With winter finally, if reluctantly, giving way to spring, we’re excited about a fantastic summer of cruising and events.
The teams have been hard at work getting the marinas ready. The winter dredging programme is wrapped up – with a £1million investment every year, it’s no small undertaking. In 2016, enough material was dredged to fill more than 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The upgrade at Ocean Village is continuing, with a smart new look and members already enjoying the spa, gym, restaurants and bars at the luxurious Harbour Hotel on the waterfront. At Cobb’s Quay, a new a 40 ton hoist has been installed, meaning larger boats can now be accommodated.
As you’d expect, we’ve been planning our social calendar with as much attention to detail! Big news for this year is Marina Day on June 9th. After the enormous success of the inaugural family open day event at our Sant Carles marina in Spain in 2015 – the popular celebration spread to marinas across Spain within two years – we’re bringing the fiesta to the UK. It’ll be a day of music, food, fun on the water and entertainment into the evening. Don’t miss it.
Just a few of the other social highlights this year include ‘dress as you please day’ at Ocean Village in June (with prizes, of course!), outdoor film nights in July and August at Northney, adventure golf complete with cream teas at Hythe in June, the British Firework Championships at Queen Anne’s Battery in August and a beer and wine festival in September at Bray.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you, do pop into the site offices to say hello and don’t forget to make the most of your Freedom Berthing membership to visit other marinas in the group this season – and maybe even complete the set!
Helping the next generation to discover the joys of life on the water is something MDL is passionate about. For over 20 years, we’ve supported the Ocean Youth Trust (OYT) South, a wonderful charity that gives hundreds of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people their first taste of sailing.
On May 13th, to raise vital funds, an MDL team will be running (and possibly struggling) around the grounds of Broadlands House outside Romsey in Hampshire for the third annual Romsey Relay Marathon.
Our team is made up of engineers, a HR administrator, our head of marketing and two directors. Team members have varying degrees of running experience, from marathon veterans to complete newbies.
Dan, Ollie, Adrien, Jo, Dean, Jane, Mike and Ben will each run a 2.6 mile leg of the course, competing alongside 130 other teams.
We’d love your support to help us reach our fundraising target of £1,000 and continue to support OYT South and all the incredible work they do. Sponsor us here.
For more information about the charity, visit their website at www.oytsouth.org
Those participating are: Dan Chamberlain (Marina Development Advisor), Oliver Witt (Projects Assistant), Adrien Burnand (Head of Marketing), Jo Meekley (Project Manager - Civils & Marine), Dean Smith (Commercial Director), Jane Whitcher (Payroll & HR Administrator), Mike Glanville (Director of Operations) and Dr Ben Carroll (Assistant Project Manager).
Our trip to the newly opened luxury lodges at Woolverstone Marina was a magical New Year trip that helped us escape the January blues!
Less than ten miles from Ipswich, Suffolk, we made our first pit stop at Jimmy’s Farm for a spot of lunch. Set in a 200-year-old-barn converted by Jamie Oliver’s friend, it offers a rustic yet contemporary restaurant with numerous food and farming-related attractions for the whole family.
Arriving at Woolverstone Marina, we were greeted by MDL staff before being taken to our magnificent accommodation - one of the ten individually designed luxurious lodges. All of them have excellent design features and homely furnishings, and ours even had an open fire and a hot tub! When combined with the wonderful setting the marina has to offer, it was love at first sight for my wife and me.
The furnishings are simply first class and the team at MDL Marinas have left no stone unturned in creating a luxurious yet homely feel for each lodge. From the flat screen TVs to sofas, it was the finishing touches, such as the wine rack that really completed the experience. So when relaxing with a nice bottle of red wine in a peaceful and tranquil setting, we were able to drift away from the day-to-day stresses of regular life as soon as we sat down.
After a perfect sleep in the sleek, modern bedroom we headed for the nearby River Stour the following morning to enjoy a leisurely-paced winter walk. We soon headed back to the lodge for lunch and the welcoming hot tub on the balcony.
There is so much to do in the local area around Woolverstone Lodge Park and gladly, we managed to enjoy all the excitement Suffolk Leisure Park has to offer during our final afternoon – which was only a 7-minute drive from the lodges. For one final opportunity to really relax, we returned to our accommodation for our last meal cooked in the state-of-the-art kitchen, and just a little more wine, in front of the cosy wood burners in the living room, before we retired for the evening.
It was quite simply a stunning few days at Woolverstone Lodge Park and we’ll certainly be back! Although our children were not present for this particular trip, we’ll be returning with them in the summer where I’m sure the hive of activity around the marina will provide a real buzz for the whole family.
There are excellent boating opportunities too; Woolverstone Marina offers yacht charters and an RYA accredited sailing school for both sailboat and powerboat courses. For those who like to take in the natural beauty of Suffolk from the shores, there are magnificent and scenic walks in the area, namely The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation, Woolverstone Park, Woodbridge and Martlesham Creek… and these are just the walks on from the doorstep!
Add to this the inclusion of the luxury accommodation and the soon-to-be opened children’s playground and Woolverstone Lodge Park will be offering a perfect action-packed family holiday mixed with the relaxing setting that we enjoyed so much this time around.
Thanks for the memories Woolverstone Lodge Park and we look forward to making many more here in the future!
You could WIN a romantic getaway for two in our luxury Woolverstone Lodges by sharing your #LoveIsOnTheWater photos with us on Facebook. Before the winner is announced for that, find out what our marina teams are offering our members for Valentine's Day…
Brixham Marina - Pop into the marina office anytime during Valentine's Day for a sugary pick up of love hearts and chocolate.
Chatham Maritime Marina - Between 6 and 8pm on Valentine's Day, pop into the marina office for a heart shaped chocolate and a glass of bubbly…
Cobb's Quay Marina - For a sweet treat, enjoy some chocolates with the marina team anytime on Valentine's Day.
Hamble Marinas - All day Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, catch up with the marina team over a glass of bubbly and chocolates.
Queen Anne's Battery - Hold out for good weather as QAB are planning on hosting bubbly on the pontoons! If the weather isn't good, then the bubbles will be served in the warmth and dry of the marina office. Either way anytime between 1-3pm on Valentine's Day be sure to head to QAB!
Sparkes Marina - On Hayling Island, bubbles will be available in the marina throughout Valentine's Day.
Thames Marinas - Enjoy coffee and chocolates with the teams in the marina offices of Bray, Penton Hook and Windsor.
Woolverstone Marina - For sweet treats and bubbly head over to the marina office on Valentine's Day.
Last season MDL saw the addition of 24 new marinas, expanding our network to 124 marinas, across Europe with Passeport Escales - making it the perfect tool for weekend breaks or longer adventures. You can now explore even more of coastal Europe from the luxury of your own boat and it doens't cost any extra; it's included in your Freedom Berthing benefits!
In addition to the UK and Italy, Passeport Escales allows MDL members to explore a stunning array of destinations across France, Spain and now Belgium too. With the addition of Ostend in Belgium, sailors can enjoy the varied landscapes of Europe’s Atlantic coasts, to Porto Deportivo Cangas in Spain, before heading around to our very own Sant Carles Marina on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Over the last year alone our members have benefited from over 15,000 visitor nights across our European network, saving on visitor fees whilst experiencing the joys of sailing further afield. Popular destinations include Cherbourg and Jersey in the Channel and Roscoff in Brittany
From the wild, rugged coasts of the Belle-Île in Brittany, to the cultural hub of Bilbao with its impressive Guggenheim museum, Passeport Escales provides a gateway into Europe that all MDL members can enjoy.
With Freedom Berthing, our members also benefit from fuel at cost, free wifi, discounted boatyard services, great socials and the option to explore the UK’s coastline and waterways in any MDL Marina at no extra cost. Get a quote today!
Or find out how the Foxes got on when they toured the European network.
If you're a planner then we've got good news for you; grab your 2018 diaries and a cup of tea and make note of the fantastic calendar we have in store for you next year!
With members' parties, fireworks, BBQs, fishing competitions, classic car shows, boat shows and open air cinemas, there's plenty for everyone! What's more, even when there isn't a dedicated event on there's always plenty to enjoy in your local MDL marina, so if you ever find yourself at a loose end, it's always worth heading to your boat to see what's on.
See what events are happening at your local marina below, with your downloadable social calendar for 2018, or see what's happening around the network to plan your weekend trips away!
MDL Marinas has launched a unique integrated partnership with leading online boat accommodation platform, Beds on Board, marking its continued position as a pioneer within the marine industry.
In a world-first tie-up between a marina group and a sharing economy platform, the exclusive partnership will provide MDL’s members with a fully managed service to rent out accommodation on their yachts. The platform allows holidaymakers to access unique getaway experiences in unrivalled locations across Europe, whilst offering the boat owner a tried and tested model through which to securely rent out their vessel.
Dean Smith, Commercial Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “Within the tourism industry there is a growing appetite for alternative, unique accommodation and we’re thrilled to offer our members access to this audience through our partnership with Beds on Board. The platform will offer our members a hassle-free, safe and fully-managed approach to book out accommodation on their yachts, helping our members to create additional value through their boat ownership.
“At MDL Marinas our unshakeable benchmark is to maintain a leading position within the industry, so it is essential we continue to evolve and provide access to services such as Beds on Board. Our dynamic network of marinas across the UK and Europe are situated in a variety of stunning locations, affording users of Beds on Board the opportunity to experience a stay on the water and see the local area from a novel perspective.”
Launching in 2015, Beds on Board is a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows owners to rent their boat to guests looking for an alternative to traditional accommodation, such as hotels and bed & breakfasts. Users of the site can search for boats in their desired location, before chatting to the owner through a secure Message Centre. After a stay, both the user and owner are encouraged to write reviews in order to grow trust and the community.
Co-founder of Beds on Board, Jason Ludlow, added: “This exciting partnership shows our commitment to working with the marine industry to help grow the boating community and to help owners offset their costs. We’re looking forward to working with MDL to offer their members a managed solution for renting their boat on bedsonboard.com.”
Existing MDL members can list their boats at bedsonboard.com.
In Autumn 2018, MDL Marinas launched a new development of beautiful bespoke lodges at Woolverstone Marina near Ipswich. The luxury lodges offer another aspect to enjoy this marina on dry-land, further extending its appeal as a destination for both on-water and land leisure pursuits.
Woolverstone Lodge Park is set in 22 acres of stunning parkland on the River Orwell and the new lodges are set to complete the Park’s premium leisure offering. The beautiful space has been used to open up the marina to new visitors, ideal for those looking for a family-friendly retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Woolverstone Marina itself provides abundant sailing opportunities, hosting 235 berths, first-class facilities and on-site chandlery.
The new lodges are individually designed to offer an exclusive experience. Clover Lodges, with their clean, modern aesthetic and open plan living space, provide accommodation for four guests and include a woodland balcony and outdoor hot tub. Fern and Willow Lodges also sleep up to four guests and feature spacious living and dining areas, providing a beautiful and relaxed environment, whilst still benefiting from the modern luxuries of free Wifi, multi-channel TV and the latest appliances.
Dean Smith, Commercial Director, MDL Marinas, said: “With Woolverstone Lodge Park’s new offering officially open, we're delighted to reveal the stunning lodges, which are ideal for those looking for a taste of the outdoors with a touch of luxury. Anyone looking to book a break at the retreat should get in touch with the Woolverstone Marina team now to reserve your accommodation.
“Vistors looking to make the most of the waterfront location will be able to enjoy a plethora of water sport activities, including yacht charters and an RYA accredited sailing school for both sailboat and powerboat courses. For those who like to keep their feet firmly on dry land there are beautiful walks in the area, as well as cultural attractions to take in locally. There are also plenty of on-site activities for our younger guests, including a children’s play area and many family-friendly walking and cycling trails. Offering culinary delights and a wonderful place to chill, the Riverside Bar and Restaurant also provides stunning views across the water.”
The significant investment in Woolverstone Lodge Park forms part of the ongoing strategy at MDL Marinas to evolve its enviable network of marinas not just into fantastic sailing venues, but also ultimate leisure destinations that offer a wealth of on-water and on-land activities for everyone to enjoy.