Cumbria holiday park where the guests are also dinner

Home for dinner: the park group's Ellen Cartwright checks for new occupants in one of the mini-beast mansions

Home for dinner: the park group’s Ellen Cartwright checks for new occupants in one of the mini-beast mansions

It’s perfectly fine to eat the guests at a group of south Cumbria holiday parks this summer – as long as those tucking in have wings, and the guests have six or eight legs.

The Holgates group has opened up a network of mini-beast mansions across its six top-rated parks, all designed to welcome beneficial insects for a comfortable stay.

But whilst guests such as moths, beetles, spiders and centipedes won’t be presented with a bill, there could be a higher price for them to pay.

That’s because the parks are keen to ensure that their large bird populations have plenty of food to eat – especially those with diets which include creepy-crawlies.

The insect homes are installed on the group’s flagship Silverdale Holiday Park and its five other nearby parks, all of which bring thousands of two-legged visitors to the region each year.

Michael Holgate says the bug houses fascinate younger guests

Michael Holgate says the bug houses fascinate younger guests

Many are families with children, and director Michael Holgate says that its latest wildlife feature is providing fascinating entertainment and education:

“The habitats are open-plan and filled with roosting material such as leaves, hollow stems and moss, and reveal the awe-inspiring activity of the insect world,” said Michael.

“Being close to the sea, we have an amazing variety of resident and visiting birds, many of which get their protein from bugs – and our aim is to ensure they don’t go hungry.

“This is especially important in winter when the mini-mansions also act as an over-wintering space for some species such as butterflies and solitary bees.

“We knew we had a hit on our hands when both youngsters and grown-ups started posting pictures of the insects on social media along with more traditional holiday snaps!” he added.

Last year, Silverdale was one of just 15 holiday parks, from around 3,000 in Britain, to gain a special honour from botanist Professor Bellamy in his annual conservation awards.

The accolade celebrated a raft of initiatives which the 60-year-old family business regularly takes to protect its native animal, plant and bird life.

In 2017, the group created over eight miles of new hedgerows as a “wildlife corridor” to help sustain wildlife species from dormice and hedgehogs to butterflies and bees.

And earlier this year, the park completed a massive planting project of native species such as oak and yew which saw around half-a-million years of tree life take root.

There is more information about the group’s parks at