A little bit of history about the site…

Los Gallardos Leisure is the hugely successful campsite and mobile home park   located in Almeria, southern Spain.

Founded in 1991 by Anthony & Shirley Jackson, Camping Los Gallardos has   developed from a small campsite into a large, self contained leisure park with   many full time residents in their luxurious mobile homes.In 1988 Anthony & Shirley Jackson sold their businesses in England and,   with their two young sons, David & Benjamin,  flew to America for five   months. They bought an American motorhome – a 32 foot Fleetwood Bounder and   during their stay there covered some 12,000 miles visiting 24 states.

At the end of their stay they shipped the ‘Bounder’ back to England and set   off to France with the intention of touring around Europe for another year or   so. However they only made it as far as Mojacar where they fell in love with a   part of Spain which represented all they had imagined Spain and the Spanish   would be like and which visitors to the Costa del Sol or Benidorm totally   miss.

  On the way down through Spain they had noticed that there were a large   number of northern europeans -mostly English, German and Dutch- who had retired   and were spending part of the winter in the spanish sunshine in their campers or   caravans. They also noticed that there were few campsites open in the winter and   those that were were set up for summer campers with pitches of small size   designed for tents and with their facilities only partly functioning.

Anthony & Shirley realised that the number of retired campers would   increase over the next few years and felt that there would be a great demand for   a winter campsite with full facilities. accordingly after finding the Mojacar   area so much to their liking they decided to look for some land to buy. They   didn’t want to be on the coast nor too near to Mojacar itself and after some   searching came across some suitable land near to the small village of Los   Gallardos with excellent access to the main road.  Approximately 10 kilometres   by road from the sea the climate is ideal. The site receives fresh cooling sea   breezes in summer and in  winter is protected to the north and east by   mountains.

Finding and buying the land however was the easy bit and only the first step   on a long, hard road. The next step was to find and architect (easy) and getting   plans drawn up and presented to the various governing bodies. This process was   slow, frustrating and extremely expensive. In all it took two years from buying   the land to the first brick being delivered for work to start. Whilst the local   town hall and mayor were helpful and in favour of the project, the tourist   authority was extremely slow and gave no real support. In fact they took six   months to approve the initial plan. They were also sceptical that a campsite not   on the beach could ever succeed. How times have changed -they now positively   encourage rural camping and small hostels in the mountains and have realised   that the beach oriented tourism of old has its limitations and a short   season.

In July 1991 the building work was finished and final permission to open was   sought from Tourism. No telephone was on site so no licence! Telefonica said   there was no chance of a line but eventually agreed to produce a letter   outlining a quotation for installing a phone (5000pounds) and on this basis   Tourism granted permission to open.

In 2002 we have finally had the telephone lines installed and approximately   70 mobile home owners have their own line. We have had to make do with radio   phones and mobiles but these did not become available until about four years   after the opening.

Anthony & Shirley planted over a thousand trees and hedges but when the   site opened these were young and provided little shade. However they quickly   grew and now the site appears as a green oasis in the surrounding countryside.   The first winter saw a maximum of 13 campers but the restaurant quickly gained   an excellent reputation amongst the residents who live in the area. Shirley   cooked, Anthony did the bar and their son, David, helped man the reception even   though he was only 11. He also waited on tables and at the restaurant’s first   Christmas lunch he looked extremely smart in a bow tie!

During the first winter the campsite was open work started on the new autovia   which passed by the site. the disruption caused by this was prolonged and caused   a lot of problems. The access road changed almost daily and even regular   customers struggled to find the way in. The road authority was most unhelpful   and removed any signs put up to direct people to the entrance. Even to this day   they will not permit a sign from the motorway.

For the first two years the family survived virtually off the bar and   restaurant but gradually the camping site built up. The second winter saw 40   caravans and the third a maximum of 60. as the numbers grew so Anthony &   Shirley were able to improve and finish the site. Each winter they opened up a   further terrace of pitches and put electric to each pitch.

The planned swimming pool had had to be shelved initially due to lack of   funds as had the house so the family was living in two old caravans -one of   which had been donated by some restaurant customers. However Anthony &   Shirley were determined to build a pool for the second summer. A young couple,   Dave and Claire, had arrived in their large motorhome one day on their trip   south and had pulled into the site for an overnight stop. Anthony directed them   onto what he thought was a firm pitch (there had recently been a lot of rain)   only for their motorhome to sink up to it’s axles! An overnight stop turned into   8 months and Anthony & Dave built the swimming pool, finally opening it in   time for the summer season. This proved extremely popular with the locals as   well as the campers.

Another camper who called in and stayed was Les Senior. He was a stalwart for   ten years and even has his portrait hanging in the bar. His work can be seen all   over the site and he made a great contribution to its success. Sadly, Les passed   away shortly after retiring, and there is a memorial seat in his name in front   of the Bar.

The first mobile homes were placed onsite in ’97, and a few regular campers   were the first to buy, in “Las Acaciasâ€�. These were the first mobile homes   available in Almeria, and one of the first in Andalucia.
As the site   slowly grew, it was suggested that the land next to the Bar could be used for   bowling greens. At the time there was a small community of bowlers in the area,   and they pitched in with advice and suggestions. Hence the Almeria Lawn Bowling   Centre was born!

By the year 2000, the original campsite was full. The decision was taken to   adquire the land next to the campsite and dedicate it to just mobile homes. This   was an enormous project, and one that required dedication, hard work, and skill.   However, once it had started the whole concept quickly took off and was soon   very popular – Shirley once sold three new mobiles in a day!

Today, the Los Gallardos Leisure Group has over 250 mobile homes sited, plus   a further 125 caravans in the winter. We have built one of Andalucias largest   and most luxourious mobile home parks, and this is reflected in the value that   these mobile homes retain. We have built a thriving community, where people come   back year after year, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished so far.   We actively support the local community, and feel that we are a cornerstone here   in Los Gallardos. And as for the future? Well, we have several exciting projects   in the pipeline and we look forwards to telling you all about them as they   progress!