A Pontins worker who's had customers scream in his face and others invite him to a friendly barbecue has offered a glimpse behind the curtain.

For many people, trips away to Pontins are a treasured and precious part of their childhood memories, filled full of raucous days to the beach, best friends made over the space of a holiday and high grade fish and chips.

For others, the famous park is synonymous with low quality accommodation and poor customer service.

Last month one furious guest had such a poor time at the Camber Sands park, where queues to check in stretched a hundred metres, that she called for it to be knocked down.

Now one former member of staff of the iconic chain, who has asked to remain anonymous, has lifted the lid on Pontins.

Have you stayed at Pontins and have a story to tell? If so email us [email protected]

Many families have complained about what they've found during Pontins stays - Debbie Stephens cleaned her room last year and the wet wipes were stained black (


Debbie Stephens)
The Kershaw family staying in a Prestayn Pontins chalet claimed drains outside were 'overflowing' (


Josh Kershaw)

As any of the guests who've found themselves in a dirty chalet would expect, keeping things clean can be an issue.

"The chalets are cleaned usually on the day of check in, but empty chalets are always being cleaned as soon as they become vacant," the worker explained.

"But there are major staffing issues with the cleaning, which is why it falls behind a lot.

"There aren’t enough staff to train cleaners properly, and we have to resort to agency cleaners a lot in the busier months.

"The agency cleaners are terrible and are where a lot of the problems come from."

One big issue that has confronted many Pontins guests this summer has been huge queues, both to check in and to book into specific attractions.

The Kershaw family said the Prestayn chalet had ' a month's worth of dust' when they checked in (


Josh Kershaw)

The holiday park insider said this is partly the result of hundreds of guests being told to check-in at the same time, and partly staffing issues fuelled by people's assumption that "it wouldn't be a good place to work".

Staff get paid minimum wage except if they're cleaners, who get around £9 an hour, the worker said.

However, the biggest turn-off for prospective staff can be the customers.

"The worst bits are having to work unsociable hours, and dealing with the guests that think it’s okay to speak to the staff horribly and try to blame all staff for their problems - there’s too many like them," they continued.

James and Cheryl Meeson were another family who said they found their chalet in a state (


BPM Media)
Teresa Barbato said she found a hole in the wall and mould in one of the cupboards at the Brean Sands park (


Teresa Barbato)

"One massively negative experience I had with a guest was when he got in my face and started screaming, shouting and threatening me.

"He was dealt with very quickly by security and the duty manager and was held on park until police arrived. It turned out he was wanted and was subsequently arrested."

Many of the guests who have spoken to the Mirror about their time at Pontins this summer have said they felt ignored when they complained, either in person or digitally after leaving the park.

Some say they have waited weeks for a refund despite abandoning their chalets hours into their stays.

According to the Pontins source, staff are doing their best to help customer's out in what can be a tricky working environment.

"The policy when it comes to complaints is to do our best to get it sorted out," they said.

"Complaints do get logged, but the park is horrendously understaffed, although management are doing their best to look for staff."

Another key criticism the worker had is how centralised the management system is.

The rusty cooker hob inside a chalet at Pontins Brean Sands, as photographed by Amanda Nolan (


Somerset Live)
Mum of three Claudia Woods left Prestatyn with her children after what she claims was the “absolutely disgusting” state of the rooms (


Liverpool Echo)

"Every major decision has to be put past head office, if it involves a large sum of money the answer to decisions is 'no'," they said.

While they highlighted many issues with how Pontins is run and how guests treat staff, the worker also highlighted many parts of the job they loved.

"The management team are very friendly and make sure their staff are all looked after," they said.

"I have positive experiences with other staff members all the time, as a live on member of staff these people have become like family to me.

"There’s always someone to have a chat with and to have a few beers with."

Some guests, including Shereen Garraghan, have complained of big queues this summer as the parks remain popular (


Shereen Garraghan)
Shereen also complained about cleanliness (


Shereen Garraghan)

For the holiday park employee, getting to talk to guests was a big part of why they liked their job.

They said: "I enjoy meeting different people. I enjoy getting to help the guests and get their issues rectified so I can help to actually make their holiday stress free and enjoyable - yes the huge majority of staff actually do really care.

"I also enjoy getting to see my colleagues every day, as a lot of them have become my friends. That’s what it’s like working here, you make lifelong friends, especially if you live on (the grounds)."

Their fondest memory came last year when a group of Turkish guests invited them to join a barbecue they were enjoying on site.

"They were absolutely great people," the worker said.

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