Lisa began searching high and low to find the perfect park for her and her family. From the ideal location to finding her dream holiday home, Lisa tells us all...
Lisa's eldest son enjoying himself in the River Avon at the holiday park
How the idea of a holiday home came about
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve stayed in static homes through my lifetime, so it's safe to say that owning one was never on my agenda.
A weekend holiday home however was always a dream of mine. Somewhere to drive to on a Friday night, whilst forgetting the week’s daily grind and enjoying some quality family time together.
I don’t know if it was lockdown, or returning from another wonderful two week villa holiday in Cyprus. Or perhaps randomly seeing a van for sale on the internet for £7k that really set the wheels in motion! Suddenly I realised that a weekend holiday home could be affordable!
So I started to research static holiday parks, and I specifically chose my area, North of where we live along the M40. I wanted the countryside but also wanted my parents who live up North to be able to join us, so this seemed to be the best choice. It had to be close enough for us to go on a Friday night after work, and so our search began!
In everything I do, I am nothing but thorough. I soon learnt that the cost of the caravan wasn’t the end, there were site fees plus other expenses, and that it wasn’t going to be a £7k purchase.
I read about people who had lost thousands of pounds when they sold back (for whatever reason) and heard of sites that would make you upgrade after 15 years. I didn’t want to go into this with a huge budget so I knew I had to do my research!
How did you begin your search?
We started by hiring a holiday home on a site one weekend. We would go out from there and see as many parks as we could, and the park had to be right. We stayed in the most luxurious park, a beautiful setting, all was perfect but the vans were set away from everything. There were perfect rows of perfect caravans with matching decking. There was no option for personalising your little piece of it, as lovely as it was. Despite the salesman giving us three hours of his time, I just didn’t feel it. Plus, I would’ve had to upgrade after a few years or increase my budget, and I wasn’t ready for this!
Our second site ticked every box, no facilities, just a lovely quiet site of about thirty vans in the Malvern Hills, with a small fishing pond to occupy my husband. As I walked around whispering to my 8-year-old, as I was afraid he would disturb the neighbours. Soon I realised that my idea of a perfect site really wasn’t his and that the other van owners really wouldn’t appreciate an 8-year-old tearing around on his bike every weekend! I had to review what was perfect for our family!
So fast forward 5 weekends, each one existing of my husband asking me on Thursday evening if I had booked somewhere that weekend, and resulting in me saying no but yes I will! We saw the good the bad and the ugly!
Some we drove straight in and out of, some we barely got the car round (caravan car parks I would call them). It was disheartening, I had a huge list of parks and none seemed to fit, and I began to think I was being too picky. However, it’s a huge purchase and I reminded myself that it has to be right.
Finding Abbots Salford
And so fate gave me Abbots Salford one evening sat in a hired caravan. It was about five miles South of my chosen area so I hadn’t seen it before, but I looked at the website and thought it must be way out of my price range. It had lots of great facilities, the pool that we had decided my son needed, plus things that weren’t even on my list. I pleaded with my husband that we could just go and see it on our way home the next day. I phoned the lovely Amy and she was happy to meet us.
Here's Lisa's youngest son taking a swim in the pool!
What can I say? The drive through the village was perfect, the drive into the site is long enough to take you away from everything and entering the park I had a really good feeling. Amy answered all my questions - I had a list and I’d researched. I was warned of ‘sales people’, but Amy absolutely was not pushy or anything like I had read about. In fact, she is an absolute credit to the company. She gave us a map and a bunch of keys and allowed us to look at our own pace as we had asked to. We met with Paul the manager who likewise is an absolute credit. Paul answered our questions and at no point did I feel any pressure to buy (incidentally if I did – I wouldn’t have bought!)
How did you come to your final decision?
What sealed the deal for me was turning the corner and seeing the river Avon, walking over the bridge and thinking ‘I could see this every weekend.'
We were told about the park flooding, but with every reward, there is a risk and this was one worth taking! I trusted the floatation devices and everything the site has to manage the floods – it was just too perfect to not choose this as my dream holiday home! Gill and Lynne in the office were so welcoming when we decided to reserve our plot, we hadn’t found our perfect van but I knew this was the right site. Our caravan luckily came just a few weeks later.
So I had my site, plot and holiday homes sorted, and just as we are about to sign up, lockdown 2.0 happened! It was such a blow, but I spent it buying the necessities. When I was told that my caravan had been moved to my plot, I asked to see photos and the team could not have been more lovely or helpful in sending over some pictures. Then at that moment, everything just made me feel I’d made the right choice.
Fast forward to now, we are signed and sealed and I can not praise the park team enough. From sales, managers, wardens to whoever makes the park look so pristine and perfect. It’s been an incredible journey and Abbots Salford park staff have made it so perfect. I have my perfect holiday home at my perfect park.
If you'd like to share your story about any of our holiday or residential parks, we'd love to hear from you! Email your story to email@example.com, with the chance to have your very own blog post featured on our website!