Bryony SymesSee other News articles filed in ‘Sites and touring’ written by Bryony Symes
The Parliamentary Reception was hosted by Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West and Grenville Chamberlain, Chairman of The Caravan Club, in the Member's Dining Room in the Palace of Westminster's hallowed halls. Joining them in congratulating the winners as guest speaker was the Right Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames, MP for Mid Sussex.
As well as The Caravan Club's many caravan and camping sites, there is also a network of around 2500 small, privately owned and run members-only sites that cater for just five motorhomes or caravans, known as Certificated Locations (CLs). These are perfect for those that want to get away from the crowds and back to a simpler camping style, and can often be found in ideal locations close to town and city centres, on working farms or in spectacular landscapes.
These hidden gems are often overlooked in larger site round-ups, so it is important to recognise the hard work of the owners and their dedication to providing Caravan Club members with the perfect location and facilities that will make their holidays great.
First place in the CL of the Year award went to Woody Kiln Farm, in Pembrokeshire. Owners Sharon and Dean Philpin have only been running their CL for one year while juggling their jobs, making their first place trophy even more special. Grenville recognised this, saying that "for such a young site to win is an even greater achievement."
Second place went to Vikki and Graham of Port Arthur Farm, near Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. Third place winners, Anne and Bruce of Hillcroft, picked up their fourth title in the CL of the year awards, showing great quality and consistency.
The Sites in Bloom awards, divided into two categories for single-couple teams and multi-couple teams, recognise the toil that goes into landscaping, designing and maintaining beautiful surroundings. The creative and cultural skills needed to make a site welcoming are celebrated in this award, started by the late Alan Payne, OBE.
The colourful blooms at Scarborough West Ayton Caravan Club Site secured it first place in the multi-couple category. Meanwhile, Coed-y-Llwyn and Malvern Hills were runners up with beautiful displays. The winner of the single-couple category was Garlieston Caravan Club Site. The judges particularly liked the peaceful gardens. Runners up in this category were Steamer Quay and High Onn Caravan Club Site. All of these sites know the importance of welcoming weary travellers with bright, cheerful displays.
In his speech, Right Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames said, "I am pleased and proud to have The Caravan Club as constituents; the services they provide are extraordinary." It goes without saying that there are hundreds of great sites out there to try, but you might want to put these towards the top of the list to see the quality for yourself.
Grenville, long-serving chairman of The Caravan Club, spoke of the coming year as "a time of change", as the Club gears up to celebrate its 110th anniversary. We can expect even more stay-cations next year, and this is a great time to start planning.