British motor racing legend Nigel Mansell has agreed to return to the Cambrian Coast caravan park where he has holidayed since childhood to open a new £700,000 restaurant and bar.
Work has taken place over the winter to transform a former bar to a quality venue, renamed Nineteen57, in keeping with the other luxury five star facilities at Islawrffordd Caravan Park at Talybont, near Barmouth.
Mansell, who has holidayed at the park since he was four years old and still has a caravan holiday home there, is a close family friend of the owners, Gwynfor Evans and his sons, Dylan and Geraint. Gwynfor actually lays claim to starting Mansell on the road to motor racing star by starting him go-karting.
“Very few people can say that they have been coming to the same place for 55 years and I am so proud of what the Evans family has achieved,” Mansell told guests at the park’s 55th birthday party in 2011. “What they have done every year is improve the quality of the park.
“I love coming here to relax, play a bit of golf at Harlech on one of the best courses in the country and to take in the wonderful walks and beaches. My family likes the total freedom that caravanning offers.”
He will officially open Nineteen57 on a date to be confirmed in June. The new facility has a 40-cover fine dining restaurant and a bar area that will comfortably seat 90 people.
The new chef manager is Sion Wellings, who has worked at Portmeirion Hotel and he will be assisted by his parents, Paul and Iola Wellings.
“Following feedback from holiday home owners and visitors to the park, we decided last year that the former Henry’s Bar, which was looking tired after 20 years, needed an upgrade,” explained John Billingham, the park’s business manager.
“Our customers were looking for a nice place to eat and drink, which was in keeping with the park’s high quality facilities. We are delighted with the finished result and all the feedback from owners on the park and visitors has been very encouraging.
“The new restaurant and bar, which will be open all year round, has created 20 full and part-time jobs, provided work over the winter for local tradesmen and we are delighted that local people are using the facilities.”
The 25-acre park, which has recently received a Gold 5 Pennant award from the AA, has 200 caravan holiday homes, 75 fully serviced, hard standing pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes and 30 tent pitches.
The park’s facilities include a swimming pool complex with a jacuzzi, sauna and luxury toilet block and an entertainment complex. The Evans family has invested more than £3 million in the park over the past 11 years, including around £100,000 in repairing sea defences after last winter’s storms.