Britain’s best holiday parks are three independent chains which outscored their chain rivals such as Center Parcs in customer satisfaction, according to a study.
A report by Which? found the top three locations were Potters Resorts in Essex and Suffolk, Waterside Holiday Group in Devon and Cornwall; and Bluestone Wales.
Potters and Waterside scored five stars in all categories: value for money, facilities, food and drink, cleanliness, customer service, room quality and entertainment.
The family-run chains only have six locations between them, while third-placed Bluestone has just one site and that scored at least four stars across all categories.
Hoburne Holidays and John Fowler Holiday Parks, which are also relatively small chains operating across southern England, came in fourth and fifth place.
More established major brands such as Center Parcs and Butlins were mid-table in the list of 18 sites, while Haven, Parkdean and Pontins made up the bottom three.
Here, MailOnline looks at what the top five in the list have to offer holidaymakers:
POTTERS RESORTS (88% satisfaction / £72 price per night)
Potters claims to have established the first-ever holiday park and was set up in 1920 by solicitor’s clerk Herbert Potter after he won £500 in a newspaper competition.
The business has two sites at Hopton-on-Sea in Norfolk and Five Lakes near Maldon in Essex, which it states on its website are the ‘UK’s only all-inclusive resorts’.
Both are all-inclusive – even covering alcoholic drinks – and were highly-rated for their entertainment shows and facilities such as a rifle shooting range and boat lake.
The average price per night in the Which? survey was £72 – which puts it roughly on a par with the price of Center Parcs, which does not have the all-inclusive element.
The Norfolk resort has an average TripAdvisor score of 4.5 from more than 6,300 reviews; while the Five Lakes site has the same score but only from 236 reviews.
Potters has two sites at Hopton-on-Sea in Norfolk and Five Lakes near Maldon in Essex (above)
WATERSIDE HOLIDAY GROUP (87% satisfaction / £80 price per night)
Waterside Holiday Group operates in Devon and Cornwall and has four high-end sites at Bowleaze Cove, Chesil Beach, Osmington Mills and Tregoad.
At £80 per night it was the most expensive across 18 brands in the Which? study but it also got the highest score for value for money – even beating Potters.
But unlike Potters, pricing at Waterside also does not include food or drink, so visitors there have to pay extra when visiting the beachfront bars or restaurants.
Waterside is known for its luxurious caravans which are at least 12ft (3.5m) wide and come with central heating, double glazing, fully equipped kitchens and plush TVs.
The Which? study also said all of its sites are in a different style – such as Osmington with its country club and Chesil with a splash pool and soft play for children.
Waterside Holiday Group has four luxurious sites across Devon and Cornwall
BLUESTONE WALES (81% satisfaction / £50 price per night)
Bluestone describes itself as ‘a five-star luxury, eco-friendly short break and holiday destination in Pembrokeshire’ and has a site covering a whopping 500 acres.
Its roots go back to founder William McNamara who first opened up a dairy farm with 400 cows to guests amid challenges posed by milk quotas in the 1980s.
Now it caters for spa or adventure breaks at woodland lodges or terrace cottages – with facilities including a climbing wall, high ropes course and water sports.
The site near Narberth is also known for its ‘Serendome’ for children which features sand pits, sky walks and a wacky races course under a huge transparent roof.
Bluestone has a single site near Narberth in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, covering 500 acres
HOBURNE HOLIDAYS (79% satisfaction / £55 price per night)
Hoburne has eight holiday parks in the South West – including two in Hampshire, two in Cornwall, and one in each of Dorset, Somerset, Devon and the Cotswolds.
The company’s history goes back to the growing popularity of caravan holidays following the First World War, with its first site established in the 1910s.
The sites have a relatively low price per night at £55, which put them roughly on a par with bigger rival Pontins but well below competitor Center Parcs.
They also offer home ownership, with locations ranging ‘from enchanting New Forest trails to lakeside living, spectacular coastal views and the genteel English Riviera’.
Hoburne has eight holiday parks in South West England and came fourth in Which?’s study
JOHN FOWLER HOLIDAY PARKS (78% satisfaction / £43 price per night)
The network of John Fowler sites has 11 coastal locations across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, and was the cheapest option in the top half of the Which? table.
Guests told the survey they paid an average of less than £43 per person per night – but rated it with four stars for accommodation, food and drink and entertainment.
Among the highlights for visitors are themed weekends and children’s clubs, and it was particularly well-noted for customer service having been awarded five stars.
Which? said the parks were cheaper than Pontins and a similar price as Butlin’s, but ‘better than both’ and the ‘best choice for a traditional holiday park experience’.
|Holiday park or resort||Customer score||Price per night||Number of parks||Region served|
|Potters Resorts||88%||£72||2||Essex & Norfolk|
|Waterside Holiday Group||87%||£80||4||Devon & Cornwall|
|Hoburne Holidays||79%||£55||8||South England|
|John Fowler Holiday Parks||78%||£43||13||South England and Wales|
|Shorefield Holidays||76%||£72||7||Dorset & Hampshire|
|Verdant Leisure||76%||£50||13||Devon, North East and Scotland|
|Butlin’s||71%||£41||3||Sussex, Somerset and Lincolnshire|
|Park Holidays UK||71%||£44||43||Nationwide|
|Warner Leisure Villages||71%||£67||15||Nationwide|
|Data based on a survey last year of 1,355 Which? members and general public. Price per night is indicative, based on respondents’ recall of average spend per person per night. The price for Potters is all-inclusive.|