Are caravan park holidays a nostalgic memory – the scene of family breaks when your kids were tots and self catering in a caravan was so much easier than lounging around a hotel room?
Now that your children are adults and your free time is your own, have you thought about trying a holiday park for yourself? There are some great value midweek breaks this April and May – meaning you can beat the rush and enjoy a well earned break away.
Here are 50 reasons why we think holiday parks are perfect for the over 50s.
1/ Destinations: there are holiday parks in coastal locations across the UK, from Cornwall to the coast of Scotland, from the Gower Peninsula to Great Yarmouth – you’ll never be stuck for somewhere new to try.
2/ Tradition: they’re the classic destinations our parents holidayed in when they were young – iconic seaside towns where fish and chips on the pier, Punch and Judy shows and whopping great beaches take pride of place.
3/ Travel time: Sometimes it’s nice to just to jump in the car for an hour or two and reach your holiday destination with the minimum of fuss. There’s a coastal holiday park within a two hour drive for most of us.
4/ Sociability: holiday parks are extremely social and there are lots of opportunities to meet new friends. So if you hate the idea of being cooped up in a hotel room or remote cottage and would rather invite your neighbours round to share a bottle of wine on your terrace, choose a holiday park.
5/ Entertainment: from TV talent show celebrities to award-winning comedians, cabaret shows to tribute acts – even bingo and karaoke, there’s a whole host of evening entertainment on your doorstep.
6/ Price: holiday park short breaks start from less than £100 for up to six people sharing – and facilities including pools, sports and entertainment are usually included.
7/ Head to Europe: holiday park breaks aren’t restricted to the UK, we have more than 150 destinations in France, Spain and Italy, and off the beaten track in countries including Austria, Switzerland and Croatia.
8/ Choice: by being able to travel outside of school holidays, you should find the widest choice of available holiday parks and accommodation.
9/ Exotic Europe: from the Italian Lakes to the foothills of the Alps to the outskirts of Barcelona, there are European holiday parks in some unlikely destinations.
10/ Cheaper travel: without the ties of school holidays you can find the cheapest flights to Spain and Italy, and the best value ferries to France. Just remember to book early for the best deals.
11/ Glamorous camping: holiday parks bring you the camping lifestyle with lots of comfort thrown in. When we reach a certain age, warm showers, a snug bed and our own toilet really do make a difference.
12/ Comfort: modern static caravans don’t skimp on comfort – you can expect soft beds, a spacious living space, and there are often ensuites.
13/ Space: do you like your own space? Caravans have two or three bedrooms, a lounge and some have a terrace so there’s always somewhere to sneak off to for a few minutes peace and quiet.
14/ Practicality: hot showers, a fridge for food, fully equipped kitchens, plenty of storage, heating – static caravans have absolutely everything you’ll need for self catering in comfort.
15/ Bring your pet: for a small extra charge most holiday parks accept pets, so you can explore the best of the local countryside and beaches without leaving your dog behind.
16/ The great outdoors: we all need to move more to stay healthy, and what could be more enjoyable than exploring Britain’s great outdoors? With a holiday park you’re never further than a short drive to a sweeping beach, wonderful woodland or captivating countryside – the perfect excuse to wear-in your walking boots.
17/ A gentle pace: outside of the summer months, life on holiday parks goes by at a snail’s pace and you can choose to simply laze around your holiday home, decamp to a poolside or spend your day soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach.
18/ Slow down: when you’re self catering, everything takes place at your pace. No early rising for breakfast or clearing out for cleaners.
19/ Golf: cut the cost of a golf break by staying at a holiday park. There’s plenty of space to store your clubs and after a day testing yourself along local fairways, you can compare scores (and work on your excuses) over a beer and show back at park.
20/ Peace and quiet: most holiday parks are set in spacious parkland and stunning countryside – the perfect antidote to a busy town or city living.
21/ Granny time: for valuable bonding time why not treat your grandkids to a short break. They’ll love the kids clubs, playgrounds and activities; their parents will love the rest!
22/ Easy listening: what happens to the stars of TV talent shows when the programmes end? Many tour our holiday parks – so you can sit back and enjoy the show.
23/ Variety: some of the very best variety acts come to the UK’s holiday parks with award-winning comedians and impressionists showing off their talents. If life is a cabaret, you’ll love a holiday park, old chum.
24/ Bingo: the heart thumping excitement of being one number away from shouting ‘HOUSE’ never goes away, and Bingo takes place on most parks season long (but only if you want to!).
25/ Game show for a laugh: turn off TV quizzes and take part for yourself – the biggest holiday parks pull out all the stops to keep you entertained. Haven parks have amazing interactive quizzes based on the 80s, cinema, rock music and celebrity.
26/ Entertainment at its best: most holiday parks will keep you entertained for hours, with fantastic teams delivering amazing live performances night after night.
27/ Pools: if you like to start the day with a swim or keep yourself in shape with a few lengths, you’ll enjoy the indoor pools that are available at most holiday parks. And when the sun is shining, lots of destinations have heated outdoor pools too.
Here’s our list of holiday parks with the best indoor pools: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/holiday-parks-indoor-pools/
28/ Archery: you may be surprised by the range of activities available on holiday parks today. For those who’ve always fancied testing their aim, we’ve seen archery cropping up at lots of destinations.
29/ Golf, without leaving the park: if you’re a golf fan, there’s a selection of holiday parks that have their own courses – usually nine holes – so you can pitch and putt your way to a relaxing short break.
30/ Tennis: pack your rackets and balls, you’ll find tennis courts at lots of holiday parks.
31/ Fishing: if you love fishing there are plenty of holiday parks with well-stocked lakes; if you are a fishing widow there’s plenty on-park to keep you occupied while your other half is busy.
32/ Nature: the environment is an important consideration for most holiday parks with many working hard to win David Bellamy green awards. As part of this process you’ll find holiday parks with wonderful nature reserves and trails – Haven’s Church Farm, Combe Haven, Greenacres, Marton Mere and Rockley Park are among our favourites.
33/ A bracing walk: whether exploring along the British coast, tramping across moors or wandering into woodland, there are many memorable walks that start or end close to holiday parks. And if you come kitted out with walking paraphernalia, there’s plenty of storage space in a static caravan.
34/ Brilliant beaches: from isolated coves to sweeping wild coastline, emerald waters to colourful beach huts, the UK has some truly incredible beaches.
We rounded up 17 of the most recommended: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/uk-best-beaches/
35/ Coastal safari: to spot predators on the prowl, grazing herbivores and colourful flora, simply head down to the beach. Britain’s coastline is studded with spectacular pools hosting all manner of minibeasts: gobies and blennies, crabs and prawns, limpets and whelks and mussels, starfish and anemones of dazzling hues.
36/ Adventure: if you need an adventure but want to keep things cheap you can find lots of UK spots that double up as the world’s most exciting destinations.
These are some of our favourites found close to holiday parks: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/cheap-holiday-ideas/
37/ Hidden gems: Britain’s coastline is graced with a host of delightful little seaside towns – many just a short drive from local holidays parks.
Here are 10 of our favourites in northwest England and north Wales: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/hidden-gem-coastal-towns/
38/ Step back in time: we sometimes take the UK’s incredible heritage for culture, but our isles are packed with historic attractions that people from across the world travel to visit. Many of the best are located close to the coast, built up to repel invading hordes.
Here are seven near to holiday parks in Kent and Sussex: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/castles-forts-kent-sussex/
39/ Great rail journeys: when you stay at a holiday park on the coast, you are perfectly placed to jump aboard one of the memorable rail journeys that chug along the edge of Britain.
Here’s our guide to eight of the best: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/great-uk-coastal-rail-journeys/
40/ Birdwatching: Britain’s coastline is an amazing place for birdwatching whether you are a first time spotter or a seasoned pro. From the many great vantage points within easy reach of holiday parks on the UK coast, watchers can see resident sea birds, migrating flocks and rare species that have been blown off course.
41/ Wild life: getting up close with nature is always great fun on the coast and there are plenty of surprising finds across the UK – red squirrels on Brownsea Island, llamas in Dorset, seals off the Norfolk coast and otters and sea birds in south Wales.
42/ Discover: have you ever watched a film and thought ‘that beach looks familiar?’ The UK is full of beaches that have featured on screen, why not seem them for yourself.
Here are 10 you might recognise: www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/blog/beaches-from-films-tv/
43/ Festivals: a huge assortment of festivals have cropped up all across the UK, with everything from folk music to classic cars to poetry given its own event. Those that include accommodation will probably be asking you to bring your own tent, so why not opt for a little extra comfort and check out the local holiday park instead.
44/ See the attraction: there are thousands of wonderful attractions to discover across the UK covering every topic imaginable. From tropical rainforests to royal homes, pioneering museums to wildlife centres – travelling outside of school seasons means you get to visit without the peak times queues.
45/ Eccentric: Do beach breaks bore you and weeks in the sun leave you sighing? There are eccentric events held across the UK that will blast away your holiday doldrums.
46/ Dinosaur echo: combing Britain’s beaches can provide a fascinating window to the world’s prehistoric past. Dorset has its Jurassic Coast and the Isle of Wight is known as Dinosaur Isle – both are favourites for fossil hunters.
47/ Beach crafts: if you love arts and crafts you can beachcomb for unusual shells, wave-smoothed pebbles and driftwood that can give your latest project a stylish twist. Treat yourself to a holiday park beach break and you can stock up on supplies.
48/ Food: across the UK there are seafood festivals, farmers markets and celebrations of local dishes, so you can treat your tastebuds to a holiday.
49/ Eat out: if you want a break from self catering, you’ll find plenty of alternatives. On most holiday parks there is tasty traditional pub food served at affordable prices, and bigger parks may also have a fish and chip shop or takeaway. Of course, most parks are close to seaside towns, so you can ask the reception team for a recommendation and try a local speciality.
50/ Seek the sun: for an early sizzle, you can head out to amazing holiday parks in sun-blessed destinations including the south of France, Spain and Italy.
You’ve read our 50 – what reasons would you add? Tell us in the comments below.