Glastonbury touring park is tops – and so is Tara!

Double firsts: As Old Oaks took the top spot in the AA awards, manager Tara celebrated two student honours

Double firsts: As Old Oaks took the top spot in the AA awards, manager Tara celebrated two student honours

Glastonbury’s Old Oaks Touring Park has been named by the AA as England’s top destination for campers, glampers, caravanners and motorhome owners.

The family business beat hundreds of other eligible UK parks to take the overall Campsite of the Year title in the AA’s 2017/18 Caravan and Camping Awards.

But the end of the season also saw honours for Tara White who, with her husband James, manages Old Oaks, based near the iconic Glastonbury Tor in the village of Wick.

For Tara received two top awards when she successfully graduated this autumn with a foundation degree in Tourism Parks Management.

She received Best Student Awards from both Bournemouth University and Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester, the two institutions involved with running the degree.

Shepherd huts fit for a king are among the glamping options

Shepherd huts fit for a king are among the glamping options

Tara juggled studies for the three-year course with managing Old Oaks with her husband, and declared herself surprised and delighted with the awards.

The park’s AA accolade for England’s top touring park followed another award earlier in the year from the organisation: the coveted AA Gold Pennant.

Given out by the AA to only a small elite of its highest rated parks following a rigorous inspection regime, it distinguishes those which provide outstanding levels of excellence.

Guest facilities, services and levels of hospitality all went under the microscope – and, said the AA’s experts, each met the gold standard on every level.

But that wasn’t the end of the park’s glittering awards in 2017, for it also achieved a rare five-star gold grade from national tourist board VisitEngland.

Old Oaks has been in the same family’s ownership for over 30 years, and is designated for adults only making visits to Somerset.

As well as touring pitches, the park has now introduced new ways for visitors to stay in its tranquil surroundings, including a number of innovative glamping options.

They include luxury shepherd’s huts with an impressive array of comforts including a shower room, kitchen facilities, sun loungers, and a full-size double bed – with one even having its own wood-fired hot tub.

The raft of awards received this year, says Tara, has topped off the park’s busiest season to date which saw it welcome guests from across the UK and overseas:

“Although these awards look at the quality of our park’s facilities, they also put a big emphasis on the standards of hospitality we supply,” said Tara.

“Our aim has always been to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for guests, so it’s great to receive these independent endorsements for our efforts.

“A highlight for me was graduating from my university course which, as it was part-time, required me to put in many hours of study and tutorials whilst co-managing the park.

“But it was a fantastic learning experience from which the business is already benefiting – and the best student awards really came as the icing on the cake!” added Tara.

The park is a member of the Best of British group of top-rated independent parks with the highest quality standards, and is described on its website at www.theoldoaks.co.uk

Luxurious interior of one of a glamping pod at Old Oaks which attracts visitors from across the UK and overseas

Luxurious interior of one of a glamping pod at Old Oaks which attracts visitors from across the UK and overseas

 

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