BALANCING ACTS – OUTDOOR ACTIVITES

BALANCING ACTS - OUTDOOR ACTIVITES

FROM SEGWAYS to paddle boarding, there are a host of holiday based activities to offer guest appea

Emily Martin on serving up the best outdoor entertainment recipe…

Offering a holiday that suits the whole family can be a tricky game of swings and roundabouts. Excuse the pun. Making a holiday stay fun for the adults, the younger children and the teenagers too, is a delicate balance. Never have we been more grateful for the use of our outdoor space than coping with the challenges of the pandemic. Outdoor play, outdoor activities, outdoor entertainment – have all become part of the Al Fresco holiday menu.
Don’t take our word for it. We’ve spoken to some outstanding UK holiday parks that strive to make sure there’s really something for everyone, Covid- distanced, when guests book in. And they are constantly coming up are some great ideas on how to get that balance just right. Richard Silver is the owner of Ilfracombe Holiday Park on the beautiful western shores of England. “We get all ages visiting us and we’ve spotted a really big current trend where grandparents will pay to take whole family away. “In terms of entertainment that means putting on what is appropriate for the right age group at the right time. “There are a few options for family entertainment – something a spread of ages will enjoy are things like: a magician or mind reader, maybe a family quiz. “We have a movie area, a games hall with table tennis, snooker and badminton. Plus, we have lots of games and activities for younger people, sports competitions, quizzes and even a teens got talent night.

ADDED VALUE
Ilfracombe strategically aims to add value to entertainment areas by putting restaurants or cafes nearby so the adults have something to do, while younger children play. Richard explains: “We have a restaurant and bar near where entertainment is. And we also have a soft play area for younger children, but in the same area we’ve put a sports hall for older children and teenagers which has all kinds of things going on.” Richard thinks there are important things to remember when trying to entertain the whole family. “You certainly need the right type of accommodation and location but crucially you need staff with lots of energy and ideas. “Every day has to be different and you’ll know if the children are having fun, because then so are the adults.” Torie Wilkinson is Chief Marketing Officer at Lovat Parks.With parks across the UK in Cornwall, Kent, the New Forest, its Green Hill Farm Holiday Village in the New Forest does things particularly well when it comes to entertaining a range of age groups within a family group. Green Hill offer activities such as archery, target shooting, laser clay, Segways, bungee trampolines and mini golf. There’s also den building, fire building, woodland art, bug hunting, bird boxes, orienteering and nature trails. And that’s just some of what’s on offer for families who like to stay busy. Torie says: “We offer a range of activities aimed at guests aged four right through to adult and this summer we’re introducing new activities for the under-fives too.

GREEN ACTIVITIES like Forest  Schools have never been more popular. Pic. Haven

DEN BUILDING
“We try and balance the mix we offer with lots of the Ranger activities being suitable for ages 4-10. And the activities like using the Segways or practising archery are more appealing to age eight through to the grown-ups. “However, what’s great about many of our activities is that the whole family can take part and build memories together. Green Hill is set in the New Forest and so many of our activities use this as inspiration. For example, our den building is done using fallen wood. “We offer bike hire on site with traditional and e-bike options allowing guests to explore the local area including routes that take in local business, pubs and restaurants.We get fabulous feedback particularly for our Ranger scheme, with many families returning to the park and booking their favourite activities in advance.” “Children get the chance to try new things and learn skills with our Ranger team building their confidence and creating unforgettable memories.We aim to relate as much as we can to our natural setting and offer guests something they might never have done before or could not at home.

COMMUNITY MATTERS
And it is not just for holiday makers. The local community plays a part in Greenhill’s offering too. Torie explains: “We have a partnership with a local primary school where we offer days on the park taking part in the Ranger programme across the year. “The activities are open to those of all abilities and the team also offer private sessions which can be tailored to a child’s particular needs. “ When it comes to planning things to amuse young people, what’s Torie’s advises: “Be inspired by your local area and natural surroundings, include a mix of fun and learning and try and create something shared for all age groups.” Covid safety is a massive consideration when hosting families and Torie adds: “We currently have a maximum of six participants per session, we observe social distancing at 2m where possible and our staff always wear masks.We also have hand-sanitising at all activity stations and all equipment is cleaned after each use. “Furthermore, just for general safety we carry out frequent risk assessments and have fire extinguishers and practices. The team hold monthly refresher courses as a group so they can learn from one another and at Lovat Parks we support the team by sending them on specialist training, for example if wider guidance for an activity changes and we need to incorporate that into our ways of working.” Cofton Holidays is another destination which has put some strategic thought into getting the balance right for families. Director Helen Scott says: “Cofton is an excellent toddler-friendly destination. Our facilities include a splash pad area - part of the heated indoor pool, a soft play area, outdoor play spaces include a play area with new equipment aimed at toddlers, and a Kid’s Club where little ones can meet Cofton’s mascot, Digby the Dinosaur, and participate in a range of activities. “In addition to all of this, we’ve created a host of kids’ clubs that run outdoors such as survival skills and nature trail experiences.”

ZIP LINES
Cofton’s £50,000 Woodland Adventure Area features a 25m zip line, a climbing cage, rope ladders, a balance beam, balance lines and scramble nets. Young guests can enjoy fishing experiences on the five coarse fishing lakes and we offer pond dipping experiences too, which are always hugely popular. There are miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take visitors through woodland to the golden sands of Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve. There’s a gym, fitness studio and added entertainment opportunities, such as the bowling alley Helen continues: ‘We’re always looking for fun ways of engaging with our young visitors. In July 2020, guests were given complimentary duck-whistles to alert other guests to their presence whilst out and about on site maintaining social distancing. Children visiting really loved it and TV and national papers even picked-up on the story.’ With potentially only a week (or maybe two) breaks in the year, holiday parks don’t have long to impress their guests. To ensure everyone has a good time and, crucially, to secure a rebooking or a recommendation, parks need to think about layout, adding value, and providing activities that families can enjoy together in a safe and stress-free environment, in order to foster and help create those precious memories. You need the right staff team and to create those precious opportunities for families to make special memories together. If you can crack that, then you’re on to a winner.

(*All COVID guidance being observed by the parks featured was correct at the time of writing).

KOMPAN offer a huge scope of play offerings across multiple age range

BEACON PARK SELLS FOR £11M

BEACON PARK SELLS FOR £11M

THE BEACON FELL VIEW is licensed for 419 caravans with planning consent for further lodge development.

One of the UK’s biggest holiday park deals so far this year has seen Beacon Fell View, in Lancashire, sold off a guide price of £11 million to a cash buyer. It has been sold to Hill Brothers Residential & Leisure Parks, an expanding UK parks company that is looking to grow further, in an off- market deal negotiated by sector specialist Colliers on behalf of Hagans Leisure UK Ltd.

Tom Hill, of Hill Brothers, commented: “I would like to thank Hagans Leisure. We see it as a great opportunity to expand our portfolio in the Ribble Valley, as parks of this quality and size don’t often come to the market in the North West, and we look forward to further expansion in this sector.” The 4* holiday park is set in around 35 landscaped acres overlooking Dilworth Upper Reservoir in the picturesque Ribble Valley. It is licensed for a total of 419 caravans and has planning consent for further lodge development. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, a bar, an amusement arcade, a gym, and an entertainment venue with food and beverage offer.

Holiday Park Operator Focus featuring Haulfryn Group

Holiday Park Operator Focus featuring Haulfryn Group

The 20-strong Haulfryn Group is celebrating its 85th birthday…

THE WARREN’S PRIVATE BEACH LOCATION boasts golden sands and soul-reviving views of Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia

The origins of the Haulfryn Group date back to the early 20th century when Frank Minoprio, the son of an Italian immigrant entrepreneur, invested in the beauty of the North Wales coastline. Having spent holidays enjoying the outstanding scenery of the region, Frank invested in his very own piece of land on which he built a fine granite house. He called it Haulfryn, meaning ‘sunny hill’. Over the years, Frank continued to invest and build up his estate in North Wales. He believed strongly in giving back to the community and with this in mind he built the primary school in Abersoch alongside many other philanthropic activities. In 1935, The Haulfryn Estate Company was officially founded with the aim of developing the land at TheWarren, just down the road from the family holiday home at Abersoch.

By the start of the 1960s, TheWarren had become a popular destination, setting the standards for holiday parks across the country. Replicating the success of The Warren elsewhere, The Haulfryn Group continued to invest in holiday parks in outstanding locations. The 1970s and 80s were years of further expansion with Gimblet Rock and Crugan added to the portfolio, among others and further investment at The Haulfryn Group’s flagship park, TheWarren. Expansion beyondWales followed, including strategic moves into the South West of England. Today, the Haulfryn Group’s estate includes 20 holiday parks throughout England andWales. The Haulfryn Group’s CEO since February 2020 is Echo Lu.With an impressive CV spanning over 20 years and senior experience within national and global brands including Tesco, Homebase and Holland & Barrett, Echo oversees the Group’s 500 team members. David John, Group Operations Director joined The Haulfryn group back in 2013, bringing with him a wealth of experience in Leisure and Hospitality, most notably Nutfield Heath, De Vere Hotels and Leisure, as well as early years spent in Local Authority.

caption: David john, Group Operations Director

The Group continues to invest in its portfolio to ensure Haulfryn resorts continue to meet the high expectations of its growing and loyal customer base. The Group’s leisure and entertainment venues, facilities and services are widely renowned as among the best in the business. David John comments: “The 85th birthday of the founding of the company is a fantastic milestone to achieve and testament to the company ethos and the hard work of every member of our team at every level. “As a company we’re extremely proud of everything we have achieved so far and look forward to welcoming holidaymakers new and old to our parks to create more special memories to last a lifetime,” he adds. “When you strip everything back to basics, the core of what we do today is the same as it was 85 years ago. The family values on which Haulfryn was established are as relevant today as ever, and these coupled with our outstanding locations is what brings holidaymakers and buyers back to us time and time again,” he emphasises. “Our main driver is to bring joy to every moment of a customer’s stay with us and we’re proud to have been doing that since 1936!” The Haulfryn Group offers a wide choice of accommodation for all tastes and for all ages. Popular holiday lodges provide home-from-home comfort, many with added luxuries such as wine coolers and hot tubs.

caption: Haulfryn Group Locations

For those seeking a modern twist, a selection of glamping pods provide quirky, comfortable accommodation bringing you closer to the outdoors. Some of Haulfryn’s long-standing suppliers include Lissett, Prestige and Omar whilst more recently they have partnered with Aspire and Armadilla Pods. The Group’s original site, TheWarren, is often thought of as Haulfryn’s flagship park but David insists: “We firmly believe each and every one of our parks are flagships. “Whether it’s ancient woodland, lakeside living, beautiful beaches as well as charming scenic settings - we always provide the accommodation and facilities to complement the surroundings environments.” TheWarren’s private beach location boasts golden sands and soul-reviving views of Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia. A boat launch ramp accesses internationally recognised sailing waters alongside first class leisure, sports and spa facilities. Haulfryn’s Delamere Lake offers a beautiful oasis in the midst of the Cheshire plains. Situated in Cheshire’s largest area of woodland, with incredible views over the sparkling lake, Delamere is located within easy reach of Manchester and Liverpool. Finlake Holiday Resort is set within 130-acres of Devon woodland, Finlake is an exclusive Devon holiday home destination for all the family. On-site facilities include a gym, spa, sauna, swimming pools, including flumes, slides and fountains, a restaurant and bar, tennis courts and more. Praa Sands is situated on the edge of turquoise waters and golden sands on the furthermost tip of west Cornwall. The resort is ideally located to make the most of the spectacular local area including beautiful beaches, walks, and cycle tracks. On-site facilities include a gym and heated indoor swimming pool. Before 2020, the Haulfryn Group’s biggest challenge would have been continuing to exceed customers’ expectations. Since the pandemic hit, Haulfryn’s overriding objective has been the safety of local communities, their teams and owners.

 

caption: contact the Haulfrun Group today