Fifty years ago Bourne Leisure, parent company to Haven, opened their first ever caravan holiday park in Kent.
Their vision was to create beautiful parks in which families could enjoy holiday home ownership by the seaside.
Back then there was no one else doing this, other holiday parks were chalets and hotels.
Bourne Leisure were always a step ahead being the first to offer hard standings, electricity, fully serviced caravan pitches and piped gas.
They have always worked closely with caravan manufacturers on design, getting feedback from owners and ensuring that they met the needs of families.
For example now central heating and double glazing is standard, you can get iPod docking stations and some models have 3ft single beds, floor to ceiling windows to maximise on views, full sized fridge freezers and contemporary designs offering plenty of storage.
But it wasn’t just about the caravan. It was about the lifestyle that can be enjoyed on a holiday park, a ready made community where families came together, they created comfortable lounges and put on entertainment.
As the years went by and they bought more holiday parks, always keeping to the coastline, they built golf break courses, bowling greens, gyms, saunas and spas, constantly investing and improving the parks and always thinking ahead of what families might enjoy or want.
When some families wanted to let their caravans Bourne helped them and from here the holidays business grew and in the 1990’s a brand called British Holidays was born.
However it got to the point where they had more families wanting to buy a holiday home than they had available so In 2000 Bourne Leisure bought Haven. They’d been operating parks since the 1980’s but mainly just for holidays, they didn’t have many owners. Under the guidance and experience of Bourne Leisure these parks were invested in and brought in line with their other parks.
Bourne were the first to move away from row upon row of caravans and offer community style developments centred around a lake or golf course and landscaped with plants indigenous to the local area.
They worked closely with David Bellamy but now they have a resident environmentalist making the most of the parks natural surroundings. Adventure trails, nature walks and activities are available to both holidaymakers and owners.
They have strong environmental policies too, ensuring they lessen their impact on the environment and the local areas.
Introducing a full recycling programme for each park, quite a challenge in the rural areas they are located, they changed over all their lighting to LED, introduced solar power, they are even trialling the UK’s first ever solar powered caravan.
The community spirit on park remains strong. Organised events and clubs including the popular wine clubs. There are owners parties and many parks have owners only facilities.The latest being the lounge at Lakeland which overlooks a beautiful lake.
Owners also get together to run their own clubs, like this bowling group also at Lakeland who play matches locally but also challenge other parks for a game.