Holiday Parks – An Introduction to the UK Industry
Holiday parks in the UK refer to self catering accommodation complexes, traditionally consisting of mostly caravans but also extending to lodges and apartments.
A number of companies have built up larger portfolios of holiday parks in the UK, increasingly allowing them to move closer to full holiday resorts. Depending on the facilities and also the time of year, they may target families or couples of the older generation. Some resorts such as Butlins are also known for hen parties.
The largest holiday park operator in terms of the number of resorts is Park Resorts. They operate 39 different locations throughout the UK, all of which are near to or on the beach. All the parks have caravans and many have lodges as well as bungalows, chalets and even 2 hotels.
Haven is probably the most well known of these companies in the UK. Almost all their accommodation at their 35 venues is caravans. Like Park Resorts, all the Haven Holidays parks are situated around the UK’s coast. Almost all have at least an indoor or outdoor pool, many have both and some have extensive slides or a Space Bowl water ride.
Park Holidays UK and Parkdean are the other two large UK park operators with 25 and 24 locations respectively. Unlike the other companies mentioned, Park Holidays UK focuses specifically on the south of England.
John Fowler Holidays operate 14 more basic holiday parks whose facilities don’t tend to stretch beyond a small swimming pool and entertainment/dining venue. Hoburne operate 7 resorts in the South West of England.
The three final companies worth mentioning are among the smallest in terms of quantity of parks but are actually incredibly well known. Pontins and Butlins have 5 and 3 parks respectively, and are very definitely holiday resorts with extensive facilities and even some hotel accommodation. Center Parcs is on the edge of the holiday park category, usually costing more with their lodge-only accommodation in tree filled grounds.
Apart from the beaches that many holiday parks are known for, most now have at least one swimming pool. Almost all have a restaurant and some form of evening entertainment, whilst some have dedicated stages for shows. Another popular feature is the kids club, so that parents can spend some time relaxing without their children. In general, activities relate to the outdoors with organised sports, golf and mini golf, fishing and nature trails. However, other parks have indoor features such as large games rooms and even bowling alleys.
With the different experiences available from different companies and locations across the country, holiday parks in their wider definition are likely to appeal to a greater portion of the population, especially with the ease of taking a holiday without any air travel, and without much difficulty finding a parking space.