Static caravans ain’t what they used to be. In a fondly remembered family holiday of my childhood we spent a week at a caravan park in Nairn.It poured most of the time and the rain battered off the roof. My sister and I spent much of the week cooped up, listening to the Radio One Roadshow and playing with toy slime. The caravan interior was basic but there was a games room on the site with ping pong and a one-armed bandit and good fun was had by all.
It poured most of the time and the rain battered off the roof. My sister and I spent much of the week cooped up, listening to the Radio One Roadshow and playing with toy slime. The caravan interior was basic but there was a games room on the site with ping pong and a one-armed bandit and good fun was had by all.
The accommodation at Holgates Caravan Park at Silverdale is on a different level entirely. The Holgate family have been in the holiday business since 1956 and know what they’re doing. Situated 13 miles south of Kendal, is their flagship site and a hidden gem. Nestling on the Lancashire side of the border with Cumbria, it overlooks Morecambe Bay and fights hard not to be outdone by the nearby Lake District, but Silverdale and nearby Arnside were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1972 – and rightly so. There are over 100 acres of woodland and countryside and enough flora and fauna to satisfy the most demanding outdoor types. And it’s quiet, which you can’t always say about the Lake District.
Budget or boutique?
As budget as you like because as well as the static holiday homes, you can camp or bring your own caravan. There are also eight camping pods for hire. Each pod sleeps up to two adults and two small children, and has a sofa bed, heater and light.
Sitting in the well furbished living room, watching the wide-screen TV, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a rather plush hotel. It’s comfy, spacious (12ft wide) and centrally heated. The adjoining kitchen is equally well appointed with full-size oven, microwave and fridge freezer.
There are nice bedrooms, too. A double and one or two twins mean the static caravan can sleep up to six, and there is a shower room as well. (We didn’t have that in Nairn).
Wining and dining
We decided to have our dinner in the Silverdale restaurant, which meant fish and chips all round. The restaurant is open all day for lunch and snacks (including vegetarian and gluten free options) and there’s a bar as well.
Worth getting out of bed for
Staying at the park gives you access to its facilities which means there is plenty to do no matter what the weather. The staff are friendly and the children are safe to roam.
The 17-metre pool includes a hot tub and adjacent sauna and steam room. There is a games room and soft play area and plenty of outdoor options including two adventure playgrounds. A newly refurbished tenpin bowling alley can be hired on an hourly basis and our boys enjoyed the pitch and putt nine-hole golf course which affords lovely views over Morecambe Bay.
Talking of which, there are splendid coastal walks to be had a stone’s throw from the site. There are paths across the fields and you can then veer off and walk along the sand, admiring the impressive rocky shoreline.
You can also walk to nearby to the charming former fishing port of Arnside (although we cheated and took the car as it was pouring) which is well worth a visit. It’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon, wandering the streets, enjoying the views over the bay and popping into various cafes and pubs. The one that stood out for us is Moochin’ About, Arnside’s very own jazz café and espresso bar. If you’ve a train to catch it’s particularly handy as it is right opposite the station that carries passengers on the picturesque Carnforth-Grange-Ulverston-Barrow line, snaking across the estuary on an impressive 51-pier viaduct.
For those more interested in the great outdoors than railway architecture, there’s National Trust-owned Arnside Knott, a 520ft-high flat rock with woodland walks around it. A haven for butterflies and a twitchers’ paradise, it’s a bit of a climb to the summit but worth it for the views.
There is a well-equipped gym open to visitors at a £5 charge.
It’s worth looking a little further afield for somewhere to stay and Silverdale has much to commend it.
Accommodation in luxury caravan holiday home (until 3 October) for four nights, Mon to Fri, £415; three nights, Fri to Mon £415; seven nights £560. See website for further prices
Silverdale Holiday Park Holgates Holiday Parks, Middlebarrow Plain, Cove Road, Silverdale LA5 0SH (tel: 01524 701508; email: [email protected]; www.holgates.co.uk/silverdale)