Norfolk park’s cover-up reveals success story

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Once a naturists’ paradise, Merryhill now welcomes all-comers… as long as they keep their shirts on

Twelve months after advising guests that they could no longer strip-off on arrival, a holiday park near Norwich is marking its first fully-clothed birthday.

Until last summer, Merryhill Country Park was celebrated by naturists as one of the UK’s most picturesque locations to enjoy their pastime.

In June, however, its 30-year reputation for breaks in the buff came to an end when the park’s new owners, Georgina and John Aisthorpe, took over.

The husband-and-wife team decided they wanted to widen its appeal – and since declaring Merryhill a “textile park” and upgrading its facilities, business has been booming.

Now the achievements of the business have been recognised with special awards for two of its key members from the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

Ian Boden (left) and Jake Aisthorpe with their Exceptional Service award

Ian Boden (left) and Jake Aisthorpe with their Exceptional Service awards

The park industry body’s Exceptional Service Awards were made to Merryhill’s groundsman Ian Boden, and to Georgina and John’s 16-year-old son Jake.

Both, said Georgina, had gone “far beyond the extra mile” in helping to make the park one of the finest in East Anglia for countryside connoisseurs.

Merryhill’s 20 acres of parkland include wildlife-rich woodlands and plenty of open areas which have benefitted from extensive landscaping.

For activity-minded guests there are two all-weather tennis courts, indoor games, a petanque court, and a newly-installed children’s adventure play area.

Also fresh on the scene is a sauna adjacent to the park’s heated lido swimming pool with its sunbathing terrace which commands delightful views across the parkland.

Meanwhile, Merryhill’s spacious clubhouse is the focus for a wide range of get-togethers throughout the year, from discos to summer balls and professional entertainment.

Guests can bring their own touring caravan, motorhome or tent – or hire one of the park’s new luxury camping pods which sleep up to four people with all home comforts.

There’s also an opportunity to own a high-spec caravan holiday home which can be used throughout the four seasons, thanks to Merryhill’s 12-month opening licence.

Georgina said she was delighted that the park had shed its naturist past, and was now welcoming all visitors to enjoy the picturesque surroundings of one of Norfolk’s loveliest locations:

“Everybody here has worked extremely hard over the past year to ensure that our facilities meet the very highest standards, and we are thrilled at the result,” she said.

“But I think what our guests will also appreciate is the quality of the welcome and hospitality which Merryhill provides – and credit for that must go to our staff team.

“We’re very proud that two of our members have received Exceptional Service Awards, and we’re all looking forward to making even more improvements this year,” added Georgina.

There is more information about the park at www.merryhillcountrypark.co.uk – including details of its open weekend on 21/22 May which promises an entertaining day out for all ages.

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