Holgates Hollins Farm
Bookended by the towering Lakeland fells on one side and the boundless blue of Morecombe Bay on the other, it won't surprise you to learn that the neighbouring areas of Arnside and Silverdale form a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is, in fact, the UK's smallest. While the wildlife-rich salt marshes, verdant hills and limestone grasslands might not have the epic scale of the iconic National Park to the north, it more than matches it for wow factor. And it is on this unspoilt stretch of the north-west coast that we find the equally impressive Hollins Farm campsite.
Ok, so admittedly Hollins Farm is a touring park, but not as we know it. Though owned and maintained by Holgates Holiday Parks, it manages to combine best elements of such places (friendly attentive staff and first-rate facilities) with the intimacy and character of a traditional farm site. The farm hosts a menagerie of farmyard friends including goats, ponies, sheep, and a pair of inquisitive moggies – Bladrick and Lenny. Campers can even expect freshly-laid eggs courtesy of Hollins Farm hens every morning (well, willingness permitting at least).
The gently undulating, well-kempt tent field has space for just 23 lucky pitches. Best of all, guests are free to use the 5-star facilities (including heated swimming pool, sauna, and restaurant) of Holgate's flagship, bells n' whistles site just down the road. Hollins have also just constructed a brand new, stone facilities block housing immaculately clean showers and wash facilities. The toilets even received no higher accolade than the AA's prestigious Loo of the Year 2013 (but you already knew that, right).
Garlanded khazis aside, there's innumerable great days out to be had in one of England's more overlooked camping areas – whether parading the promenade at Morecombe, teeing off at Silverdale Gold Club, or visiting the famous Carnforth railway station (as featured in A Brief Encounter). However you decide to spend your time, be sure you don't have too brief an encounter with one of one of the north-west's loveliest campsites.
23 camping pitches (EHU; 2/4/6 berth pitches available). 50 touring pitches (EHU/grey waste/TV connection). Brand new facilities block with underfloor-heating, toilets, hot showers, disabled/family facilities, laundry, washing-up area and small TV/games room. Free use of the swimming pool, restaurant/bar at the nearby Silverdale park, 5 minutes walk away. Car park close to tent field and pitchside parking for caravans. No open fires/fire pits/chimineas in the tent and touring fields.
Tents, campervans, tourers/motorhomes, well-behaved dogs on leads – yes. Single-sex groups – no. No group bookings of three parties or more.
Arnside and Silverdale offer plenty of scenic strolls, the former's Victorian promenade with views over the Kent Estuary a particularly lovely route. Nearby Morecombe is a cracking spot for fish and chips by the pier – be sure to check the art-deco masterpiece Midland Hotel (01524 424 000) and, of course, the unmissable photo-op with the statue of Morecombe's most famous son, Eric Morecombe. With dozens of species of rare birds, the RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve is a twitcher's paradise. The resplendent 18th century Leighton Hall (01524 734 474) near Carnforth boasts views to the Lakeland fells, plus plenty of summer entertainment including vintage car rallies and Shakespeare in the walled-garden.
Food & Drink
Holgate's flagship Silverdale park has its own bar and restaurant, which uses locally-sourced fresh produce, including lamb from Hollins Farm and beer from a local Carnforth micro-brewery. The Albion (01524 761226) in Arnside is just a leisurely 30 minute stroll away, serving pub grub favourites and proper pints from the Blackburn brewery, Thwaites. The Kingfisher (015395 63909) boasts a three-course menu for £20 and stunning views overlooking the Kent Estuary.
Opening Times15th March – 4th November.
Exit the M6 at Junction 35 and take the A601 for Carnforth. After 1 mile turn left at roundabout (35a) for Carnforth (Truckhaven on left; Pine Lake on right).
After 1 mile turn right at traffic lights in centre of Carnforth, signposted at Silverdale. After 1 mile turn sharp left into Sands Lane, signposted Silverdale.
After 2.4 miles go over a level crossing, continue for 0.3 miles to T junction.
Turn right following ‘Holgates’ signpost.
After 1 mile bear left following ‘Holgates’ and ‘Silverdale’ (bus shelter/phone box)
After 0.5 mile turn right in to Cove Road following ‘Holgates’ signpost.
After 0.7 miles you will pass Holgates Silverdale Park on your right, continue on this road approximately 1 mile, you will see Hollins Farm signposted on your left.
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