Digital detox? “Not us!” Dorset park guests tell BBC
Guests at a Dorset holiday park spoke for the nation this summer when BBC television news decided to find out just how addicted we are to our digital devices.
TV reporter Emma Simpson travelled to South Lytchett Manor holiday park near Poole to pose the question: “Could you ever bear to switch off, even on holiday?”
The answer was an emphatic “No!” – but with the proviso that no-one felt like a slave to their devices, and everyone gave priority to simply enjoying their holiday.
The BBC report, shown on both the morning and evening news programmes, said that virtually all ages are hooked-up for an average of 25 hours every week.
At five-star South Lytchett Manor, holder of the AA’s national Campsite of The Year title, guests agreed that holidays did provide an opportunity for a partial digital detox.
But many said that they couldn’t resist posting occasional pictures of themselves and the park’s beautiful scenery on social media sites such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
The park was acquired by husband-and-wife team Joanne and David Bridgen a decade ago, and they have since introduced a raft of improvements to the site.
Some of the changes, said Joanne, were made after canvassing opinions from holidaymakers – and one was the expressed need for reliable and fast broadband.
The couple therefore invested in a state-of-the-art wifi system which is available throughout the park, set in the former grounds of an historic country manor house.
Guests told BBC reporter Emma that South Lytchett Manor’s excellent connections certainly added to their enjoyment of the park, but wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means.
Even some of the youngsters interviewed said that although they would be saddened by the absence of wifi, they knew when to stop and to simply get on with having a good time.
Joanne believes her guests have a similar profile to many park holidaymakers who see their breaks as a chance to spend quality time together as a family.
Staying in touch with others via social media, she says, is today a part of their lifestyles – but one which takes on less significance when they are away from home.
As well as providing pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, South Lytchett Manor this year has introduced picture-postcard Romany caravans for hire.
Features include a TV and DVD player, refrigerator, cooking hobs, and an authentic-looking log burner – plus, of course, plug sockets with USB points for charging-up devices.
South Lytchett Manor holiday park is a member of the Best of British group which comprises some 50 independently-run parks with top tourist board ratings throughout the UK.
More information about the park are available at www.SouthLytchettManor.co.uk