Best holiday park: Potters Resorts beats Butlin's, Pontins and Center Parcs in Which? survey

Eyemouth Holiday Park in Scotland is run by Parkdean Resorts.Eyemouth Holiday Park in Scotland is run by Parkdean Resorts.
Eyemouth Holiday Park in Scotland is run by Parkdean Resorts.
All-inclusive Potters Resorts has been named the top UK holiday park, according to a survey.

Big name holiday park firms Pontins and Butlin’s scored in the bottom five of the Which? list. Which? surveyed more than 1,700 people about their experiences at UK holiday parks in the last two years, asking them to rate their stays on 11 criteria, including quality of accommodation, customer service, cleanliness, facilities and activities, and value for money.

An overall customer score was then calculated based on overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend. Potters Resorts beat household names to the top of the table, with a customer score of 87%, followed by Forest Holidays in second place with a customer score of 80%.

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Operating for more than 100 years, Potters has two all-inclusive resorts in Essex and Norfolk offering a range of accommodation styles and live entertainment.

Visitors awarded Potters the full five stars for the variety of free facilities on offer, the quality of facilities and activities, the quality of the entertainment and communication, as well as four stars for overall customer service, food and drink, value for money and quality of accommodation.

With 13 locations across England, Wales and Scotland, Forest Holidays offers woodland stays with hot tubs in a range of accommodation from cabins to treehouses. The brand received four stars for the quality of accommodation, cleanliness, overall customer service, communication and quality of facilities and activities.

Tied in third place with a customer score of 77% were Bluestone Wales, which is in the Pembrokeshire countryside, and John Fowler Holiday Parks. Among the other high-scoring firms were Hoburne Holidays with 75% and Waterside Holiday Group with 74%.

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Pontins, founded in 1946, took last place with a customer score of 56%.

Pontins scored a run of two-star ratings for customer service, quality of accommodation, cleanliness, variety of free facilities, quality of facilities and activities, food and drink and value for money. Its highest score of three stars was for communication and the quality of entertainment.

Longstanding rival Butlin’s also found itself in the bottom five, with a customer score of 67% – just ahead of Park Holidays UK at 66%, Away Resorts with 64% and Largo Leisure Parks with a score of 64%.

Guests at Butlin’s rated customer service two stars, it received three stars in key categories including quality of accommodation and cleanliness, and four for the quality and variety of children’s activities and entertainment.

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Parkdean, which has 66 parks across the country, was given a score of 68%, with a three-star rating for value for money.

Haven Holiday Parks and Center Parcs tied with a customer score of 69%. The most visited brand in Which?’s survey, Center Parcs received largely favourable reviews but received two stars in the value for money category, as well as for the variety of free facilities on offer.

Survey respondents reported spending an average of £76 per person per night, making it the most expensive option not to include food or drinks in the price. It received four stars for overall customer service, communication, quality of accommodation, cleanliness, and the quality of facilities and activities and for the quality and variety of children’s activities.

Haven received a mix of three and two-star ratings, including three stars for overall customer service, quality of accommodation and value for money.

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Naomi Leach, deputy editor of Which? Travel said: “Holiday parks have been a mainstay of British holidays for decades, but with so many options to choose from it isn’t always easy to know which will be the right fit for your family.

“Our latest survey shows that it’s worth looking beyond the best-known names, with smaller and independent resorts offering excellent value for money, great customer service and plenty of onsite entertainment.”

The results are based on an online survey of 1,717 adults – members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public – conducted between March and April 2024. A total of 2,255 responses were recorded.

A Butlin’s spokesperson said: “It’s brilliant to see that we’re scoring highly when it comes to activities and entertainment. We’ve invested over £50m across our three resorts with new openings like our Skypark playground and Playxperience indoor activity centre to ensure we continue to deliver incredible holidays for our guests. It is disappointing to see that some scores are lower but would like to reassure guests that we’re investing in these areas to offer a better holiday experience.”

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A spokesperson for Center Parcs said: “We welcome over 2 million guests to our villages annually, and we are 97% full all through the year. We are proud of our consistently high guest satisfaction scores and over 60% of guests will go on to make another booking with us. Our guests demand a high-quality experience and each year we invest tens of millions of pounds improving our villages to ensure we meet their expectations.”

Pontins, Park Holidays UK, Away Resorts, Largo Leisure Parks and Haven Holiday Parks have been approached to comment.

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