Wish You Were Here

It’s a boom time for UK holiday resorts and swimming pools are the main attraction, reports Mike Beardall.

Holiday centres across the UK have one feature which appeals to all visitors – swimming pools. But not just any old pools – today’s holiday makers expect nothing short of excitement. From flumes and slides to whizzing round giant bowls, today’s main holiday centres – Butlins, Haven, Warner, Pontins and Center Parcs – know that water is a vital part of a fun holiday.

When you pay for a holiday at a British resort all the facilities are usually included and the biggest feature for most family holidays is a great swimming venue. That’s why one of the biggest, and most famous, holiday chains – Butlins – has a Splash Waterworld at every resort, with special areas for tots, mini-slides, paddling pools… and all the usual exciting features for older kids and adult swimmers. Butlins are investing heavily in the new Splash Waterworld in Skegness which will be open in summer 2013. They are planning new rides, wave and bubble pools at the £13 million centrepiece of Butlins Skegness – founder Sir Billy Butlin’s original resort started in 1936. His idea for holiday resorts, with everything included, was born from a dreadful experience he had as a teenager on Barry Island when his bed-and-breakfast landlady locked him out for the day – the usual experience in seaside resorts at that time.

Today’s sophisticated facilities for Butlins are a far cry from the early days – and they include the ultra-modern waterpark planned for Skegness. Chris Baron, resort director, says; “Splash Waterworld is extremely popular with our guests so it’s fantastic that we’re putting such a large investment into offering an even better experience for them.

Centrifugal flume and slide options spill riders into a lazy river at Haven’s Thorpe Park.

I can’t wait to see their expressions when they first walk into this amazing waterpark” There will be a new outside splash play area with fountains that will turn into a water display after dark. Inside there will be flumes as well as rapids, and a lazy river ride that takes guests on an outdoor adventure. There will be an exciting wave pool, shallow areas for tots, and a central whirlpool and hot tub. For observers, or for participants to relax between adventures, both the ground and upper levels offer seating and lounge areas with the lower level also having a café serving drinks and light snacks. Chris says: “I’m really pleased, and proud, that the contract was awarded to a local company, c of Lincoln, which will boost employment in the county.” Warners – which is owned by Bourne Leisure, who also own Butlins and Haven resorts – has 13 hotels and resorts all with heated indoor swimming pools, which are available for use throughout the year Sinah Warren Hotel on Hayling Island also has a heated outdoor pool, available from June to September. Most also have a steam room and sauna Littlecote House Hotel, Berkshire, Corton Costal Village, Suffolk, and Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, North Wales, also have whirlpools.



Center Parcs continues to invest in bigger and better attractions knowing its water attractions will keep families coming back to its UK resorts

While swimming is the popular attraction for Warners guests it is the adjoining facilities that make the experience special for adults. At Warners Thoresby Hall Hotel in Nottingham guests can enjoy the added spa experience focussing on heating and cooling the body, with facilities that include Tropical Experience Showers, Scandinavian sanarium, Turkish hamman steam room, ice cave and hydrotherapy pool. Guests can also enjoy a relaxation lounge and a wide range of beauty treatments. hamman steam room, ice cave and hydrotherapy pool. Guests can also enjoy a relaxation lounge and a wide range of beauty treatments. “British guests visiting our resorts and hotels expect excellent swimming facilities and a touch of luxury,” says one of the helpful staff.
Haven Holiday Parks – with 35 coastal centres – have become popular with people who enjoy the static home experience. All the joys of being away from home without the hassle of lugging a caravan or a tent – and all the modern resort conveniences, including swimming centres. Holiday giant, Bourne Leisure, oversee Haven, Butlins and Warner brands They also say that swimming and water activities
play a leading role in the requirements for family holidays.

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