David Helliwell and Family Park Up for a Relaxing Weekend Away

The rain was bucketing down but it mattered not a jot.

Holgates 2013 Sean 2005

Our luxury surroundings were warm, dry and incredibly comfortable and the sound of the rain added to the sense of relaxation that was evident the moment we arrived. This was a Friday night and summer hadn’t officially arrived but Holgates Caravan Park in Silverdale, just on the red rose side of the Lancashire/Cumbria border, was buzzing with the sight and sound of families enjoying themselves.

This immaculate, spacious, site is Holgates’ flagship park and it’s easy to see why. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with more than 100 acres of woodland and countryside to unwind in and great views out over Morecambe Bay, it’s a perfect family getaway location that is open all year round.

With all that countryside and coastline to explore - there’s a great craggy beach within yards of the entrance - it’s an ideal base for walkers and others looking for some respite from the Monday to Friday routine.

Arnside is a short drive away and offers an attractive small seaside town mix of shops, galleries and places to eat and drink. Watching the tide sweep up the bay is a memorable experience. Silverdale itself has two attractive pubs and the Wolfhouse Gallery for those who can’t resist taking in - and maybe taking away - some traditional arts, crafts and jewellery. Nature lovers will head for the RSPB’s Leighton Moss, home to bitterns, bearded tits and many others.

But for those who prefer to have their entertainment and activities on tap then Holgates does its very best to provide. With two youngsters in tow it’s always good to have wet weather options; so this is where the site scores highly as we took advantage of the indoor pool area, complete with jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.

Following a spot of excellent lunch at the onsite restaurant it was off to the bowling alley where, after being given a masterclass in strikes and spares by a 10 and 12-year-old, we tried to regain face and revisit our youth in the small amusement arcade area. Plenty of visitors seemed content to lounge in the bar chatting and watching the big screen TVs. But once the weather brightened our two were eager to try out the on site playground areas. The pitch and putt, sadly, remained untouched, not so sadly, so did the gym.

Possibly the highlight of the whole weekend though was our accommodation. Every inch of available space had been utilised to turn it into a relaxing living area where we could easily have cooked and eaten - though that’s not my idea of a weekend away. It’s the small touches that stick in the mind. The best parts were the stylish lounge with swiveling easy chairs to get the best view of either the on wall TV screen or the natural beauty outside, the wine chiller in the kitchen, the two showers (if you have children you’ll know what I mean) were all very welcome.

The pièce de résistance though was the tranquility of the outside decking area, a large glass table to seat a family and friends, wonderful views and a short step to a re-fill. Breakfast al-fresco was a joy.

The site houses a wide range of accommodation options, from our Swift Group Chamonix to other statics and wooden pods. Some are privately owned, others belong to the site and visitors come in their own touring caravans and with tents. Many people make a proper home-from-home of their statics with loving care given to outside furnishings and thriving gardens. The grounds are well maintained and it all adds to a sense of peace and well-being, far away from the rigours of modern life.

It must also be said that Holgates benefits from a well-stocked onsite shop and the staff we met during our brief stay were extremely helpful, cheery and friendly, without exception; all of which added to the good vibes we took home from this site.

We ended our week away at (relatively) high altitude taking in the Treetop Trek at Brockhole National Park, a 40-minute drive back north. It was great fun and comes highly recommended. Once again the adventurers were to the fore while the Terra forma loving adults lagged behind. The monster zip-wire finale topped off a pretty perfect weekend break.

When it was time for us to leave, the sun came out and we watched on with envy as families could be seen making the most of the onsite activities.