With the staycation having long stopped being a trend and now firmly established as the holiday of choice for plenty of Scots, more and more are choosing to invest in a holiday home of their own – and reaping the rewards as the weather hots up.
Robert McConway owns a two-bedroom wooden lodge at Thurston Manor, at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills near Dunbar in East Lothian – one of four holiday parks in Scotland owned by Verdant Leisure.
After first visiting Thurston Manor in his Tourer seven years ago, Robert first bought a static caravan at the park. The family are making plenty of use of it before then though, he says: “We’re there every single weekend – we’re definitely getting our money’s worth! The kids love it; we’re near the club and they’ve got the pool there and all the activities. You just sign them in and then they take care of them, so I can go off and relax and have a couple of drinks.”
While the McConways still take a trip abroad every year – with Florida being their choice last summer – Robert said: “It’s nice to have somewhere to go every weekend. We’ve got a lot of friends there, it’s a very friendly place. We always take friends as well when they come to visit.
“I’d recommend it to anyone. When I go up there the stress just leaves my body, I completely relax. I run my own business so there’s a lot of pressure during the week. To me, having the lodge to go to at the weekends is just an instant stress reliever.”
Another holiday home owner who feels the benefit of a guaranteed weekend escape is Audrey Muir, who owns a two-bedroom static caravan at Thurston Manor, having grown up going on caravan holidays and loving them.
I use it religiously every weekend. I have a very busy job, and I work in Edinburgh city centre and live in Livingston, so since I work in town and live in a town, it’s nice to be in the country and near the sea. It’s like going on holiday every weekend.Audrey Muir
She said: “I bought a second-hand static caravan in October 2014 – my mum had one and myself and my sisters went to stay with her for the weekend and I ended up buying one while I was there! Then I upgraded last July to a new one.
“I use it religiously every weekend. I have a very busy job, and I work in Edinburgh city centre and live in Livingston, so since I work in town and live in a town, it’s nice to be in the country and near the sea. It’s like going on holiday every weekend.”
Audrey’s holiday home has continued to be a family affair, with she and her sister taking their four dogs (a hectic combination of of two labradors and two chihuahuas) to the caravan at weekends, although she does admit to getting “a bit upset” if family or friends have the temerity to invite them to parties at the weekend, keeping them away from their bolt-hole.
Audrey credits her holiday home with keeping her young at heart, saying: “It’s an escape from your normal life. It’s something to look forward to every week. If you stay at home at the weekend and you’ve nothing planned you often end up doing housework all weekend or just having the telly on.
“But my mum says it’s like we go back to being kids down at the caravan – we play board games or cards, go for walks on the beach, go swimming, or for bike rides. It gets you back to communicating with your family.”
• For more information on holiday home ownership with Verdant Leisure visit www.verdantleisure.co.uk or call 0845 034 2190.
• This article was produced in partnership with Verdant Leisure