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summer 2014: why not try a holiday park? part 2

Part one of this duo of articles covered holiday lodges, now I want to concentrate on the excellent value holiday parks both in the UK and in Europe. As I mentioned previously I often wondered why so many families chose to go on holiday to a caravan park in the summer, naively assuming their decisions were solely based on cost (sorry!) That was until I started my own holiday business and discovered that actually in peak summer, they are not necessarily the cheapest holiday around – so why go there?
I thought I would give it a try to see what I was missing, so in October half term 2013, we packed up the car and my headed south to Camber Sands near Hastings in East Sussex for the traditional caravan holiday, staying in a static caravan virtually on the beach with a family entertainment programme pretty much all day every day. So what did we think?

Camber Sands, near Hastings, East Sussex, south coast of England

We arrived in early afternoon to an incredibly efficient check in service and found our way to our "Gold" level caravan. If I am completely honest, the row up row of static caravans did put me off a little – it felt like we would almost be staying on top of each other, but then in hotels or apartment blocks you are even nearer! Many of my fears were alleviated when we went inside – it was surprisingly spacious and very comfortably furnished. The main open plan living space was plenty big enough for the four of us and the kitchen was very well equipped & designed for self catering (not that we did much!) We had a TV, DVD player, cosy gas "flame effect" fire and a good sized dining table. Our bedroom had its own little en-suite with a sink and loo plus loads of storage in built in cupboards. The boys' bedroom was small but then they were only 7 & 8 and they didn't care! Finally there was the main bathroom which had a standalone shower and plenty of space. Although we were near to the other caravans, you didn't actually notice them due to the clever use of obscured windows and planning.
Now, on to the main reason for coming – location and the entertainment programme. The location could only be described as excellent with the long sandy beach within easy walking access, an off road cycle/walking trail to nearby Rye that had plenty of choice of restaurants and several take away outlets also within a short walk. As for the onsite entertainment, well it took me quite a long time to "prise" the schedule away from the kids – they were in their element. There was something going on pretty much all day, every day both for children and for adults. Mine tried out the archery, crazy golf, sea scootering in the indoor pool (highly recommended) and the evening kids club. All were well organised, the kids loved it and were either free or excellent value for money. For us adults we could join in with the quiz, bingo or whatever else but again, if I am honest it is not really our thing – we are happy with a drink in our hands, curled up with a book in front of a cosy fire – oh yes, we had that too! So, in conclusion, it was much better than I had thought and certainly if your idea of a holiday is to keep the kids entertained then you might want to try a park holiday in 2014.

holiday parks in the uk

There are numerous other holiday parks both at home and abroad. Below is a selection of partners that I have teamed up with who offer park holiday accommodation either on a short break basis or for a full week:
  • Hoseasons Holiday Parks, all over England, Scotland & Wales – they act as agents for a lot of the companies featured below so it is always worth checking them out to see if they can offer the same thing for less money – locations throughout the UK. Or telephone 0345 498 6602 if you need some help - lines open until 10pm weekdays, 8pm weekends.
  • Hoburne Holiday Parks have seven top quality Holiday Parks to choose from, offering something for everyone with facilities and customer service aimed at surpassing the highest expectations. Parks are located across the South and South West of England in Gloucestershire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. All the parks have received either 4 or 5 star awards from the National Tourist Board for England - Enjoyengland.
  • Park Holidays UK operate a great choice of caravan holiday parks in coastal locations across the south of England in Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, Essex and Suffolk. The three key areas of business are holiday hire (caravans/chalets), holiday home ownership (caravans and lodges) and touring and camping pitch hire. Their holiday parks have a fantastic mix of great facilities and entertainment for the whole family and are conveniently located close to popular attractions for fun days out – visitors are never short of something to do!
  • Haven Holiday Parks, owns and operates 35 award-winning parks all over the UK - close to some of Britain’s favourite seaside resorts. Haven offers two distinct holiday types: self-catering holidays allow customers to stay in one of their modern holiday homes; and touring and camping holidays i.e. bring your own! Both types include full use of the swimming facilities, Kids Clubs, evening entertainment and more.
  • John Fowler Holiday Parks owns and runs 14 family holiday parks in the South West of England. Fantastic Coastal Locations in Devon, Cornwall & Somerset. John Fowler offer self catering holidays in a range of accommodation from caravans and chalets through to Lodges and Country Houses. The prices are fully inclusive of the use of swimming pools, Kids’ Clubs, Family Entertainment plus everything else you need for a fun filled family holiday.
  • Park Resorts gives families, couples and groups the choice of 39 award-winning Holiday Parks in UK coastal locations. They have a great selection of accommodation in a safe and secure environment, with plenty of FREE facilities that all ages will enjoy.

Holiday Parks in Europe including France

Whatever you choose, I can certainly recommend staying at a holiday park.
Article By Lucilla Paull 24 January 2014

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