Bridge Leisure announce reopening dates following Government announcement

Bridge Leisure caravan

Bridge Leisure, who own nine holiday parks across the country, have confirmed they will be reopening their parks to holidaymakers following months of closure due to COVID-19.   Trevella in Newquay, Seaview near Polperrro, Hengar Manor in Bodmin, Hedley Wood near Bude, Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire, Sand le Mere near Hull and Bowland Fell in the Yorksire Dales will all welcome their first holidaymakers on the 10th July after getting the green light from Government today (23/6).   The two parks in Scotland, Silver Sands and Turnberry hope to reopen on the 17th July.   The parks are allowing holiday home owners to return from the 4th July in England and the 15th July in Scotland, giving the park time to bring their teams back, train them in any new procedures, get the accommodation deep cleaned and make sure the parks are safe and ready to welcome holiday guests a few days later.   Initially the parks won’t be able to open their shared touring facilities as they are still considered too high risk. Only those with their own toilet and wash facilities will be able to book touring pitches on the parks until the situation is reviewed.   To ensure their parks are as safe as possible, Bridge Leisure have been talking to travel risk experts from the Travel Risk Incident Prevention Group (TRIP) about the steps they are taking to make their parks ready for owners and holidaymakers when they return.   Lloyd Figgins, Chairman of the TRIP Group and Travel Risk Expert has been invited to stay at one of the parks to experience the ‘new normal’ and assess the safety precautions which have been put in place. He will then feedback any areas of concern or improvement to Bridge Leisure before they welcome their first holidaymakers to their parks.   CEO of Bridge Leisure, Andrew Howe said: “This is the news we have all been waiting for. Opening in July will enable us to maximise the remainder of the busy summer season and more importantly, give people an opportunity to get away from the four walls of their own homes.   “We are working hard behind the scenes to meet all the new guidance on safety from the Government and we are also working with the TRIP Group to offer us some independent advice. The safety of our teams, owners and holidaymakers will always be the most important thing to us and we want to ensure we do everything possible to make our parks safe.   “We have always talked about our holiday parks being a home away from home and that’s why they provide such a good option for people who are nervous about going on holiday again. By design, our self-catering units are socially distance friendly and we are surrounded by the great outdoors, we expect to be busy as we are already experiencing high demand.”

Why holiday parks are the lowest risk holiday option this year

holiday park lowest risk holiday

As lockdown restrictions ease across the country, the race is on to book a summer holiday or mini break, and with uncertainly and concerns about safety impacting consumer confidence, UK holiday parks are being held up as one of the lowest risk holiday option according to a leading independent travel risk expert.   Lloyd Figgins, Chairman of the Travel Risk & Incident Prevention (TRIP) Group explains why holiday parks are such a low risk option in the current climate: “Booking a caravan or cabin at a holiday park has so many advantages which allow tourists to enjoy a holiday, while being able to comply with the government’s COVID-19 recommendations. For a start, social distancing can be maintained as each unit has its own plot, allowing you and your family to avoid coming into contact with those outside your bubble. As opposed to hotels, you won’t have to do the two metre shuffle as you walk down a corridor to get to your room.   “With everything included within the four walls of your holiday park rental your holiday can be exactly as safe as being at home. There’s also the advantage that many holiday parks are situated in stunning locations, allowing you to get outside and enjoy the countryside or nearby beach, while still being able to maintain social distancing.”   UK holiday park operator Bridge Leisure, who own nine holiday parks across the country have been talking to the TRIP Group about the steps they are taking to make their parks as safe as possible for owners and holidaymakers when they return.   Andrew Howe, CEO of Bridge Leisure said: “Safety is paramount, and no one wants to do anything to put anyone at risk. We have been working hard behind the scenes with our sector’s trade associations to ensure owners and holiday makers can enjoy our parks knowing we have put measures in place to keep them safe. The TRIP Group are critical partners to us and believe that the very nature of holiday parks and the steps we have taken make them a safe and low risk option for those wanting to get away.   “We have always talked about our holiday parks being a home away from home and that’s why they provide such a good option for people who are nervous about going on holiday again. We are ready to welcome people back to our parks as soon as we get the go ahead from Government, but people will need to be prepared that some things will have changed since they last stayed at a holiday park.”   “We will be offering a contact free check in procedure, we can offer takeaway services, our park shops can open replicating all the safety precautions you will see in your local supermarkets and we have various options for table service and app ordering in our bars and restaurants when it is safe to open them again. The important thing is that the self-contained accommodation on a holiday park provides a safe place for family and friends to reunite once again and explore the fantastic locations surrounding the parks. It really is the same as being at home but with a different view out of the window.”   With a boom expected for UK holidays in the coming weeks, Figgins warns that there is still some way to go before consumer confidence will return: He added: “Confidence among travellers is already at an all-time low, with many experts predicting that travel will not get back to pre-COVID figures until a vaccine is found. If a vaccine is found. Remember that no vaccine has ever been developed for SARS or MERS, which are also Coronaviruses, so we perhaps need to start looking at ways to live with COVID-19, rather than wait for a cure.   “Holiday parks offer tourists the opportunity for a low-risk, high-reward break. I would have no hesitation in choosing a vacation at a holiday park and I think it offers the best option for those looking to get away safely and having that change of scenery we all need and deserve as lockdown measures are eased. The sooner they are open the better.”     Bridge Leisure was launched in 2008 as a company providing management support for holiday parks. Today, Bridge Leisure Parks owns nine holiday parks across the UK, in Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Moray and Ayrshire. In 2014 the company was named one of the UK’s fastest growing businesses in the annual Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, and in 2019 Bridge Leisure appeared in the Sunday Times list of the top 100 companies for the third year running.

holiday park owner is calling on the Government for greater flexibility in the reopening of self-catering sites such as his own post-lockdown.

self-catering sites Barmoor Castle Country Park

Most businesses in the domestic tourism industry – including caravan parks, self-catering sites and cottages – are expected to remain closed until at least July 4 because of the Covid-19 crisis. But the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, which represents more than 2,000 holiday and touring parks, is urging officials not to lump the entire industry together as the risk of virus transmission is much lower in open-air settings. Jamie Lamb, owner of Barmoor Castle Country Park, is one of the business owners seeking more clarity on how his vast 200-acre site can reopen following months of lockdown. He said: “There is a lot of confusion in the holiday park community over when and how we will be able to reopen following the easing of the lockdown. “But the Government seems to be tarring the whole hospitality and leisure industries with one brush, treating businesses like mine the same as restaurants and bars despite the huge differences in how we operate. “At Barmoor Castle, our self-sufficient caravans and lodges have considerable space between them and it is an ideal place to practice social distancing. “We have been working very hard in recent months to make the park as safe as possible for when we reopen, including closing communal areas and upgrading facilities. “There simply isn’t the same risk here as there would be in more crowded hospitality and leisure industries. “This is a very tough time for small and medium-sized businesses across the country and yet the advice many of us are receiving is vague and unhelpful. “Allowing businesses like mine to reopen sooner would be a major shot in the arm for the local economy and help save jobs and livelihoods.” The site is one of 2,133 holiday and touring parks represented by the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, which has written to the Government to call for greater support to address the plight of seasonal tourism businesses. Domestic tourism is expected to rise this year as restrictions on flying abroad causes families to rethink their usual summer getaways. Hospitality and leisure facilities such as Barmoor Castle fall into Step Three of the Government’s easing of lockdown restrictions, but officials want holiday homes to be brought into Step Two instead. In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the BH&HPA’s Director General Ros Pritchard said: “One size does not fit all.  We ask please that urgent consideration is given to allowing our customers access to self-contained accommodation without shared facilities in Step Two. “For households which own their holiday caravan, the social distancing requirements would be identical to those they already follow in their primary residence. “For holidaymakers who rent holiday caravans and other accommodation from us (without shared facilities),we have well-developed social distancing measures which would safeguard against the risk of infection. “Consideration to allow those customers who may return safely to do so as soon as possible would assist these distressed tourism businesses. “This would also support our beleaguered manufacturing supply chain and in turn, the employment they provide.” Barmoor Castle Country Park, based near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, is one of the UK’s most popular luxury lodge and caravan parks. In 1979, farmer Hedley Lamb and wife Ann bought the derelict castle and 12 surrounding acres and embarked on an ambitious project to turn it into a sought-after caravan park. Following 11 years of careful restoration and building, the park opened in 1990 and over time it became a much-loved family business that is now run by the couple’s son Jamie and his wife Jodi.

A socially distant staycation

caravan park staycation

How to attract customers to safely enjoy holiday homes With COVID-19 causing international travel uncertainty, UK holiday bookings are up by 60 per cent. With social distancing still a priority, how can holiday park managers safely attract customers for the summer season? Here, Nick Cowley, managing director at leading window and door manufacturer Euramax, explores the access technologies that can help ensure holidaymakers have a safe and enjoyable break.  UK flights declined by 90 per cent during the lockdown period, as part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. Despite the easing of some measures, many people are understandably still hesitant to fly internationally in the near future. However, many people have felt the strain of lockdown and are looking for a way to lift spirits and make the most of the summer months. A local holiday, or staycation, is becoming a favourable option. In fact, the luxury of international travel has previously made many neglect the array of places to visit on our doorstep. Holiday parks are a great option, as the separate holiday home units are already distanced apart, making them naturally more equipped for social distancing than hotels. With this renewed interest in UK holidays, it’s important that holiday park managers take advantage of this opportunity, while also taking measures to ensure visitor safety once parks are permitted to open their gates. Keep it clean Holiday park managers must ensure a deep clean is conducted prior to each check in, making sure disinfectant is used and particular attention is paid to all touch points within the holiday home.  Extra care must be taken by cleaning staff to prevent cross contamination between holiday homes. This can be achieved through frequent hand sanitation, changing into fresh personal protective equipment (PPE) and wiping down cleaning equipment before entering another unit. As well as ensuring park staff take precautions, it may be wise to advise visitors on the safety measures they can take. This could include information provided on the holiday park’s website or in the booking confirmation email. Equipping holiday homes with soaps, hand sanitisers, face masks and disinfectant sprays or wipes can further ensure their safety.  Get SMART Remote access is often associated with industrial processes, allowing plant manufacturing facility managers to monitor production lines across the globe. However, holiday home owners can take inspiration from this method of supervision and create systems that support property management with minimal contact.  Digital locks have become a popular way of transferring access to guests without hassle — and they can do much more than simply opening and closing the door. Guests receive a unique access code via their smartphone, which remains active for the duration of their stay. Authorised users simply point their phone in the direction of the door lock to gain access, reducing the need to handle keys and contact with frequently touched areas on windows and doors. Remote access also eliminates the need for contact between guests and park owners upon checking in and out. QR codes are activated and disactivated when guests enter and leave the property, meaning physical and property safety remain uncompromised.  Maintaining the property can also be optimised using smart technology. Holiday homeowners can assign different codes to site managers, handymen or housekeeping staff to give easy access in the event of an emergency repair or to track how long they’ve been at the property. The activation of different codes can also ensure that nobody else is present at the property, should maintenance staff need to enter. Euramax is experienced in manufacturing windows and doors for the holiday home sector, and can incorporate SMART technology from the beginning of the design process. This saves time and cost while also reducing maintenance, as there is no need to remove windows or doors after they have been installed to retrofit technology changes. In order for SMART technology to work, full Wi-Fi access must be available across the entire holiday site. This has the added bonus of providing visitors with more entertainment inside their holiday home. Maintain fun Promoting safety measures is important, but holiday parks should still focus on ensuring visitors have an enjoyable stay. With restaurants awaiting a return to normality, park managers could consider offering a takeaway service so visitors can still enjoy a tasty treat. Some other onsite facilities, such as mini golf courses and swimming pools, may also be closed, but parks can instead promote activities in the surrounding area.  Recommending local outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock pooling and bird watching, can attract customers to holiday parks despite the closure of onsite activities. However, visitors can still enjoy exploring the holiday park site safely if a one way system, with two metre markers, is incorporated. While international travel uncertainty is still looming, holiday park managers can take advantage of the surge in UK holiday interest. By keeping to strict hygiene and social distancing measures, holiday park managers can invite customers to a welcomed holiday post lockdown. With the great British countryside and coastline to explore, holidaymakers can soon enjoy a great summer holiday, without the need to fly.

Holiday Park’s will be the getaway of choice when lockdown is lifted

Digital transformation

Here, Adam Jurka at Ramtech looks at why UK holiday parks will be this year’s getaway of choice when the lockdown is lifted. If you thought that a Spanish beach holiday was going to be your holiday destination, get ready to enjoy the delights of a UK holiday park this summer.  Parks are set for a staycation boom once the travel restrictions are eased as more Britain’s abandon their plans for travelling abroad, and operators eye up the opportunities that will arise from a surge in demand for domestic breaks. Park operators are particularly hopeful of being able to welcome guests this summer because their facilities are ideal for social distancing. With self-contained units, contactless check-ins and the ability to drive right up to your door as well as being completely self-catering, holidays parks don’t get much safer. And, given the size and extensive nature of parks, social distancing is eminently possible for the duration of the holiday. With the parks located in some of the UK’s most scenic areas, there are few better places to get away from it all this summer. Holidaymakers themselves get a break they can rely on with all the comforts of home, without the hassle of overseas travel. It must also be in the back of everyone’s mind about being stranded somewhere in a foreign country should the worst happen. And who can predict what comes next in this saga? Operators are already seeing a significant increase in people searching for UK breaks. All this is good news for park operators that can deliver a fantastic experience for customers, whilst creating an efficient and safe working environment for staff.  In order to achieve this, operators are choosing business information and monitoring platforms that provide real time alerts and date remotely about security coverage, energy metering, fire safety, equipment failure, occupancy monitoring, staff management, contactless checkin-checkout and access history.  Stay connected Creating a home from home holiday experience for guests that are used to full connectivity and control can present a challenge to park owners. Many holidaymakers view their technology as an essential part of the holiday experience, whether it’s Instagramming the accommodation or sharing snaps about their trip. The benefits of technology aren’t just restricted to the rooms, either. Holiday parks need to make their guests’ holidays as seamless as possible. The varying size of the accommodation, length of stays and diversity in the landscape – plus additional numbers of staycations forecast for this year – means that changeover days are likely to be hectic. Guests can often overlook this, although operators that embrace technology can ensure that their customers’ holiday is as enjoyable as it should be. Using this kind of smart technology on the park, such as our WiSE system, allows managers to map the cleaned accommodation in real-time to swiftly release it to the next customer promptly, smoothing the handover process and enabling managers to deploy staff where they are needed most. When guests arrive at their accommodation the same technology can facilitate a ‘smart’ stay with an array of connected wireless, battery operated devices monitoring all elements of the property. This kind of technology has the potential to improve the holiday experience with automated billing for efficient tracking of periodic site fees, insurance or utility bills. Plus, there is the possibility of smart metering for easy access and analysis of electricity, gas and water meters as well as billing from a central location. Capturing and logging occupancy data, too, will allow operators to manage arrival days, reduce cleaning costs, track maintenance visits, monitor security patrols and manage third party contractor management. Wish you were here? By using these devices, parks will be able to harness data to pre-empt their guest’s needs and even offer automated customisation for individuals, tailoring their holiday experience even further. It’s clear that data tracking can offer a step change allowing park managers and their staff to run their business more effectively through insight driven operations. By automating and simplifying tasks, parks can enhance their engagement with guests, staff and visitors, which is the experience that customers remember long after they go home. So, to start on your journey to becoming this year’s favourite holiday destination, simply look at how incorporating relevant technology to your park can bring about a positive change to how you work. We understand that it has been painful for everyone in the sector so far this year, but we are here to support you. For more information on Ramtech Electronics’ WiSE technology, click here, or call 00 44 (0) 115 957 8282

Survey show campers expectations for summer ahead, but lack of government advice worries site owners

campers expectations

With the camping industry lacking clear guidelines on how to open safely for the summer, a survey of 7,000 people has shined a light on campers expectations for the months ahead. Conducted by camping and glamping specialist (, the study finds that 91% of people say they think tourism should be opened up by the beginning of July, and details the raft of changes they believe sites must make to keep guests safe. Demand for travel is high In a sign of people’s eagerness to get away, 43% of those polled say campsites should open before July. This isn’t just the view of frustrated millennials and stressed out parents. 42% of respondents aged 65 and over said the same.  Encouragingly for business owners, people are warming to the idea of buying holidays again. Just over a quarter (27%) of respondents say they are ready to book now, 23% will book a few weeks ahead before they travel, and 28% plan to book within a week of departing. Only 17% say they are definitely not ready to book.  Customers expect campsites to change There are huge levels of interest in camping for the summer ahead, but the majority of those polled expect campsites to reduce pitches to manage social distancing,  53% think campsites should close one in four of their pitches 23% expect sites to cut the number of pitches by half Reducing pitches is just one of the steps guests want campsites to take. Among the most popular measures suggested are,  More regular and enhanced cleaning (77%) Installing hand sanitiser stations (75%) Setting policies about onsite etiquette (72%) Pre-allocating pitches and ensuring they are set well apart (67%) Offering a contactless check-in and check-out (66%) Providing advice before arrival (47%) Moving receptions outdoors, or giving guests a mobile number to text (43%) Adding floor markings to help with social distancing (42%) Travellers are likely to shun many of the usual shared facilities, saying they won’t use swimming pools (62%), indoor soft play (79%), games rooms (72%) and outdoor adventure playgrounds (61%) even if they are available. However, 85% expect showers to be open and almost 70% of tent and camper van guests would use them if available. 45% of respondents want sites to allocate shower and toilet facilities to guests or sets of guests.  Martin Smith, founder of, says this is an example of the challenges facing the industry for the season ahead: “Campsite owners need the Government to publish clear advice in the same way it has for other sectors, such as offices and retail.  “Much of the advice that has come out so far has been geared towards holiday parks and touring sites where caravan accommodation is self contained. But the situation for tents and glamping, where shared facilities are essential, is much less clear.  “Shower blocks is a good example of the uncertainty facing campsite owners. Customers expect them to be open, but campsites don’t know if it is safe. They need help to be sure.  “Campsite owners tell us that they may need to close their tent pitches and focus solely on touring which, for many, will make a bad year even worse.  “There is clearly demand from customers who are ready and willing to travel, but the campsite industry needs clear advice so they can open up safely and confidently. “Visit Britain has talked about introducing a Kitemark to help accommodation owners prove they are adhering to the highest COVID-19 safety standards. That sort of advice is needed urgently if campsites are to have time to put the recommendations in place for the start of summer.”  Despite their concern for using many shared facilities, more than 60% of those surveyed say they will be happy to use onsite cafés and restaurants, and over 90% will go to the campsite shop. The survey suggests campsite owners face a difficult decision over whether to raise prices to try and offset their losses for the year so far. When asked if they would be happy to pay a surcharge to help cover the campsite’s additional costs, 24% said yes and 27% said no, with 49% undecided. The research is available to all campsite owners for free at, 

Say ‘Pasta la Vista’ to Plastic and Paper Straws: Stroodles, The Pasta Straws

pasta straws

A pasta straw company, Stroodles, has launched to provide an environmentally friendly solution to the single-use plastic crisis and rise of greenwashing from the paper straw industry. In comparison to soggy paper and plastic straws, Stroodles are an improvement as they provide greater durability, are flavourless, vegan, 100% biodegradable and are edible raw or cooked after use. A core principle for Stroodles is their ‘drink-easy’ ethos, meaning drinkers don’t have to change behaviour or compromise on drinking experience to do good for the environment.  Speaking about the inception of his pasta straws, Chief Stroodle and Founder, Maxim Gelmann, says: “While we’re a very logical and effortless solution to the plastic problem, Stroodles is not just a straw company. Our driving goal is to become a vehicle for change and we hope that Stroodles can act as an enabler, subtly inspiring people to question how they consume everyday items. We hope these incremental changes will lead to a ripple effect and create a greater shift in behaviour, one Stroodle at a time.” Stroodles caters to both, the on-trade and Direct Consumers (so-called ‘Stroodlers’) As of End of June 2020, Stroodles is changing their retail offering. 20cm Stroodles will then be available to purchase online and in-store at an RRP of £2.99 for a pack of 40 + delivery. The concept of conscious consumerism also extends to Stroodles’ business model and operation. A share of each sale is donated to local charities. For the hospitality industry, Stroodles are also available in bulk orders of 775 per pack. Stroodles are available online at and multiple resellers and at Amazon in UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.