Caravanning is the original glamping. And if you haven’t stayed in a cosy, comfortable caravan then you’ve missed a treat. Caravans are as English as fish and chips and much improved since the cheap and cheerful holidays of the past, but with the same endearing charm. Caravan holidays are the easiest and most cost-effective way to explore the UK either for a short break, a long weekend or an even longer holiday - and a lot more comfortable than camping in a tent! Here's why we love caravanning and the new ultra-cool caravan parks.
Classic family Caravan Holidays
Last year, two million Brits booked to stay in a static caravan in a caravan park. I've done it myself with two young children and have found low-cost caravan holidays a great way to enjoy a beautiful change of scenery near gorgeous coastlines and stunning countryside with everything I need to feed and entertain us all. Staying in a brilliantly located caravan park or one with on-site facilities from water parks to restaurants and a little local shop has meant that once we’re there we don’t have to travel unless there's something worth going to see. We would go swimming all morning and then come back to enjoy a light lunch before heading out to the beach or to visit nearby attractions. Renting a static caravan for the week rather than owning a camper van also means that you can try somewhere new each time and upgrade to a bigger or better model if you so wish.
The luxury caravans of today are vastly different to the models of our parent's and grandparent’s era, and filled with all the latest mod cons, from flat-screen TVs with surround sound to private hot tubs. Many offer incredible panoramic coastal or countryside views and some are also pet-friendly. Most modern holiday parks feature indoor and outdoor swimming pools and many also have leisure centres and additional spa facilities like the amazing Snowdonia Holiday Park in the foothills of Snowdonia in Wales which boasts a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool and a luxury spa with beauty lounge plus a hydrotherapy pool, tepidarium and rainforest shower. A world away from the basic shower blocks of the old-fashioned camping sites of yesteryear. Today's caravans are quiet and warm with double glazing, a fireplace in most living areas, a veranda with garden furniture for eating al fresco and some have stylish bedrooms with beautiful views.
Most caravan parks have on-site activities and entertainment offering live music and comedy acts or quiz nights while others are conveniently located right next to circular walking trails for avid coast or countryside explorers with wonderful traditional old country pubs en-route. With children’s adventure playgrounds and indoor soft play for younger children, they are also an ideal home-from-home for young families. At Isle of Wight Holiday Park on the Isle of Wight, you can enjoy live music, comedy and magic shows, have fun with karaoke or enjoy outdoor activities for all the family from geocaching and body zorbing to treasure hunting. The lakes offer the ideal opportunity to try watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.
For many of us, part of the simple joy of a caravan holiday is in the little tables, the fixed sofas and the cute curtains that remind us of childhood adventures. It's almost like having a giant Wendy House to play in all over again.
DISABLED ACCESS CARAVANS
For holidaymakers with wheelchairs or disabilities, there are caravans with extra-wide walkways and a ramp to the door that also feature other useful additions to the bedrooms and bathrooms to make a holiday more comfortable for everyone.
This 2-bed caravan at Isle of Wight Holiday Park on the Isle of Wight has been designed with extra accessibility for anyone with mobility issues. The master bedroom contains a double bed with a hoist and an en-suite toilet and there's also a large wet room with grab bars for extra safety.
THE ULTIMATE LOW-COST SELF-CATERING HOLIDAY
There are plenty of choices when it comes to self-catering holiday homes in the UK, from pretty country holiday cottages to seafront safari tents but they don't give the classic cosy caravan feel. Luxury high-end caravans feature kitchens you will want to spend time cooking in and a dining table and chairs worthy of a stylish dinner party.
A basic caravan will offer everything you need for a low-cost self-catering holiday so you can bring ingredients to cook up a hearty meal each night and enjoy a snack on your veranda on the days you don’t eat out. Groups of friends or family on holiday together might like to rent adjacent caravans and meet up for dinner each night. And if you're looking for the ultimate secluded holiday for two in an old fashioned shepherd's hut style caravan in the woods then the delightful Chez Marguerite in Norfolk is for you.
TOP CARAVAN PARKS IN THE UK
For more inspiration, here is our hand-picked collection of the coolest caravan parks by destination in the UK:
An award-winning holiday park close to the popular seaside town of Newquay, not far from the beautiful Crantock Beach.
A 5-star holiday park situated next to the beach just outside St. Austell, one of Cornwall's largest towns.
Ideally situated just a 5-minute drive from the beautiful beaches of Bude in North Cornwall.
A peaceful rural setting that's just a short drive from beautiful Fistral Beach near Newquay.
Set in an elevated position for spectacular views across the Peak District National Park and ideal for walkers with the Tissington Trail route on the doorstep.
Offering superb views of the lake and located in the centre of the island making it a great base for exploring all the local attractions.
Peaceful and secluded set within 14 acres of picturesque grounds and lakes within the Lincolnshire countryside and not far from the seaside town of Skegness.
Situated just a couple of miles from the traditional seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea and ideally placed for exploring Cheddar Gorge and its show caves and Wookey Hole.
Lying in the foothills of Snowdonia, this is a 5-star resort offering lake and mountain views and a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pools and a luxury spa.
Set in an unbeatable location between the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the spectacular Yorkshire Dales, this is the perfect place for a walking holiday.
While caravan holidays will always be one of the best options for anyone on a budget, the luxury caravans of today with private hot tubs and amazing views have to be seen to be believed. Contemporary holiday parks with beautiful surroundings have taken caravanning to a whole new level. It's time to go caravanning!