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Deckchairs ditched as parks prepare for action holidays
Olympic-inspired Britons on holiday next year will be swapping their deckchairs for diving boards, their loungers for lawn tennis, and their sun-hats for cycling helmets.
That's the view of many holiday parks surveyed by the Best of British group which recently set out to assess the likely legacy of this year's London Games.
The responses from the 50 independent Best of British parks in the group showed that a significant number were already getting prepared to welcome more sports-minded visitors.
Examples include a new cycle path - called the "Wiggins Way" - at Plassey Leisure Park in North Wales, and a new tennis court for guests at Stroud Hill Park in Cambridgeshire.
Other parks too are gearing up for families who will see their holidays as a chance to enjoy one of the sports popularised by this year's Olympics and Paralympics.
Activities such as horse-riding, cycling, swimming, sailing, rowing and archery are also among the opportunities which parks say they will be providing or pointing guests towards.
"Our findings suggest that this year will have changed completely the dynamics of the traditional British holiday," says Best of British chairman Claire Jeavons.
"Increasing numbers of guests already use their break as a chance to take up a new activity, or improve an existing skill - and the Olympics will now put this trend in the fast-lane.
"Many of the sports in which all our athletes excelled can be enjoyed on and around holiday parks, and members of our consortium are now busy highlighting what they have to offer.
"I think that next summer could well spell the death of the deckchair holiday," said Claire who helps manage her family business of Beverley Holidays in Paignton, South Devon.
She added that her own park is currently forging sporting links for next year with local providers of activities, from sub-aqua and surfing to pony trekking and sand sailing.
Many parks in membership of Best of British, most of which are family owned and with top tourist board grades, also provide on-site sporting facilities such as swimming pools and cycle hire.
"It's going to be an exciting year for British tourism thanks to the Olympics, and I think we will see many overseas holiday destinations struggling at the back of the field," said Claire.
More information, and an interactive map of park locations and facilities, can be found on-line at www.Bob.org.uk. A free brochure can also be requested from the website.
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