Travelling with small kids
Colour festival fun
Blogger of the year, BrummyMummy shares useful holiday tips
Introducing the next generation of caravans
Exciting new signature summer event
Carl Castledine CEO of Away Resorts
Resort information Whitecliff Bay Isle of Wight
Tattershall Lakes Lincolnshire
Barmouth Bay North Wales
Mill R ythe Hampshire
Mersea Island Essex
01442 508 850 awayresorts.co.uk
from our chief exec Welcome to the very first issue of our new Good Times Magazine. Why the magazine? We know that nowadays almost all our guests go online to find out about availability and prices, so a holiday brochure is becoming a bit of a dinosaur. But we also appreciate that, however much we all live online, people still like to hold something in their hands to read – something that informs and inspires, something that allows you to tear a page out if there’s a cool feature you want to keep, something you can look at in the bath! So this year we decided to try something different and bring you a magazine instead. We hope it’ll tell you stuff about us that maybe you didn’t know, like how a show is assembled, or how many activities we offer, or what food is in our restaurants.
Fantastic holiday fun
But we also wanted to tell you how to make a tasty meal in a caravan, and give you some wicked ideas for games to keep the kids amused, and recommend some fishing tips, and show you some wonderful cycling routes you might not have thought of, and make you think about how your dog can enjoy the holiday, all that and more. Holidays are so important. They give us something to look forward to on those dark rainy mornings. They allow us to get away from it all and reconnect with our loved ones and give us the chance to experience new things. But most of all, they make memories, and these stay burning inside us for years to help us get through the not so great times, and keep us connected even when we’re far apart. And so the Good Times Magazine was born. We hope you find it inspiring and interesting, but most of all, we hope that the information in it will help you to create the best, funniest, coolest, silliest, happiest, most awesome memories ever. Carl Castledine, CEO
re For mo
NG EXCITIhead to: S STORIEsorts.co.uk awayre mes /goodti
Features: Out of the park Page 14
Whitecliff Bay Island escape
28 Meet the Away Resorts Characters Page 82
Island life at Mersea Island Page 54
20 Primo Weekend at Mill Rythe Page 62
New Colour Festival
Re-inventing the caravan
Contents 4 History of Away Resorts
75 Hounds on Holiday
8 What's New for 2017
76 Things That Make You Go Mmmm
14 Out of the Park
79 Cream Pie Fight
20 Caravan Re-invented
80 Holiday Hacks
25 Lodge like a VIP 26 Owner's Story 28 Whitecliff Bay Island Escape 36 Tattershall Lakes 44 Fishing Tips 46 Water Sports
80 How to Get More Bang for Your Holiday Buck 82 Meet Away Resorts characters 84 Holiday with Kids 87 Child's Play 90 Get into Gear Cycling routes
48 Barmouth Bay A blogger's family break
94 Show Stoppers
54 Mersea Island Island life
100 Packing the Perfect Picnic
102 Events & Key Dates
62 Primo Weekend At Mill Rythe
104 Christmas at Mill Rythe
68 Special Weekend Event List
108 Camping the Luxury way
70 Road Trip Games
110 Pitch Perfect
74 History of Caravans
112 Food Glorious Food
ur Stars 96 O
KIDS Gck out AMES Turn t o PG 81
a Awsorts e
A brief history of
1936 - Butlins Opens
If you cut chief executive Carl Castledine in half, he would have the words holiday park running through him like a stick of Great British rock. 1905 - Caister Holiday Park opens
Carl is the third generation in his family to run a holiday park. His grandfather ran Britain's first holiday camp, which opened at Caister in Norfolk in 1905, when Billy Butlin was still at primary school, and Carl went on to work for some of the biggest businesses in the UK market. But it was in 2008, when Carl teamed up with two other holiday park experts, Neill Ryder and Greg Lashley â€“ who cut their teeth in places such as Park Resorts, Haven and Bourne Leisure â€“ that his chance came to continue the family tradition.
2008 Carl teamed up with two other holiday park experts, Neill Ryder and Greg Lashley
2008 Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park bought on the Isle of Wight
The three friends shared a dream for the holiday park of the future and a desire to shake up the industry. So Away Resorts was born, with Carl as CEO, Neill as finance director and Greg as operations director. Fast forward eight years, throw in an awful lot of hard work, laughs, passion and a bunch of amazing staff, and you have a growing family of parks, all with their own unique personality, all buzzing with guests all year round, and a business at the cutting edge of the sector. ‘We didn’t really know what we were letting ourselves in for when we bought our first park, Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, on the Isle of Wight,’ says Carl now. ‘We had tons of experience between us, but no-one can prepare you for running your own holiday park business, lock, stock and barrel. Plus we didn’t want it to be like any other park that had ever gone before. We wanted to take the best bits of the great British holiday park, throw out the worst aspects, then add in some amazing contemporary touches, and create the holiday park for the next generation.’
2009 Whitecliff Bay went so well that a year later they went lake-side and bought Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire
2013 Then came Barmouth Bay Holiday Park in North Wales 2015 Mersea Island Holiday Park in Essex was bought in 2015
And that’s exactly what they’ve done. Outdoor cinemas under the stars, festival style entertainment, glamping villages, record-breaking
2010 Followed by Mill Rythe Holiday Village on Hayling Island the year after that
“The three friends shared a dream for the holiday park of the future, and a desire to shake up the industry.”
cream-pie fights, West End stars, wakeboarding, spas, hot-tubs and wifi sit alongside old-style fish’n’chips, camping, caravans and night-time talent shows. Holiday-park goers are able to enjoy the retro things they love along with the new stuff they adore, making holiday parks relevant and fun again.
‘We still have loads of ideas and we’re still growing as a business,’ says Carl.
Whitecliff Bay went so well that a year later the business bought Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire, followed by Mill Rythe Holiday Village on Hayling Island the year after that. Then came Barmouth Bay Holiday Park in North Wales and finally Mersea Island Holiday Park in Essex in 2015.
‘But we don’t just want to be big. We want to be the best too. We’re still shaking up the industry. We have so many ideas, and more than a few surprises coming down the track in the next year or two. There is so much we can still do to make our guests’ holidays even better.’
In the past eight years, Away Resorts has won industry awards and accolades, been rated in the top 100 fastest growing businesses in the UK, and attracted a new wave of holiday park devotees. But what of the future?
Carl sums up the Away Resorts vision: ‘Ultimately we want to continue to do what we set the company up for eight years ago: to celebrate the best the UK has to offer, and convince the great British public that you can have a great holiday without having to fork out for a flight.’
‘We want a footprint that spans the UK, with enough parks to take on the big players. We want an Away Resorts park to be a couple of hours away from everyone, wherever you live in the UK.
Postscript Continuing the family tradition, Carl’s daughter India has just graduated from university and has started working in the holiday park industry too. She’s currently settling in at Butlins (much to Carl’s chagrin!).
1 7 0 2
Away Resorts has invested £17 million in the last two years. We’re always adding something extra to each one of our parks, and this year we’ve invested a stunning £5.3 million in improvements and refurbishments. Here’s a snapshot of the most exciting developments.
BATTLE OF BRITAIN SPITFIRE PILOT, 96-YEAR-OLD FLYING OFFICER KEN WILKINSON.
Here is the lowdown on the facilities and accommodation that visitors can expect to see across Away Resorts’ portfolio of parks.
“Another £2 million investment is planned for 2017 at Tattershall Lakes”
Tattershall Lakes Country Park Last year Tattershall Lakes received a cool £8 million investment. The park now has a new £4 million entertainment complex called The Merlin, opened on 28 June 2016 by a Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, 96-year-old Flying Officer Ken Wilkinson. The focal point of the centre is a life-size replica of a Spitfire suspended from the ceiling, celebrating the wartime heroes of the RAF, which has a base nearby. The Battle of Britain Flight Memorial Centre is also just a stone’s throw away. The Merlin also includes the Spitfire Bar, a large dining area, space for kids’ activities during the day, dining, dancing and drinking, a huge projection screen and new arcade games. Other new facilities include an adventure playground, a splash zone, crazy golf and an all-weather archery range. The rest of the money is being spent on 90 new accommodation pitches, brand new lodges and new roads.
Travel writer Lisa James spent an autumnal weekend at Tattershall Lakes with her family. See what they got up to on page 36.
Mill Rythe Holiday Village Mill Rythe on Hayling Island was an original 1930s Sunshine Holiday Camp, and since we acquired it in 2010 we’ve spent in excess of £2 million giving it a 21st century upgrade. In fact, our efforts were formally recognised in 2016 when VisitEngland gave Mill Rythe a four star rating, up from the previous three stars. This makes Mill Rythe one of the highest quality catered accommodation providers in the region. Some of our biggest outlays have been spent providing some fantastic West End-style entertainment from the best entertainers in the holiday park business. This year, we’re spending more than £500,000 on brand new showers and completing refurbishments to some of the chalet accommodation and introducing the game-changing Beachcomber caravans. We’re also planning to introduce some exciting new breaks never before seen at Mill Rythe.
Change to one not used before
Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park Over on the Isle of Wight we have spent the winter increasing the capacity at Whitecliff Bay. Now we’ve increased the number of static caravan pitches on the park and added more glamping tents too. We have refurbished a number of older chalets in Pelham Court as well as putting down new roading and creating new parking. The Beach Café will also be getting some TLC so you can enjoy a drink and a bite down by the ocean. Families will also be able to enjoy a brand new adventure golf course. That’s on top of all the new additions from 2016, which included the opening of a new village green, resurfacing work on the roads, wifi throughout the park and Jolly Nice Chalets, a brand new accommodation type.
Discover travel writer Mark Henshall’s first impressions of Whitecliff Bay (and find out what his wife and 11 year old son thought too) on page 28.
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MORE READ ur travel o about . s story writer 8 o PG 2 Turn t
Mersea Island Holiday Park We have made a large investment to the newest member of the Away Resorts family, Mersea Island Holiday Park, a magical retreat hidden away on the Blackwater Estuary just off the Essex coast. We’ve been working hard all winter and by the time the first guests arrive at Easter, the park will offer:
new indoor A swimming pool new adventure A playground for kids New caravan pitches To find out about freelance travel journalist Tracey Davies’s mini break to this Essex isle, turn to 54
AnyDay to any day Arrivals During the Autumn and Winter months you can now arrive and depart on any day of the week. Based on successful introduction of any day arrivals in 2016, they will be available from the beginning of November 2017. Typically holiday breaks have had a fixed duration of 3 or 4 nights. But we know sometimes you may want to arrive and depart on different days. You can now stay for any length of time from two nights and upwards. In this modern age we know that people have commitments at different times so we want you to be able to come and relax with us whenever you want! Goodbye rigid arrival dates HELLO FREEDOM. This also makes Away Resorts one of the only holiday parks to offer you this flexibility and we can’t wait to welcome you whether it’s your first time or your hundredth. www.awayresorts.co.uk
SEE THE RAINBOW LORIKEETS AT COLCHESTER ZOO
k ar P
Away Resorts prides itself on its on-park facilities and entertainment programme, but there is also plenty to do for guests who want to venture out of the park for a few hours.
Mersea Island Away Resorts loves a holiday park on an island so it made complete sense for the company to buy this little gem on the island of Mersea in the Blackwater Estuary just off the Essex coast. There are some great places to explore on the
island which covers seven square miles, from its beautiful, sandy beaches, and boat tours around the island to learn about its history and its wildlife, to long walks through Cudmore Grove Country Park, which has an abundance of wildlife.
Enjoy a beer or two at Mersea Island Brewery or if you love a glass of vino, check out the islandâ€™s vineyard. Further afield from the island, just nine miles away, is the Roman town of Colchester, which is a great day out for all the family with an impressive, perfectly preserved Norman castle and a zoo, which boasts 260 rare species. For more information, go to visitmerseaisland.co.uk
EXPLORE CARISBROOKE CASTLE
There is so much to see and do on the Isle of Wight, which makes it a popular place to visit again and again with many holidaymakers.
Whitecliff Bay Away Resorts’ coastal escape at Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight ticks all the right boxes for holidaymakers looking for a great British seaside holiday. Whitecliff Bay is located on the southeast of the island, just a stone’s throw away from the spectacular Culver Downs, popular with the likes of adventurer Bear Grylls, who described sea-cliff climbing at the Downs as one of his top 10 places in Britain.
A stay on the island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Needles, Blackgang Chine theme park, Carisbrooke Castle, Dinosaur Isle at Sandown, the Garlic Farm, Shanklin Chine, the Amazon World Zoo Park and Queen Victoria’s holiday residence of Osbourne House. A ride on the Isle of Wight Steam railway
is also a must on any holiday. And of course while there are all of these attractions to visit. There’s a packed calendar of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival, the Garlic Festival, Cycling Festival and Cowes Week. For more information, go to visitisleofwight.co.uk
Mill Rythe Also on an island just off the south coast is Away Resorts’ entertainment-focused Mill Rythe Holiday Village. While there are activities and facilities to enjoy during the day on park, there are plenty of attractions close by if you are feeling adventurous, including Marwell Zoo, Funland Theme Park, Peppa Pig World and Go Ape tree-top adventure course. For active types, Hayling Island’s location on the Solent makes it the perfect spot for water sports, in particular kite surfing, windsurfing, (which was invented on the island), jet-skiing and sailing. SAY HELLO TO PEPPA
A visit to Portsmouth delivers a big bang for your buck with a number of attractions to visit, including the Naval Dockyard, home to HMS Warrior 1860, HMS Victory and the Royal Navy’s most famous warship, Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum and the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. At 170 metres high, the tower boasts breathtaking views across the Solent. If you have some time to squeeze in a bit of shopping, head to Gunwharf Quays, home to 95 designer outlets and a 14-screen cinema as well as a plethora of restaurants. For more information, go to visitportsmouth.co.uk
VISIT THE NAVAL DOCKLANDS
MARVEL AT THE EMIRATES SPINNAKER TOWER
Tattershall Lakes Located in Lincolnshire, this lakeside retreat has plenty of activities on the park to keep guests happy, but for those keen to explore the local area, there is plenty to see and do. A short drive from the park is the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitors Centre, where visitors can get up close to the flight’s historic aircraft. History lovers should head to the magnificent Tattershall Castle. Work on this red-brick castle began in 1434 making it one of the first of its kind in England. The National Trust puts on a programme of events throughout the year at the castle, including re-enactments, children’s trails, ghost walks, themed arts & craft activities and festive markets.
The seaside resort of Skegness has all of the traditional pastimes you would expect from a seaside town on the east coast. Think donkey rides, prize bingo, fish and chips, illuminations and of course the great Fantasy Island amusement park, bursting at the seams with rides and rollercoasters. It also lays claim to having Europe’s largest seven-day market.
Another great day out is a trip to Lincoln to roam the cobbled streets of this ancient city. Its cathedral, commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, is home to one of only four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta. For more information, go to visitlincolnshire.com
‘‘If you love the great outdoors, then you will adore Barmouth Bay, which is set in a stunning beachside location in North Wales, at the foot of the mountain ranges of Snowdonia National Park’’ 18
GO BACK IN TIME AT CAERNAFON CASTLE
If you love the great outdoors, then you will adore Barmouth Bay, which is set in a stunning beach-side location in North Wales, at the foot of the mountain ranges of Snowdonia National Park. Snowdonia is a great place to explore on foot – as long as you have your walking boots – with lots of guided pathways through the national park and up to the peak of Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain. There’s also the opportunity to explore the mountains by bike, with cycle routes for all kinds of cyclists. However, if you would rather explore the park from the comfort of a train, then hop on the heritage train services of Snowdon Mountain Railway or the Ffestiniog Railway.
If you like a castle or two, then head to the beautifully intact, medieval Caernarfon Castle. There is also Harlech Castle, a medieval fortification, constructed on top of a spur of rock close to the Irish Sea. While at Barmouth, make sure you explore the Llechwedd Slate Caverns on a deep mine tour with guides that will bring back to life the stories of miners that worked in the caverns in the 19th century. And if you are a big fan of Arthurian legends, then make sure you pay a visit to King Arthur’s Labyrinth, where a hooded boatman will guide you on an underground boat through a waterfall to a land of myths and legends – a great underground storytelling adventure. For more information, go to visitsnowdonia.info
Re- invented Affordable UK holiday accommodation has definitely had a revamp in recent years. First of all we had the Glamping revolution, to bring camping right up to date. Tents were completely made over. And then along came yurts, teepees and wigwams â€“ all edging their way into campsites. The bar had been raised on UK accommodation, and this extended to B&Bs too, with tree-houses, boathouses and lighthouses becoming popular. And all the time the humble caravan said nothing.
But now that is about to change forever...
Away Resorts and ABI have developed a seriously cool kind of caravan called The TriBeCa that will make everyone re-think what a caravan is. It’s that radical. Designed especially for families, mums and dads will love the central, light-filled, open-plan living space and kitchen. With its high roofline, free standing furniture, New York loft style décor and panoramic glass sliding doors creating a natureon-the-inside vibe, this could be an uber-trendy apartment in Berlin. The sophisticated design treatment uses art, colour and texture to create a boutique hotel feel, and makes the very most of every inch of space. But that’s not all. The grown-ups’ sumptuous bedroom features a stand-alone, roll-top bathtub, and an en-suite. Magically, there is a hidden TV behind the mirror so you can lie back in the bath and watch a show. When you are finished, the TV transforms back into a mirror. There is also a second 32 inch TV screen, viewable from the king-size bed, complete with Egyptian cotton bedding making the parents room an idyllic holiday sanctuary. The TriBeCa's design is about form and function. Designed by women, the team have considered all the little details that will make your holiday more enjoyable. The plug-points are all in sensible places, near to the mirrors, to make drying hair and getting ready easy. And there is a full-length mirror too, so no more standing precariously on a chair and bending from the waist to view the outfit’s full effect. Plus, there is plenty of storage space in free-standing wardrobes – and room to hang up long dresses and trousers.
But, the best is yet to come… The kids’ / teens’ room would be groundbreaking in a designer hotel, let alone a caravan. The timber-effect walls and huge windows create a jungle feel and the astro-turf flooring carries on the theme of bringing the outside in. The bunk-beds come complete with dens underneath and each bed has its own TV screen and sockets for gaming.
And the kids also get their own en-suite with shower and loo as well, which is very good news for everyone, especially at 9am in the morning when the family-fight for the bathroom usually begins. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the exterior design – while many traditional caravans come in any colour you want, as long as its beige, this new caravan is clad with striking, colourful stripes and also comes complete with it’s very own outdoor seating area and hot tub. The cool caravan has arrived, and it's fit for all the family. You can be one of the first guests to stay in the new caravans. They are available for booking from Easter 2017 at Tattershall Lakes and Whitecliff Bay. Find the TriBeCa at awayresorts.co.uk
Have you ever dreamt of owning your own holiday home? weâ€™re here to help you do just that! There are many benefits for owners at Away Resorts: Unlimited breaks for up to 12 months of the year* and access to all park facilities for you, your friends and family. We also offer a subletting scheme to help offset running costs, a part exchange programme, a range of holiday homes to suit all budgets and finance packages** to make the process easier.
Find out more at holidayhomes.awayresorts.co.uk * If 12 month licence is purchased. 10.5 months without licence. ** Finance subject to status written details available on request. Away Resorts Ltd is a licenced credit broker authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. For more information please ask. Terms and conditions apply.
2o new luxury lodges with hot tubs
available this year
Lodge a e k i l
VIP Many have hot tubs, and we’re rolling out 20 new lodges with hot tubs in the months to come.
Sometimes a break from your normal routine isn’t quite enough. Sometimes you need to feel that bit special – and that’s where our lodges really hit the spot. The instant you step inside an Away Resorts lodge, you’ll be struck by the sense of light and space around you. They’re not just a little bigger than our most luxurious caravans – they’re about twice the size, the equivalent of two caravans joined side by side. The extra width and ceiling height give a luxurious sense of room to relax.
The kitchens are smart and well laid out, making it easy and fun to whip up a meal for the family when you need to, and you can sit and eat in elegant comfort at the full sized dining table and chairs. The bathrooms and bedrooms are also more spacious than you’ll find elsewhere. It all contributes to the feeling that you’re in a roomy house, not a caravan. The final touches are the chic, sleek designer décor and the quality of the furnishings. The lodges that we offer are the ultimate getaway-from-it-all accommodation, offering you the same exclusive feel you get from a smart hotel room, but with tons of light and space along with a delightful sense of privacy.
The lounge areas are bright, inviting and calmly secluded from the outside world, and the extra space means there’s room to fit freestanding furniture. The whole family can stretch out on the large, soft sofas, and there’s cosy fires to put your feet up in front of. Wonderful views spread out behind the two french doors, and every lodge has its own decking area, opening from the lounge, where you can settle down with a cool drink and watch the world go by. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Conversation with a holiday
e m o hOwner
We could tell you why we think owning a holiday home at one of our parks is a great idea, but we thought you’d rather hear from someone who has actually bought one. So we asked the Nicholson family - Katherine & Lee, and their children Sonny, 11, & Lilly, 9, to share their real experience of holiday home ownership. They own a caravan at Tattershall Lakes and kindly agreed to be photographed and interviewed.
Q: How long have you owned a holiday home with Away Resorts? This is our first year. Q: Have you owned a holiday home before? Yes we have, but this is the first time with Away Resorts. Q: What attracted you to Tattershall Lakes? Friends of ours own a holiday home at Tattershall Lakes and we used to visit them most weekends We realised they were having such a good time and there were so many activities for the kids that we decided to buy our own holiday home. Q: How often do you come to use your holiday home? Every weekend, all through the school holidays, in fact, whenever we’ve got the chance, we come down! Q: Do you rent it out? Yes, we have done, but just to family and friends during this first season. Now it’s been a year since we bought our holiday home we are beginning to consider other opportunities to rent it out to help offset the annual running costs.
“It's our second home” Lilly Nicholson Age 9
Q: What are the best things about owning a holiday home at Tattershall Lakes The amount of activities we can do together as a family, all the things the kids can do, the new Merlin Complex, you can eat on site, enjoy entertainment at night... It’s non-stop morning to night. Q: What do the kids like best? Lilly: I like the aqua park, and the swimming pool. (Mum says Lilly’s swimming is coming along really well because she swims every week). Sonny: I like going to the football courts and playing with my friends. Q: Do you have a favourite holiday memory? Lots! Every weekend is a different memory, it's all good fun, so each and every week is a new memory. Lilly says “It’s our second home”. Mum and Dad add: Everything we need is here in the holiday home so we really only need to bring a bit of food. Our clothes are already stored here ready to go so holidays are easy. Q: Do you have to do a lot of upkeep and maintenance? There is nothing really as owners that we need to do. There are maintenance guys on hand who take care of everything. We’re fortunate to have a little bit of a garden so we keep that nice and tidy. Q: How do you feel about the recent enhancements to the park? It’s made a big difference and is a really positive change. Its modernised all the central facilities. The Spitfire Bar is double the size and brand new. The shop is great, our kids love getting sweets from there. Q: How would you describe the sense of community? It’s really good, the owners are all close-knit,
the neighbors are good, and you get to make new friends too when you visit as often as we do. The friendly staff get to know you too. Q: What’s your favourite thing to eat at the restaurant? Sonny: Pizza! Parents: All-day breakfast. Lilly: Jacket potato with cheese and beans Q: How was the purchase process? From coming down for a glamping holiday and walking away with a caravan was a very easy process. The finance facilities, the part-exchange options, and the entire purchase was very straightforward. Q: What are you favourite facilities? The massive playground, massive park, football court, riding our bikes, scooters, going to the splash park, and using our roller skates. Q: What would you say to anyone considering owning a holiday home? It’s all about quality family time. It’s a bit of relief from work – it’s nice to know you can come after work on a Friday within an hour and you’re on holiday. It’s like a holiday every weekend. It’s fun, we love it! You can watch the video of the Nicholson Family on the online magazine page on our website. Visit awayresorts.co.uk/magazine Holiday Homes start from just £14,995 If you’d like to find out more about ownership, please give us a call on 01442 50 88 50. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Written by Travel Writer Mark Henshall Isle of Wight
‘Are we here already?’ says my 11-year-old, Gabriel, as the Wightlink ferry glides gently into Fishbourne harbour. As family trips go it’s an uplifting change from the usual mantra: ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ But a brisk 45 minute ride across the Solent from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight is all the time it takes to feel like you’re on an adventure in an entirely different land. ‘Pretty sick!’ says Gabriel.
ff i l c e t i Wh Island
y a B
The first time I came here was as a 17-year-old student hitching around the UK (when people still did that kind of thing). Since then I’ve been back only once for the excellent Isle of Wight festival. In the meantime, Bestival has taken off for families, the culinary scene has exploded as Michelin-starred chefs pour in to take advantage of fresh seafood and fish, and the Isle has gained a reputation as ‘Dinosaur Island’ with fossil hunts and footprint tours increasingly popular. Cowes Week Sailing Regatta in late August gets a bigger international crowd each year and there’s tons of attractions now – all easy peasy given it’s a short drive anywhere on an island only 23 miles by 12 miles in size. It’s good to be back and I’m struck by how lush and green the island is as we drive down the quiet lanes to the east coast – under 30 minutes
away – where we’re staying at Whitecliff Bay, a tranquil holiday village in Bembridge that lies behind the spectacular headland of the Culver Downs. The resort is the first member of the Away Resorts’ family and looks out onto pretty woodlands and fields on one side and a secluded beach on the other, on one of Europe’s most important coastlines for dinosaur fossils. The idea of being on the ‘Jurassic’ coast definitely heightens the excitement in the back seat of the car. After a warm meet and greet at the Clubhouse, we head to our luxury three-bedroom lodge on The Crosswinds. We’re on the other side of the resort with the Canvas Village, but it’s all very walkable, easy to orientate yourself, and the Nab Bar and Diner, beach and Culver Club with live music and dancing most nights are nearby. www.awayresorts.co.uk
luxury lodges for all the family
k o o B ort a sh ak e r b m fro99 ÂŁ1 get your family and friends together and enjoy one of our lodges, all set in stunning Locations and some even come with your very own hot tub!
Find out more at awayresorts.co.uk Excludes Mill Rythe holiday village
All the lodges are nicely spaced out for privacy, and inside there’s lots of room and natural light. Our beds are already made for us to jump into but first we collapse on the comfy sofas and stick on a warming wall fire to get toasty. The kitchen has all the mod cons including fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher, and the bathrooms (one ensuite) have plenty of towels. There’s a big dining room table and the large, colour TV is an additional hit with our boy for Friday night X-Factor viewing before we all flake out. We wake up the next day to the light rustling of trees that shelter our lodge, and peace envelops us after sleeping like logs from the sea air. Looking out over our lodge’s white picket fence, I can see the patchwork of Bembridge countryside, the thick forest and undulating bottle-green hills under light, bright blue skies. A big English breakfast kicks off our Saturday at The Nab Bar and Diner where the helpful and friendly staff go out of their way to make sure we have everything we need. Conveniently, the indoor swimming pool is next door, so we take a splash in the pleasantly warm water before I spend an equal amount of time trying to persuade our family aqua tuber to leave the flume ride he’s doing loops on. We follow this with a father and son table tennis match in the games room, before deciding to hit the beach.
“We wake up the next day to the light rustling of trees that shelter our lodge, and peace envelops us after sleeping like logs from the sea air.”
Moving past the fun, giant deckchairs and mini golf on the front lawns, we take the footpath to the shore for some rock pooling and a coffee at the Beach Café. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Summer Stories This whole area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and for budding dinosaur hunters, the grey, pinkish and yellow strata of the chalk cliff’s soft sands and clays are a good way for children to discover fossils. You can see the layer cake effect, where thousands of years of earth are stacked up over time in the side of the cliff, and it adds a new dimension to discovering the tiny sea creatures washed up by the waves. Back at the Clubhouse and shop on site, I catch up with the general manager, who tells me £2.5 million this year alone has been invested here in modernising the park. For old hippies like me there’s also the Canvas Village, a glamping area inspired by the Isle of Wight festival with bell tents that sleep up to four people and cottages that can take up to eight. For a touch of nostalgia there are Vintage Caravans, which are the original 1970s Cosalt Abbey caravans kitted out in a Cath Kidston, retro style.
Next up though is something thoroughly modern we’ve booked in for a hoverboarding session with enthusiastic activity leader, Ben. It’s one of the many activities available at the resort from archery, land zorbing and laser tag to raft building, water polo, circus skills and pottery painting. This is on top of the new covered kids play area with its climbing ropes, slides, novelty red phone box and outdoor swimming pool with kayaks. Ben expertly guides us through what to expect and kits us out with a helmet, elbow, knee and wrist guards. We tentatively step on the two wheelers that are lit from underneath in electric purple and remind me of Back to the Future. Gabriel loves it and is already dodging in and out of plastic cones, starting to spin in circles and picking songs to ‘dance’ to with Ben, even going one-footed by the end. I’m happy to make a few laps without picking up any major injuries, but we all smile from ear to ear.
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On Sunday morning we leave early, waving our serene hideaway goodbye to visit Monkey Haven, a Primate rescue centre in Newport only 10 minutes from the ferry, so a good last pit stop to make. It’s a genuine joy, this place with its whooping Muller gibbons, cheeky capuchins and permanently alert meerkats. There’s so much more to do, but annoyingly we’ve run out of time. On the way to the ferry we make a mental list of all the places we’ll go next time: Dinosaur Isle at Sandown; Queen Victoria’s home, Osborne House; Carisbrooke Castle; the Needles; and the intriguing Garlic Farm. As we leave the Isle of Wight, we sit with our faces to the sun as jet skis skim across the wake of our ferry and seem to urge us to stay. The short crossing reminds us we won’t leave our next escape that long again.
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Best bits of
y a B
l l a h s r Tat te to
s e k a L Written by travel writer Lisa James Lincolnshire
One family discovers Tattershall Lakes Country Park. Holiday entertainment can be a bit hit and miss, but the Tattershall Lakes team has got it right, with such a huge choice of creative and active things to do. Lloyd and the team have boundless energy and enthusiasm which lasts from first thing in the morning to well into the evening. In fact, that ‘can do’ attitude runs throughout Tattershall Lakes, starting from the lovely welcome at check in, right through to the chatty bar staff and the lifeguards at the pool. We (my five-year-old daughter Freya, nineyear-old niece Zeddi and I) arrived on Friday evening. My plan had been to dump the luggage at the lodge then head straight up to the main Spitfire bar, but it’s a long time since I was a little girl and I forgot how exciting it is to arrive somewhere new when you’re five and nine.
If Tattershall Lakes Country Park could clone Lloyd and the rest of the entertainments and leisure team for guests to take home, I guarantee the phrase ‘I’m bored’ would never be uttered again.
The girls insisted on exploring every corner of each room – ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ as they pulled open drawers, flung open wardrobes and peeked inside the enormous shower cubicle, rushing from their lovely cosy twin room to my fabulous double with en-suite, the family bathroom with huge bath and into the spacious lounge-kitchen with the big, family size TV. They loved the fact the large kitchen table was lovingly set out with plates and cutlery, ready to receive guests. ‘I’m going to pretend to be Goldilocks!’ said Freya. Lodge inspection passed with flying colours, we strolled up to the newly opened, £4 millionpound Merlin entertainment complex. ‘Mum, I never knew there were so many stars in the sky,’ said Freya. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Summer Stories Inside the Merlin the weekend was already in full swing, with happy families laughing and chatting about their day and tucking into some wonderful food in the main Spitfire Bar. The kids’ show ‘Bear in the Woods’, on the main Spitfire stage, had the youngsters hooked, with a few jokes for adults thrown in to keep the grownups amused. After that, it was ‘Back to the 60s’ a show that wouldn’t have been out of place in the West End or on a glamorous cruise ship. As part of the renovations, the Spitfire Bar now has a larger dining area with plenty of places to sit, extra space for kids’ activities during the day, and dancing and drinking in the evening. It’s got a huge projection screen and a new games arcade just outside. Upstairs is the smaller Propeller Bar, where live entertainment is put on in a cosy atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights. The food is great, the bar’s well stocked and the staff, although working hard, are not too busy to have a chat, ask how your day’s been and enquire about your plans for tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time I slept as well as I did during our weekend at Tattershall Lakes. It helped that I’d had a relaxing pre-bedtime soak in the hot tub on our balcony, enjoying the stillness of the September evening. Once in bed, there was complete peace and quiet – no noise from neighbours and no streetlights pouring in through the bedroom curtains. Plus, my mind wasn’t whizzing with worry about how I was going to entertain the girls over the next two days. The pressure was off and that’s enough to make any grown up sleep soundly. First up on Saturday morning was pottery painting. I grabbed a coffee and studied the events programme as I watched the girls painting a cup-cake piggy bank and nattering away. We left it to dry while the girls explored the adventure playground, then we went off to play some crazy golf and had a chat with Tom and Sue, owners of Tom’s Tackle, on the fishing lake.
Tom can loan equipment and show children how to fish – they often catch something on their very first cast. Next we had a go at puppet-making and then headed across to the marquee to try out Hoverball Archery, which I’d never heard of. It involves shooting different coloured balls that are floating mid-air, using a child-friendly bow and foam tipped arrow. Lloyd and Georgie made it look so easy, but with the balls moving up and down in the airstream, it took a bit of getting used to. Back in the Spitfire Bar we admired the life-size replica of a Battle of Britain Spitfire that hangs from the ceiling, celebrating the heroes of the RAF. The Battle of Britain Flight Memorial Centre
is at RAF Coningsby, just down the road, and is a popular visitor attraction. There’s also Tattershall Castle and the lovely town of Woodhall Spa close by, while the historic city of Lincoln with its magnificent cathedral and castle are 40 minutes away. That’s if you can tear yourself away from Tattershall Lakes itself, with its full Play programme for kids, including arts and crafts, circus workshops and cookery experiences, and its My Active programme for the whole family that includes hoverboards, snorkeling, aquajets, landzorbing, archery and more. Then there’s the £8 million leisure complex with indoor pool, gym, spa and lakeside outdoor hot tubs. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Summer Stories The pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub area closes at 6pm for general use, after which it’s possible to book for private hire – which is what we did. It was a lovely experience – just the three of us in the pool, with two lifeguards on hand, who told me they’d keep an eye on the girls if I wanted to go outside in the hot tub. Sunday 9.30am: Freya was still fast asleep, exhausted by the previous day’s activities. I had to rouse her so we could get to our first activity – sand painting with the bubbly Jade from Barry Island. Then some cheerleading and a late brunch – veggie breakfast for me and pancakes with maple syrup for the girls – followed by a pedalo ride on the lake, a final swim in the pool and one last chance to feel the sand between our toes at the ‘beach’. We couldn’t walk past the adventure playground without the girls pleading to be allowed ‘one more play’. It was hard to prise them away and they dragged their heels as we walked to the car. ‘Come on, girls. We’ve got to go, but we’ll come back again, I promise,’ I said. ‘Next time can we stay forever?’asked Zeddi.
"Next time can we stay forever?"
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Tattershall: 7th - 8th july Whitecliff bay: 18th - 19th august Get set to party! A WHOLE WEEKEND of body-rocking, show-stopping, sing-a-long, feet stomping fun. From sensational live music to games, activities and full on BBQ action, this is one weekend youâ€™ll never forget.
Book early to avoid disappointment Find out more at awayresorts.co.uk/ExtraFun
Best bits of
Fishing tips 44
Fancy a spot of fishing? Here’s some top tips to get you started: Finding a clear area, free from weed in the fishing lake can help. Boilies, fed little and often, fished with a ‘snowman’ with a bright topper is always a good start. Again, feeding boilies while spodding hemp and maize is very productive. We’ve found that pink pop-up boilies work well Rudd Lake is a ‘cracking lake’ with a good head of Carp that aren’t shy feeders; with a handful of ground bait over your hook bait it won’t be long before you will be catching fish. Another good way to catch some nice Carp is feeder fishing using a ‘method feeder’.
Ground bait over a hook bait of 10mm boilies is good for catching Carp, Bream and Tench. Another good bait for Tench is sweetcorn. For smaller fish like Roach, Perch, Rudd and Bream, maggots and small pellets work well.
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h s a l Sp e ! tim Holidays are about getting wet. Sometimes itâ€™s due to the Great British weather, but at Away Resorts holiday parks the splashes are self-inflicted! We have a huge range of watersport activities to keep everyone happy. 46
At Tattershall Lakes, there’s a splash pad for toddlers, while Mill Rythe and Whitecliff Bay both have slides for the kids. At Tattershall Lakes, there’s wakeboarding, waterskiing and a water park with inflatables, while aquajets and snorkelling are available in pools at all six parks. For adults keen to chill out, Tattershall Lakes has a hot tub that overlooks the main lake, while some luxury lodges at all parks have hot tubs to soak away the day’s excesses. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Blogger's Summer Stories
Barmouth Bay a bloggerâ€™s family break
We know Barmouth well, as we enjoyed a family camping holiday in the area a couple of years ago. As a rule we try to avoid returning to the same place twice for our holidays, purely because we enjoy getting to know new areas, but we were happy to break our own rule for the opportunity to stay at a holiday park located on the coast within Snowdonia National Park with spectacular views of mountains, hills and valleys.
Written by blogger Lisa Jane Blog Travellovingfamily.com Snowdonia
Our journey from Gloucestershire It took 3.5 hours to drive to Barmouth from Gloucestershire. The scenery en route was absolutely stunning, with most of the journey spent on A roads with mountainous peaks surrounding us.
Blogger's Summer Stories First impressions Charlie and Harry were so excited to open up the caravan door and explore our new home for the next three nights. We were absolutely delighted with the caravan. It was a superior 8 berth caravan which could not have been more than a year old. It was spotlessly clean with modern, light furnishings and central heating. The caravan had a master double bedroom, two twin bedrooms, a spacious lounge with pull out sofa bed and a modern kitchen with microwave and every utensil we could possibly need. There was a main bathroom with shower and toilet and conveniently, a separate toilet. It was pointless attempting to immediately put our boys to bed. They were far too excited running around from room to room, checking out every nook and cranny. We therefore unpacked and settled down with a muchneeded drink. I was pleased to find that the caravan had plenty of storage and wardrobe space. I could even put all of our bags under one of the beds to keep them hidden.
picnic, we took the short stroll over to the beach to enjoy the sunshine and let the boys build sand castles. Apart from one couple with a dog, which Harry took an instant liking too, we had the picture perfect beach to ourselves all afternoon. On Sunday we went for a swim in the on site pool. It was raining and we were a little worried that the place would be packed, but there was only one other family in the pool. As with all the other facilities at Barmouth Bay, we found the pool and changing areas clean and well maintained and the boys had a blast splashing around in the children’s play area.
Facilities Barmouth Bay Holiday Park sits alongside a stunning sandy beach, and also has a kids’ playground, sports court and a large private heated pool with children play pool area.
“We had the picture perfect beach to ourselves all afternoon.”
We made the most of all the park facilities during our short break. After packing up a
Overall verdict We thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing and traditional seaside break. We have experienced several camping and campervan holidays as a family of four but this was our first holiday with Harry in a caravan. We will most definitely stay in a caravan again. As the caravan was so spacious it was truly a treat to chill out in the mornings and just enjoy being together. Harry’s number one pastime whilst we were staying in the caravan was to run up and down from the bedrooms to the front room enjoying the sound of the hollow floor underneath his feet! (It’s good job we didn’t have people below us – he sounded like a herd of elephants!). The caravan also worked particularly well for us in the evenings when both boys were in bed. Richard and I had the choice of staying in the front room watching the TV or enjoying the summer evenings outside, a choice we would not have had if staying in a hotel room. For more tips on things to do in the region, visit Lisa's blog.
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Island Life 54
Written by journalist Tracey Davies Mersea Island, Essex
Freelance travel journalist Tracey Davies headed east with her brood of three to discover the delights of a holiday on the Essex coast. First shock, then horror, and finally a look of mild disgust spreads across their shiny, gurning faces. I’ve convinced my 10-year old twins to try an oyster for the first time and it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all year. And well worth the fiver it cost me to bribe them. I’ve brought my band of rebels, 14-year old Angus, and twins Lola and Nancy, to Mersea Island in Essex. We’re dining at the West Mersea Oyster Bar, an unassuming seafood shack currently making waves on the Essex food scene. Located nine miles southeast of Colchester, Mersea Island on the Essex coast is one of 43 tidal islands dotted around
Britain’s coastline. It is perched on the Blackwater estuary where shallow inlets and cool, mineral-rich North Sea waters provide the ideal environment for oyster beds, in particular ‘Colchester natives’, which the Romans once described as ‘the only good thing to come out of Britain’. Alongside platters of battered cod and fat chips, I’ve ordered half a dozen of these Colchester bad boys, sparklingly fresh and magnificent doused in shallot vinegar and lemon. But the kids aren’t convinced. ‘Urgh, it tastes like a big fishy bogey!’ yelps Lola, gulping down lemonade. They are an acquired taste, I concede.
Tracey Davies is a freelance travel journalist who writes for the Metro, Daily Express, The Independent, The Observer, Pyschologies and Sainsbury's magazine. traceydavies.co.uk
“With fresh oysters, good local wine and sandy beaches, I’d happily be marooned here on Mersea Island.” Although I’m an Essex girl and confirmed oyster fan, Mersea Island has been off my radar up until now. Drawn by a buzzing shellfish scene and rural country life, this tiny island is enjoying a quiet renaissance. We’re staying at the Mersea Island Holiday Park on East Mersea, a peaceful caravan park overlooking a private beach and nature reserve. The holiday park is the newest member of the Away Resorts’ family and its first park on the Essex coast. Driving along the county’s long, winding roads, the stresses of work, school and modern life seem to rewind as we pass villages with devilishly smutty names like Fingringhoe and Cockaynes Wood, many with thatched cottages and scarecrows waving from rapeseed fields. Mersea Island is reached by The Strood, an ancient Roman causeway which is submerged during particularly high tides,
cutting the island off from the mainland. This adds a frisson of danger to our trip, I tell the kids. Time it wrong and we’ll be castaways. After a warm welcome at the clubhouse, we head to our three-bedroom luxury caravan on The Elms. The park is small enough to navigate our way around easily, moments from the Muddy Duck bar and clubhouse, which has live music most weekends, a kids’ play area and an outdoor swimming pool, all blessed with views of the nature reserve and beach. After the long drive, it’s nice to see our beds ready made for us to fall in to. There’s plenty of space in the caravan – so I can separate the teenager from his younger sisters – and the lounge is big enough to relax in without feeling like we’re on top of each other. The modern kitchen is fully equipped with a full-size fridge/freezer, proper oven and a microwave, while
the two bathrooms both have towels and toiletries. Angus is particularly impressed by the iPod dock and massive plasma TV in the lounge. Maybe it’s the North Sea air or their fish-filled bellies, but the kids crash out within minutes. The next morning, I’m woken by the caw of seagulls reminding me of our seaside location. The gang are dangerously quiet, until I realise they’ve escaped to the play park leaving me to enjoy a coffee in peace. Stepping out of the caravan, the park is surrounded by biscuit-coloured farmland, which today is domed by a cloudless Pantoneblue sky. I take my coffee down to the beach, which is currently at low-tide, and wander along the banks of the nature reserve, dodging grebes as they swoop down in search of breakfast. While I could quite happily sit here for hours enjoying the late September sun, I’ve booked the kids in for a hoverboard session. The park has a full programme of activities during the school holidays, and on weekends it still offers some activities such as five-a-side football, tennis or hoverboarding. We meet Sarah, the children’s activities co-ordinator, who kits out the kids in full protective gear before teaching them how to master the two-wheeled hoverboards. Of course, the gang pick it up in minutes and spend the next hour whizzing around like pros. Sarah sets up a series of obstacle courses before finishing off with a game of hoverboard basketball, the twins squealing with delight as they score a goal against their brother.
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Summer Stories In the shop, I chat to Lorraine, the guest relations manager, who explains the park has big plans for next year. A new indoor swimming pool is being built this winter, which will offer water zorbing, snorkels and aqua jets, while a new clubhouse and adventure playground are both also on the cards. Split into two halves, Mersea has around 7,000 residents, most of whom live in West Mersea, the loosely termed ‘capital’ and a 10-minute drive from the park. The village centre feels quite chichi with delis, little gift shops and a wood-fired pizza bar. I spot a vintage breton top in the window of the Poop Deck, a nautical-themed antique shop and treasure trove of old wooden oars, yachting clobber and retro candy-coloured deck chairs. Next door, the Artcafé serves up a proper cappuccino made with Suffolkroasted coffee, and along with the Cakehole deli next door, champions Mersea’s homegrown produce such as rarebreed pork, free-range eggs and Maggie’s excellent islandmade relishes.
On Sunday morning, we’re up with the birds to take an early morning stroll to the Cudmore Grove Country Park and the East Mersea cliffs. As the cliffs have eroded, fossils of monkeys, bison and even long tusk elephants dating back some 300,000 years have been discovered. Fascinated by this, the kids scatter down the beach to search for their own fossils. Although they’re more likely to find discarded oyster shells than sabre-tooth tiger bones, it keeps them happy for an hour or two. If we had more time, I would have liked to taken a boat trip on the Lady Grace around the bay to see the 19th-century oyster packing sheds and the decommissioned Bradwell Power Station, which looms ominously in the distance. Or maybe spent an afternoon in Clacton-on-Sea just along the coast, where its pleasure pier, amusement arcades and wide sandy beaches offers a more traditional seaside jaunt. As we embark on the long drive home, the tide begins to rise. Excitedly, the kids chant ‘Flood! Flood! Flood!’ in the hope that we’ll get stuck on the island. And with fresh oysters, good local wine and sandy beaches, I’d happily be marooned here on Mersea. In fact, I recommend it.
We head down to the waterfront, a harbour lined with boatyards, a yacht club, a lifeboat station, the Blackwater Pearl café and the Victory at Mersea pub. The kids head down to the water, winding between the colourful fishing boats and moored yachts which sit crooked on the mudflats, towards a pontoon where they join the local kids crabbing.
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3 Nights, 13 Acts, 1 Primo
Weekend Written by travel journalist Stuart Render Hayling Island, Hampshire
In 2016 we launched our Primo Weekender, a new concept in mini-break entertainment. Travel writer Stuart Render went along to find out more, and found himself spoilt for choice. 62
The diners are transfixed. In front of them, professional illusionist Brendan Rodrigues is making a large crystal ball dance between his hands. He passes the ball to one of the women watching. ‘Wow, it’s really heavy,’ she exclaims. ‘How do you do that!?’ Taking the ball back, Brendan produces a smaller ball, which quickly becomes a pen, and then several pens. Then, as his audience look on in utter amazement, Brendan waves his hands in the air, and the pens all disappear. A member of the Magic Circle, Brendan is performing at the Primo Weekend, a new break at Mill Rythe delivering 13 sensational acts across the three nights. It’s non-stop entertainment ranging from the vintage to the modern, from street entertainers to burlesque and a multitide of bands. It’s not just the evenings where the Primo Weekender has thrown away the rule book. During the daytime, there are around 15 different events and activities including a murder mystery, gift-making, cocktailmaking lessons and quizzes. For example, parked outside the main reception area is an old London Transport red double-decker bus. It’s been converted into a bar downstairs and a lounge and performance space upstairs. As I step on board and climb the stairs, I come face to face with an ABBA tribute act. Members of Mill Rythe’s entertainment team are putting
on a show. It lasts for an hour and then the team disappear, off to prepare for their next activity. All holiday villages have entertainment teams, but I sincerely doubt that anyone can show me a more hardworking, enthusiastic and talented team. Walking back into the main building, I walk into the ballroom, a spacious performance area that forms the beating heart of Mill Rythe. In the evening, it’s the setting for the majority of the floor shows, but this afternoon it has become the venue for a Roller Disco. For a few hours, brave, foolhardy adults are putting on roller skates and launching themselves around the ballroom floor. I have a go, making sure I’m fully kitted out in protective knee, elbow and wrist pads. I was never much of a roller skater when I was young, so it comes as a surprise that I soon successfully complete circuits. As I’m recovering from my exertions I see another member of the smartly dressed entertainments team leading a group of women off to another part of the complex. I tag along, but I’m spotted. ‘Sorry Stuart, we’re heading for the burlesque workshop, and it’s girls only!’ I’m not sure exactly what burlesque is, but all becomes clear later in the evening when guests gather to watch professional burlesque performer Miss Polly Rae,
billed as ‘Britain’s finest burlesque performer’. She’s one of three acts performing in the Boathouse bar, decked out in red drapes, with subdued lighting. The Swing Ninjas get the programme under way, four guys delivering the best of the UK new swing movement with classic tunes and patter. On next is stand-up comedy artist Steve Royale. It’s very silly and great fun, and the audience love every minute. Then it’s time for Miss Polly Rae. In recent times, helped by films such as ‘Cabaret’ and All That Jazz, burlesque has become known for bawdy comedy and female striptease. Miss Polly Rae doesn’t disappoint. An older gentleman on the front row finds himself the centre of attention, and yes, there’s striptease. No-one can accuse Miss Polly Rae of being shy.
The Sunday line-up, often an anti-climax after the Saturday, was particularly strong. A band called Junk generated some magnificent music from, well, junk, including flip-flops, pipes and water drums. String Fever, a contemporary string quartet, delivered a spectacular performance that combined musical prowess with some very funny theatre.
Entertainment is at the heart of the Primo Weekender. On the Friday night the programme began with Southern Union, a country duo, then Hill Valley Joes, a contemporary bluegrass trio. The Houndogs brought Mill Rythe alive with rock and roll, with the resident Jetset Band rounding off the evening.
Rounding off the evening, and bringing the weekend’s entertainment to a close, was Rockaoke. It’s the same as karaoke, but guests get the opportunity to sing with a live threepiece band. I was encouraged to have a go. The Beatles’ classic ‘Hey Jude’ will never sound the same again.
On the Saturday, Doolally Tap introduced the sound of New Orleans jazz to Hayling Island. The aforementioned Steve Royale provided a first-class warm-up to Mick Miller, a standup comedian who has had a long career on TV and the live comedy circuit, and is instantly recognisable from his trademark bald head with long hair down the sides.
Talking with Max Barraclough, Away Resorts’ creative director, I discover more about the thinking behind the weekend. “We wanted to break away from the usual mini-break format,” he says. “The weekend is designed to make guests laugh, help them experience something new, meet a star, and enjoy the chance to dance, learn, relax and be inspired. Put simply, we’ve thrown all sorts of things together in a new mix. No one else is doing anything like this. It’s breaking the mould; it’s the next step for a new generation.” Pat Palser, from Essex, is here with her daughter Michelle. ‘I’ve been coming here with Michelle since the early '80s,’ she says. ‘This new weekend is really great. I like the layout here, with the ballroom acting as the hub. I’ve tried other holiday parks, but this is my favourite. The staff are really friendly.
We know them, and they know us. It’s like coming home.’ So what happens at Mill Rythe during the other 51 weeks of the year? Well, it’s a holiday park by the sea, so during the school holidays in particular, it’s bustling with families looking for fun, games and a nice dose of relaxation. There’s a packed programme of activities that’s guaranteed to keep the kids happy from dawn til dusk. But Mill Rythe has always had an extra emphasis on entertainment , more than Away Resorts’ other parks. This is the party park, and the people who love evening entertainment flock here.
Throughout the year, there are special themed breaks put together by an entertainment team that would not look out of place on a West End stage. The themed breaks also include performances from chart-topping bands, comedians and cabaret acts. Some of the breaks are adults-only, but during the school holiday, the evening entertainment is perfect for parents and kids.
“This is the party park, and the people who love evening entertainment flock here.”
As I leave Mill Rythe on the Monday morning, I’m met at the main entrance by three of the entertainment team. They’re standing by the roadside holding signs that say ‘Ain’t no sunshine now you’re gone’, and ‘Missing you already’. You get the feeling that they mean it. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Our team of everyday holiday heroes are on a mission to make your holiday amazing. We love seeing people having fun, and their friendly and helpful attitude is part of the unique Away Resorts atmosphere. Your holiday experience is our top priority and we go that little bit further to make sure you’re having the best time. If something goes wrong, we won’t stop until we make it right. And when things are going nicely, we’ll add an extra dash of energy to make sure your break is the great getaway that you always dreamed it would be.
What What do do you you love love most most about about working for Away Resorts? working for Away Resorts? “Working at Away Resorts Sarah-Jane Lewis Toni Brennan
Katy Lansley Rythe) Katy(Mill Lansley (Mill Rythe, July)
is a pleasure, there is no (Mersea)
"I love everything about my job! I have seen some guests go from children to bringing their own children! The best part of my job is seeing people enjoying themselves on holiday."
better feeling then making "Amazing does not even begin “That’s easy - the guests. I see someone holiday!” to describe working here. them happy and that makes I truly enjoy being a part of me happy, which puts me in the team and making holidays a great mood. I love the team extra special for everyone." I work with as well.”
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entertained at mill rythe
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l a i c Spbereaks More
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Like the Beatles
Thu 21 Sep
Whitney Queen of the Night
Martin Kemp Cockney knees up Fri 7 Apr
Primo Weekender Priscilla
Sun 2 Apr
Sat 1 Apr
David Live as Davie Bowie Sat 5 Jul
Sat 4 Mar
Wed 15 Mar
Sat 4 Mar
The Illegal Eagles Sun 16 Jul
Lemar, Rock 'n' Roll, Reggae & Soul Sun 15 Oct
Fri 21 Jul
Sat 28 Oct
Ray Lewis Sat 11 Feb
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebels Sun 9 Apr
Viva Las Vegas Sean Alexander Fri 17 Feb
Des Oâ€™Connor & Joe Longthorne
Sat & Sun 20/21 May
Chubby Brown Barrel o' Laughs Sun 23 Apr
Jackson Sloan and the Rythmn Tones Fri 24 Feb
Top road trip
s e m a G
Are we nearly there yet? We don’t know anyone who loves long hot motorway journeys-especially in heavy traffic. Our parks are located in some stunning locations, but it does mean you’ll be spending some time on the road before your holiday really begins. So we’ve put together some simple car games you might like to play as you drive along as a family to help make the journey more fun (and seem shorter).
These car games not only help solve the boredom issue, but they can help keep your children’s minds alert so they don’t fall asleep when you want them to stay awake!
Parents' favourite game Who can be the quietest? Sometimes you just need a bit of peace and quiet so this is one to pull out when youâ€™re at the end of your tether.
From the moment you give the signal, everyone has to be as quiet as possible. The winner is the one who keeps the quietest for the longest time. These things are not allowed: humming, coughing loudly, distracting others, tickling others.
Observation games Car cricket: This game works well when the road is quite busy, and can also help kids practise basic maths.
Action games Waving: This game is good for little children. It’s fun to wave to people, and even better to get a wave back. The object of the game is to wave to cars and people as you travel and to count the number of waves you get back.
How to play: The batsman starts their innings and scores runs based on the types of vehicles you spot coming in the other direction.
Noises: In this game, someone will say a noise and the player has to name an object or animal that makes that particular noise. Here are some suggestions, and you can add your own.
Car = 1 run Lorry = 4 runs Motorbike = 6 runs
Click moo roar ooze
Bus or Van = OUT
ding gurgle toot crash glug honk slurp rattle tweet slam ney oink plop clank tick creak
When the batsman is dismissed, the player next to them starts their innings. You can keep going as long as you like. The winner is the batsman who has the highest score at the end of the game.
This game can be played in various ways, but the idea is that each player has to either hum or beat out the rhythm of a song and the rest of the car tries to guess what it is.
3 Guessing games Who am I?/What am I? This is a variation on the old game 20 questions. A player chooses an object, an animal or a person and the others try to guess what it is. The player may only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Name that tune
Silent counting This game works well when you need to calm everyone down. Ask someone to count out one minute silently in their head (this can be done by repeating a phrase like ‘one Mississippi, two Mississippi’ or ‘one elephant, two elephants’). Another person has a watch or timer to measure the exact minute. The player guessing will shout out ‘NOW’ when they think one minute has passed. The player who gets the closest to one minute is the winner.
7 Imagination games The never-ending sentence
This is a game where one player starts a story and they set the scene but they never quite finish the sentence. As soon as they stop, another player has to pick up from where they left off. For example: Player 1: On the way to school I saw a… Player 2: Giant Gorilla that had escaped from the zoo, being chased by…. Player 3: ... The game ends when the story runs out of steam and then you can start a new sentence.
When I went on holiday….
This is a memory and imagination game. The first player chooses an object to take on holiday with them, for example, ‘When I went on holiday I packed my pyjamas.’ The next player has to repeat that item and then add their own, e.g. ‘When I went on holiday I packed my pyjamas and a picnic blanket.’ The game continues until someone forgets an item.
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Developed in the wake of World War I, The Eccles Motor Transport was the first ever commercial caravan. It was manufactured in 1919 and had a price tag of £90 (which happened to be a lot of money!). This design is often credited as birthing modern caravan camping.
In 1958 the Cheltenham Company released the Sable, the first glass reinforced plastic caravan. Again, this significantly reduced the manufacturing costs and made caravans affordable to everybody.
The Volkswagan Type 2 – also known as the microbus and minibus – rose to popularity during the 1970s and became the signature mode of transport for hippies. It is perhaps the most iconic vehicle in the camper industry.
In the 1930s caravan design started to become more popular among the middle classes. In 1937 manufacturer, Car Cruiser, developed the Rally Four Deluxe, which was not only affordable, but significantly lighter and more accessible than other models.
When Raymond Frank mounted a 27-foot motor home to the chassis of a Dodge, fellow campers asked him to build motorhomes for them. After selling seven, he established Frank Motor Homes, Inc. in 1960 – this is considered the birth of the modern motor home.
In 1989 the Swift company invested in a new type of caravan design which used unique mouldings to offer aerodynamic towing. The Corniche set a new standard, prompting other manufacturers to focus more on accessibility.
The Bailey Ranger is the most accessible caravan ever produced. While it wasn't particularly innovative, it was light, affordable and stylish. After its released in 1996 it became a huge seller.
In 2008 two Austrian architects designed the Mehrzeller, or at least, gave buyers the opportunity to design it themselves! This caravan has a multicellular layout, allowing anyone to design their dream caravan by adapting the interior features
Based on research by Andrew Jenkinson, UK's leading caravan historian.
Don’t forget to pack:
Collar and ID – so people know who to call if they go missing
Lead – obvious but easy to forget while you’re carrying everything to the car Bedding – a familiar smell will keep them calm and happy
The packing essentials
Towels – to take down to the beach with you Dog food – familiarity will again keep them calm and relaxed Food bowl – so they don’t have to eat off the floor Travelling water bowl – panting causes them to lose large amounts of water, so keep them hydrated in the car Poo bags – so you don’t get caught by any strict ‘no fouling’ fines. Stain remover – for any little accidents
Taking man’s best friend with you on your holidays can be a delight. Your pooch will always be excited and enthusiastic about any trip out. And a dog can keep the kids entertained, giving you some much needed time off for important tasks like talking to another adult or reaching for a glass of wine. But hols with dogs can occasionally get a little messy. Here are our top tips to ensure that everything goes with a wag.
K itchen roll – to help with the above
Torch – for dark evening walks in new places B rush – if you’re heading to the sea the saltwater can matt long fur quite quickly
Things that make
! m Mmm you go
Being on holiday is a great time to sit down together as a family and eat, and after long days exploring and playing, you all need good food – and fast! But no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen on holiday, so food writer Becky Alexander (parent to two very active girls) has some quick and easy meals up her sleeve. 76
If you need something hot, delicious and nourishing after a busy day out and about, One-Pot Chicken will satisfy the whole family in one all-encompassing dish. If you’re a barbecue fan, Chicken Satay Skewers are juicy and delicious, and the smell of freshly barbecued chicken on the beach is hard to beat. Grab a bucket, a few beers, and get into the holiday spirit. You can buy everything you need for the Big Easy Tortilla in your local shop, and it makes a quick supper that’s perfect for vegetarians or anyone who doesn’t want to eat meat every day. You can also wrap it up and take it outside for a picnic – a delicious change from sandwiches.
Here are three recipes to whet your summer holiday appetite. One-Pot Chicken with Bacon and Peas Everyone loves chicken, bacon and peas and this is so easy to make. Let it bubble away in one pan doing all the hard work while you have a glass of wine. If you like, replace some of the water with a small glass of white wine â€“ the alcohol will cook away so itâ€™s fine for children to eat. All you need to go with this is a fresh, crunchy baguette or you can cook some rice, which will go really well with the sauce.
Serves 2 adults and 2 children
Ingredients: vegetable oil, for cooking 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks or 8 chicken thighs (skin removed) 100g streaky bacon, cut into pieces 250g frozen peas 200g green beans 1 tbsp English mustard (optional) freshly ground black pepper
1. Find the largest pan you can, and heat about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes until browned all over. If you are using chicken thighs, cook for a further 5 minutes. 2. Add the bacon to the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to get crispy. 3. Pour in about 250ml of boiling water, then add the frozen peas and green beans. Stir everything together, then turn up the heat until the water is bubbling. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. 4. Stir in the mustard, and add plenty of black pepper. 5. Serve in the middle of the table with thick chunks of crunchy baguette or a bowl of rice.
Chicken Satay Skewers You can get this ready in the morning before you go out for the day, and the chicken will absorb all the lovely peanut and lime flavours. If you don’t have time, don’t worry. It will still taste good if you do it all just before cooking.
Serves 2 adults and 2 children
Ingredients: 4 chicken breasts (skin removed) 4 tbsp soy sauce, 1 lime 2 tbsp smooth or chunky peanut butter 1 lime
1. Using scissors, cut the chicken breasts into three long strips each. 2. Put the soy sauce and peanut butter in a small bowl and mix together. Using a grater, zest the lime into the bowl, then cut it in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl. Mix well. 3. Spoon the peanut butter mixture over the chicken and mix well until all the chicken is coated. Put in the fridge and leave until dinner time if you like.
4. When ready to cook, push the chicken onto metal skewers – you will need 4 long ones or 8 short ones.
5. Cook the skewers under a grill or on a barbecue
for 2-3 minutes, then turn and cook for anoth-er 2-3 minutes. If the chicken pulls off the skewer easily, it is cooked through.
6. All you need to go with them is some corn on the cob or salad, and some pitta or flatbreads. Warm the bread before eating. If you like, squeeze over the remaining lime before eating. For young kids, push the chicken off the skewers before eating.
Big Easy Tortilla You can make this in just 10 minutes when you get in from a busy day, and you only have to wash up one pan. If you have any left over, it makes a good picnic too – just wrap up any extra slices in foil and take on a walk with you.
Serves 2 adults and 2 children
Ingredients: 300g can of cooked potatoes, drained 6 eggs 2 tbsp milk vegetable oil, for cooking 100g frozen peas handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half 50g ham (optional), chopped freshly ground black pepper
1. Turn on the grill while you get to work. 2. Cut the potatoes in half. Heat about 2 table spoons of oil in an ovenproof pan and add the potatoes. Cook for 2 minutes until the potatoes start to brown, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a large bowl and add the milk and plenty of black pepper. 4. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes, then add the frozen peas, tomatoes and ham, (if using). Stir very gently to coat everything in egg. 5. Cook for 3 minutes (no stirring), then put the pan under the grill for about 2 minutes until the top is golden brown. 6. Slide the tortilla on to a chopping board. Allow to cool a little and then cut into thick slices. Eat warm or cold, with lots of salad leaves, cucumber and peppers. You can add whatever you like to this tortilla – swap the peas and tomatoes for peppers and broccoli, and try slices of cooked chorizo instead of ham.
e i p m a e Cr FIGHT 2017 will be Away Resorts’ 4th annual Cream Pie Fight and as with every year we are looking to make it bigger and messier than ever before. Holidaymakers at Away Resorts’ five parks across the UK will have cream all over their faces and we would like to invite everyone to throw a pie or two at family, friends and fellow guests as we try to surpass last year’s numbers for the world’s largest fight. You’ll even have the chance to splat our CEO, Carl Castledine. The Cream Pie Fight will take place at the same time across all five parks during the August bank holiday weekend and it’s the perfect way to spend the last of the long summer holidays. The kids have had an extended break, and you may have even been lucky enough to get away from home to enjoy some quality family time together. Why not give them one last crazy fun weekend by booking a break with us?
There is a wide variety to choose from at each park, including standard and serviced pitches in camping and touring fields, glamping options in the Canvas Villages, caravans and holiday homes with sea views and a great selection of lakeside lodges. For more information and to book visit awayresorts.co.uk
As you may know, we have a fantastic range of accommodation and activities to suit a wide spectrum of budgets across the parks. Whatever you choose, however, you’ll still have access to our amazing watersports and fishing lakes, gymnasium, spa, swimming pools, My Active activity programs for the kids, play areas, entertainment and much more. The big Cream Pie Fight is just an added bonus! If you haven’t had a chance to get away during the summer holidays, then even a short break with us is just what the doctor ordered. Mum and Dad can unwind and relax while the kids are away burning off all that excess energy built up playing computer games and watching endless television at home. We’ll be sure to follow it up with a water fight to hose you down and clean you off after just to add to the fun, but be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind soaking. www.awayresorts.co.uk
Hol iday Hacks:
Don’t forget your head! We’ve all been there haven’t we? So to help remove that pre-holiday stress, here are the TOP 5 things that holiday makers forget.
4. Something Warm
This comes in at the most commonly forgotten item. Even though our luxury accommodation includes linen, you can always use a trusty towel and tea towel.
This is a family favourite and it’s normally forgotten because you’re in a mad rush to leave the front door.
This may seem obvious, but there’s nothing that will dampen the holiday mood like a cold, soggy family.
Tip: try packing dry shampoo too, to save you the hassle of waiting for your hair to dry.
Tip: umbrellas can fit neatly inside a rolled up towel. Double win.
Rather unsurprisingly! All our accommodation grades (including glamping tents) have sockets for charging.
Although cheap and easy to replace, it’s a big hassle to have to stop and find a pair of shades whilst exploring.
Tip: roll them up to save space.
Tip: packing them inside a shoe or boot is always a nice trick.
How to get more bang for your
liday hobuck We want to help you enjoy your holiday for the best possible price. Here are a few tips that can save you some money.
1 2 3
Book early Our best deals are posted on the website in advance, so the sooner you book the more you’ll save!
Sign up to our newsletter Away Resort’s friends and subscribers are the first to hear about offers and updates about what’s going on at the parks. ay by instalments P You no longer have to pay your holiday in one lump sum. Some of our guests prefer to pay off the holiday costs by monthly instalments to make budgeting easier. This gives you the ability to grab the lowest prices without needing to pay the full amount until 8 weeks before your holiday. ay just a 10% deposit to secure your holiday P You don’t have to wait until payday in order to book your family fun. ook before you leave B If you book your next holiday whilst still on the park, you’ll get to take advantage of our special discounted re-booking rates. Often this can be up to a 40% discount.
Big day out
Can you find all the items hidden in the picture below?
Items to find:
Can you help crab, Lucy and Scratch find Bear in the middle?
to make you
Q: Why are gulls named seagulls? A: If they were by the bay, theyâ€™d be bagels Q: What does a bee do when it is hot? A: He takes off his yellow jacket. Q: What does the sun drink out of? A: Sunglasses.
Behind the scenes
g n a G Meet the
Away Resorts doesnâ€™t do things by halves so when it comes to creating cuddly puppets and characters to keep the kids entertained to create the best holiday memories, creative director Max Barraclough decided to call in the experts to help him bring the magical characters of Bear, Lucy, Scratch and Lucy's teddy to life 82
“I originally came up with the concept of Bear in the Woods with his friends, Lucy and Scratch and Lucy's teddy, in 2007 before I joined Away Resorts,” says Max. “And when I talked to CEO Carl Castledine, he loved the idea of the characters and I started sourcing character and puppet
designers to work with. “The first person I worked with on the original illustrations for the characters was involved in the designs for the characters in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Gnomeo and Juliet, The Prince of Egypt and Space Jam, which starred world-famous US basketball player Michael Jordan. “So the characters were designed and the first generation of costume and puppets were built in New York,” adds Max. "Since then, the look of the characters has evolved with the help of a BAFTA award-winning and leading puppet designer/ builder who has worked with the likes of Disney and The Jim Henson Company. Who teamed up with another BAFTA award-winning puppeteer linked to The Jim Henson Company and Spitting Image, and the PG Tips Monkey.".” www.awayresorts.co.uk
Working with such masters of their craft meant that Away Resorts was really pioneering the way when it came to creating characters to keep kids entertained at UK holiday parks. Away Resorts was the first to introduce what is known as overt puppetry within the industry, many have since followed suit. Overt puppetry is when the puppeteers are visible and fully integrated into the action as in the case of Away Resorts’ characters Lucy and Scratch. And Away Resorts is also the only holiday park operator to have a full-bodied, life-size, puppetted character costume as most other holiday parks have a person dressed up as the character. And with the new storylines currently being written for Bear, Lucy and Scratch, who knows what adventures they will have in 2017. G /AwayResortsHolidays
Blogger's Summer Stories
heaven or hell?
Written by blogger BrummyMummyof2 2016 Blogger of the Year Blog brummymummyof2.co.uk
One of the best things about being a mum is creating memories with your little ones – experiences that will last them a lifetime. The best way to do this is to take them away on amazing holidays. Sadly, one of the most stressful things about being a mum also happens to be taking away your family of small children on holiday! From the moment you know you’re going, you worry about packing, where you’re going to eat and if anyone will sleep a wink while you’re there. So when we were offered the chance to visit the Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight, I was both over the moon and terrified.
Firstly I needn’t have worried about packing. The benefit of being able to drive to your destination is that you can fill your car with all the essentials required on a British holiday. This includes everything from wetsuits to wellies, from beach balls to rain coats. Every single nook and cranny of our car was filled and if my husband would have let me have one of those roof boxes I would have filled that too. To get to the Isle of Wight we boarded the ferry in Portsmouth. My two adored being on the sea. As we drove to Whitecliff Bay it was brilliant to get an idea of what the Isle of Wight is like.
We hadn’t visited before and loved the countryside, beaches and quaint villages. A world away from sunny Birmingham, where we live. We arrived around 4pm and headed straight to the reception to get our keys. When we found out we could park next to our Jolly Nice Chalet, I did a small dance of joy. No lugging the cases around the site. We could just take our time and slowly unpack our stuff while the kids watched TV. The cabin had three TVs. Seems a bit excessive you may say. But don’t forget that when you have small children your holiday day often finishes at 8pm, when you have to go back for the evening as your little ones become ‘overtired’ (aka really naughty). So three tellies meant that I could watch the Great British Bake Off with a glass of wine in one room and the kids could watch Tiny Pop in the other. Rather than me being subjected to My Little Pony for four nights straight. Winning! Whitecliff Bay has everything to keep small children entertained. There’s two playgrounds, one under cover, which is great if you are worried about your kids in the sun (or the dreaded British rain). The swimming pool has a slide, and I spent an hour just watching my five-year-old walk up, slide down, scream, walk up, slide down and repeat. She loved it. My fingers turned to prunes. There is also a free soft play, outdoor pool and crazy golf. You can happily spend all day on the park and be totally entertained. But then you would miss out on the glorious beach which is just a short walk away. Some of my favourite memories growing up were of playing on the beach with my little sister. Sand in your tuna rolls, burying your
dad, laughing when you splashed your mum in the sea. So each afternoon I wanted to make new memories with my children. And made them we did. It’s not often you find me in a swimming costume but I felt so relaxed with all the happy families on the busy beach I was totally at ease running screaming from my kids as they tried to tip a bucket of water over my head. We, of course, buried dad and no-one moaned when our sandwiches, bought from the beachside cafe, were half cheese, half sand. It was glorious. And nice to know that we could pop back to the chalet for a quick shower before the evening’s entertainment. Entertainment during the week included puppet shows, bingo and wrestling. My daughter took part in Summer Stage School classes and my husband did laser quest. Oh and he took our three-year-old along so he didn’t look like he was the one that really wanted to do it (he totally was). Each member of staff, from the reception to the lifeguards to the waitresses in the Nab Bar, were friendly and really made our experience memorable. The excellent location meant that we could easily visit other parts of the Isle of Wight and we had mini adventures in Cowes and Sandown. We had the most memorable holiday, with laughter, adventures and experiences that I know my two will remember when they have children of their own.
“Sand in your tuna rolls, burying your dad, laughing when you splashed your mum in the sea.” www.awayresorts.co.uk
y t rl n ea id e k o m o av int bo to po p sa di
g n ha t â€™ n o d
d n u o r a
ties activi m fro
choose from a large variety of activities Book your activities online at activities.awayresorts.co.uk
s ' d l hiPLAY
There’s a vast and varied range of activities packed into our Play and My Active progammes for our younger guests. And happy children mean happy parents.
Play is our tailor-made programme of activities for five to 12 year-olds, where kids get stuck into arts and crafts Away Resorts-style. Children can construct their very own spaniel puppy using spaghetti – a great way to learn about shapes, lines and patterns. Kids can also design their own ‘wish you were here’ homemade postcards and masks for friends and family back at home. Get really creative making magical dream catchers, hand puppets, edible spaceships, no-bake cupcakes, balloon buddies and sand pouring and painting. www.awayresorts.co.uk
My Active Introduce yourself gently to My Active by trying out the more sedate pastimes of treasure hunting. Step up the pace a little with a penalty shootout, raft building, or cheerleading school. Dive into the Easybreath snorkelling and aquajets sessions, for kids that love messing around in the water. If your family love getting seriously competitive, target archery, target crossbow, axe throwing, hoverball archery and crossbow, laser tag and target paintball should definitely make your holiday bucket list. Roll, float and bounce with land and body zorbing and water walkers or get the kids to make like Marty McFly from Back to the Future II and join in a hoverboard session.
The Price is Right There’s at least one free activity each day, and other sessions are charged from £4 per child. To ensure you secure a place on the sessions your children really want to do, book online the week before you arrive.
When and Where Play activities are available at all our parks. There’s a packed schedule during school holidays and a more scaledback version for the weekends during other popular times at Tattershall Lakes and Whitecliff Bay. Programmes are updated on a weekly basis and can be found online at awayresorts.co.uk Activities at Mersea Island and Barmouth Bay currently only run during the Summer school holidays.
y ! da 5 ree to 17 r f k £ o o om at f Bofr 5s e
d e r o l i a t for tots
TODDLER FRIENDLY MID-WEEK BREAKS Join bear and friends for an activity-filled holiday for under 5s our
programme has a wide range of activities: pool time • lollipops disco • arts & crafts
Find out more at awayresorts.co.uk/little-campers
Written by travel editor Mark Hampton
Travel editor and cycling obsessive Matt Hampton picks the best cycle routes within pedalling distance of our holiday parks. Mention to friends youâ€™re off on a cycling holiday and there will be much puffing out of cheeks and joking about Lycra.
o t n i t e G
The greatest cycling routes in the UK
Top Tips Time your visit in September to hit the annual Cycling festival; see visitisleofwight.co.uk/ whats-on/festivals/ cycling-festival. Bring your bike as a foot passenger on Wightlilnk from just £13.20!
But a two-wheeled break needn’t be exhausting. A bike can be the most relaxing way to see the countryside: fresh air, no traffic, the wind in your hair and the world at your feet. Cycling will take you further than walking and, yes, you’ll burn a few more calories doing it, so you can have that extra slice of cake without troubling the waistline.
east through the Yar Valley. Kids will love the Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown, home to an impressive collection of fossils.
Away Resorts’ five UK holiday parks are within pedalling distance of some of the country’s best rides: try anything from a gentle family spin to an adrenaline-pumping off-road adventure. The best news? They’re all 100% free.
The Brailsford Way was launched this year in honour of the man who put Team Sky on the podium at the Tour de France AND saw the British Olympic team take record golds in London and Rio. There are 50 and 75-mile options, both starting in historic Caenarfon and looping through the magnificent Snowdonia National Park.
Start with the Isle of Wight, where there are more than 200 miles of marked cycle routes. The Red Squirrel Trail is a favourite: the Isle of Wight is one of the few places you can still see our native squirrel breed. Even if you don’t spot one, this delightful circular route from Cowes packs in some of the island’s best sights – not least some curious troll sculptures between Merstone and Newport, and of course the beautiful coast between Sandown and Shanklin. It is 24 miles long, mostly along flat disused railway lines and country lanes. From Away Resorts’ base at Whitecliff Bay, there’s a good choice of day rides – try Island Route 11, starting at Sandown and heading
Taking things up a gear: Snowdonia, home to Away Resorts’ Barmouth Bay park, has dramatic scenery and some of the country’s toughest cycling terrain – but plenty for families too.
From one legend to another, and nearer to Away Resorts’ base at Barmouth Bay, there is Coed y Brenin. It was in this forest, 20-odd years ago, where Britain’s off-road biking revolution began. Local riders began building trails that have grown into a network of marked routes, graded by difficulty from green to black. A visitor centre followed with a café, bike shop and full facilities and the concept has been copied all over the UK. Trail centres like this are a great way to introduce kids to off-road cycling.
Everything but the bike – five essentials for any cycling trip: Helmet You don’t need to spend a fortune – just look for the BSI Kitemark for safety. Aldi, Lidl and Decathlon are first stops for cheap, decent cycle gear.
“Adrenalinepumping off-road adventures. The best news? They’re all 100% free.” Top Tips Check out mbwales.com for more off-road routes; getting muddy on two wheels is surprisingly addictive, and a great workout. Hire bikes at beicsbrenin.co.uk, or bring your own. Thule make a great range of bike carriers: thule.com/en-gb/gb/bike-rack.
Spare inner tubes, patches and tyre levers It happens. Fixing a puncture is the one repair you need to know. Luckily, stick on patches make the job super easy; see wiggle.co.uk/parktool-puncture-repair-kitsuper-patch. Lightweight jacket It’s worth spending a little more on a wind/ waterproof – it will serve you well in the long run – check Halfords.com or evanscycles.com, or go in store for advice. Padded Lycra shorts Stop sniggering. Yes, they’re skin tight, yes that pad feels weird at first, but yes, they will protect your posterior on a long day in the saddle. SPD pedals & shoes Clipping into your pedals takes a bit of getting used to but you won’t look back once you try it. Shimano’s SPD system is the best place to start – ask at your local bike store.
Behind the scenes
s r e p stop From big-name performers and spectacular shows to music festivals and outdoor cinemas, we know a thing or two about keeping our guests entertained. People of a certain age will have fond memories of the BBC hit sitcom Hi-de-Hi, which brought to life the antics of the entertainment team at the fictional holiday camp, Maplins, striving to keep their guests entertained with glamorous granny, knobbly knees and talent show competitions. While guests still love a talent show, holiday park entertainment has gone through a complete makeover since the Hi-de-Hi hey days, and Away Resorts is leading the pack. In a first for a British holiday park, next year Mill Rythe will be featuring a production straight from London’s West End. During the park’s new
three-night Primo Weekender, from 31 March to 3 April, we’re proud to present a performance of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, a new touring production of the West End theatre sensation that originally starred Jason Donovan in the lead role of drag queen Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose. Other big name shows include Martin Kemp, from the chart-topping '80s band Spandau Ballet, Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebel Band, much-loved comedian and singer Des O’Connor CBE, singer and impersonator Joe Longthorne MBE, Drifters frontman Ray Lewis… the list just goes on and on. And then there’s our seriously high quality inhouse shows themselves, choreographed by West End directors who have worked on shows like Grease and Footloose and with artists
including Lionel Richie, Lady Gaga and Ronan Keating. Inhouse shows include the 60s and 80s tributes The ’60s Show and Electric Dreams, the rock spectacular Champions of Rock, Vive Latino, which fuses Latin and pop music, and our Christmas Spectacular.
island’s Bestival and the Isle of Wight Festival. For the last few years we’ve put on our Rock the Bay and Rock the Lakes music festivals in June at Whitecliff Bay and Tattershall Lakes, and in 2017 we’re adding even more festivals to our entertainment calendar.
These shows are regularly performed at Mill Rythe, but our entertainment teams at Whitecliff Bay and Tattershall Lakes also put them on during the peak season. The classic format for evening entertainment begins with bingo at 7pm followed by Play Live on Stage shows for the younger children, then live music or a show such as a visiting tribute act, cabaret or talent show, followed by more live music.
Meanwhile, our Summer Food Festival will celebrate the gastronomic offering from each region.
For guests who prefer their entertainment outside, we have outdoor cinemas at all our parks during the busy summer months, with films projected on a giant screen while guests tuck into some tasty movie morsels. The Away Resorts bosses have always been big fans of the music festivals – in fact the Canvas Village at Whitecliff Bay was inspired by the
The end of the summer holidays will also go out with a bang as we bring the annual, messy Cream Pie Fight to the parks over the August Bank Holiday weekend. See page 103 for info.
To celebrate the start of
summer, for the first time ever, all Away Resorts parks will be partaking in a vibrant colour festival. Take part in a giant colour powder fight during the day, and then a celebration of colourful food, culture and entertainment in the evening. www.awayresorts.co.uk
To find out more about the diverse entertainment at our holiday parks, see page 103.
Behind the scenes
Our stars Away Resorts really prides itself on the high quality of entertainment that we offer guests at all our its parks. We pull out all the stops to find the best entertainers in the business so it will come as no surprise to hear that our cast of performers have some pretty impressive showbiz credentials.
the 1960s), Champions of Rock, Glorious Mill Rythe Music Hall. The Greatest Musicals of All Time, Electric Dreams, Christmas Spectacular and Songs for Victory, which celebrated the music of the ‘30s and ‘40s and actually transferred to the West End stage as well as going on tour around the UK.
Many of them have studied performing arts and musical theatre at college and university before pursuing their showbiz careers, which has seen them perform on stages all over the UK, including the West End.
“Rick Parfitt, the guitarist in Status Quo, started his career Max Barraclough is the creative director at Away in the ents team Resorts and is the driving force behind the company’s at Mill Rythe” entertainment programme, including being the visionary for all of the thrilling musicals. The shows that Max has developed include: Ready Steady Go (musical tribute to
Talking about the company’s entertainment crew, Max says: “Our staff retention is exceptional. We rarely get G /AwayResortsHolidays
openings for new performers as nearly all of our existing employees return every year. In fact, a number of our entertainment team have been with us from when Away Resorts launched back in 2008. “Every March, we hold training and rehearsals for all of the cast members from all of the parks at Mill Rythe. The training for the shows lasts for a whole month, which is the longest rehearsal period in the holiday park industry, while coaching for the Play and My Active takes place over a week at Whitecliff Bay. “The training helps to ensure that our shows are of the highest musical and theatrical standards, with guests commenting on how ‘the entertainment is always one step beyond anything they have experienced in holiday parks’.
“The shows are befitting of what you would expect on a West End stage,” adds Max, “as we work with choreographers and musical directors, who have worked on West End musicals such as The Witches Of Eastwick, Never Forget, Grease and Footloose as well as working with mega famous performers such as Lionel Richie, Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga and Ronan Keating. “It’s not just the sensational performances from the entertainment team, it’s the fact that they go out of their way to entertain the guests all day and night. They get to know all of the children’s names and make sure everyone is included.” And it seems that being part of an entertainment team at a holiday park can provide a springboard to a big future career in showbiz.
Rick Parfitt, the guitarist in Status Quo, started his career in the entertainment team at Mill Rythe, followed a few decades later by Duncan James from pop band Blue, who is no stranger to the stage in the Mill Rythe ballroom. Comedians and actors Lee Mack, Brian Conley, Shane Richie and Bobby Davro all had the guests rolling in the aisles at the beginning of their careers as Pontins Bluecoats, while Des O’Conner, Jimmy Tarbuck, Cliff Richard, Michael Barrymore and Ted Rogers of 3-2-1 fame started out many years ago as Butlins Redcoats. So remember this year, when you are tapping your feet and clapping your hands along to the shows at Away Resorts’ parks, you could be watching stars of the future.
at the ready...
Follow us on social media for a chance to win great prizes when you share your holiday snaps. Take a look at some of the great photos our guests have shared. Tag @awayresortsholidays on Facebook or Instagram and follow the link awayresorts.co.uk/selfies for your chance to win!
a ÂŁ20 voucher*
*To spend at Away Resorts parks only. T&Cs apply.
G #awayresortsholidays @awayresortsholidays 98
Packing the perfect Equipment
There is nothing worse than a leaky cooler bag or not being able to bring everything with you. Make sure when buying your basket or bag that you have enough space for everything youâ€™ll need, you can buy some with sections so you can separate food too.
Entertainment Youâ€™ve planned a great picnic and the kids are bored. Kite, football and other games are essential.
Take items with you that can be easily packed, such as square boxes and tray-baked items including brownies and sandwiches can be manoeuvred easily so you can get more in for the ultimate feast.
Another guide by your friends at Away Resorts Insect alert Pop a few pennies into a sandwich bag of water and place near your picnic to make an all-natural insect repellent. The light reflecting in the water and pennies help to deter flies. And sprinkle salt or talcum powder around your blanket to keep ants from invading.
Keep Britain looking great
Sometimes we’re so caught up in the delicious buffet that we’re packing that it’s easy to forget a blanket to sit on. Pop it at the top of your carrier to keep everything in place.
Bin it, or take it home. Pack a bin bag to stop your rubbish from contaminating all your clean items.
Pitch up near poo
Let the rain stop you
10th-26th February Half Term
All midweek breaks –
Little Campers (WCB / TSL)
All midweek breaks –
22nd Football coaching (WCB / TSL/ BAR / MER)
Little Campers (WCB / TSL)
All midweek breaks – Little Campers (WCB / TSL)
14th Family Hoppity Easter
17th Dinosaur weekend (WCB)
1st Primo Priscilla (MLR)
May Day Bank Holiday
26th Whitsun Bank Holiday
June All midweek breaks Little Campers (WCB / TSL)
16th Primo weekend (BAR)
16th Foodstock, festival of flavour (TSL)
22nd Colour Festival (WCB / TSL/ BAR / MER )
28th Colour Festival (MLR)
Cream Pie fight (WCB / TSL/ BAR / MER / MLR)
September 8th Vintage and Retro Festival (TSL)
October 30th Halloween (WCB / TSL/ BAR / MER / MLR)
Novembver 4th Foodstock, festival of flavour (WCB)
7th & 8th Rock the Lakes (TSL)
11th Foodstock, festival of flavour (MER)
18th WCB = Whitecliff Bay TSL = Tattershall Lakes BAR = Barmouth Bay MER = Mersea Island MLR = Mill Rythe
Primo weekend (TSL)
18th & 19th Rock the Bay (WCB)
17th Winter Wonderland Celebration (TSL)
Winter Wonderland Celebration (MLR)
23rd Christmas and New Year Celebration (TSL/ MLR)
“You won’t have to spend hours and hours preparing Christmas dinner followed by arguments about washing up.”
s a m t s i r h C getaway
In the weekends in the run-up to Christmas, you can enjoy a number of family-focused Winter Wonderland breaks, and over Christmas itself, from 23 to 27 December, there’s the four-day Christmas Special. This really is the perfect Yuletide stress buster – and of course you can invite all the family (or not!). Best of all, because it’s full board you won’t have to spend hours and hours preparing Christmas dinner followed by all the arguments about who is going to do the washing up.
The countdown for Christmas seems to begin the minute we get back from our summer holidays. Mums and dads across the land start dreading the endless shopping and preparation ahead of them and wondering if they can really face inviting Aunty Joan for the tenth Christmas in a row. But it doesn’t have to be like that. If the stress and strain of planning Christmas makes you feel more like Scrooge than Santa, let Away Resorts wave its festive fairy wand and transport you to our Winter Wonderland at Mill Rythe on Hayling Island. The Mill Rythe entertainment team kickstart Christmas early with a selection of adultsonly breaks that aim to get you in the festive spirit from the beginning of November. There are Festive Spectaculars, midweek Turkey and Tinsel breaks, Big Baubles Weekends featuring chart-topping acts, and one-night festive parties – great for large groups and office parties, as everyone can let their hair down without the worry of finding a taxi in the early hours.
To brighten up those quiet days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve we’ve created the three-day Betwixtmas break, before Mill Rythe cranks up the party atmosphere to welcome in the New Year with a three-night New Year Special Celebration break. Our brilliant entertainment team at Mill Rythe pull out all of the stops to provide the most truly festive experience anyone could wish for during all of these Christmas breaks. We’ll present our very own interpretation of the antics of Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future in the Victorian streets of London, and there will be visiting bands, comedians and cabaret acts galore.
And yes, you can expect a visit from the big fella with the white beard on Christmas Day and look forward to your favourite festive tunes and carols during a great Crimbo singalong. There will be confetti canyons, flying reindeer and snow in the ballroom â€“ yes, it actually snows at Mill Rythe at Christmas.
So what are you waiting for? Get Christmas 2017 all wrapped up early by taking advantage of our early booking offers for the festive season.
Festive Breaks 2017
Mon 30 Oct
Fri 8 Dec
Wed 27 Dec
Fri 24 Nov
Fri 15 & 16 Dec
Fri 29 Dec
Fri 1 Dec
Sat 23 Dec
Turkey and Tinsel Grand Opening! Festive Spectacular! Winter Wonderland
The Big Baubles Weekender Massive Christmas Party Nights
New Year Special Celebration
Christmas Special Showbreak
To make a booking call 01442 50 88 50 or visit awayresorts.co.uk/festive16 See our breaks showcase or website for more info *All prices are based on two people sharing a standard room and are subject to availability
A fantastic addition to our summer family breaks...
Join us this summer for a unique holiday experience, perfect for those who love performing! Run by instructors from the prestigious Pauline Quirke Academy, your kids will receive 10 hours of training in acting, dance, singing and film making. The week culminates in a spectacular final evening experience. They will be fully supervised so you can enjoy your holiday while they learn.
Available midweek on all breaks
Only e full Th for se courer Day) 25 P (Or £
Pop Star and TV Academy The kids will get to perform in the final night show!
£ 3 58
Let the kids learn at stage school whilst you relax by the pool side
New for 2017
payyo ur y way Don’t wish to pay for your holiday all in one go?
Only 10% deposit (Exc. Mill Rythe)
installments to suit you
flexible & easy process
y a W y r u x u L So hereâ€™s your dilemma. You know your kids would love camping and you want them to experience the simple joy of being under canvas, but the thought of cooking every meal over a tiny stove... 108
authentic camping experience, or a fancy Canvas Cottage with a spacious lounge and two separate bedrooms with bunk beds for the children and bedding provided with beds ready for you to jump straight into.. Some Canvas Cottages even have their own hot tub on the deck.
...having to buy all the bulky, expensive camping equipment (not to mention cleaning and storing it when you get home) and then struggling to put up a tent after four hours on the road quite simply fills you with dread. If that sounds like you, then we may just have an option that would give you the best of both worlds. Glamping at Away Resorts means you can simply turn up to one of our holiday parks and your luxury tent is all set up ready for you, and has some lovely creature comforts such as a sofa, TV, well equipped kitchen, electric sockets for phone chargers and proper beds. You don’t even need to worry about bedding because we provide all that for you. The kids will love the feeling of camping, and you’ll love being able to relax and have a nice experience yourself.
You’ll also have full access to all our facilities, so you can take the kids swimming or to the play areas, and you can book activities such as hoverboarding, archery or zorbing as well. We have bars and a restaurant on site so grabbing a meal is easy, and there’s entertainment on every evening to keep everyone happy. Prices start from £105 for a Bell Tent and £147 for a Canvas Cottage.
sleeps between 2-8. awayresorts.co.uk
Our Canvas Villages at Whitecliff Bay and Tattershall Lakes are incredibly popular and we have options to suit all budgets. You can book a classic Bell Tent for an
Pitch your tent or park up your caravan and enjoy either Tattershall Lakes or Whitecliff Bay for your camping & touring holiday this year. At our Lincolnshire park, we have two amazing locations for touring guests to choose from. The largest area is situated in the heart of the park within easy reach of the Merlin complex and park amenities. The ‘Woodland Retreat’ is set away from the main area in a secluded meadow surrounded by nature and is a brisk walk to the main facilities for those who are looking for a more wild and rustic getaway. Camping is available in the Woodland Retreat.
Fantastic Whitecliff Bay Facilities: •
Heated indoor pool with flume, bubble pool and toddler pool
Heated outdoor pool with sun terrace and toddler pool
Our Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park is surrounded by rolling green hills and breath-taking views that lift your spirits the moment you arrive – this is in an ideal setting for you to enjoy the great outdoors, with all the independence that a touring or camping holiday lends.
Nab Bar & Restaurant
Culver Club & Diner & takeaway
Visit us with your own motorhome, caravan or tent and you will understand why we are so proud of our lovely parks.
Covered wash up areas
Electric pitches for your tents, campers and caravans
Entertainment throughout the popular times of the year
Sports Lounge with large TV
Fun mini golf Wi-Fi
Fantastic Tattershall Facilities: •
Relaxing spa & hot tub
Fun beach area
Impressive full-size replica Spitfire and army jeep
Plenty of fishing opportunities
Spitfire and Propeller Bars
Outdoor splash pad
Brand new all-weather play area
Recycling and waste facilities
Electric pitches for your tents, campers and caravans
Entertainment throughout popular times of the year
Pitches for touring and camping are charged by the day except for the peak summer period. Both Tattershall Lakes and Whiteclilff Bay are very popular parks with plenty of returning visitors so please do book early to avoid disappointment, especially if you wish to visit during the school holidays. We have a range of pitches to suit every need, from fully serviced pitches, to standard pitches, and ferry-inclusive pitches to make your stay as hassle free as possible. We don’t skimp on space and pitches are available for all sizes of tents and caravans on a first come first served basis and prices include use of the park's facilities. Prices from £4pppn www.awayresorts.co.uk
d o Fo
Many holiday memories are based around the food. The warm baguettes that you bought first thing every morning from that market by the campsite, the mussels you tried for the first time as a child at that restaurant by the sea. Or maybe it was the size of that steak that dad had on that holiday in the Lake District!
Our food’s provenance is very important to us, as is the number of food miles it takes to get it from field to fork. So we aim to ensure that our freshly roasted meats, containing fresh herbs from the area, come from animals raised and reared nearby. And our gourmet burgers sit within a seeded brioche butter enriched bun also from a local baker, only 15 miles from the park.
Away Resorts knows how important the food is when you’re on holiday, how it is part of the holiday memory book. So a lot of time goes into our menus. Of course a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without certain things: breakfasts have to include pancakes, pastries, bacon butties and sausages. But our pancakes are a hearty stack of mixed berry pancakes, lemon-infused cream fraiche’ and toasted almonds. Our cooked breakfasts feature local farm fresh eggs poached, scrambled or fried with maple bacon on a toasted bun. We also know that the lunch and dinner menus have to have stuff that the kids will go for, like pizzas, burgers, and fish and chips (marmite sandwiches are very popular at all our parks). But we also make sure that we focus on fresh and local food so that our guests know where the food has come from, how it has been produced, and that local butchers and producers are kept in business, so the local area’s economy benefits too.
Of course the treats are what make holidays legendary! Ice-cream features heavily on our pudding menus – our ice-cream sundae is a famously naughty treat featuring maltesers, brownies, butterscotch and chocolate sauces. But we also provide some healthy lighter options, to ensure we have something for everyone. We like to bring a twist to our offering and that element of surprise – so our guests remember our food in the years to come.
New lodges and caravans for 2017
Weâ€™ve got 20 brand new luxury lodges with hot tubs and 20 revolutionary TriBeCa caravans on our parks this year
Be the first to stay in them when you book your holiday at