Ladram Bay wins top award

PUBLISHED: 14:37 16 December 2011

Turning back the clock for this view of Ladram Bay. Ref exv ladram 9

Turning back the clock for this view of Ladram Bay. Ref exv ladram 9

Archant

For Ladram Bay, 2011 can be considered something of a bumper year - which is saying something considering the family-run holiday park has constantly been ranked at the top of the UK's tourism tree for the best part of 70 years.

But then, not all holiday parks get eight awards in 12 months, including being awarded the Hoseasons Best In Britain 2011 award out of 540 other holiday parks around the UK, writes David Beasley.

Manager Claire Williams said: “We are so thrilled to have won this award; it is recognition that Ladram Bay Holiday Park is a firm family favourite, we have some families now in their third generation who have been coming to stay with us since the 1960s.”

The park, the second largest in Devon, has obvious natural advantages; positioned in a beautiful bay, complete with the impressive sight of the sea stacks made from 220 million-year-old red ‘Otter’ sandstone.

But Claire has no doubt the park’s success is also due to its staff: “The awards also reflect the amount of hard work and pride each member of staff contributes,” she said. “It is their willingness to go the extra mile that sets us apart and keeps our guests returning year after year.”

Also voted as one of the 50 holiday parks in the UK in 2009 and the regional best park in Devon, Dorset and Somerset for 2011, the awards don’t stop there.

This year they have had bestowed on them the diamond award for family fun in Devon, Somerset and Dorset; the 2011 Visit England four-star rating; 2011 Rose award and the David Bellamy conservation award.

And most of the awards are not just industry self-congratulatory pats on the back; they are voted for by the public.

“I only stayed on a UK holiday park twice before coming here and didn’t have a good opinion of parks in general,” said one holiday maker.

“This has far exceeded my expectations.”

However, despite the successes - achieved in the face of a second recession – they are striving to be even better.

The Cole family, who stayed in June, agreed and said: “We considered this an excellent holiday park when we owned our caravan from 1996 to 2003.

“Now, that has been improved way beyond our expectations. The caravan was the best we have ever stayed in!”

But, despite the plaudits they are determined to change their four-star status to five-star – and their new development, Portland View, will represent a step towards achieving that.

The luxury development consists of 42, five-star, fully serviced, luxury lodges, scheduled to open in April next year.

It’s a far cry from when the park was first established in 1943 by Mr FWS Carter, who ran the business until his retirement in 2007, just prior to his 90th birthday.

Despite passing the mantle on to Robin Carter and Zoe House, he still takes a keen interest in the running of the park and this year, aged 94, he officially broke the turf for the new development.

Becky Hailstone of Ladram Bay said: “With several other top industry accolades, Ladram Bay is a four-star holiday park with its sights firmly set on achieving a five-star status.

“There are many exciting plans under current consideration that will ensure the park’s future continued success and recognition.”

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