Last minute holidays available during the festive season
Highlands End Holiday Park has some great offers available over the Christmas period.
Contact us today for further information
Highlands End Holiday Park has some great offers available over the Christmas period.
Contact us today for further information
I haven’t written in my blog for a couple of weeks because we have been so busy with the closing of the holiday parks for the winter period, saying goodbye to our caravan owners and preparing for the arrival of new hire caravans, pods and lodges. The camping and touring fields are now closed and the caravans are being drained down by the maintenance team for the winter.
We are now starting work on various enhancements around the park so that we are ready to welcome our guests when we re-open on the 21st March 2014 – of course, the Highlands End Apartments, Bungalows and Lodges remain open for hire over the winter if you know of anyone who would like a break and enjoy our views and the freedom of walking the coastal path.
The Highlands indoor swimming pool is open for our local members throughout the year and we’re currently getting the renewals ready with some very competitive membership fees to encourage more local residents to become members and take full advantage of the indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam and gym.
On the 31st October Highlands End Bar and Restaurant hosted the annual Halloween Party. There was an excellent turn out with visitors and many local families, with most of the children and some of the adults in fancy dress. The dance floor was packed with toddlers parading in scary costumes. Steve Smith the ‘Vampire’ DJ judged the fancy dress competition and had the children and parents doing the conga up and down the restaurant.
This November I was very pleased when 13 members of staff showed willing to learn about using the Defibrillator. For some of the staff it was a yearly update but the few that hadn’t tried it before all showed great enthusiasm and competency – it is good to know we have a team that could assist if faced with an emergency.
The websites have had a recent update; we have added new films to a number of the pages which I hope will encourage people to visit the area and show just how much there is to see in Dorset. During the very strong winds a couple of weeks ago we were very lucky to pass unscathed, the only ‘emergency’ that was brought to our attention by a regular customer was the Highlands End webcam that always faced South towards the coastal views had spun round and was now showing Bridport town centre!
We are now looking forward to the Dorset Business Awards on the 28th November.
Today has been a very proud day for all of us at Highlands End Holiday Park. Last night we attended the Dorset Tourism Awards Ceremony at Bovington Tank Museum, where over 160 people attended and 39 awards were presented.
The awards had attracted 60 business entries in 12 different categories, each undergoing a rigorous three stage judging process including initial scoring, visits by a team of mystery shoppers and final assessment by an independent judging panel.
The Dorset Tourism Awards were launched in June this year, following extensive liaison between founder Robin Barker and local tourism leaders. Mr Barker said: “Dorset offers something special, yet for various reasons has not always punched its weight as a top destination – that’s why some 10 months ago my colleagues and I started liaising with the industry here in Dorset to assess the demand for your own Dorset Tourism Awards”
We had entered Highlands End Holiday Park into the competition back in August this year. I selected the 2 categories that I believed Highlands End would have a good chance in making to the final, ‘The Holiday Park of the Year’ and ‘Sustainable Tourism’ category.
The first to be announced of the categories that we had entered were ‘The Holiday Park of the Year’; being one of the top 3 finalists was already a great success and knowing our competitors I knew we were against 2 of the best holiday parks. When it was announced that we were first and being awarded the Gold Award I couldn’t hide my surprise and was extremely proud.
When our second category was called out for the ‘Sustainable Tourism Award’, Highlands End Holiday Park was in the final competing against one other Hotel. Again when we were announced as the winner I was very proud to collect our Gold Award. The award confirmed to me how well our business and staff have embedded sustainability into the operation of the park.
Finally to my complete surprise Robin Barker announced a special award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism’. As Robin spoke of this nominee and the 30 years of contributions that he had made, it dawned on me very quickly that he was talking about me and my work in Dorset tourism and with the trade association. It was an honour to accept the award, recognising work which I have enjoyed undertaking and it has been a privilege to make a contribution to an industry which is so important to the economy of my county.
Highlands End Bar is getting ready for Halloween night, starting from 7:30pm on Thursday 31st October. Spooky Steve Smith will be providing the family disco and the kitchen staff will be organising a freaky feast! Children are welcome, come in fancy dress if you wish and join in with the ghostly fun.
I also wanted to bring your attention to another great video that is well worth watching and captures the ‘Spirit of Bridport’ concentrating on the arts and crafts of this vibrant town VIDEO
Peter and Christine were having breakfast before leaving the park after a week’s holiday in one of our Caravan Holiday Homes. Peter told me that he has been coming to Highlands End since 1955 when he first stayed with his parents. Peter has continued to bring his family regularly to the park and his great grandson aged 6 had recently started swimming in the Highlands End Pool.
When camping in the late 1950s, Peter was proud to tell me that he used to cycle from Watford to the holiday park. In fine weather with a tail wind it would take 10 hours and with a head wind the longest journey was 22 hours!
Whilst we were sitting in the bar Peter could recall the old showers in the cow shed, they have since been demolished and turned into the Highlands End Bar. Peter said they were probably eating their breakfast very close to the location of an old shower. The couple had memories of Mr & Mrs Whiffin who owned the holiday park until 1971 and who they got to know very well during their frequent stays.
Christine reminded Peter of their honeymoon on the holiday park in 1965 and that when they had arrived in a Second World War Jeep. Christine said as they were checking in at reception Mrs Whiffin asked them to remove what she considered to be ‘inappropriate words’ that had been written on the side of the jeep by their wedding guests. Mrs Whiffin the holiday park owner thought the wording might offend the other campers!!
Peter and Christine still enjoy their holidays at Highlands End Holiday Park. They have witnessed many changes to the park over the years and I was pleased to hear that they believed that the development of the modern facilities had not destroyed the ‘peace and quiet’ of the location and area.
My conversation with Peter and Christine reminded me of the importance of ensuring each of our visitors enjoys their stay and that the holiday parks can be the foundation of so many precious memories. When I left Mr and Mrs Felton and returned to a mountain of paperwork, their happy memories gave me a burst of enthusiasm and reminded me that the paperwork is all very worthwhile.
The Highlands End 1940s Weekender was a great event, the weather behaved and there was a good turnout of exhibitors and visitors. It had been 70 years since the American GI’s arrived in Bridport and the weekend was a re-enactment and tribute to the brave soldiers of that time.
Around the holiday park we had allowed the re-enactors to get to work. They set up base with a USA military check point at the entrance to the holiday park. The check point was manned by re-enactors holding fake guns and saluted you as you passed. I hope our holiday customers enjoyed this and hopefully realised we were hosting a themed weekend and not our new park security!
At the entrance to the Bar the Women’s Land Army had set up base and had a washing line attached to the building, with large 1940’s bloomers blowing in the wind!
The games room of the Highlands Bar was used for a large display of Bridport and the surrounding areas 1940s memorabilia, along with many photos and maps showing where the officer’s mess was located and other fascinating facts about the area during the war.
The Highlands End kitchen staff soon got into the spirit of the weekend and prepared a special food menu with options of many 1940s dishes. On the Saturday night we welcomed the singer ‘Miss Luna Nightingale’ to the club house, who sung all the old classics including Vera Lynn and Doris Day. A few of the re-enactors showed us all how the dancing used to be, with very energetic jives and twists on the dance floor. It was wonderful to sit and watch the re-enacting soldiers enter the room and immediately remove their hat and move elegantly to the bar for a well-deserved tipple. The evening finished with a raffle which raised £229 for the ‘Help the Hero’s’, it was a great weekend enjoyed by all.
It’s been a very proud week at Highlands End Holiday Park, firstly with being told that we had made it to the final for the Dorset Tourism Award. Then a few days later being contacted by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to be told we were through to the next stage of the Dorset Business Award. Then to top it all off being told all 5 of our Holiday Parks at West Dorset Leisure Holidays had been awarded David Bellamy Gold Awards.
Within the Dorset’s Tourism Awards we had entered 2 categories – Holiday Park of the Year and Sustainable Tourism Award. A press release was published by the Dorset Tourism Award stating:
“There are 12 categories in the competition which attracted great interest across the county with 60 entries and nominations. Finalists came from across the county with Hotels, Pubs, Attractions, Festivals, Holiday Parks and B&Bs amongst the list of winners. Several entrants are up for more than one award, including Bridport’s Highlands End Holiday Park”. (http://www.dorsettourismawards).
The Dorset Tourism Award Ceremony is being held on the 24th October at the Tank Museum in Bovington, we’re looking forward to the black tie extravaganza and fingers crossed when the winners are announced. If we do well at these awards it could then progress further:
“Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will automatically be considered for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in January 2014 and then possibly go on to represent Dorset at the National Enjoy England Awards later in the year” (http://www.dorsettourismawards.org.uk/).
And finally now that we are through to the next level of the Dorset Business Award, we will be welcoming the judges to our holiday park in October for a viewing of Highlands End Holiday Park, if we do well in this assessment we could again be invited to another Gala dinner at Poole Lighthouse in November, when the winners will be announced.
The 5 Gold David Bellamy Awards are a wonderful achievement for all the holiday parks within West Dorset Leisure Holidays and it helps us to prove just how important conservation of the environment and sustainability are to us as a company. David Bellamy comments that:
“The variety of work being done by these parks is phenomenal – from the creation of new wildlife meadows and woodlands to the construction of solar-powered shower blocks and energy-efficient lodges made out of recycled plastic, parks are active across the country” (David Bellamy http://www.bellamyparks.co.uk/about.html).
As West Dorset Leisure Holidays is located in the stunning West Country and fortunate enough to have 2 of our holiday parks located along the Jurassic Coast, sustainability is one of our most important factors along with happy customers and productive holiday parks.
The Camping Pod competition that started on the 10th July through our WDLH Facebook and the Best of British Facebook has now come to close. The winner has been randomly selected and the lucky lady has been contacted and is now looking forward to a complimentary weekend at Highlands End Holiday Park in one of the new Camping Pods. The WDLH team try to make regular updates on Facebook to keep our friends informed of local events, competitions and general updates about the holiday parks.
This week we added a great picture of a retro car with a towing caravan that was taken at Sandyholme Holiday Park, it has had over 950 people like the picture which is amazing.
I Tweeted a picture of a teddy bear that had been left at Golden Cap Holiday Park last weekend and within minutes the picture had gone viral with people sharing tags of this picture. I’m sure most parents know how upsetting it can be for their child to lose a beloved teddy bear! And the distances we have travelled to try find it. We haven’t had anybody claim the soft toy yet but i still hope someone will come forward soon.
Wednesday 7th August i am looking forward to the RNLI BBQ that is taking place at Seatown beach next to Golden Cap Holiday Park. The Annual event is always a jolly evening and brings the locals and holiday makers together.
The school holidays have begun and the holiday parks are filling up with families, the evening entertainment in the Highlands End Bar is in full swing with DJ’s and local bands making nightly appearances and the Highlands End Restaurant has started serving breakfast for the summer holidays, open on a Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 08:30 – 10:30.
Highlands End Holiday Park has recently gained a certificate from Trip Advisor which has meant that we have been able to change the trip advisor stickers around the park which previously said ‘ Reviewed on Trip Advisor’ to the new ‘Recommended on Trip Advisor’. This upgrade has been the result of the excellent reviews Highlands End has gained recently. Golden Cap Holiday Park has also been gaining very good Trip Advisor reviews and i hope soon it will also be welcoming the upgrade.
Sunday 5th May at Highlands End Holiday Park we organised an Open Day of the new lodges. Over 100 people came to take a look and with the wonderful weather we are experiencing the panoramic view from the lodge living room was outstanding, with perfect views all the way across Lyme Bay to the very end of Portland. Feedback from the guests was all very positive and a couple of people went back to the reception and booked their next holiday immediately for that lodge. Take a look at our webcam and see just how good the view is today click here.
With spring finally here the local festivals and events have started and the weather has been perfect! Lyme Regis Fossil Festival which was on the 3rd – 5th May was a great success, Lyme Regis was buzzing with excitement and entertainment. We advertised to our customers how close Lyme Regis is to our holiday park called Golden Cap and the camping and touring section was very busy that weekend.
West Bay aka ‘Broadchurch’ hosted the National Championship for Power boat racing which was on the 4th – 5th May, the harbour was heaving with families all enjoying the day out, the sun was shining and it was great to see the local businesses doing so well. People were walking round with their bags of chips and ice creams and a lot of our guests from Highlands End walked down from the holiday park along the Jurassic coast cliff, straight into West Bay to join in the fun, overall it was a great Bank Holiday Weekend.
The Spring Tide Festival which is over the 18th – 19th May at Burton Bradstock, we hope will again generate business for our holiday park ‘Graston Copse’ which is located in Burton Bradstock for camping and touring during this period.
We are going through the final details for the Caravan Show that we have organised for the 24th – 26th May at Golden Cap Holiday Park, we have started advertising and plan to publicise the show in some major newspapers, depending on the weather we might offer a BBQ to any guests that come to take a look at the caravans and are possibly interested in buying a caravan at one of our 5 holiday parks. We have joined up with local caravan agents that are also going to be displaying their caravans over the weekend.
A lot of our guests at Highlands End Holiday Park have been asking questions about the filming of ‘Broadchurch’ in our area. From where Highlands End is situated we have the perfect view of the wooden cabin where the murder took place and the park overlooks the whole of West Bay and the Jurassic Cliffs that were used. If you wanted to take a look at our Highlands End Web Cam you will see just how perfect our view is of ‘Broadchurch’.
At Highlands End we are very excited to announce that our entrance road to the park is going to be resurfaced; this will be the first time in 40 years! The work starts today and will be finished on Thursday 9th May. It is going to be a little bit difficult for guests during this time but we have organised diversions and the new road will be well worth it. We have widened the laybys making it easier for tourers and new static caravans on their loading lorries to enter the holiday park. The overall look of the holiday park entrance will be much more welcoming.
It has been a very exciting couple of days at Highlands End Holiday Park, we have watched with great pleasure as the lodges arrived on the huge lorries and were sited with cranes. After all the hard work that has been put into the Lodges, with designing and planning we are so pleased with the image that they have prevailed. The views from the panoramic living room windows are unbelievable and we have come up with some great names for the lodges, which highlight the views. Inside the décor is very country, with wooden cladding throughout. The soft furnishings are all in a complimentary soft, pale colour keeping the attention focused on the views and the West Country atmosphere. The garden area and landscape surrounding the lodges is currently being worked on by our skilled staff and we look forward to opening the lodges to their first bookings in May.
It’s the last episode of Broadchurch on ITV next Monday 22nd April. At the office we still have no idea who did it? But we have been having a friendly bet and are all looking forward to next week’s grand finale. Broadchurch appears to have highlighted our beautiful coastline, showing off the stunning scenery that we are all so proud of. From my office window I can see the wooden cabin on the cliffs, which is being used as the main crime scene for the murder, it has always been a key feature in Eype and if any of you are enjoying the programme as much as us, Highlands End Holiday Park is one of the best place to stay and walk the same Jurassic pathways, as David Tennant, Pauline Quirke with her dog Vince and the other famous characters in the programme.
This week 15 members of our staff that deal with customers directly have completed a training course about the Jurassic Coast. They have all said it was a very educational programme and fascinating to discover how the 95 miles of Jurassic coast began. The staff also commented on how they all live and work in this area but did not realise just how enticing and historical our World Heritage site really is. It was also very important that the lecturers covered details about safety whilst fossil hunting and the best beaches to visit to find the hidden fossil treasures.
All 7 of our new websites are now live and we’ve been receiving a great amount of good feedback, with how much more information is now available to our customers. We do want to add some more pictures of our stunning scenery but we want to wait for a really sunny day to really accentuate the countryside and coast close to our holiday parks. We have updated the online booking system making it faster and easier to book a holiday. I would really recommend taking a look at the webcams for each park and the new Woof guide which is a great read if you’re a dog lover.