as an Austrian national (part of the Axis powers) was interred there between 1935 & 1940.

    1. Hello John,
      I'm sorry your father had to go through that experience; war is such a terrible thing isn't it. Thanks for sharing the information. :)

  2. Hi John. I am a historian of Second World War internment. If you want to ever chat to me about your father's experiences please feel free to get in touch at

  3. I spent 2 weeks every summer down in Seaton staying at Blue Waters as a child. They were halcyon days and it broke my heart to see it derelict like this. The town holds a special place in my heart. Thank you Eileen for sharing your work!

    1. Hello there,
      Thank you very much for your comments. It is such a shame isn't it; both camps are a great loss to the town, especially as Warners (then Lyme Bay Holiday Village) was still very much a going concern.
      Thanks again and all the best,
      Eileen :)