Silverdale Holiday Park in South Cumbria is inviting local families to help mark its diamond anniversary next month over a weekend of free activities and entertainment.
The celebrations begin on the afternoon of Friday 13 May, and continue throughout Saturday and Sunday with plenty of attractions promised for all ages.
The park, which first began welcoming visitors 60 years ago, says the event is a “thank you” both to holiday guests and the local community with which it has close ties.
Around 135 people are employed by the business, and Silverdale Holiday Park supports other local enterprises by generating over £4m of visitor spending each year in the region.
Kicking off the weekend’s festivities will be a beer festival on the Friday afternoon which will include tastings of artisan beers brewed in and around the Lake District.
Saturday then sees a family fun day (noon until 4.00pm) including a bouncy castle, face-painting, a magic show and tractor rides – plus 1950s musical tributes which will continue into the night.
Sunday is set aside for lovers of classic transport when, at 12.00pm, Lakeland Historic Car Club gathers at the park for a rally featuring veteran two and four-wheel vehicles.
The 100-acre park, with its magnificent sweeping view across Morecambe Bay, has been under the ownership of the Holgate family since it began life in 1956.
Its first guests were campers from the Manchester area, but the park’s popularity soon saw holiday caravans introduced – and the development of increasingly sophisticated leisure facilities.
Today, Silverdale Holiday Park provides over 500 caravan holiday homes to buy and to let, pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, and luxury timber-built camping pods.
Guests also have use of the park’s indoor pool, gymnasium fully equipped with the latest exercise technology, a sauna, spa and steam room, and recently built US-style bowling alley.
There’s also plenty of children’s activities, plus an acclaimed restaurant, a relaxing bar, and a newly enlarged supermarket with an emphasis on locally sourced food and drink.
The park’s many accolades include Cumbria Tourism’s overall holiday park of the year award two years ago, and a top gold award in 2016 from botanist David Bellamy for environmental care.
But despite successfully moving with the times, Silverdale Holiday Park is enjoyed by many guests for more traditional reasons believes business owner Michael Holgate:
“Today, perhaps even more than sixty years ago, holidays are valued for the way they allow us to relax and switch-off from the everyday stresses of normal life,” said Michael.
“There’s no better way to do that than in gorgeous natural surroundings, and in the type of friendly, caring atmosphere which we have always tried to make this park’s defining character.
“Despite the millions we have spent on Silverdale over the past decade, guests who review our park on-line often praise these aspects of their stay above all others.
“If that’s what they are still saying when we reach our centenary, I’ll be delighted!” added Michael.
Holgates Diamond Year
The Holgates first came to Silverdale in 1956 from the Blackburn area in Lancashire where Michael’s grandfather, Billy, had started a successful caravan manufacturing business.
The family’s plan was to both carry on the production side of the operation whilst running a holiday park in this scenic part of Cumbria, just over the Lancashire border.
In the event, the park enterprise proved even more commercially buoyant than manufacturing, and after Billy passed away, his son Frank decided to concentrate entirely on developing Silverdale.
On what was formerly just over 100 acres of grass and scrubland, the park as it is today began to take shape with extensive landscaping and the introduction of new facilities.
By the 1970’s an outdoor swimming pool and café had been built, and in 1999 the main building was remodelled to include a new swimming pool, gym, restaurant, bar and shop.
Under Michael’s stewardship, the business has continued to expand and now comprises six parks in Cumbria and North Lancashire, all have which have benefitted from investment in their facilitates.
The aim, he says, is to ensure that the company’s name on every park it owns remains synonymous with first-class surroundings and good value holiday home ownership opportunities.
Silverdale, however, remains the company’s flagship – and prospective buyers of holiday homes are often advised that they must join a waiting list until a unit or plot becomes available.
Like his father Frank, who passed away at the start of 2015, Michael is a firm believer in running his business along sustainable lines and safeguarding the natural environment.
Botanist David Bellamy describes the park as a “glorious wildlife wonderland”, and Silverdale has for many years been the holder of his prestigious Conservation Award at its top gold level.
And just for info…
Britain in 1956 saw the country starting to enjoy new levels of prosperity after the austere post-war years, and families now had more cash to enjoy holidays away from home. For those living in the industrialised North West, the Lake District was an obvious and easily accessible draw.
The year also saw a number of other milestones. Tesco’s first self-service store opened in St Albans; Granada TV began broadcasting in Manchester; Corgi Toys started making model cars, and the first Routemaster bus took to the road in London.
Also in 1956, Premium Bonds were introduced, the last Lancaster Bomber was retired from service, PG Tips began its long-running chimpanzee tea-part advertisements, Manchester City won the FA Cup against Birmingham – and the first double yellow lines were seen on the road (in Slough).