UK's newest addition to prestige UNESCO list
July 19th, 2017. \\ Culture.

The Lake District has joined the likes of the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu by being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

The UNESCO committee praised the area’s beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers.

It is the 31st place in the UK and overseas territories to be put on UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a particularly great time to visit the region and, if you’re looking for inspiration for the summer holidays you’d do well to make a beeline for this delightful part of England.

A great base for any stay in the area is Silverdale Holiday Park which, last year, marked its 60th year under the Holgate family’s ownership.With the Lake District itself right on its doorstep, the family are rightly proud of their reputation for providing one of Cumbria’s most outstanding holiday destinations.

The 2,292 sq km Lake District had actually been trying to obtain the UNESCO status since 1986 but the Holgate success story goes back much further than that, to 1956 in fact when the family arrived from the Blackburn area in Lancashire where Billy Holgate, the grandfather of Michael Holgate, the current owner, had started a successful caravan manufacturing business.

Fast forward to 2017 and the quality of its facilities and standards of customer care have won many plaudits. In 2014, Silverdale, set in 100-plus acres of beautiful countryside with sweeping views across Morecambe Bay, was named by Cumbria Tourist Board as overall winner of its Park of the Year award and this year it won a prestigious Conservation Award at its top gold level.

Whatever the weather, the park (and the Lakes) make for a perfect retreat for couples and families wanting to explore an area that is home to England’s largest natural lake - Windermere - and highest mountain - Scafell Pike.

The park itself boasts a superb leisure centre, including swimming pool, spa and sauna and a gym with state-of-the art exercising equipment. And newly opened this year is an American-style computerised bowling alley, new children’s soft-play zone and extensions to the park’s cafe/restaurant and bar. Its extensive grounds are a delight to explore via a myriad of woodland paths, and have been described by famous UK botanist David Bellamy as “a wildlife wonderland”.

Also ideally placed for exploring surrounding other areas of scenic beauty such as North Yorkshire and the Forest of Bowland, it boasts a great range of luxury caravan holiday homes to rent (or own) as well as comfortable timber-built “glamping pods” for hire. Camping guests as well as owners of touring caravans and motorhomes are also made welcome while just two minutes’ drive away are two delightful self-contained cottages, also owned by the Holgate family.

The cottages are beautifully decorated to create a space of relaxation and tranquillity and are ideal for a short break or a weeklong stay. Each cottage is named after a focal point in the local area: the Knott and the Pepper Pot, and adjoin the Royal public house, which had stood empty from 2010 before being purchased and totally revitalised by the Holgates Group in 2014.The delightful Knott, the larger of the two, has a large living area, complete with log burning stove and a variety of comfortable leather and stylish garden furniture.

After a day rambling or just enjoying use of the park’s leisure facilities, the Royal (also open for breakfast and afternoon tea) is ideal for a good hearty meal and sampling local ales.

On what was formerly just over 100 acres of grass and scrubland on the Lancashire/Cumbria border, the Holgate family have created a delightful holiday retreat. The concept of caravan holidays has come a long way since the family helped pioneer them way back in the 1950s but, six decades later, they are still at the forefront of providing affordable vacations for a new generation of holidaymakers. The business now actually comprises six parks in Cumbria and North Lancashire

The site has come a long way from the relatively humble site containing just 35 caravans and, today, the estimated £1m investment in new facilities makes this a perfect place from which to explore Britain’s newest addition to the Unesco list. The aim iis to ensure that the company’s name on every park it owns “remains synonymous with first-class surroundings and good value holidays.”

While visiting, try to check out the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis nearby, a lovely spot run by a charity that includes snow leopards, in indoor tropical halls and aquaria.

Accessing Cumbria from Belgium is, perhaps, best done via a ferry operated by DFDS, Northern Europe’s largest shipping and logistics company. Its Amsterdam to Newcastle route provides an ideal link to the north of the UK from the Continent.

The relaxing overnight crossing runs 7 days a week and, onboard, you’ll find bars, restaurants, shops, a cinema, and more, making the journey just as exciting as the destination.

So, what better reason to check out the home of Beatrix Potter? As Britain’s newest UNESCO site, the Lake District is now right up there with the Great Wall of China and Grand Canyon, other great global wonders!

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Martin Banks is a highly experienced accredited journalist with many years experience of working with the EU institutions. He is an occasional contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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