Award Winning Campsites – Part 1
Each year the AA give out awards for the best camping and caravanning sites in the UK, so they are a great way to find out about excellent sites that you may not have visited yet. This year the overall winner for England was the Oakdown Country Holiday Park in Sidmouth, Devon.
Witches Craig Caravan and Camping Park in Blairlogie, Stirling, won it for Scotland, and in Wales the Bron Derw Touring Caravan Park in Llanrwst, Conwy was the overall winner.
Oakdown Country Holiday Park is a family run business that has provided top-quality camping and caravanning pitches for 40 years. The Franks family have maintained and upgraded their facilities yearly, and now boast several well serviced groves containing pitches for caravans, motorhomes, tents and trailer tents, some with water and electricity services to each pitch. The main washing and shower block is built in an old wartime bunker and has spotless family changing rooms and bathrooms. The on-site shop is well stocked and guests often compliment the warm welcome which they receive from the family owners.
Witches Craig has been a popular site for years, and is also family owned and run. The setting of this park is one of the main attractions, as it is located at the foot of the Ochil Hills and set in mature landscape, which is maintained by Veda Dewar, the matriarch of the site. Hard standing pitches are set in small areas offering privacy, and the tent area is a well-drained field with cooking shelters and picnic benches as well as a well-appointed facilities block and a garden area. The site may be small, and without the bar and leisure facilities offered by larger sites, but the improvements made each year as well as the stunning backdrop which keeps visitors returning, have set this park above the competition.
Bron Derw is not a well-established site, having been opened just six years ago by dairy farmers John and Beryl Edwards, who were looking to change their lifestyle and move away from agriculture. Although the site does not cater to tent-based campers, the facilities for touring campers are fantastic, with recent extensions to the toilet and shower blocks, and a separate area for adult campers so they can get away from the noise of families and children. All touring pitches are fully serviced and well-spaced, offering privacy to each pitch with shrubs providing clear delineation between each pitch. In a few more years these will have grown to provide even more seclusion and it is expected that this site will continue to grow in popularity. The location is also ideal for exploring Snowdonia and the Welsh coast, adding to the appeal as a holiday destination.
The Holiday Centre category was won by Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park at Pooley Bridge, Cumbria. This destination is located on Ullswater in the Lake District and is surrounded by a backdrop of stunning fells. The park has direct access to Barton Fell and Ullswater, making it an ideal setting for a family activity holiday. Canoeing, boating, pony trekking, mountain biking and fishing are just some of the activities offered on site, taking full advantage of the beautiful surroundings and natural amenities of the area. There are both touring and camping pitches, most of which have electrical hook up, meaning this is a great destination for a long camping holiday. There is a bar and restaurant which is open each evening for food and entertainment, as well as a shop, games room, two adventure playgrounds and a kids club. The facilities at this site set it apart from everything else as a self-contained holiday destination offering something for everyone all in one place.
In the next part we will look at the regional winners, as well as a hidden gem of a small site in Devon.