From Humble Beginnings…

From Humble Beginnings..

The rise of park champions, Berkley Parks

Cauldron Barn Farm Park occupies an idyllic 14-acre site among the Purbeck Hills with outstanding views

Cauldron Barn Farm Park occupies an idyllic 14-acre site among the Purbeck Hills with outstanding views

It was back in the 1950s when teenage entrepreneur John Berkley, rented a piece of land for £1 a week and started selling touring caravans on sale or return. For 12 years, seven days a week, John grafted to build the Yeovil Caravan Company into a respected, local business. Over time, he was well placed to take advantage of the demand for holiday accommodation in the beautiful Somerset countryside. It wasn’t long before John also spotted a gap in the market for residential mobile homes and in 1955, Berkeleyparks precursor, Mobile Home Parks Ltd, was born. The name change to Berkeleyparks came later and any resemblance to John’s own surname is somewhat coincidental. Berkeley Coachworks was a well-known caravan manufacturer with an exciting sideline in racing and sports cars. Sadly, when the bottom fell out of the caravan market in the 1960s, the company went into liquidation but John Berkley purchased the rights to the name.

HALF CENTURY

The Berkeley Leisure Group Ltd, trading as Berkeleyparks, has grown substantially over the years to become one of the most prolific park operators in the UK. The Group’s portfolio now stands at 50 parks in 21 counties of England and Wales, with around 6,000 homes and 10,000 residents. Founder John Berkley, now Chairman and Managing Director, is still firmly at the helm, steering the Berkeleyparks business into the future with the aid of his wife and fellow Director, Anne Berkley. Other Directors include David Curson (Operations), Paul Tarr (Sales and Marketing) and James Leese (Projects and Development). The Berkeley Leisure Group Ltd employs around 200 staff in total across all of their parks. At least 30 of the team are based at the magnificent listed building, West Coker House, on the outskirts of Yeovil, which has been the company’s Head Office since 1968.

Residents of New Park in Bovey Tracey, Devon, benefit from its stunning location on the doorstep of Dartmoor.

Residents of New Park in Bovey Tracey, Devon, benefit from its stunning location on the doorstep of Dartmoor

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Raising The Bar

Raising The BarRaising the bar

More than 20,000 people have stayed at Shropshire’s new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort since it opened last year and advance bookings continue to pour in. Although managers of the Love2Stay at Emstrey, Shrewsbury were expecting an initial surge of interest, they have been overwhelmed by the positive public response to the new resort, particularly to the range of activities on offer. The resort, which aims to raise the bar for quality UK holidays, has 124 touring caravan pitches and a village of 11 luxury glamping lodges opened last month. Each safari lodge has its own private hot tub and fire pit. Developed by Salop Leisure, one of the UK’s premier caravan and leisure companies, the resort offers visitors a luxurious natural retreat within easy reach of the pretty market town of Shrewsbury. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Laura Plumridge, who manages the resort with her husband, Geoff “We opened the weekend before Whitsun and the resort has been full every weekend since,” adds Laura, praising the teamwork of the resort’s 14 full and part-time staff and activity suppliers who all live locally. “Forward bookings were full for half term in October and filled up fast for Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, as well as Easter and August this year. In fact 65 per cent are rebooking before they leave,” Laura continues. “One of the things that has surprised us most is the demand for activities. We had no idea just how popular they would be – our record to date is 220 children in one day and we had 60. “We arrange up to 12 activities a day and have families staying with us just to participate. Our guests have really embraced the ‘back to nature’ ethos and there is a hunger for parents to be able to facilitate that for their children. “Children are on the go all the time they are here and we’ve had some that don’t want to go home after their holiday. Parents also find time for themselves to relax and enjoy the facilities. “We are privileged to be chosen for people’s holiday, especially when they have young children. They look forward to spending two weeks of quality time together, so we have an obligation to make their stay the best it can be.”

Love2Stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature.

Love2Stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature.

CORPORATE HOSPITALITY

Guests have predominantly been young families or active grandparents with grandchildren this summer. The resort is also hoping to provide twoday packages for the corporate hospitality market. As daily lives become dominated by technology and children are easily glued to i-pads and the Internet, Love2stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature and where guests can experience the grass between their toes. The stunning centre piece is a natural swimming pool which is flanked on three sides by spacious teak decking and thermal hot tubs, sunbeds and seating, where guests can enjoy light refreshments from the in-house coffee shop. This pool was designed and supplied by Poolscape Ltd in collaboration with multiple RHS Gold Medal winning landscape design practice, MOSAIC. The team used the latest technology from Austrian natural pool specialists BIOTOP to offer swimmers crystal clear, chemical free water, which is naturally filtered. During the evening, the indoor and outdoor area turns into a trendy Italian eatery, with most dishes being cooked in the huge woodfired pizza oven. There’s also a cinedrome where guests can relax and watch films. For more energetic guests, complementary access to the on-site fitness suite is available and a marine style assault course is a must for adrenaline seekers. Regular yoga, pilates and meditation classes are available together with a menu of spa treatments for a more holistic experience. Upon placing a booking, guests receive an activity diary offering the opportunity to pre-book activities such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, raft building and a range of sports. They can learn a wide range of bush-craft skills with an in-house forest ranger, including foraging, survival skills and there’s even a teddy bears picnic. A recreational fishing lake, an adventure playground for children, craft activities, animated storytelling, super hero yoga, a barefoot sensory walk, den building and a woodland hideout are also on the list of things to try.

Advance bookings continue to pour in for Shropshire's new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort.

Advance bookings continue to pour in for Shropshire's new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort.

HOTEL CALIBRE

Love2Stay aims to provide holidays with facilities and levels of customer service akin to a luxury boutique hotel. There is a separate reception and concierge service desk, food delivery service and even the opportunity to book private dining with a personal chef at one of the pre-bookable outdoor kitchens and barbeques The resort is set in 22 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with panoramic views across to Wales from one side and over to the Shropshire Hills from the other. Salop Leisure’s managing director Mark Bebb, explained the thinking behind the resort. “We know that we need to put effort into the re-generation of our industry and it’s our vision that Love2stay will accomplish this,” he said. “We have been mindful when developing the park that we needed to create an offering which appeals to a younger, fresher audience, in order to ensure the success and longevity of the business. “The location of the park, adjacent to one of the premier dealerships in the UK, works well too – there’s a huge accessory shop and access to the aftersales and service team for any advice customers may need,” Laura continues. “We want to breathe fresh air into the industry and this is the next step in staycations. “We know it’s cliché to say we want to put the quality back into family time, but it really is the vision we’re working towards and we hope that others will follow suit and help us regenerate the industry for everyone’s future.”

The Love2Stay Tel: 01743 583124

Kent Seaside Park Reveals £4m Revamp

Kent Seaside Park Reveals £4m Revamp

Holiday home owners and staff at a popular Kent holiday park are celebrating after the curtains went up on a £4 million makeover which took place over winter.
It means that New Beach Holiday Park near Dymchurch is now ready for the 2018 season with facilities described as ‘wholly unrivalled’ in South East England.  Park Holidays UK, which owns New Beach, said the on-time completion of such a major project was a fantastic team effort for which everyone deserved credit. Kent SeasideIn just a few months, the park’s former clubhouse has been demolished and replaced with a modern new complex, fully equipped with the latest showbiz technology. The high-tech lighting and sound systems will allow New Beach to stage West End standard live shows as part of the free entertainment provided to guests. Park Holidays UK has also equipped the complex’s arcade area with world-class video and electronic gaming systems suitable for all ages and levels of skill. There’s also a complex bar with supersize TV screens, a restaurant serving meals throughout the day and evening, a mini-supermarket, and a sales administration centre. Also just opened is a new development of leisure homes to buy, ranging from starter caravan holiday homes at around £15,995.00 to fully specified extra-wide luxury lodges. According to Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish, the decision to invest substantially in New Beach is a reflection of the confidence the company has in the park’s future: “New Beach has long been one of the most popular of our 28 parks, and we are determined to ensure it continues offering guests the best possible experience,” he said. “The park is open for 50 weeks of the year for leisure homeowners, so there’s always a great holiday atmosphere and plenty of indoor activities such as a swimming pool. “Park Holidays UK is especially well known for the quality of our free entertainment, and we spend literally millions each year securing first-class acts.

“I am confident that our investment will help attract even more visitors in the future, and this will also benefit the many other businesses in this part of Kent which rely on tourism.”

Put Fun Into Fundraising

Put Fun Into Fundraising

Put Fun into Fundraising

Big-hearted team members at Paignton’s Beverley Holidays are being celebrated as charity champions after creating a £7,500-plus windfall for good causes in 2017.
They raised not just cash but also smiles a-plenty through a raft of fun activities in which staff and often holiday guests took part.
The charity total will be split between the park’s chosen charities which include Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, the Marfan Trust, and Ovarian Cancer Action.
Receptionists, entertainers and other members of the holiday park’s award winning team all took part in a series of imaginative money-raising initiatives.

Camping Education Boost

Camping Education Boost

ABOVE: Children receive education boost from camping experience.

A recent study for The Camping and Caravanning Club reports four out of five parents believe camping has a positive effect on their children’s education, with 59 percent agreeing it should be added to the national curriculum.
The One Poll Survey revealed one in three adult campers believe children are happier when camping, and 64 percent agreeing camping holidays can improve a child’s social skills and mental health.
Geography, history and science were flagged as the subject areas most likely to be positively affected by nights under canvas, a result of children experiencing time closer to nature.
Encouraging youngsters to experience camping first-hand, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) gives 14 to 24 year olds the chance to explore the great outdoors, learn valuable skills and enjoy life-enhancing experiences.

Argyll Park Hits Golden Half-Century

Argyll Park Hits Golden Half-Century

Resipole’s picture-postcard setting on the banks of Loch Sunart.

Resipole’s picture-postcard setting on the banks of Loch Sunart.

As a West Highlands holiday park prepares to mark its golden anniversary, the family owners have been praised for achieving the gold standard in countryside care. Resipole Farm Holiday Park in Argyll will now be celebrating its 50-year milestone with the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level. The world-famous botanist said that the Sinclair family have shown themselves to be true friends of wildlife and the natural world with their many green initiatives. Managed today by Rory Sinclair and his partner Karin, it was Rory’s grandfather Archie who first started welcoming camping guests on his farm in the early 1950s.

Deer, red squirrels, badgers, and a myriad of bird species are drawn to the 15-acre grounds which includes an ancient woodland with a nature discovery trail. In addition, the Sinclairs have planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs which provide valuable nesting and breeding habitats as well as food resources.

Motorhome Lifestyle Trend Continues

Motorhome Lifestyle Trend Continues

A Somerset touring park, which saw motorhome visitors leap by almost20 percent last year, predicts the passion for freewheeling lifestyles will continue in 2018.

Bath Chew Valley is making itself even more motorhome friendly.

Bath Chew Valley is making itself even more motorhome friendly.

But Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park, set in the tranquil Mendip Hills, says the on-trend image of motorhomes is not just driving up bookings. It’s also bringing down the average age of guests as younger couples increasingly view them as a way of making holidays more of an adventure at any time of the year.
Now the family-run park has moved to make itself even more motorhome friendly by providing pitch facilities for campervans and motorhomes up to nine metres long.
It’s also introduced its own by-the-hour car hire facility so that guests can explore the countryside in greater comfort, and park more easily in nearby destinations such as Bath and Cheddar Gorge.
Director Keith Betton says that in contrast to when the park first started, almost half of his park’s pitches are now occupied each night by motorhomes:  “Motorhomes enjoy a very chic image, and I’m sure that’s helped by their association with music festivals, film sets, and the spirit of laid-back living,”said Keith.  “Add to this the fact that motorhomes are all about discovery with ever changing horizons to enjoy, and you can see why they appeal especially to younger couples.
“And there’s no need to sacrifice comfort these days, thanks to recent design innovations. Even compact motorhomes now boast home comforts such as full-size beds, luxury shower-rooms, fully-equipped kitchens and central heating.
“We’re seeing an ever-widening range of ages on the park, and motorhome owners are just as keen as our touring caravan guests to enjoy socialising together!” added Keith.
Based in picture-postcard countryside near Bishop Sutton, five-star Bath Chew Valley is an adults-only park which has scooped a raft of awards for its quality standards. They include previous firsts in the adults-only category of the annual “Top 100 Sites” survey, as voted for by readers of Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome.  World-famous botanist David Bellamy has also praised the park’s care for its abundant wildlife, and honoured Bath Chew with his Conservation Award at its top gold level.  The park’s 45 pitches are spread across more than four acres of landscaped grounds, and has been owned by the Betton family for over 20 years.

Parkdean Resorts Pledge £42 Million

Parkdean Resorts

Parkdean Resorts has invested £130 million in its parks since 2016

Parkdean Resorts Pledge £42 Million

Parkdean Resorts is to invest £42 million across its parks this year with a primary focus on new accommodation.
Following a record £50 million worth of investment last year, the 2018 roll out takes Parkdean Resorts’ investment total to £130 million since 2016. The business now has 72% double glazed and central heated caravans due to an increase of over 1,450 in the last three years. The company is spending £13 million on 800 new caravans to meet higher demand for holidays and ownership opportunities. In response to customer feedback, these models will include the introduction of more one and four-bedroom caravans – and particularly those with a higher specification. Features include en-suite bathrooms, new and upgraded entertainment units, spacious seating and homely touches to ensure a really enjoyable stay.
“This year our £42 million investment plans really show our commitment to continually developing our parks, and creating the best possible holidaymaker and owner experiences,” comments John Waterworth, chief executive at Parkdean Resorts.:“In 2018 we have a focus on bringing in new caravans and lodges to follow the growth in consumer demand. We also regularly collect guest feedback, and from this made the decision to introduce more one and four-bedroom models. “
NEW LODGES
Vauxhall in Great Yarmouth, one of the company’s biggest parks, has enjoyed an extensive replacement programme since its acquisition by Parkdean Resorts in 2016. The park will welcome 60 modern double glazed and centrally-heated models to upgrade the caravan offering on park. New lodges including a range of four-bedroom models are also set to be added to a variety of parks offering wider choice following a£1.3 million investment.
Nodes Point on the Isle of Wight is receiving 11 new lodges in a£0.75 million investment – six for holidaymakers and five for ownership opportunities. Meanwhile £0.52 million will bring four luxury lodges with hot tubs to the popular Fallbarrow Holiday Park in the Lake District. A further £3.9 million has been allocated to refurbishing existing accommodation to enhance holidaymakers’ experience. Additionally,upgrades to retail and leisure facilities will be completed for the 2018season, as well as extensions of touring and camping areas at key parks.
Says John: “As we look ahead to peak season, work is underway at the majority of our parks to boost their offering, making for an even more enjoyable time whilst staying with us. We hope this is well-received by our customers, and look forward to welcoming them throughout the course of the year.”

Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award

Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award

Sara Scoops PrestigiousSara Bertin, Finance Director at Shorefield Holidays, has been named Board Level and Senior Executive of the Year at the prestigious Women in Business Awards. Now in its fourth year, The Business Magazine’s 2017 WiB Awards aim to celebrate, encourage and inspire successful and aspiring business women in the south.

Simon Pollock, Chairman and Managing Director of Dorset and Hampshire-based Shorefield Holidays, says: “We are delighted that Sara’s commitment and dedication have been recognised with this award. “Two-thirds of our management team and half of our whole team are women, and learning and development are encouraged at all levels throughout the business.”

Sara joined the family-run company specialising in holiday homes and holidays on the south coast in 1980, after qualifying as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton, and is the daughter of Dr Robert Pollock, who founded the park in 1958. At that time, Shorefield owned one park and over the years this has grown to seven parks.

Holiday Pools Shortlisted For Awards

Holiday Pools Shortlisted For Awards

AWards WinnerEntrepreneur, television celebrity and former winner of The Apprentice, Michelle Dewberry, will be the VIP guest at the UK Pool & Spa Awards at the NEC, Birmingham on December 4th.

With record-breaking entries, the Holiday Park Pool category is shaping into one of the most hotly-contested groups with ten shortlisted entrants vying for success. Last year’s category winners, Tydd Giles Golf & Country Club, return to defend their title. They are joined by 2016’s gold standard winners; Lady’s Mile Holiday Park, Brean Leisure and Holiday Park Unity, and Plas Coch Holiday Homes.

New entrants this year include Bourne Leisure, Ladram Bay Holiday Park, Ribby Hall Village Holiday Park, Seashore Holiday Park, Calypso Cove Waterpark, and Kelling Heath Holiday Park make up the ten parks battling it out to be crowned ‘Holiday Park Pool of the Year 2017’.

With entries for the hotly-anticipated UK Pool and Spa Awards closed, and votes pouring in across over 30 categories, the tenth anniversary of the awards are shaping up to be most tightly contested yet.

AWards

Log on to www. ukpoolandspaawards.com to see this year’s entrants, cast your vote and book your place at the awards show.