23 December 2016
Judges of Norfolk’s top tourism awards scheme have named Searles Leisure Resort as the county’s overall champion of “amazing and truly memorable” park holidays.
The family-owned business based in Hunstanton took the overall prize in the holiday park and village category in the EDP Hoseasons Tourism Awards 2016.
Searles’ accolade came at the end of a year which saw the park receive a raft of national awards for aspects of its business from environmental care to its quality standards.
But according to managing director Paul Searle, this home-grown honour has a special significance as it highlights the cream of the county’s tourism providers.
Having been based in Norfolk for over 60 years, said Paul, he and his family felt “proud and humbled” to have been judged as the perfect place for families to enjoy a park holiday.
From its beginnings as a small donkey field where caravanners could pitch up in exchange for a bag of potatoes, Searles today provides a vast array of holiday accommodation.
There are more than 500 caravan holiday homes and lodges, some with private hot-tubs, as well as 300-plus touring pitches plus luxury timber camping pods.
Its wide range of highly-praised attractions range from water zorbing, jet-skis, swimming pools and all-weather sports pitches to a gym, fishing, karts, tennis, archery and curling.
The park has also announced that the 2017 season will open with £1 million worth of additional activities which are being introduced this winter.
They will include an indoor “water wonderland”, a climbing wall with equipment and instruction, and an outdoor fitness park with an array of gymnastic challenges in the fresh air.
Judges of the EDP Hoseasons Tourism Awards, organised by the Eastern Daily Press, said that Searles is a vital and highly valued component of Norfolk’s £3 billion tourism economy.
The park, they pointed out, employs around 200 people, and provides valuable training and skills development opportunities to staff including many younger workers.
Judges also noted that Searles in recent times had recorded an impressive five percent year-on-year growth in visitor numbers with 2016 likely to prove an all-time record.
"This award is a fantastic finale to our season which will help give us a flying start to next year – and I hope the publicity will help boost other local businesses," said Paul.
"We’re especially pleased that a strong emphasis in these awards was placed on the quality of the hospitality provided, and delivering this is largely in the hands of our staff teams.
"For that reason, they must take a large share of the credit for our success," added Paul whose grandparents William and Alice Searle first registered the park in 1954.
Driving the park forward today are Paul together with his brother Andrew and sister Joanna. There is more information about Searles Leisure Resort at www.searles.co.uk