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Archive for February 15th, 2013

Top 10 UK Holiday Parks
Holiday Parks UK 

Summer is upon us. The fresh air of the great outdoors seems to call out to us, tempting us to believe that wishes for clear skies and sunshine just might come true. What better way to make the most of the fair weather season than to take a break from the humdrum of everyday life. Holiday Parks in the UK offer all the amenities for the perfect getaway, and the home-away-from-home setting means that you’ll feel yourself relaxing as soon as you’re on your way.

Holidays are taken less often than they’re deserved and with a long weekend coming up at the end of August, why not take the opportunity to explore the unknown or head for your old favourite spot. Essential Travel has put together a guide to the Top 10 Holiday Parks across the UK to cater to your every desire.

If you have a favourite UK holiday park, we would love to hear about it. Let us know on Facebook or drop a comment in the box below.

For First Timers

Perran Sands Holiday Park, Cornwall

Perran SandsImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

The untamed beaches of Cornwall make for a surfer’s paradise. And Perran Sands, with direct access to the beach and surfing school, is the perfect holiday location for anyone keen to catch a wave. The holiday park also offers heated indoor and outdoor pools and, for the less aquatically inclined, a sports court, paintball, adventure golf, kart hire, circus school and nature walks to explore Cornwall’s natural beauty. With the wide range of facilities, the convenience of a variety of restaurants and bars and the exquisite views, Peran Sands might just become your new favourite holiday destination.

Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, Devon

Devon CliffsImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

This five-star holiday park sees guests returning year after year. Nestled on the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, many caravans overlook the sea and sandy beach below. Despite the exquisite cliff-top location, the award-winning beach can be accessed directly from Devon Cliffs, so the only difficulty will be deciding just how to make the most of your time. The holiday park boasts an indoor pool, a multi-level pool complex, boat trips and a luxury spa, as well as a variety of other activities, such as abseiling, archery, ice-skating and Laser Combat. There is also a range of restaurants and bars, and almost-around-the-clock entertainment to make sure that your holiday park experience is everything you could ever want.

For Families

Church Farm Holiday Village, West Sussex

West Sussex offers families the perfect getaway. With a holiday park operating there for more than 70 years, Church Farm is the expert in happy holidays for the whole family. The five-star holiday village has direct access to a nature reserve, lagoon and shingle beach so all the wonders of nature are just a few steps away from your comfortable self-catering accommodation. For the sporting enthusiasts, there’s Crazy Golf, gyroscopes, bungee trampolines, indoor and outdoor heated pools, tennis courts, a bowling green and a nine-hole golf course. If that isn’t enough to get you packing, there is also an array of day and evening entertainment – a large part of which is catered entirely to kids. To top it all off, Church Farm is pet-friendly to make sure that every member of the family gets to be part of your holiday experience.

Primrose Valley Holiday Park, North Yorkshire

Primrose ValleyImage source: Haven Holidays /CC BY-SA

UK Holiday Parks make for the perfect family holiday experience. The wide variety of activities and entertainment mean that there’s something to suit everyone. Primrose Valley is the epitome of this – set in coastal Yorkshire with exquisite views of Filey Bay, an array of activities to keep you entertained and direct access to a sandy beach, you’re guaranteed a memorable holiday. The nearby lake offers you the opportunity to take a boat trip or to try your hand at fishing. Sporting enthusiasts can head for the zipline, climbing wall, multi-sports court or Crazy Golf. The whole family can take a leisurely bike ride to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area or get your hearts racing in Laser Combat or at the Funfair. With so many activities to choose from, the hardest part of your holiday might be deciding what to do next.

For Young People

Pleasure IslandImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

Thorpe Park Holiday Centre, Lincolnshire

Surrounded by fields and nature trails, and less than 200 yards from a sandy beach, Thorpe Park is the perfect getaway for anyone young at heart. Take the time to explore Lincolnshire’s natural beauty or make use of the great variety of activities on offer right at the holiday park. From dune buggies, paintball, abseiling and zipline to golf and lake fishing, there’s something for everyone. Head nextdoor to the Pleasure Island Theme Park to get your heart racing or wind down the day at one of the restaurants or bars while enjoying the live music and other entertainment. Thorpe Park is a favourite time and time again.

Bideford Bay Holiday Park, Devon

Bideford Bay is Devon’s answer to a memorable holiday experience. A short drive from Westaward Ho blue-flag beach and surrounded by the peaceful woodland area, this holiday park offers guests the perfect combination of exquisite natural beauty and an array of activities to ensure that you’re in the holiday spirit from the moment you arrive. Relax at the Spa Bath, head to one of the heated pools or experience the excitement of the flume or hydrodome. Sporting enthusiasts can enter the five-a-side Festival of Football and the nearby horseriding facilities are a great way to explore the area. So get your family and friends together and head to Bideford Bay for the holiday you deserve.

At The Beach

Seawick Holiday Park, Essex

What could be better than a holiday at the coast with the beach less than 500 yards away? Seawick Holiday Park is proud to be situated near to a number of beaches and offers guests the chance to really experience Essex’s beautiful coastline. There is also direct access from the park to St Osyth Beach, where Seawick Holiday guests are welcome to make use of any of the facilities. And after a day at the beach, you can head back to the holiday park to take a dip in the heated pool or try your hand at the many activities on offer. The adventure playground and on-site funfair are the cherry on top. There is also a selection of restaurants as well as breakfast and half-board available, to ensure that your holiday is completely hassle-free.

Peppermint Park Holiday Park, Devon

Dawlish Warren BeachImage source: GaryReggae / CC BY-SA

Devon’s Jurassic Coast draws tourists year round. The rural scenery and picturesque setting see holiday park guests returning year after year. Surrounded by beaches, sand dunes and lakes, and close to the ever-popular Torquay, Peppermint Park is one of the UK’s top coastal holiday parks. With the added convenience of choosing between an on-site holiday home or to bring your own caravan and with the pet-friendly atmosphere, Peppermint Park is the perfect place for a beach holiday.

For Outdoor Activities

The Orchards Holiday Village, Essex

Orchards PoolImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

For an outdoor adventure holiday, head to the Orchards Holiday Village. Just outside St Osyth with a beach and nature reserve on either side, the outdoor activities are almost endless. The holiday village has direct access to a sandy beach, there’s a fishing lake with the chance to get fishing coaching, a boating lake for boat trips and pedal boats, a nine-hole golf course, crazy golf, a putting green, a bowling green and indoor and outdoor heated pools. And after an action packed day, you can head to one of the on-site restaurants or bars or enjoy relaxing to the sounds of the live music show or tribute band.

Allhallows Leisure Park, Kent

Close enough to London to escape for the weekend, but far enough to feel like you’ve had a holiday in the countryside, Allhallows Leisure Park is one of the UK’s top holiday parks. And with a variety of outdoor activities to keep you entertained, it might just become your favourite getaway destination. Guests can partake in horseriding or throw out a line at the lake. There is also a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a multi-sports court and a bowling green, amongst other facilities. And for the water lovers, there is direct access to a sandy beach, as well as indoor and outdoor heated pools with inflatable slides and turbo paddlers. And with a variety of on-site restaurants and bars, including a pub on the banks of the Thames, you’re guaranteed activity-filled days and nights.

Allhallows Fishing Lake
Image source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA


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a moment with gran great memories

Behind the Willows

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.Grandma Elma and Jane

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Camping with kids

Camping with kids made easy

A family camping trip is something every family should try at least once. We’ve made it easier than ever with our simple guide to camping with kids of all ages, including handy checklists, campsite tips and the best Aussie beaches for families.

Before you go

The key to a truly enjoyable family camping trip is in the planning, but it also pays to be flexible. Work out where you want to go, what the weather will be like and what you can’t forget to pack. Start off with the essentials, and you’ll find you can relax when things don’t quite go to plan …

Australia’s top beaches

Australia has some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world, and a good many of them are also popular family camping locations. Browse Kidspot Weekend to find out the top beach and camping spots for families in uk. If you know of a great campground or beach that isn’t listed at Kidspot Weekend, tell us about it!

Check the weather

Research the local weather forecast for your intended stay period. The best advice can be gained from the park rangers or local tourist information centres, who can tell you the best times of year for great weather. You can also check out the your tv for up-to-date information on the weather around uk.

Camping checklists

If you have been camping before, refer to your previous packing list from the last trip before you embark on your latest camping adventure, and update it after your holiday; with each camping trip you take, you’ll learn more about how to make it easier for next time. Be sure to download our handy packing checklists – see below – so you won’t forget a thing!

Test your gear

You really don’t want to find yourself away from civilisation before you realise your airbed has a leak or that your gas bottle is almost empty. Always thoroughly test your equipment before you leave home, including:

  • checking all tent attachments are accounted for, and in working order
  • cleaning and testing cooking and food equipment
  • refreshing batteries, lightglobes and gas bottles

Why not set up camp in your own backyard for a night or weekend before you go? The kids will love an overnight adventure at home and this is a great way to test much of your gear.

When you get there

Now you’ve made it to your destination, there are some rules of thumb to remember before you start pitching your tents. Read our tips to set your camp up right.

Check your site

Select a flat piece of ground for your tents, avoiding areas with ditches that may become puddles or even ponds in a heavy rain. Check the surrounding trees for signs of weakness or dangerous overhanging branches, and clear the floor space, removing any objects that will cause uncomfortable lumps in your tent floor. Ensure that you position your tent facing the correct way before you start setting it up – you’d be surprised how often a tent is set up facing the wrong way!

Protecting food and rubbish

It is essential to protect your food and rubbish from the local wildlife, as they are notoriously curious around known camping areas. The best way is to keep foodstuffs in tightly sealed containers or high off the ground. You can purchase hanging food-safes and lockable eskies, or simply keep your food and rubbish bag in the car overnight. Always empty your camp rubbish at least once a day and each time you leave camp.

Drying your washing

Most national parks no longer allow campers to tie washing lines around the trees, since they can cause considerable damage. Many campgrounds now provide poles in each camp area for this purpose, but it’s always best to be prepared. Bring along a foldable clothes airer or two. If you have more than one tent, stringing washing lines between them is also a handy option.

Cooking fish

There’s nothing like fresh fish for your camp dinner. Avoid that lingering fishy smell by lining your frypan with aluminium foil, you can also roast fish whole in the foil – just place it under the hot coals of your campfire until cooked. Delicious!

Rainy day fun

Be sure to bring along an activity box for when the weather turns bad. Fill it with fun stuff like board games, decks of cards, jigsaw puzzles and colouring books. Add a blank scrapbook for each child, and a glue stick, too – they can make a holiday storybook or collect natural objects from around the campsite to create a collage.

Keep the tent clean

Let’s face it, it is almost impossible to keep sand, grit and other ‘floaties’ out of the tent, but there are some ways to keep it to a minimum:

  • Place a shallow tray of water near the door, and a towel just inside the door – rinse your feet in the tray, then step onto the towel to dry them off.
  • Keep a small dustpan and brush near the door of your tent – use the brush to dust off your feet before stepping into the tent, and then tidy up any mess you’ve missed once you step inside.
  • Ban shoes in the tent – they carry dirt, mud and sand around, and are almost impossible to dust off properly. Keeping them off in the tent will make a big difference.

Some handy camping essentials to remember:

  • Wire toaster: Wire toasters are available in most camping stores and cost very little. These are a classic camping implement!
  • Stretcher beds: Easily packed away into a small bag, these save more space and time than air-beds. They are inexpensive and available at camping and department stores. Also great for sleepovers!
  • Fire-starters: You can buy a range of fire-starters, but here’s a handy hint: collect your candle stubs at home for camping – they make perfect fire starters. Just light and place under your fire’s tinder.
  • Octopus straps: Bring along an assortment of sizes, as ‘occy straps are a camper’s best friend. Handy for securing so many things, do not leave home without a few!
  • Wet weather ponchos: Easily purchased at camping and department stores, plastic ponchos are cheap and effective in wet weather, and some fold away to about the size of your palm.
  • Ready backpack: A comfy backpack stocked with a small picnic set, torch, lighter, first aid kit, wet wipes, insect repellant and sunscreen will make a handy kit for most small outings away from camp.

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