Family Holidays: Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park

Regular readers will know that we are big fans of the British self-catering holiday.  No flight hassle, no baggage restrictions so you can pack whatever you could possibly need in the car, and the freedom of coming and going as you please.  With an autistic child who will only eat a repertoire of a dozen or so meals, needs to take lots of home comforts with her, plus have the option of lots of comfort breaks as and when required, car travel and self-catering makes life so much easier.


When we first saw Holgates' Silverdale Holiday Park there were sighs of relaxed relief all round. Playground? Check (two). Swimming pool? Check. Outdoor space? Check. Fresh air? Check.

After our wonderful few days in Yorkshire and our amazing stay at Wynyard Hall, we had an epic journey across the top of the Yorkshire Dales (God's own country and all that).  By the time we got to Silverdale, we were ready for a relaxing break of doing not much driving (me) and not much being on best behaviour (the girls).


Lara's arty photo: the keys to our luxurious new caravan!


The Caravan

I have many fond memories of staying in static caravans as a child, and have passed on a love of these quirky little homes to the girls.  The Holgates caravan was something else though!



This spacious, almost new caravan boasted both a dishwasher and a washing machine, large kitchen and dining area, and comfortable sitting room.  We were also provided with a Family Hamper, which you can order in advance for your stay.  Containing a range of local produce, this is the perfect start to your break, providing enough for breakfast, and a bottle of wine for your first evening glass on the balcony.  Lovely.



The bedrooms and bathroom were equally well-equipped and spacious, perfect for a much-needed shower after a long journey.  Everything was immaculately clean.


Outside was a lovely decked balcony with table and chairs and the most wonderful view out to Morecambe Bay.  We spent most of our time outside eating al fresco and enjoying the sunshine.



The Facilities

The Holgate family started off in Lancashire with manufacturing business, then moved into house building between the wars.  After the Second World War, Billy Holgate built his own caravan to take wife Miriam and their sons off on holidays.  This hobby quickly grew into a business, making bespoke caravans for the UK and Swiss market for a number of years.

In 1956 they bought a ramshackle site at Silverdale full of those typical post-war caravans - a tram, a converted bus, an old radar transport - and set about creating a welcoming park for the burgeoning UK leisure market.  The business was taken over by son Frank in 1960 and continued to develop, with 106 acres of grass and scrubland being tamed into the park we see today.



The main building, built in 1999 to replace the 1970s café and open air swimming pool, hosts the reception and office complex, as well as a 17m heated swimming pool with great toddlers area, gym, bar and restaurant, launderette, shop, and entertainment area.  The swimming pool is good, with plenty of changing room space, and plenty of room to splash around.



The girls loved the small soft play area, arcade and new, computerised bowling alley, spending time in there each evening and there was enough for them to do, as well as being outside.  We visited the shop a couple of times and were impressed with the quantity and variety of stock available.  You could quite easily stay on site for several days, without needing to go to other shops.  If required, there are small convenience stores at nearby Silverdale and Arnside, with a cash point in the Co-Op at Silverdale.  Slightly further away, there are larger stores, including a Booths supermarket, in Carnforth.



The Bar and Café

The only area of the site which appeared in need of an update is the café and bar area, which shows its millennial construction.  I'm sure a décor and furniture upgrade are on the cards though, and the menu was certainly up to date and modern.


The extensive printed menu was supplemented by a specials board which offered lots of interesting and varied options.  Lots of vegan and vegetarian choices too, which is always a treat for us.


The girls were well catered for too with plenty of choice and lots of flexibility from the staff to combine this with this, leave off that etc.  Thank you!  The food was excellent and great value for money too.


The Site

Now on to our favourite part of any stay, the great outdoors!  Playground one is situated near the main building and the entrance to the park and features swings, climbing frames, slide, and sand pit.  There is plenty of space to sit and to picnic here too, making it comfortable for parents and grandparents as well.



Oh and you get a chance to meet the neighbours here too!


Further away, a pleasant walk through the park, are the tourer pull up spaces with hardstanding and plenty of facilities, great if you are bringing your campervan or towing caravan.  There is also plenty of space for camping, and a handful of pods which contain a convertible sofa bed for comfort.


This is also where the second playground is situated.  This one is bigger with more to climb on, swing on, and more.  The girls loved this playground and would have quiet happily played all day there.






We loved the leafy site with plenty of open space, carefully designed sites and pitches, and the green caravans which almost blended into the greenery.  A beautiful caravan site, perfect for exploring and relaxing.



Situated up a small hill in secluded surroundings, the glamping pods are perfect for a quiet getaway, and there was much to explore here too.  Lots of bunnies, wild flowers, and a wonderful patch of wild strawberries which someone will be able to enjoy soon!





Heading down to the complex in the evening after time in the second playground, we admired the sun setting over this north eastern corner of Morecambe Bay, and found a new pony friend to talk to.





Places to Visit

There is so much to do on site, with more than a 100 acres to explore, that a week could easily pass by without getting back into your car.  There are walks from the site up to the Pepper-Pot view point and to the nearby villages of Silverdale and Arnside.  Further afield, Silverdale Park sits just over the Lancashire border into Cumbria, and is perfectly placed to explore the best of both counties.  Kendal, Lancaster and Morecambe are only a short distance away, with the Lake District being about an hour's drive.

Here are our recommendations in the local area:

Arnside


Of the two, Arnside has more shops, although we are not talking vast metropolis here!  A couple of gift shops, junk shops, food stores and a bakery, but go for the views alone!  Located on the tidal estuary of the River Kent, the railway bridge across to Grange-over-Sands is picturesque and there are pleasant, easy walks along the riverside, just beware of that infamously fast tide.




Silverdale

The village centre at Silverdale is tiny, just the smallest handful of shops, but head down to the shore for delightful views, lovely walks, and a great picnic spot.  When the tide is out you can park right by the water's edge, or there are a few spaces up on the road.  Do check tide times though, and keep your eye on the time.



We had a wonderful time here, where a friendly dog walker took the girls off to play and look for treasure in the rocks, with a geology lesson thrown in.  Steve and I sat at the water's edge with a cup of tea and had a short parenting break!



Silverdale is a beautiful spot and definitely worth a visit.


RSPB Leighton Moss

If you do get in your car, or even on your way to or from Holgates Silverdale, be sure to visit the wonderful RSPB site Leighton Moss.  With a plethora of flora and fauna, robins who eat seed from your hand, and much to do and explore, it's a brilliant day out for all ages.  See our day here.



Carnforth

Carnforth is the nearest bigger town with a supermarket and various other shops.  It also offers the Station Heritage Centre, the setting of Brief Encounter.

Although the film is set in Milford Junction, an imagined Home Counties station/town, David Lean shot the exterior scenes of the film at Carnforth, at night once the mail train had left.  Celia Johnson famously recounts having to create her emotionally-charged character amidst the aroma of herring and the sound of rattling milk cans.


Much of the station is now as it was then, including the iconic clock which looms over the subway tunnel through the which the lovers must part to catch their respective trains.  The refreshment room is a recreation of the one in the film which was created as a set at Denham studios, although it bore a close resemblance to Carnforth's own.  The restored refreshment room at Carnforth is a dead ringer though, so perfectly suited to a romantic tryst, although the service is said to be rather hit and miss these days!


Elsewhere in the Heritage Centre, the film plays on a loop, and there is a (very) small David Lean exhibition.  Free entry


Thank you Holgates for a wonderful stay, I think we'll be back!

Holgates Silverdale offers static caravans for hire, touring pitches for motorhomes and caravans, camping pitches and camping pods (bed only).  Dogs are welcome.  Prices start at £36 per night for pitches, £45 per night for camping pods, and £299 per week for caravans.

Holgates also has 5 other sites in Lancashire and Cumbria, offering a variety of accommodation options.  All sites offer the opportunity to own your own holiday home.


And don't forget to enter our competitions

   

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