Lockdown gamble pays off for Dorset glamping park

Matt Bridgen, son of park owners Joanne and David, puts the finishing to one of the new luxury pods

A POOLE COUPLE who took a risk on giving their glamping park a major makeover during lockdown say they are delighted that the gamble has paid off.

Joanne and David Bridgen, who run South Lytchett Manor park in Lytchett Minster, invested much time and money on the project despite their income having dried up.

But as soon as they were allowed tomers voting the makeover a fantastic success.

Now the five-star park, which Joanne and David have owned for almost 15 years, is almost at capacity during some summer weeks and has reservations through to autumn.

“We decided that we had a choice during lockdown – to try and make the park fighting fit for when we could open again,” said Joanne.

“The makeover put a lot at stake as our business had suffered badly over the previous twelve months with our income completely drying up over the lockdowns.

An imposing gated entrance welcomes holiday guests to the park

“But we decided to our existing glamping accommodation of shepherd’s huts and Romany caravans.

“At the same time, we set to work on enlarging the park’s cafe – and searching out more local suppliers for the food and drink we sell there and in our shop.

“We also added twenty new fully serviced pitches for motouring caravans, and planted more honey-bee and butterfly friendly flowers and shrubs in the grounds.

“David and I were encouraged that bookings were still coming in during lockdown, but we knew the true test would come once we were able to welcome back guests.

“In the event, we needn’t have worried – and in fact our phones have been ringing virtually off the hook during the past fortnight with people wanting to book stays.

“We’re also delighted that our full staff team is back with us again, and we’re all looking forward to giving families the holidays they need and deserve!” added Joanne.

Glamping, she said, is proving especially popular this year – particularly with those looking for a top-end experience in the UK in place of an overseas holiday.

In  keeping with their “buy local” policy, Joanne said that as much of their lockdown work as possible was based on materials and skills sourced from within Dorset.

As well as the top VisitEngland award, South Lytchett Manor has received a raft of other accolades in recent times including the prestigious AA five pennant platinum award.

The park is also a member of the Best of British group which comprises some 50 independently-run parks with top quality ratings throughout the UK.

There is more information about South Lytchett Manor, as well as its accommodation options, on its website at www.southlytchettmanor.co.uk

From biscuits to beer, South Lytchett’s new cafe specialises in products made and sourced within Dorset