Classic Holiday Parks – Ten of the Best

Ever since the 50′s we Brits have been having a love affair with the Great British Holiday Camp experience – with daily entertainment, games and activities on tap. So what is it about our classic holiday parks that bring people back year after year? Here we pick ten of our faves for their various attractions and enduring appeal.

With Entertainment

Nodes Point is a Parks Resort holiday park on the western side of Bembridge Harbour above the Duver and is recommended for its entertainment led by the ‘Teamstars’ with everything from cabaret and live bands to circus stars and talent shows. New for 2016 is Head 2 Head, where you can test your knowledge against some of Britain’s best ‘Chase’ and ‘Egg Heads’ contestants and the Giant Slip and Slides; huge street style slides with water.

Entertainment at Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park is in the well-established Culver Club and includes stage shows and cabaret. Visitors have recommended the entertainers, especially the ‘Champions of Rock’ and the Abba tribute show. Sixties songbook sounds like fun and there is a free outdoor cinema on the lawn overlooking the bay. During the day Bear in the Woods and his friends Lucy and Scratch entertain the children and there are indoor and outdoor pools and the beach. Check availability at Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park

Thorness Bay Holiday Park is another Parks Resort holiday park with Sparky and his crew to entertain the kids and The Teamstars’ full programme of cabaret, theme nights, family shows, games and competitions to keep everyone amused in the evenings. The jazz age is recreated this year (2016) and you’re invited to put on your spats and flapper dresses to recreate the Roaring 20s. Outside there is a fantastic outdoor playground and various all weather games courts for fun during the day and there’s a big indoor pool

With A Pool

Winner of the myIsleofWight award 2016 for the Best Place for A Hook Up, The Orchards Holiday Park sits in the pretty village of Newbridge, between Newport and Yarmouth. On the park there are heated indoor and outdoor pools; the former is housed in a conservatory style building with a seated area to enjoy a coffee or even a glass of wine. The outdoor pool has fantastic views of the surrounding AONB countryside. The park also has an excellent facilities centre that uses green technology and has spacious showers, bathrooms, toilets laundrette and drying area. Check availability at The Orchards Holiday Park.

Appuldurcombe Gardens Holiday Park has an outdoor pool right next to the walled garden and there is also a toddler pool with nearby showers and changing facilities. The walled garden used to be that of Appuldurcombe House just up the road and it now houses the 41 caravans on the park, which has pretty gardens and cute bridges across the streams running through the camping grounds. Check availability at Appuldurcombe Gardens Holiday Park

In the Wilds

Cheverton Copse Holiday Park is small (only 57 units) and secluded, and next to the ancient Borthwood Copse that has lovely walks and is full of red squirrels. It’s also on the edge of Sandown Airport and one of its quirky features is that you have to cross the end of the runway to get into the park and signs ask you to ‘Look both ways’ before driving across. But luckily the airport isn’t very busy and is only frequented by light aircraft. Down the road you have a major supermarket for stocking up on supplies and the sandy beaches of Sandown and Shanklin are only a few minutes away.

Near the Beach

Brighstone Holiday Centre is one of the oldest of its type left in the country, dating from the early 1930s and its jaunty little white chalets with their brightly coloured paintwork sit perched on top of the cliff. Brighstone beach is only a short walk down the cliff path and you have fantastic views of the sunset from here. You can opt for self-catering or there are also newer chalets that offer bed and breakfast.

Old Mill Holiday Park is right on the edge of Bembridge Harbour with easy access to the beach huts and sand dunes of the beach at the Duver or a short walk/drive around the harbour to the sandy beach on the eastern side of the harbour mouth. This is a picturesque caravan park nestled around woodland:  all of the caravans are pale green with darker green roofs and they are separated by little hedges and palm trees.

Woodside Coastal Retreat has been recently refurbished and now boasts five star holiday lodges, some with hot tubs. At its secluded location on the coast between Ryde and Cowes, the park has its own shingle beach and is surrounded by woodland. Ideal for those who want to bring a canoe, small boat or windsurfing board with them on holiday, the park is only a short walk or drive from the pubs and shops in Wootton.

myIsleofWight Wildcard

Double myIsleofWight award winner Vintage Vacations must be the most famous of all the Island’s holiday parks as their beautiful retro airstream caravans have been featured in countless national magazines and newspapers and not without good reason. These ‘glamping’ vans have been restored and decorated with love and skill, using fabulous vintage fabrics and little homely touches such as the hand crocheted bed covers and the period crockery and knick knacks. The small park of only 13 airstream caravans is just outside Ryde in Ashey, well off the beaten track and yet only a few minutes’ drive to a major supermarket and Ryde’s shopping centre and sandy beaches. Make sure you book well in advance as these little darlings get snapped up very quickly.

Jo Macaulay

18 July 2016

By Jo Macaulay in Articles