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Abbeyford Leisure through the years

Step back in time as we take you on a whistle-stop tour of Abbeyford Leisure through the years.

Late 1940s

Old black and white photo of Abbeyford Trailers
Old black and white photo of Abbeyford Trailers

In the late 1940s a young Gerald Vose 'Gerry' started to produce and sell trailers in North Wales. A few years later he purchased a piece of land in Towyn on the North Wales coast and began to take tents in the summer months.

 

Early 1950s

Old sepia photo of a mechanic fixing a flat tyre
Old sepia photo of a mechanic fixing a flat tyre

Before investing in caravans, the company traded in horse boxes and trailers.

 

Mid 1955s

Old black and white photo of Kinkell Braes Caravan Site
Old black and white photo of Kinkell Braes Caravan Site

For years St Andrews Holiday Park was called Kinkell Braes Caravan Site and even today many locals refer to the park as this. This photo from the 1950s shows neat lines of touring caravans which, at the end of the season, would all be stored over the winter at a nearby farm.

 

Late 1950s

Old black and white photo of family at Abbeyford Caravan Park
Old black and white photo of family at Abbeyford Caravan Park

In the 1950s the campsite in Towyn was developed into Abbeyford Caravan Park and welcomed guests from landlocked cities of Manchester, Stoke on Trent and Liverpool - eager to spend their holidays on the coast.

 

1960s

Old black and white photo of statics at Abbeyford Caravan Park
Old black and white photo of statics at Abbeyford Caravan Park

In the 1960s, as the popularity for static caravans started to gain momentum, Abbeyford Caravan Park was created - basic by today’s standards with no running water and only standpipes. As the 60s progressed customers wanted more facilities and static caravans were serviced with running water, electric and waste pipes at each pitch.

 

1970s

Old black and white photo of Abbeyford head office in Pensarn
Old black and white photo of Abbeyford head office in Pensarn

During the 1970s, Lyndale Caravan Park and Kingsley Caravan Park were purchased just along the North Wales coast from Towyn and the company moved to a Head Office in Pensarn. 

 

Late 1970s

Old photo of Shell Bay Caravan Park sign
Old photo of Shell Bay Caravan Park sign

The 1970s also saw the acquisition of Shell Bay Caravan Park in Elie, Fife. A few years of development followed, with a new bar, clubhouse and office complex and the servicing of the pitches. The park now known as Elie Holiday Park is a hidden gem, accessed by a forest road with a sandy beach right on the doorstep.

 

1980s

Old photo of Kinkell Braes Caravan Park
Old photo of Kinkell Braes Caravan Park

The company expanded its presence in Scotland during the 1980s and in 1984 Kinkell Braes Caravan Park in St Andrews, now St Andrews Holiday Park, and St Monans Caravan Park, now St Monans Holiday Park, were added to the portfolio.

 

1990s

Old photo of Shell Bay Caravan Park
Old photo of Shell Bay Caravan Park

This aerial photo from the early 1990s shows how Elie Holiday Park has changed over the years.

 

Early 2000s

First website launched in 2000s
First website launched in 2000s

Venturing for the first time into cyberspace, Abbeyford Caravan Company launched it's first websites, one for the Scotland holiday parks and one of the holiday parks in Wales.

 

2010

Abbeyford Leisure logo 2010
Abbeyford Leisure logo 2010

After the renaming of Kinkell Braes Caravan Site to St Andrews Holiday Park and Shell Bay Caravan Park to Elie Holiday Park, the company is rebranded as Abbeyford Leisure. A new logo is designed and starts to be seen on new signage across the parks.

 

2011

Robinson Crusoe Adventure Park at Elie Holiday Park
Robinson Crusoe Adventure Park at Elie Holiday Park

Fast forward to 2011 and after much anticipation the spectacular Robinson Crusoe Adventure Park opens at Elie Holiday Park with a little help from the famous castaway himself. Watch the opening video here.

 

2012

Second website launched in 2011
Second website launched in 2011

Abbeyford Leisure launched a new user-friendly website bringing together the holiday parks in Wales and Scotland together under the same web address, www.abbeyford.com.

 

2015

Family strolling and cycling past holiday homes in the sunshine
Family strolling and cycling past holiday homes in the sunshine

In 2015 an exciting range of Castaway holiday homes at Elie Holiday Park were unveiled. Nestled behind the beach at Shell Bay the holiday accommodation proved hugely popular with families and couples alike. In the same year Elie Holiday Park was voted as 'The Best Visitor Attraction in Fife' as voted by Kingdom FM listeners.

 

Late 2015

Third website launched in 2015
Third website launched in 2015

Ready for the 2016 season, Abbeyford Leisure launched a refreshed website and its first online booking system. The ease of online booking proved an immediate hit with guests who particularly liked being able to select their preferred pitch or holiday home location themselves.

 

2016

Customers sitting outside The Mirador Cafe on a sunny day
Customers sitting outside The Mirador Cafe on a sunny day

In 2016 a purpose-built café and takeaway facility was unveiled at Elie Holiday Park to further enhance the food and beverage offering available. Named 'The Mirador Cafe' - a nod to the area's connection with Robinson Crusoe - the cafe showcases innovative maritime features including a contemporary rope partition wall which extends across the ceiling, glass pendants and atmospheric low level lighting complemented with modern seating. 

 

2018

Willie Rennie MSP opens the new Castaway forest holiday homes at Elie Holiday Park
Willie Rennie MSP opens the new Castaway forest holiday homes at Elie Holiday Park

Demand for the popular Castaway-style holiday homes is high and in 2018 a new development of Castaway forest holiday homes is opened by MSP Willie Rennie, almost trebling the number of properties available for hire.

 

2019

Interior of The Braes bar and restaurant
Interior of The Braes bar and restaurant

After the success of The Mirador Cafe, the clubhouse at St Andrews Holiday Park was completely overhauled in a major refurbishment programme. The result was the formation of The Braes bar and restaurant complete with a new entrance canopy, a spacious and inviting restaurant with contemporary bar, new games room and a split level sun terrace complete with views of the bay and town.

 

Late 2019

Papa Johns Store exterior at St Andrews Holiday Park
Papa Johns Store exterior at St Andrews Holiday Park

2019 was a busy year and after months of collaboration, saw Papa Johns and Abbeyford Leisure bring the home of pizza to the home of golf! The purpose built pizza takeaway complemented The Braes offering and also services St Andrews town and the large student population.

 

2020-21

lodge with hot tub and sea views in dabbled sunlight
lodge with hot tub and sea views in dabbled sunlight

Ready for the 2020 season luxury hot tubs were added to the top of the range lodges at St Andrews Holiday Park, providing added value to guests. The following year hot tubs were also installed to the lodges at Elie Holiday Park.

 

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Guests enjoying the giant deckchair at Elie Holiday Park
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Happy brown dog running on the beach
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Summer 80s party at Elie Holiday Park
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Free Papa Johns tasters at St Andrews Holiday Park
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Children enjoying rock pool safari
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Autumn sunshine at Shell Bay, Elie Holiday Park.
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