Park’s pub is pick of bunch in bloom awards

Michael Holgate (left) is congratulated at The Royal by NW in Bloom judge and BBC presenter Stephen Lowe

Michael Holgate (left) is congratulated at The Royal by NW in Bloom judge and BBC presenter Stephen Lowe

A holiday park’s picture-postcard pub in Silverdale, South Cumbria, has beaten hundreds of other contenders to take a gold award in the North West in Bloom competition.

The Royal, owned by Cumbria’s Silverdale Holiday Park, was named as the golden winner in the small accommodation category at the award finals at the end of October.

Judges in the keenly contested competition decided that The Royal had trumped all-comers, but not just in the spectacular floral displays which account for half of the marks awarded.

It also came top in the other 50% of marks which measure the quality of what’s provided to guests, the standards of hospitality, and responsible environmental practices.

The Royal’s success was announced in front of hundreds of guests at a glittering awards ceremony on Friday 28 October at the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.

Stepping up to receive the gold prize was Kim Hodson-Walker works as warden at the Holgate group’s Netherbeck Park, and who helped create The Royal’s gardening triumph.

The displays include, in keeping with the pub’s name, stunning red, white and blue plantings of fragrant flowers in troughs made by Holgates crafts-people from recycled timber.

After standing empty since 2010, The Royal re-opened in spring this year following a £300,000 refurbishment project by local family-run holiday parks business Holgates.

Emmerdale star and village resident Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle in the popular soap, declared the pub open by pulling the first official pint.

Since then, says business owner Michael Holgate, The Royal has become a popular new hub in the local community with its emphasis on Cumbria craft ales and locally sourced food.

The pub’s two adjacent luxury holiday cottages have also brought additional visitors to the village, and bookings are buoyant up until the end of the year and beyond, said Michael.

“Everyone at The Royal is absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to bring one of the North West in Bloom’s top accolades back to Silverdale,” he said.

“We’ve received many comments on how visually stunning the exterior looks, and credit for that goes to Kim and everyone else who works so hard to keep up our appearances.

“But what’s especially pleasing is that we were also judged across a raft of different criteria from the quality of the welcome given by staff to our sustainability policies.

“We’ve always intended The Royal to be a source of pride for the village as a whole, and it’s great to have our efforts supported by the judges in this competition,” said Michael.

The winning certificate was presented to Michael at The Royal this weekend by North West in Bloom judge and BBC Radio Lancashire presenter Stephen Lowe.

The Holgates group, which this year marks its 60th anniversary as a family business, own six multi-award winning holiday parks in Cumbria and North Lancashire.

They include the company’s flagship Silverdale park, just a short stroll from The Royal, which provides holiday homes and glamping pods set in 100 acres of parkland.

There is more information about Holgates’ holiday parks at www.holgates.co.uk

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