Testimonials From Our Owners
Mr & Mrs Richardson (Chris & Janet) Holiday home ownership has never been easier or more popular and with the continuation of the staycation it's a trend that's here to stay. We talked to one couple about their experience of owning a holiday home in the English Lakes.
Chris and Janet Richardson from Southport had always had a love of the Lake District, having visited since childhood and in 1988 decided they wanted a more permanent tie to the region.
On discovering South Lakeland Parks and its four locations in the Lake District the couple finally settled on a caravan at Gatebeck, a beautiful woodland park close to the Lake District market town of Kendal. In recent years they have upgraded to a more luxury lodge.
So what made them choose Gatebeck?
"Back then we were so excited about the possibility of owning a bolthole in the Lake District. Having looked around other South Lakeland Parks sites including Limefitt and Fallbarrow we simply felt that Gatebeck suited our personal requirements better. It possessed all the main qualities we were looking for – quiet, attractive and accessible." says Chris.
At just under 10 mins drive from the M6, the overall journey from door to door for the couple is under two hours, making them, by statistics based on research from South Lakeland Parks, a very typical purchaser. As keen walkers Chris and Janet made full use of the park and its surroundings as Chris commented "The Lake District has the best walking in the world and what we couldn't do from the doorstep was little more than a 30 minute drive into the heart of the central Lakes. We also enjoyed the easy rambles into nearby Kirkby Lonsdale." A village, I later discovered is well known for its great pubs and unusual shops.
So what makes people purchase a holiday home in the UK? And in the current climate who can really afford such luxuries?
"The great part of owning a holiday home is the pleasure of getting away from day to day life – not feeling like we have to clean, do the gardening, sort through mail etc." says Janet "We don't have to work as hard as we might at home. Yet the beauty of owning a holiday home is the familiarity of a home from home. We can leave all our own possessions at the lodge including toiletries, food stocks, clothes, walking shoes, bedding etc. – the beauty of very little packing! Definitely more relaxing because we own it! When we're at the lodge we totally relax." Janet also goes onto highlight the added benefit of being part of South Lakeland Parks is the help and support of the company and on-site park managers. The current managers, Dave and Linda were described as marvellous by Chris.
Another benefit they tell me of owning a holiday lodge is friends that can be made over the years. Although Chris and Janet point out that owners do change as people move on there are also some like themselves that stay for years. This fact is compounded when I discover that Gatebeck's longest resident has owned a holiday home of the site since the 1960s!
It seems the appeal of owning a second home in the UK is the ease of visiting. Chris and Janet, now both retired, travel up to their lodge for at least one week out of every month, making it a well used and worthwhile purchase and a very cost effective way of enjoying regular holidays.
I'm getting curious as to whether people buy these homes as an investment. Are they another way of making a fast buck?
"Definitely not", says Chris "You could possibly view them as an investment but for us financial gain was not a primary interest, it was simply that we had always longed to own property in the Lake District and Gatebeck provided the perfect place to escape."
The couple are now retired and only have grown up children but when they initially purchased their son was just two so I ask them how Gatebeck fares in terms of what it offers younger visitors. "In this day and age where safety is a major concern for families we find Gatebeck to be very secure and safe. We certainly never worried about it when our son was younger. The park has a great little play area with swings and slides to keep youngsters entertained. One day we hope to bring grandchildren to stay."
It's very clear that owning a holiday home is a lifestyle choice and one that it set to become increasing popular as people long for more peace, quiet and escape from life's everyday stresses. There really is nothing than can beat waking up to the sights and sounds of wildlife coming to life in Lakeland and woodland settings – and this is exactly what owners at South Lakeland Parks can experience every day.
Factbox: New holiday homes at Gatebeck start from £25,000 and offer the choice or caravans or lodges. Annual site fees are £2,860 for a lodge which pays for general maintenance of the grounds and communal areas. Insurance, rates, electric and gas is additional.