Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances

From the moment guests cross the threshold, they begin to create an opinion of your park. So first impressions, especially the overall appearance and presentation of the site, are crucial.

A bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge, keeping outdoor spaces neat and tidy can seem never ending but an abundance of high-tech equipment and machinery available on the market is making life easier.


Park owners who keep abreast of the times and invest wisely can see significant benefits in terms of performance and efficiency.

For instance, last year Lady’s Mile Holiday Park in Devon was battered by storms, resulting in a massive clearing up exercise. At the time, the park only had a six-inch chipper, which wasn’t able to cope with the volume of work, so park co-owner Jason Jeffrey took the decision to hire in a much larger machine and called for a demonstration of GreenMech’s ChipMaster 220 TMP wood chipper.


“Once Julian Cullis of GreenMech had shown us what the chipper could really do we were hooked,” explains Jason.

“It was also opportune that Julian could give us product safety demonstrations and show all the team how to use it correctly and safely.”

The ChipMaster 220 TMP is ideal for tackling really big jobs with its substantial 220mm chipping capacity. It has a generous 230mm x 230mm infeed throat and powerful twin feed rollers controlled by an electronic No-Stress system. The patented Disc-Blade chipping system will ensure a constant chip quality and reduce the volume of up to seven tonnes of clean green waste per hour. The discharge chute rotates by 280° to allow the operator to direct the chip in the required direction.

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Life’s A Beach

Life’s A Beach

Ideally located next to its own privately owned sandy beach on Cornwall’s south coast, Pentewan Sands Holiday Park offers guests a host of accommodation options.

Ideally located next to its own privately owned sandy beach on Cornwall’s south coast, Pentewan Sands Holiday Park offers guests a host of accommodation options.

Boasting a unique beachside location, Pentewan Sands Holiday Park near St Austell in Cornwall, does to coin a popular phrase, exactly what it says on the tin. Guests are able to step straight from their caravans or tents on to the sand of a privately-owned beach – a luxury enjoyed by only a handful of UK holiday parks. Welcoming around 25,000 guests per year, Pentewan Sands’ offers 120 holiday homes, ranging from entry level to luxury standards - most of which enjoy sea views. There are also well-maintained grass pitches available on site for camping, caravans and motor homes. “Pentewan Sands is a truly unique site thanks to its enviable location right beside its own private beach. This, coupled with the wide variety of accommodation and entertainment on offer really makes our park stand out from the crowd. We like to think that we offer something for everyone,” says general manager Graham Brown. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Pentewan Sands was first opened in 1945 and has recently been awarded the coveted five star Quality in Tourism award from VisitEngland, which recognises the best holiday parks in the UK. Open from March through to November, the park is owned and managed by the Tremayne family, while general manager Graham oversees the dayto- day running of the site.

Graham explains: “We attract a diverse range of guests at the park and appeal to families, couples and friends alike. Many of our guests choose to return each year, but we also see high numbers of new guests visiting every year so it’s a real mixture.” Keeping the guests entertained is a top priority for the park and there’s no shortage of leisure activities on site. The park features two indoor swimming pools with a lap pool for serious swimmers and a play pool with a water flume for the family. There are also tennis courts that are free to use for guests plus a brand new children’s play area on the beach.


On site catering includes the recently opened on-site pub, the Jolly Roger pub and the Sea Horse restaurant, pictured.

On site catering includes the recently opened on-site pub, the Jolly Roger pub and the Sea Horse restaurant, pictured.

If the sun is shining then guests can head to the beach to enjoy a variety of water sports including sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and paddleboarding. In terms of catering amenities, there’s an American diner style burger restaurant called the HUBBOX, which is new for 2015, plus the recently built traditional Cornish Pub the Jolly Roger. A takeaway option is covered by Pentewan Plaice and guests can make use of the on-site supermarket, which provides all the essentials. “We aim to deliver the most fun, most relaxing and the most memorable traditional camping experience in one of the best locations in England,” says Graham. “We achieve this by listening to our customers and remembering what makes us special; quality facilities, a warm friendly welcome, five star quality and continual investment.” Pentewan Sands responds to guests’ needs and suggestions by continuously upgrading and replacing the facilities on-site.

Ahead of summer 2015, the park underwent major refurbishment which saw new accommodation including 17 new holiday homes in the diamond and platinum ranges. The bathroom facilities also received a major refurbishment, as did the play area on the beach and the tennis courts. “Due to our ongoing investment in staff and facilities, one of our best marketing tools is word of mouth, which attracts both repeat and recommended business,” Graham comments. He adds: “We invest heavily in maintaining strong relationships with our customers through brochures, mail-outs, e-newsletters and social media.”

Pentewan Sands Holiday Park
Tel. 01726 843 485



Lap Of Luxury – Holiday Hot Tubs

Lap Of Luxury

UntitledAppealing to families as well as couples, for many holidaymakers, having their own hot tub is the highlight of their break.

Perfect any time of the year, hot tubs are especially indulgent when it is cold outside to add to the lure of an autumn or winter holiday offering. For holiday park operators, adding a hot tub is an opportunity to enhance visitor appeal and to add a premium to the letting price of the accommodation.

When Jenni and Andrew Thomas opened the doors of their idyllic 300-acre working farm, Castle Pren, in rural mid-Wales to holidaymakers the first thing on their shopping list was two hot tubs. The couple called on the services of Three Counties Pools & Spas in Hereford, who recommended the stunning Caldera Vacanza Vantos. Open since May, the park had almost full occupancy through the summer and into autumn.

Jenni says: “Caldera hot tubs have proved a wonderful business asset - the customers absolutely love them. Regardless of the weather, or the time of day they are in use. They are a great investment.”

2Will Welch of Three Counties Pools & Spas adds: “The hot tubs were easy to install with no access issues. We have installed numerous Caldera spas for holiday park settings now and they have all proved highly successful. As soon as the tub is in the correct position, the water fill is started so that by the end of the install, the tub is full and heating and full instruction can be given on tub operation and water chemistry.”

Chesterfield-based Superior Spas recently supplied 26 hot tubs to a holiday park in Devon. The park was charging around £40 per night for each holiday let, but with the addition of the hot tubs the fee has increased to £100 per night.

Superior Spas sales manager Chris Cave says: “We offer discount on bulk orders, so holiday park owners are looking at an average cost of between £2,300 and £2,700 for a good quality hot tub with bulk discount applied. These will last for between five and ten years, if maintained properly, so it really is a worthwhile investment.”

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Winter Wonderlands

Winter Wonderlands

Park owners are feeling optimistic about the winter months ahead and are gearing up for busy festive period.

Park owners are feeling optimistic about the winter months ahead and are gearing up for busy festive period.

Long gone are the days when the end of the summer signalled a sharp decline in holiday park visitor bookings. Autumn now sees only a minor let-up in the volume of touring guests and holiday home owners, and even the winter months can generate a satisfying hum of activity at parks across the country. Having reaped the rewards of a bumper summer season, park owners are feeling optimistic about the winter months ahead and are gearing up for busy festive period. “Holiday homes and touring units are now much better equipped for four-season use, both in terms of insulation and heating. But what we’re also seeing, I think, is that people no longer regard holidays as something you have to plan for months in advance,” says Henry Wild, director of Skelwith Fold Caravan Park in Cumbria. “There’s a much greater spontaneity to decision-making, perhaps due in part to the way in which the internet and social media are making things happen in the here and now. “If you want to buy a product on-line or communicate via Twitter, for example, it happens almost instantly – so why wait if the idea of a short break suddenly appeals?” Henry continues: “Another motivator for out-of-season bookings, I believe, is that people no longer go away just to relax by slowing their lives down. Both younger families and older folk want to inject an element of activity into their stay, so there’s less reason to limit holidays to the times when the sun is most likely to shine.” Henry, who is also National Chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, says that many holiday home owners enjoy planning their autumn and winter visits to coincide with stays by others they have come to know on the park. “I think a lot of couples and families value greatly the friendships they have struck up with other owners, and perhaps feel there’s a greater community spirit here among people of a similar age and outlook than they experience back home,” he says.


Winter 3

Winter is one of the busiest times of the year at Potters in Norfolk.

Autumn and winter are strong times of the year for Potters Resort in Norfolk when the park has over 700 guests staying there at any one time. Its range of midweek, family, weekend and one night special breaks are all popular during the season and are enhanced by the park’s comprehensive entertainment and activity programme. “We’re open all year round and our prices are kept in line all year round, so a break in November, December and January is pretty much the same price as you’d pay in the spring or summer,” comments managing director John Potter. “We offer midweek breaks for more mature adults featuring tailored activities such as bowls, family breaks featuring family friendly activities and entertainment and weekend with friend and one night special breaks for adults wanting to enjoy their weekend and enjoy great nights out with fantastic entertainment.” A highlight of Potters’ entertainment offering this year is the annual Christmas Spectacular ‘The Great Christmas Songbook’, performed by Potters Theatre Company. The show will take guests on a Sleigh Ride of classic hits, showcasing decades of music from 50s classics such as Frosty The Snowman and Let it Snow, to eighties favourites Merry Christmas Everyone and Last Christmas. During the season, the resort will be decked with Christmas trees and lights and guests will be greeted on arrival with a mince pie and glass of mulled wine. There will also be reindeer visiting on Christmas Eve and fireworks and a traditional countdown to 2016 on the New Year break.

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Outstanding Service For Dog Owners

Outstanding Service For Dog Owners

Entries are now open for the 2015 VisitEngland Awards, including the new Dog Friendly Award. Pic: Old Oaks Touring Park.

Entries are now open for the 2015 VisitEngland Awards, including the new Dog Friendly Award. Pic: Old Oaks Touring Park.

Recognising the businesses that go the extra mile for dogs and their owners, the organisers of the VisitEngland Awards have introduced a new Dog Friendly Award for 2016. Now open for entries, applications are being invited from all types of accommodation businesses including holiday cottages, campsites, holiday parks and glamping operators that offer dog owners an outstanding service which exceeds their expectations and ensures repeat visits and bookings. Attracting 345 quality applications last year, the annual VisitEngland Awards For Excellence are recognised as high accolades in English tourism. The Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year category is always fiercely contested and last year the title was awarded to Seafield Caravan Park in Northumberland. The application period for the 2016 awards will run until 30 November 2015 to enable assessment so the finalists can be announced at the beginning of February.


VisitEngland Awards
Tel. 01772 767767

Holiday Exchange Is Win, Win

Holiday Exchange Is Win, Win


Dial An Exchange recently partnered with leading holiday park operator, Charteroak Estates.

Dial An Exchange recently partnered with leading holiday park operator, Charteroak Estates.

Holiday exchange company, Dial An Exchange (DAE) is making big waves in the holiday park market with over 500,000 members and affiliations with 4,000 resorts worldwide. Providing global holiday exchanges for all holiday property owners, the independently owned company has gone from strength to strength since opening its European head office in North Yorkshire in 1999. “Holiday parks across the UK are working with us to offer the exchange system,” explains Alex Brown, business development manager at DAE. “It means they benefit from a number of advantages; resorts improve closing percentages in sales, increase on-site spend, reduce vacant time and enhance uptake on marketing. Essentially DAE gives resorts a greater value product. What’s more, it’s totally free for holiday parks to affiliate with us.” DAE recently partnered with leading holiday park operator, Charteroak Estates, which owns four resorts in the South West of the UK. General manager of Charteroak Estates Simon Hargreaves said: “Our affiliation with DAE means our owners not only buy a luxurious lodge at one of Charteroak’s exceptional UK locations, they also invest into the opportunity to holiday worldwide. It is a simple and strategic sales tool which sets us apart from other holiday parks.” Alex Brown added: “The exchange system is coming to the UK holiday park market and at the moment it is somewhat of a USP. But with the incredible benefits, no costs, simple implementation and zero risk it is well on its way to becoming an industry standard with all holiday property sales.”

Dial An Exchange
Tel. 07732 559509

Holiday Snaps: William McNamara OBE of Bluestone National Park Resort

Holiday Snaps: William McNamara OBE of Bluestone National Park Resort

bluestone_William McNamara is a farmer turned entrepreneur who conceived Bluestone National Park Resort and steered it through to the award-winning luxury short break destination it is today. In his late twenties he diversified from farming to create Oakwood Theme Park, building it into one of Wales’ leading leisure attractions. After 15 years he saw a gap in the market for high quality, activity-based short breaks and the Bluestone vision was born.

How was the summer season for Bluestone National Park Resort?

Although the summer weather was variable, our undercover attractions make us a holiday the weather cannot spoil. This year, on average, we will achieve over 93 per cent occupancy and during the main summer season it peaked to 99 per cent.

What are the main challenges facing the holiday park industry at the moment?

One of the largest challenges we have is that of perception; attracting talented, hardworking individuals with the right attitude into an industry that is perceived as having long unsociable hours. Low pay and little training has to be a thing of the past if we are to be successful.

What does a typical day in the office for you consist of?

My role as chief executive makes me the greatest enabler in our company and my job is to referee passion. In order for me to understand the challenges my team face I need to communicate face-to-face with all levels. That means board meetings, directors meetings, time out and coffee with front line staff and discussions with the employee consultative group. This way I can really stay in touch with my business.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently, I am looking to the future and planning through new product development to bring some exciting projects to Wales and the UK. Our future is about growth; to stand still is simply not an option.

What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?

We could not have predicted when we launched in 2008 that it would be at the beginning of an economic recession. At that point we had invested over 10 years of time, effort and millions of pounds into the project. Riding that storm was an experience.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom? My father once told me excuses are weaknesses, actions are the only prayers that are answered.

Where do you go on holiday?

Holidays for us are becoming more three generational with the onset of grandchildren. We enjoy experiential holidays; give every member of the family no matter what age a memorable experience. It’s about having quality time and bringing the family together at a unique destination.

Last Word?

Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.


Lego Caravan Hits The Right Note

Lego Caravan Hits The Right Note

The LEGO caravan was the star attraction at the Motorhome & Caravan Show in October.

The LEGO caravan was the star attraction at the Motorhome & Caravan Show in October.

A new Guinness World Record for the largest ever caravan made from interlocking plastic LEGO® bricks was set at the Motorhome & Caravan Show 2015 in October. The LEGO® caravan was the star attraction at the six-day show, which welcomed over 94,000 visitors, all eager to see all the new for 2016 leisure vehicle products. Subsequently, many of the 400 exhibitors reported record sales at what is the UK’s biggest leisure vehicle launch show. The event is organised by NCC Events and supported by The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club. Anthony Trevelyan, Chairman NCC Events, said: “The outstanding number of caravans and motorhomes sold at the show and the high visitor attendance underlines the success of the industry. The key is in delivering a top quality show at a super-competitive price, which we will continue to do at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show in February 2016.”

Making A Splash – Holiday Park Pool of the Year

Making A Splash - Holiday Park Pool of the Year


Eight parks have been shortlisted for the Holiday Park Pool of the Year Award in the 2015 UK Pool & Spa Awards. Pic: Hoburne Holidays

Holiday parks across the UK have been singled out for their outstanding swimming pool facilities in the prestigious UK Pool & Spa Awards. Piran Meadows Resort and Hendra Holiday Park in Newquay, Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon, Hoburne Bashley in Hampshire and Holiday Resort Unity in Somerset, have all been named as finalists in the Holiday Park Pool of the Year category. They are joined by Craig Tara Holiday Park in Scotland and Bluestone National Park Resort and Talacre Beach Holiday Park in Wales. Sponsored by Heatsavr liquid pool cover from Brenntag, the Holiday Park Pool of the Year award is a new addition to the UK Pool & Spa Awards this year, which celebrate the achievements of the entire water leisure industry. The shortlisted parks will be awarded a gold, silver or bronze grading at the presentation evening on Monday November 23. The not-to-be missed event will be hosted at the brand new Vox Conference centre within Resorts World on the Birmingham NEC site. The event was a complete sell-out last year and is set to be even greater this year with a higher capacity venue and more opportunities to network with a host of pool and spa professionals.

For more information or to buy tickets visit www.

Bluestone National Park Resort

BluestoneThe Blue Lagoon water park at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire is an all-weather, all-year destination for guests as well as day visitors. The aquatic park features a wave pool, flumes, lazy river, beach area and a spa pool with hydro jets. Opened in 2008, the Blue Lagoon caters for around 282,000 guests each year. The pool building is in the shape of a Welsh coracle and includes some the latest eco-friendly features. The pool is heated by an on-site biomass energy centre, which is thought to be the largest system of its kind in Wales. Two 26-ton, 800 kW boilers heat water through the burning of woodchip, and energy crops grown by local farmers. The process is considered carbon neutral because the carbon dioxide emitted is balanced by that which the crops absorbed during growth. Bluestone National Park Resort continuously invests in the Blue Lagoon water park. In the past 18 months the water park has seen a number of new areas incorporated into it, including a pirate’s ship, surf shack and other aspects including an area dedicated for the very young and toddlers.

Bluestone National Park Resort Tel. 01834 869900


Craig Tara Holiday Park

CraigBilled as the most successful pool in the history of Haven, the multi-level pool complex at Craig Tara Holiday Park was refurbished earlier this year. The refurbishment has allowed for an increase in activities the pool can offer and provides a better overall swimming experience. The refurbishment involved new floor finishes and mosaic tiling, as well as the addition of a new racing speed slide and lazy river ride. Other highlights of the pool complex include the water shooters and tipping bucket water tower, the interactive play channels and waterfall within the tiny tots pool, plus flumes, slides and viewing platforms. But most importantly Flip and Flop, and their penguin friends and family are having an amazing time around the pools, including parachuting from the sky! The pool has an annual bather load of approximately 210,000 and is open for swimming, kayaking, aqua gliders, aqua jets, pool parties, swimming lessons, turbo paddlers and water walkers.

Craig Tara Holiday Park Tel. 01292 265141


Hendra Holiday Park

HendraWith an annual bather load of 70,000 per year, the swimming pool facilities at Hendra Holiday Park are open to both residents and nonresidents and cater for school groups and clubs. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, flumes, slides, fountains and waterfalls. Energy efficiency upgrades in 2014 included a UV water treatment system, PAC treatment, new pool water heating scheme incorporating biomass supply, district heating scheme and thermal buffer tanks to minimise heat loss. Bespoke control systems enhance the effectiveness of new systems and precisely manage pool water temperatures. The pools are managed by a team of 30 staff, headed up by pool manager Petra Van Splunter. Petra stepped up to the role three years ago and has control over the facility, both technically and operationally. Dedicated to in-depth and thorough training of her staff, Petra ensures that the facility is kept immaculate and takes pride in delivering exceptional care to guests.

Hendra Holiday Park Tel. 01637 875778


Hoburne Bashley

HoburneThere is something for everyone at the pool at Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park in Hampshire; more space for those who want to swim and plenty of room for play. Originally opened in 1987, the bather load at any one time is 80 and the pool welcomes approximately 200,000 visitors annually. The indoor pool was completely refurbished last year at a cost of £1.4 million. It was made larger at one end to give more room for swimming and an interactive wet play area for younger children was added at the side of the pool. A new, modern changing area was included, plus a gym overlooking the pool and a lift to enable easy access to and from the changing area, pool and gym. There are four permanent members of the water leisure team and 20 seasonal workers during peak season and eight out of season. They are supported by a dedicated pool manager, activities coordinator and two swimming teachers.

Hoburne Bashley Tel. 0844 288 2050


Holiday Resort Unity & Brean Leisure Park

BreanThe on-site pool is one of the main reasons that guests re-book Holiday Resort Unity and Brean Leisure Park for their family getaways year after year. The pool not only serves the guests, but also the local community. It provides splash play areas to entertain all age groups, as well as an impressive 25m pool, which is also home to local swim clubs and used by local schools. The park is dedicated to reinvesting in the facilities and has recently added a new indoor soft play area to the complex, with a Starbucks cafe and a pool shop. The annual bather load is 127,390 and the pool is open all year round for the local community, as well as park guests, which increases the amount of bathers year on year. Pool manager Jeff Smith ensures the smooth running of Brean Splash Leisure Centre and organises the workloads of all staff and assignments for lifeguards. He also oversees the daily maintenance of the pool, including making recommendations for repairs and capital improvement expenditures.

Holiday Resort Unity & Brean Leisure Park Tel. 01278 751235


Ladram Bay Holiday Park

LadramRefurbished in two stages the new pool at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon has been a huge success since its completion, offering holiday makers and the general public a wider selection of facilities, the new pool is state-of-the-art. As well as the indoor heated pool the complex offers a sauna, steam room, whirlpool, gym and cafe - and all of this can be found right on the edge of the world famous Jurassic coast. The new pool has something to offer everyone; opening at 8am for an ‘Over 55’ swim guests can use the pool in a relaxed environment. With the addition of the interactive play area designed and installed by Hippo Leisure and Cresta Leisure, there’s plenty to keep the children entertained and the sauna and steam offer the perfect sense of relaxation. Swimming pool manager Lee Chapman heads up a team of 16 staff, who work together to maintain these facilities and offer a five star service to both the holiday makers and general public.

Ladram Bay Holiday Park Tel. 01395 568398


Piran Meadows Resort & Spa

PiranWith an annual bather load of up to 25,000 users each year, the swimming pool at Piran Meadows Resort & Spa in Newquay is used for a variety of activities, including general swimming, swimming lessons, lifeguard training, fitness classes, Water Walkerz, snorkelling, sea scooters and raft building sessions. The pool itself is deck level, and it remains at a very comfortable 30°c. The fitness classes, swim lessons and activities are available for both holiday makers and public, and the pool regularly hosts activity days for local groups such as schools and scouts from the local area. The pool also has a small splash area 0.45 m deep, with water jets, which is designed for younger children. Eleven staff members are involved in the day-to-day running of the pool, including leisure manager Jack Thompson, Go Active supervisor Vicky Bennett and Ashley Thomas who recently completed his PPO course and assists with the running and maintenance of the pool.

Piran Meadows Resort & Spa Tel. 01745 858010


Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park

TalacreThe swimming pool at Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park in Flintshire was originally built in 1989 and has a bather load of 30,000 to 35,000 users each year. Based on a tropical theme, the indoor pool evolved from what was originally an outdoor pool. In keeping with the theme, a number of tropical plants surround the pool and the white resin floor is designed to look like sand. The pool underwent a number of upgrades last year, which focused on improving the energy efficiency of the pool. A new fully insulated roof was installed, as well as energy efficient lighting and new air ducting, which moves the air around more efficiently. The pool is managed by a 12-strong team, including the leisure manager Karen Frost and swimming instructor Anna Lee.

Talacre Beach Holiday Park Tel. 01745 858000


Winners will be announced on Monday 23rd November at the UK Pool & Spa Awards Presentation Evening.

If you would like to get involved in next years awards please get in touch with the team today.




Fife Holiday Park Tops Attraction Poll

Fife Holiday Park Tops Attraction Poll


Voted as the best attraction in Fife, Elie Holiday Park is located on the beach at Shell Bay.

Elie Holiday Park in South East Scotland has been voted the best visitor attraction in Fife. The park took the accolade in the annual ‘Local Hero Awards’ organised by Kingdom FM. The station asked its listeners to vote in a number of different categories, including the visitor attraction which provided the best possible experience for visitors. The result was a resounding thumbs-up for Elie Holiday Park which attracts thousands of holidaymakers each year and provides free entry for day visitors in the region. Peter Davies, sales and marketing manager for Abbeyford Leisure, which owns the park said the Kingdom FM award was a vote of confidence in both the park and its team: “Many of our holidaymakers comment on the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at Elie Holiday Park and the main credit for this must go to our park team. “We take great pride in our reputation as one of the finest Scottish parks for family holidays and the attractions and entertainment we provide are second to none,” he said. “By opening our doors to day visitors with no entry charge, we have become something of a game changer in the holiday parks industry and have become an attraction in our own right,” added Peter.