Stratford Parks - Leisure lifestyle beside the Avon
River views, field views, a private water taxi to take you a mile along the river Avon into the character town of Stratford, a magnificent restaurant comple.
We’ve discovered an idyllic location for a holiday home, right in the heart of England. Stratford Parks offers holiday home buyers the choice of three parks: Riverside, Avon and Rayford. All are close together and actually adjoin.
Two of the parks, Rayford and Avon, have a 10-month season, from March to January. Riverside has a seven-month season, from April to October. So that’s the one to choose if you don’t want to use your holiday home in winter.
That apart, which park would you choose? Well, Rayford has its own bowling green, so that’s straightforward if bowls are your pursuit. Other factors? During my day exploring the parks I came to the conclusion it’s simply down to position of plot and personal preference. Some have views of the Avon; some have field views.
It was view factors that led Deb and Dave Hobson to pick their perfect plot, in March last year. And Deb and Dave immediately embraced the whole lifestyle here. They not only bought a holiday home; at the same time they bought a boat, a canoe, cycles, golf clubs, fishing kit, plus go-karts for their randchildren. Their boat, a cabin cruiser, is moored on the Avon, alongside the park. There are six golf clubs nearby. And the park has fishing rights along the Avon.
Deb and Dave are from Solihull, less than an hour’s drive away. The decision to buy a holiday home at Stratford was straightforward: “We were taken on a tour of the parks and saw a plot near to the edge of the park, with a view of the Avon and also of fields. That’s ours!” says Deb. “As soon as we come through the gates here we relax,” she says.
They spend most of their time here, taking advantage of the 10-month season. Deb hones her golf skills on the driving range at a club a mile down the road from the park. Dave loves the fishing. Cycling is all about fitness as well as exploration.
And when family visit – which is frequently – The Hobsons have little go-karts for grandchildren to explore the parks. Talk turns to the restaurant, the magnificent centre-piece of the parks. It’s an architectural masterpiece, constructed on stilts so that there are panoramic views of the Avon from the restaurant and the terrace which surrounds it. “There’s a full programme of events throughout the year at the restaurant,” says Dave.
We’re chatting in the lounge of their holiday home; it’s not a day to sit outside but Dave and Deb think ahead to warmer days: “We sit out on the decking with coffee, overlooking the river. “We can sit there in the sun all day as the sun moves around,” says Deb, “and barbecuing is all part of the lifestyle.”
And the ABI home they chose? It has an unusual layout with a semi-circular marble-finish dining table adjoining an island kitchen unit. This pre-owned home was an instant decision for the Hobsons. “It has a full-sized dishwasher; I was so impressed when I found it had that!” says Deb. The huge, five-burner hob also impressed, as did the tower socket unit with USB points, set into the kitchen’s island unit.
They take me on a tour and point out the televisions in both bedrooms, the king-sized bed with storage box beneath and recessed reading lights above the bed… Luxury in all corners, then – and proof that buyers can find their perfect holiday home without the need to stretch to a new model.
We’d had an hour to spare, following my tour of the three parks and before Deb and Dave arrived to meet me at their holiday home – so Stratford Parks’ Marketing Manager Karen Levy used the time to make sure I got the restaurant experience. This is an amazing building, made of Russian timber, of a design inspired by Scandinavian architecture; its porthole windows and boat-prow-shaped, multi-facet rooflines reinforce the message that these parks are beside the Avon, one of England’s greatest rivers.
We chose pizzas – mushrooms, ham, pineapple – the choice of toppings is wide, as is the varied menu that changes with the seasons, for both lunch and dinner.
We are at a window table overlooking the river and the balcony that will be a lively place to eat and drink as the weather warms. The pizza bases are crispy-thin and the toppings generous and I am impressed.
Below us is a wooden log-style building: “That’s the Garden Bar,” Karen explains. Drinks, food – and entertainment – are on offer here during the summer. I vow to return to experience Stratford Parks in its full-on summer mode.
For more information please visit - www.stratfordparks.co.uk