The good old British seaside family holiday is alive and well on the Yorkshire coast – thanks to a £15million investment at one of the Bridlington area’s biggest parks.
Thornwick Bay is gearing up for the first busy Bank Holiday weekend of the 2018 season, with park owners Haven having spent plenty of money upgrading the facilities over the winter break.
Easter was something a washout for all the local camps, but the staff at Thornwick are preparing for things to get busy very soon.
General manager Leo Gunn said: “Since the winter of 2016, we will have spent £15million. It is a massive commitment and we have still got more to spend. Some of the facilities are as good as you will find anywere and we have big plans for the park itself.”
New for 2018 is the upgraded Smugglers showbar, with a capacity of 700, and nightly shows featuring the park’s resident theatre company.
“We’ve spent a big chunk of money on this over the winter,” said Leo.
“And the entertainment is a much higher level than people expect. It is more likely to be found in the West End, the calibre is that high.”
In the peak of summer, Thornwick Bay has 250 staff, making it possibly the biggest private employer in the Bridlington area.
“Local people have the best local knowledge,” said Leo. “When guests come in and want to know where to go for a day out or where to go for a meal, they are in the best position to tell them.”
There are 1,150 static caravans and 250 touring pitches, and when full, the park can expect to be home for a week for up to 6,000 guests. The majority travel less than two hours for their break, with Hull, Doncaster, Wakefield and Leeds providing many of the guests.
The pool was transformed in 2016, creating a new activities pool for kayaking, swimming lessons and pool parties.
There is the modern Lighthouse restaurant selling meals including stone baked pizzas, a Yorkshire coffee shop, and a pottery painting centre, alongside the soft play area and family entertainment centre.Outdoors, there are sports activities, nature trails and cycle paths.
“What we’ve created here at Thornwick is really nice,” he added. “You can escape the urban living of towns and cities and enjoy a breath of fresh air.
“People have the freedom to spend time with their families, and leave all the stress of everyday life behind.”
Leo started off working behind the bar at his local holiday park near Berwick-on-Tweed.
“I had just finished my A Levels and my mum got me an interview at the local Haven holiday camp,” he said.
“I ended up working at the bar in the summer holidays and they eventually offered me a job as the park accountant.”
From there, he worked his way up through the company, working at a number of parks around the country, and was at Reighton Sands before heading to Thornwick Bay.
“It’s a lovely setting and we want people to reconnect with their familiy, away from devices and phones, and spend time together,” he said.
“It’s all about creating memories for a lifetime.”