The UK’s holiday parks have been ranked in a Which? survey – and it’s Potters Resorts that comes top, with Pontins ranked bottom due to failings that include ‘dingy campsites and stained mattresses’.
In the survey respondents were asked to rate 19 holiday parks out of five across seven categories – cleanliness, quality of accommodation, customer service, facilities, entertainment, food and drink, and value for money.
Potters Resorts comes out on top with a highly impressive overall customer score of 88 per cent. Waterside Holiday Group is a close second with 87 per cent. Both score a remarkable five stars in every category. Pontins has an overall score of 59 per cent, scoring just two stars out of five for accommodation – the worst in the survey.
The UK’s holiday parks have been ranked in a Which? survey – and it’s Potters Resorts that comes top, with Pontins ranked bottom due to failings that include ‘dingy campsites and stained mattresses’
For those who know that hotel chain Britannia owns Pontins, its place at the bottom of the table may not be a surprise – its parent company has been rated as the UK’s worst hotel chain by Which? for nine years in a row.
As well as dingy campsites and stained mattresses, Pontins guests also complained in the study – a survey of more than 2,200 stays – of ‘cobwebs, musty smells and sticky furniture’.
What’s more, it only got two stars for its entertainment, its signature attraction.
However, others reported having had an ‘amazing’ time and said the trip ‘brought back childhood memories’.
Potters has two locations, in Norfolk and Essex, ‘and everything is included in the price’. Pictured is a bedroom at one of the resorts
Waterside visitors ‘appreciated the choice of a classy caravan complete with widescreen televisions and central heating or glamping in a safari lodge (above) with their own private hot tub’
Another notable finding is Center Parcs scoring just one per cent more than Butlin’s, a much cheaper option. The former has an overall customer score of 72 per cent and an average per-night price of £71. Butlin’s is just behind on 71 per cent, but costs only £41 per night.
Which? said: ‘Consistent Butlin’s scores three or four stars in every category. The company has just three sites – Bognor, Minehead and Skegness – and has spent millions smartening up its accommodation and pool complexes in recent years.
‘And the investment has paid off as it outclasses its rival Pontins in almost all categories while charging customers less, on average, too.’
In third place is Aria Resorts (pictured), now owned by Away Resorts. It scores an impressive 85 per cent
Pontins has an overall score of 59 per cent, scoring just two stars out of five for accommodation – the worst in the survey
However, Which? revealed, not everyone was happy, with one Butlin’s guest saying that while it’s ‘good for families’, it ‘could do with a lot of TLC’.
Back towards the top of the table is John Fowler Holiday Parks (sixth), with Which? noting that ‘it offers guests a classic holiday park experience on a budget’. It continued: ‘It proves cheaper than Pontins and a similar price to Butlin’s, and scores 78 per cent overall, including four stars for value. With themed weekends, kids’ club and static caravans at 11 coastal locations across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, it could be the bargain of the summer.’
Potters has two locations, Which? noted, in Norfolk and Essex, ‘and everything is included in the price – that means free food and alcoholic drinks’.
It promises ‘first-class’ entertainment, said Which?, with ‘West End-inspired shows and facilities such as a boating lake and rifle shooting range’.
One guest said: ‘They believe in giving good customer service from when you book until you leave. Entertainment is fantastic with shows that could just as easily be in the West End. Food is good and if you have dietary issues the chef speaks to you and comes up with solutions.’
Waterside visitors, Which? said, ‘appreciated the choice of a classy caravan complete with widescreen televisions and central heating or glamping in a safari lodge with their own private hot tub’. Its parks in Dorset and Cornwall also boast beachfront bars and restaurants.
Guy Hobbs, Editor of Which? Travel said: ‘The UK has an incredible variety of holiday parks and resorts. Holidaymakers can choose from those bursting with slides, swimming pools and activities for kids, or opt for a luxury stay in a safari lodge with hot tub.
‘Our survey saw smaller, family-run resorts triumph over the biggest names, so there is no need to go for the most expensive option to have a great experience.’
Above is the Butlin’s Bognor Regis leisure centre. Which? said: ‘Consistent Butlin’s scores three or four stars in every category. The company has spent millions smartening up its accommodation and pool complexes in recent years’
Dave Bennett, CEO of Waterside Holiday Group, commented: ‘We are thrilled to have received such an incredible score as part of a renowned nationwide survey, which reflects genuine visitor reviews.
‘We have invested heavily in all our holiday parks to ensure we offer a five-star holiday experience to our guests, with exceptional quality accommodation, facilities, and customer service. I would like to thank everyone at Waterside Holiday Group for their hard work in helping us continually achieve excellence across our parks.’
MailOnline Travel has asked Pontins for a comment.