Spring is here and the local festivals have begun
Highlands End Webcam view
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.
Who did it? And what a view
Lodge and View to the East
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.
2013 Season Opening Offer
For the weeks beginning the 16th and 23rd March 2013 we’re opening the holiday parks with a GREAT special OFFER!!
Visit the picturesque area where ITV filmed the new programme ‘Broadchurch’ starring David Tennant.
7 night breaks for just £200 in our premier 2 bed caravans at Highlands End and Golden Cap or £220 in our premier plus 2 bed caravans at Golden Cap.
Dogs are welcome in certain premier caravans*
Don’t forget to share and like this on facebook and twitter so your friends can see what we’re offering.
To make a reservation please call 01308 426947
*Extra charges, Terms and Conditions apply.
Broadchurch the TV series & the Jurassic Coast Trust
Our most exciting news for this weekly blog is that we have received a certificate from the Jurassic Coast Trust, as recognition for the £5,300 we have raised in the 2012 holiday season. When customers make a reservation at any of our holiday parks they are asked if they would like to make a small donation. The money raised is all generated back into the Jurassic Coast with study programmes for people visiting the areas, information sites, new signs and preservation.
With the holiday parks due to open in two and a half weeks’ time, we are working hard on getting the last parts of major maintenance complete. At Highlands End we are resurfacing the main entrance road and are looking forward to the completion on the toilet block refurbishment.
Three members of West Dorset Leisure Holidays team have been in Birmingham at the NEC the last few days working at the Caravan & Camping Show. They were based on the ‘My Dorset Park’ stand and have since said it was a great success. They spoke to many people who are interested in visiting West Dorset, handed out a lot of brochures and also recognised and spoke to a lot of previous guests from the holiday parks. We also had one of our recently purchased ABI Alderley caravans on show which generated a lot of interest. The caravan is being brought to Golden Cap Holiday Park on the 4thMarch and from the level of interest at the show I am sure we will have customers coming to have a look at Golden Cap Holiday Park.
‘Broadchurch’ the ITV series will begin on the 4th March, I would really recommend watching it as it will be a great chance to see the picturesque Jurassic Coast and our valued West Bay beach that we all know and love. You can also keep up to date with our facebook and twitter notices about the show and we are planning on participating in a ‘Broadchurch’ competition which will be announced in our social media.
The Trade Association Conference in Belfast
Last week Vanessa, James and I attended the British Holiday &Home Parks Association conference in Belfast, the home of the National Chairman. The three day conference included several excellent presentations, all relating to tourism and the holiday park sector. Over 400 colleagues from the UK attended, which was an excellent opportunity for us all to exchange ideas and experiences. Many other trade associations I am sure would like to have such a good level of attendance. The key speakers were very impressed by the support and commitment they received and the list of achievements that the BH&HPA had completed over the last 12 months was more than impressive.
It is always interesting and beneficial to discuss the current market conditions and trends, sharing direct experiences relating to the management of holiday parks, including planning policies and strategies. During the conference we had a fantastic evening tour of the new Titanic Centre, followed by dinner surrounded by Titanic history and the dry dock where the ship was constructed and launched.
After the conference we decided to stay for the weekend in Ireland and followed the coastline to the spectacular Giant’s Causeway. A brand new 5 star facility has been constructed at the site providing information about this world heritage attraction. It was great to see a very well designed modern building in such a unique location and it was very noticeable to the amount of investment being pushed into the existing tourism attractions whilst developing new.
We decided to buy a couple of the souvenirs in the tourist shop at the Giant’s Causeway and to my surprise they were selling chocolates made in Dorchester and Jam from Forest products in Bridport. It never ceases to amaze me that where ever you are in the world you can usually always spot something or meet someone you know from home. To conclude our trip we had to experience the traditional hospitality with a couple pints of Guinness in the famous Crown Pub.
Supporting our neighbour
Early morning mist from St Peters Church, Eype
St Peters Church, our neighbour to Highlands End Holiday Park was built in 1865. With dwindling congregations the church was facing possible closure. The Wallbridge Trust which was set up by the family of a local woman buried in the churchyard, came up with the idea in order to keep the church open, use it as a ‘Centre for the arts’.
Saturday 2nd December St Peters Church hosted the Christmas ‘Makers Market’. At West Dorset Leisure Holidays we were very keen to support this event as it’s always a pleasure to see the local community coming together and keep the church buzzing. It was a sunny day with a great turn out of people. I was astounded by over 40 displays of handmade crafts and by the amount of young, local talent that had contributed. We will be looking forward to next year’s Christmas Market.
Christmas Makers Market, Eype
Introducing Fat Fred, Choking Charley and Lazy Annie
This week I have some sad news to report, that our ginger and white cat called Walter sadly pasted away. I am sure that many of our customers who have stayed at Highlands End Holiday Park will have met him. Walter was first spotted in the touring area at Highlands End in July 2002 and it was assumed that he had been left behind by a visitor. He lived on scraps from touring visitors until the end of the season in November 2002, when he was caught by a helpful guest who brought a very angry cat to reception. He was then taken in by our warden Mike who worked on the park and he named him Walter. By Christmas Walter started to calm down and become a friendly cat. Mike unfortunately then moved to a job which did not allow animals and Walter moved in to our house with us.
For the last 10 years Walter has wandered around the park and is very popular with adults and children, and he often liked to come for walks with me in the evenings. Sadly a few days ago he died very suddenly after eating his breakfast, he was heading for his favourite spot to look out of the conservatory across Eype downs. Walter was a wonderful cat who will be remembered by the many visitors who have stopped to stroke or feed him.
What a collection of practice dummies…. with Fat Fred to give the feel of dealing with a larger casualty, Choking Charley to practice thumping a choking person on the back and of course the traditional Annie for the CPR.
Monday 19th November we had a staff First Aid training day. Nine of our staff took part in the one day course with South Western Ambulance Service and all nine of the staff are now certified in Emergency First Aid at Work. Robert wanted to do a further intense first aid training programme, because he works on the grounds of the parks and lives at Highlands End Holiday Park. We agreed it would be useful for him to gain a deeper knowledge and attended a 3 day First Aid Course, at Dorchester South Western Ambulance training school.
One of our holiday parks has recently been spotted on a TV advert on Channel 5 for the Health Lottery. A lucky couple won a sum of money and bought a Caravan Holiday Home, pitched at our rural and very peaceful holiday park called Graston Copse.
Movember is well under way, half way through the month and we have raised £70. We do have collection buckets displayed in Highlands bar area and the swimming pool lobby but we don’t know how much is in these buckets yet, I will let you know at the end of Movember. All the men taking part are getting full moustaches now and we are trying to hit our target of £100 in donations. If you would like to make a donation please click on this link, thank you.
Charity fundraising and new prices for 2013
On Friday the 19th October we were very keen to sponsor the Stand up to Cancer campaign, James and Hana went along to our Bridport Cancer Research shop to make the donation we had raised within our holiday parks.
This Friday 26th October we will be joining in the “Wear it Pink” for breast cancer awareness. We have tried to come up with some fun ideas in how to raise money within the holiday parks and are looking forward to seeing the staff all dressed in pink. There are donation boxes being displayed in the parks receptions and if any one did want to join in the fun? Please speak to the holiday parks receptionists. I will take some pictures and display them on the West Dorset Leisure Holidays facebook.
We have now published our 2013 prices and these are available from the holiday parks receptions or on our website and we have special discounts available on the holiday apartments. We are pleased to have been receiving new memberships for our 2013 Highlands End Leisure Club and this November it will be 12 months since we had our solar panels fitted to the swimming pool hall. The solar panels are only a small part in the efforts we are making, to push forward in the going green policy across our West Dorset Leisure Holiday Parks.
Fun and Fame at Highlands End Holiday Park
The last two weekends we have hosted social evenings at Highlands bar and restaurant, for our caravan owner’s at all five holiday parks. Both events i hear were a great success with the owners mixing with the parks staff, enjoying the buffet and plenty of dancing. I am looking forward to next years, as i was unable to attend this year due to a study tour in France.
We currently have a film crew stationed at our Highlands End Holiday Park which is very exciting. Kudos Productions have chosen to use our neighbouring picturesque village of Eype, for an eight part drama which will be screened in 2013 called “Broadchurch”. The series is starring David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker and Vicky McClure. It sounds a very intriguing script about a boy murdered in a quiet village and people in the community coming under suspicion, with David Tennant leading the investigation.
This drama will become another in the list of programmes that have been filmed along our Jurassic Coast, including “Harbour Lights”, “The River Cottage”, “The boat that rocked” and “Gulliver’s travels”. It’s always a proud time for us locals to see our beautiful area in the headlines.
Bridport Hat Festival
Bridport Hat Festival
Last weekend I had a very enjoyable experience at the Bridport Hat festival. I had an allocated area at Bridport Museum and was able to display some of my historical fireman helmets. A great number of people turned up to see the display and I am hoping to be able to extend the number I can display at next year’s festival. The Bar team did a wonderful job cleaning the brass helmet in the centre of the display area. I forgot to photograph the brass helmet but as you can see in the photo there were some colourful hats about.
I have got a busy few days in front of me, attending the Beaulieu Holiday Park and Homes Show. It’s always a great time to see the new season’s caravans and lodges and look out for any new ideas for our holiday parks. Then next week I’m off to France for some more educational training on a study tour of caravan parks with the British Holiday and Home Parks Association. The tour ends in La Rochelle at the annual conference of the French Association. We have many similar challenges and it will be interesting to exchange views and ideas.
We have the Wessex Rally currently on Park at Highlands End which is always a pleasure and we are looking forward to our owners evening on the 29th September and the 6th October, always a fun evening and a good time for owners to have a social gathering, when they haven’t seen each other in a while. The Golden Cap owners have to travel to Highlands End for social events. I expect one of the main topics of conversation will be the planning application for a leisure complex at Golden Cap which is still being considered by the planners. …