Golden Season

Lynette and Jamie Cook are presented with their award by (right) Mark Warnes, property and portfolio director of sponsors Hoseasons.

Lynette and Jamie Cook are presented with their award by (right) Mark Warnes, property and portfolio director of sponsors Hoseasons.

Golden Season

The family owners of Waterrow Touring Park in Wiveliscombe scooped a top accolade in the 2016 Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards.

The park received the gold award in the camping and caravanning category of the competition in which hundreds of other contenders took part. Stepping up to receive the winning trophy at Bristol’s Cadbury Hilton hotel were Lynette and Jamie Cook who, with Jamie’s parents, are Waterrow’s owners.

The husband-and-wife team quit their successful careers in IT and customer services four years ago to take on the tranquil picture-postcard park on the fringes of Exmoor.

Since moving in, Lynette and Jamie have invested much time and energy into caring for the natural surroundings and introducing many new wildlife-friendly features. Lynette said: “One of the things we most value as caravanners is a welcoming and friendly atmosphere on the parks we visit, and that’s what we’ve tried to create here at Waterrow. “I know the awards placed a big emphasis on the quality of hospitality and customer care provided, so we are particularly pleased that this came across.”

Hunter Gatherers

Record numbers of visitors to Cumbria’s Skelwith Fold Caravan Park enjoyed foraging for wild food at the end of last season – making it the park’s most popular pastime. Park owner Henry Wild said that the season had produced a bumper crop of holidaymakers thanks to a fast-growing interest in foraging in the park’s 130-acre grounds. As well as edible fungi, he said, guests also gathered blackberries, elderberries and sloes to take back home for turning into jelly, wine and gin. Guests roaming the grounds for free pickings were given the thumbs-up for their activities by the park – but with a few words of caution from Henry: “We asked people not to gather more than they can make use of themselves, and not to strip plants or decimate areas entirely as many of our wildlife residents feed on fungi and berries. “We also suggest that visitors learn to tell the difference between similar looking edible and deadly varieties of mushroom, and never to send children out alone to forage,” he added.

New Year’s Honours

The July issue of Holiday Park Scene included a special focus on dog-friendly parks. Pic: Thornley Leisure.

The July issue of Holiday Park Scene included a special focus on dog-friendly parks. Pic: Thornley Leisure.

New Year's Honours

The industry enjoyed a record-breaking summer in 2016, with more holidaymakers than ever choosing to visit the UK. In fact figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that July was the highest month ever for inbound tourism with 3.8 million visits, up two per cent on the same period in 2015.

The weather we experienced during the summer was a mixed bag, starting of wet and cloudy through June but hotting up towards the end of August and into September. However, the changeable weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the UK’s holidaymakers who flocked to coastal resorts and parks regardless.

The Brexit vote further fuelled the staycation trend, leading to higher than average sales and bookings throughout the winter and into 2017.

The Holiday Park Scene team featured nearly 200 parks throughout 2016, with facts and information from more than 300 suppliers. Here we bring you just some of the headlines…

January 2016

The Holiday Park Scene team launched into 2016 with tips for holiday park owners looking to improve their water play areas in Splash Attack.

We also explored the importance of selecting the right insurance partner and how it can be the difference between success and failure in the event of a catastrophe. There was also high acclaim for the winning parks of the 2015 UK Pool & Spa Awards, which we announced in the January issue of Holiday Park Scene.

Silver Sands Holiday Park in Lossiemouth was the first stop on our whistle-stop tour of the UK’s holiday parks, while Alan House of Holiday Resort Unity in Somerset gave us his analysis of the 2015 season and predictions for 2016 in Holiday Snaps.

For the rest of 2016 headlines subscribe at www.holidayparkscene.com

Unmissable Event

HPI ran alongside the Farm Business Innovation and Country House Innovations Shows covering halls 8 and 9 of the NEC, with an overall audience totalling 7,898 leisure business owners.

HPI ran alongside the Farm Business Innovation and Country House Innovations Shows covering halls 8 and 9 of the NEC, with an overall audience
totalling 7,898 leisure business owners.

Unmissable Event

The second edition of the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show (HPI) returned to NEC in Birmingham in November and proved itself to be the country’s unmissable event for the holiday park sector.

Bigger and more vibrant than ever, HPI ran alongside the Farm Business Innovation and Country House Innovations Shows covering halls 8 and 9 of the NEC, with an overall audience totalling 7,898 leisure business owners.

The event served as a platform for 300 suppliers to showcase their products and services, combined with networking opportunities and over 150 seminars, live demonstrations, live debates. Among the distinguished speakers to take part were Away Resorts CEO Carl Castledine, Drayton Manor Park Director George Bryan and Abbey Oladapo, lead trainer at Google’s Digital Garage.

Event Organiser Will Mansfield commented: “HPI is renowned for attracting the country’s most revered holiday parks, accommodation suppliers, and industry inspirations to form its line-up of seminars and suppliers to pass on their visionary knowledge and guidance, and November’s show continued this proud tradition.” This year also saw the very first Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Industry Awards, with exhibitors competing for accolades across three separate categories: Innovation, Enterprise, and Entertainment.

GFR Tech Ltd took home the Innovation Award for ‘Line Cheetah,’ their innovative new mobile ordering app; 360 Karting/ Ensol 360 Ltd won the Enterprise Award for their services in rental karting track concept, design, installation, and equipment; and Active Connections took the Entertainment accolade for their innovative Glowsports sporting experience.

HPI organisers are promising that the 2017 show will be the brand’s greatest spectacle yet, with more speakers, suppliers, seminars, and features than ever before and the launch of the Family Attraction Expo.

Thinking Outside The Box

Imagination Playground is a mobile play system made up of big blue blocks in many unique shapes and sizes.

Imagination Playground is a mobile play system made up of big blue blocks in many unique shapes and sizes.

Thinking Outside The Box

Imagination Playground is an ideal solution for leisure venues with limited space. It is a unique mobile play system designed to unlock the creative powers of children through open-ended, unstructured play.

The portable playground comes in two storage-friendly carts that can be wheeled through a standard sized door and then packed away easily after use. Think of a giant-sized construction game, with soft, lightweight blue blocks in a variety of shapes and sizes. The blocks can be stacked, connected, channelled or just lined up - all to make children’s ideas a reality.

“The driving force behind Imagination Playground is to provide a way to encourage children to do what they do best - to be creative and to use their imaginations,” says David Rockwell, CEO of Rockwell Group and designer of Imagination Playground. “Researchers have long known that playing with blocks helps children develop cognitive and social skills. Unstructured, child-directed play is a critical component of healthy, social, emotional and intellectual development.”

Available from HAGS, the Classic 105 Big Block Set features 75 biodegradable blue blocks and parts, 15 noodles, 15 plastic balls and two weather resistant carts for simple storage.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, Imagination Playground is currently priced at just £4,499* including delivery. Quote LEISURE-JAN17 when ordering.* *Offer price available from 1st Jan 2017 to 31st March 2017. Price excludes VAT. Price includes delivery to Mainland UK only, excludes Scottish Highlands.

Top Accolade

The Camping and Caravanning Club member Jim Pass, aged 98, was awarded a Chevalier Légion d’honneur.

The Camping and Caravanning Club
member Jim Pass, aged 98, was awarded a
Chevalier Légion d’honneur.

Top Accolade

Jim Pass, a lifelong caravanner and a member of The Camping and Caravanning Club for more than 50 years has been awarded a Chevalier Légion d’honneur.

The Légion d’honneur is the most esteemed order for servicemen and women who fought to protect France in times of war. On average, just ten British nationals receive the medal each year.

The 98 year-old was presented with his medal by the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom Yorkshire Air Museum. Jim served over seven years during and shortly after the war. Upon returning home, he became an active member of The Camping and Caravanning Club. He remains the Vice President of the British Caravan Club, the latest in a long line of titles held by the former soldier. Darren Whittington,

The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Membership Services Director, said: “Jim’s brave endeavours on D-Day and his heroic efforts have rightly earned him this medal, the highest honour bestowed by the French Government. “His achievements and hard work for The Camping and Caravanning Club must also be commended. He is one of our true ‘golden members’.”

North West Bounces Back

Holiday bookings in the North West are up by as much as 47 per cent this winter, according to cottages.com.

Holiday bookings in the North West are up by as much as 47 per cent this winter, according to cottages.com.

North West Bounces Back

Holiday property owners in Windermere are enjoying a surge in demand as increased numbers of holidaymakers head to the Lakes this winter. Latest booking figures released by cottages.com revealed that December bookings were up by as much as 47 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. The figures indicate a positive growth for the winter season, showing the area has bounced back from last year’s difficult winter caused by the December flooding.

The survey also found that more than a third of us believe it is easier and more convenient to stay in the UK whilst one in five people enjoyed their 2016 UK break so much they wanted to repeat it. Speaking of the increasing demand, Anne Concannon, Regional Manager for cottages.com said: “It’s been a tough year for Windermere following the flooding, but we’re thrilled the area remains a desirable spot for holidaymakers. The demand for winter bookings has been fantastic and many of our properties have been reaching 90 per cent occupancy, which is extremely positive. The weekly bookings are increasing all the time, so there is definitely demand there and of course it is great news for local owners who are benefitting from a successful holiday let.”

One Stop Shop

 Image courtesy of Holt Farm Holiday Cottages.

Image courtesy of Holt Farm Holiday Cottages.

One Stop Shop

First class water leisure facilities, such as hot tubs, saunas and swimming pools are now widely regarded as fundamental to a successful holiday. For holiday park owners looking to improve or expand their water leisure offering, SPATEX 2017, is a red letter day in the 2017 calendar.

The exhibition takes place at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena from Tuesday January 31st to Thursday February 2nd. Over a hundred exhibitors from home and abroad make SPATEX the ideal hunting ground to source new products and innovations, seek advice for a specific project and explore new ideas.

With 42 seminars over three days led by 35 eminent experts you can gain valuable industry knowledge on topics as varied as commercial spa operation and the latest health and safety guidance for water leisure facilities.

Visit www. spatex.co.uk to see the full list of exhibitors, details of the double seminar programme and to register for free.

 

The Gift Of Holidays To Families In Need

Mike, Kerry and their two young children, Ellie and Luke enjoyed a holiday at Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park thanks to the One for All initiative.

Mike, Kerry and their two young children, Ellie and Luke enjoyed a holiday at Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park thanks to the One for All initiative.

The Gift Of Holidays To Families In Need

Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow provided free holidays for 80 people in 2016 through its One for All initiative. Launched in 2013, the scheme dedicates 1% of the park’s hire fleet occupancy to those who need a break, but cannot afford.

One family to benefit was Mike, Kerry and their two young children, Ellie and Luke. Mike, a builder, has suffered from diabetes since childhood. His condition has worsened recently, affecting the nerves in his legs. This has meant missing work, which has hit the family finances hard. Ellie’s school teacher, Mrs Parker, contacted the Family Holiday Association, to see if they could organise a much-needed break for the family. The result was a week’s holiday in September at Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park. Park owner Patrick Langmaid, would like One for All to become a business model that every holiday park owner in the country can use.

He said: “If, as holiday park owners, we can all do something positive for our communities without disrupting our own business model it has to be worthwhile. “Everyone wants their children to grow up with happy memories and this scheme has the potential to provide countless positive life-changing experiences for families in need.” He adds: “One for All also helps fill parks during the shoulder months. When I’m at half capacity in April or October I’d much rather give holidays away, even outside school holidays, because sometimes a holiday with your family is more important and beneficial than being in the classroom.”

UK’s Top Parks For Happy Campers

UK’s Top Parks For Happy Campers

Castlerigg Hall in Keswick, Cumbria, took the top spot as the Regional Campsite of the Year for the North West.

Castlerigg Hall in Keswick, Cumbria, took the top spot as the Regional Campsite of the Year for the North West.

Vale of Pickering Caravan Park in North Yorkshire has been crowned the Campsite of the Year 2017 at the AA Caravan and Camping Awards. The park beat off stiff competition from 860 sites across the country, which were all visited by the AA’s campsite inspectors to assess the touring pitches, facilities and hospitality.

 

Each park is graded from one to five pennants, with Gold Pennants awarded to the very best. Since winning an AA regional award in 2013, owners of the Vale of Pickering Caravan Park - Chris and Dianne Stockdale - have continued to invest in the park each year, including a new state-ofthe- art facilities block which has six fully-equipped wet rooms and a dishwashing room. New electric points and a dog wash, with a hot shower were also added to the park this year.

Another notable winner this year was Forest Fields Caravan and Camping Park in Powys, which was named AA Campsite of the Year for Wales. The family-run park, which is located near to Royal Welsh Showground, is popular with families and outdoor adventure groups. The park’s owners - the Barstow family - also has plans to expand the glamping offering in 2017.

Elsewhere in the country Castlerigg Hall in Keswick, Cumbria took the top spot as the Regional Campsite of the Year for the North West. Owned by the Jackson family since 1938, the park provides luxury caravan holiday homes for hire, plus eco-friendly camping pods and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes. A former farm which began by welcoming campers, Castlerigg Hall is today one of the Lake District’s most highly regarded parks. 2017 also saw the introduction of a new award – The AA Glamping Site of the Year, to celebrate the increasing popularity of glamping. The winner of this brand new award was Durrell Wildlife Camp in Jersey, which is situated in 32 acres of landscaped parkland and water-gardens offers guest the opportunity to stay overnight in stylish Ecopods with unlimited access to some of the rarest wildlife species on earth.

All the winners of this year’s AA Caravan and Camping Awards will appear in the new AA Caravan and Camping Guide 2017.