One of the mantras you’ll hear repeated by slow travel advocates is that the best way to really get a feel for a place is to get away from the well-beaten path that most visitors take. It’s that “less traveled” road that poet Robert Frost talked about, except that the “less traveled” road in question may be quite well-traveled, indeed – the difference is that it’s busy with locals rather than foreign visitors.
For some, getting “off the beaten path” means getting away from as many encounters with other people as possible. For others, the goal is simply to avoid becoming one of the sheep in a herd of tourists shuffling from one attraction to another. If you’re in the latter group, then traveling like the locals travel is an easy way to go. What the locals are doing, often, is camping and cheap caravan holidays in the UK… in their own country. For you, there’s an existing travel infrastructure in place and plenty of locals to learn from.
A Caravan is an RV
In the UK, one of the best ways to travel the countryside like a local is to rent a “caravan” (that’s a camper or RV to those of us in the USA). Exploring the beautiful hills and dales by caravan is one of the most popular ways to spend a holiday in the country if you live in England, and it’s easy to jump in if you’re coming in from another country. There’s a network of campgrounds all over the country designed to accommodate caravans and plenty of interesting roads that wind through landscapes that will make you feel like you’re worlds away from the hustle and bustle of cities like London.
Driving on the Left
One major thing to be prepared for if you’re thinking about taking a camping holiday in the UK is the driving – if you’re not accustomed to driving on the left-hand side of the road, it can take some getting used to. Couple this with pulling a camper behind your car for the first time and you’ve got lots of potential travel mishaps on your hands. This may be one of the times when getting the additional insurance offered by the car rental agency isn’t such a bad idea, after all.
Here are a few more things to know if you’re going to rent a caravan to go camping around the UK:
You may have heard about how anyone can go walking on footpaths in England, even if they go through private property, but the same leniency doesn’t apply to camping. “Wild camping,” as it’s known, is illegal in England and Wales (it’s legal in Scotland). To be legal, you need to camp in established campgrounds or ask a landowner’s permission to camp on his/her private property.
Some caravan parks are “adults only,” but that doesn’t mean anything untoward. It simply means that if you’re not keen on having your tranquility interrupted by the squeals of happy children on holiday, an “adults only” park is what you want to look for.
If pulling your own camper around sounds like one hurdle too far for you, never fear – there are plenty of campgrounds in the UK that have the structures set up for you (things like yurts, cabins, and even tipis) so all you need to do is show up.
Where to Go
Among the more popular areas to park a caravan in the UK are:
- Cornwall – Cornwall is the county that occupies the southwest tip of England, and its beautiful landscapes both along the coast and inland combine to make it one of the more popular camping areas in the UK. It’s easy to reach from major area airports, and historic attractions add to Cornwall’s appeal as a tourist destination. Caravan parks in Cornwall include Trethem Mill Touring Park, Bay View Farm, and Beacon Cottage Farm.
- Cumbria – Cumbria is located in the northwest of England, right on the border with Scotland. One of the most popular tourist destinations in England is in Cumbria – the Lake District – which is also an attractive camping destination. It’s a county of both lakes and mountains, so although there are plenty of charming cities and towns to explore, there are also more remote areas where you can enjoy the great outdoors. Caravan parks in Cumbria include Park Cliffe Caravan Park, Castlerigg Hall, and Low Wray.
- Yorkshire – Yorkshire is England’s largest county, lying in the north and bordering the eastern coast. In addition to major cities like York, Leeds, and Sheffield, Yorkshire is also home to quite large areas of countryside, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. These areas are excellent for camping. Caravan parks in Yorkshire include Far Grange Park, Lebberston Touring Park, Vale of Pickering Caravan Park, and Hooks House Farm.
- Scotland – As mentioned, “wild camping” is legal in Scotland. Couple this with the vast open spaces in Scotland and it’s no wonder it’s such a popular destination for outdoorsy types – including caravan campers. The further north you go, the more unpredictable the weather can be, so the camping season in Scotland (when you can expect good weather) is fairly short. Still, if you really want to get away, this is a good place to do it. Caravan parks in Scotland include Invercauld Caravan Club Site (Aberdeenshire), Glenbrittle Campsite (Isle of Skye), Camusdarach (Inverness-shire), and Caolasnacon (Argyll).
Best Caravan Campgrounds in UK National Park
There are 15 different national parks in the UK, most of which have campgrounds. Some of the most popular campgrounds include:
- Pencelli Castle Caravan and Camping Park, Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales
- Cloud Farm, Exmoor National Park in Devon
- Yurts at Borrowdale, Lake District National Park in Cumbria
- Roundhill campsite, New Forest National Park in South East England
- Yurts at Wild Northumbrian, Northumberland National Park
- Vintage caravans at La Rosa Campsite, North York Moors National Park
- Upper Booth Farm, Peak District National Park in Derbyshire
- Yurts at Trellyn Woodland, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales
- Tan Aeldroch Farm (Camp Snowdonia), Snowdonia National Park in North Wales
- Rukins campsite, Yorkshire Dales National Park
Wherever you explore in the UK, I hope you find your quiet spot to explore.
This article was written for Caravan Club who sell caravan insurance. – http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/insurance-and-finance/insurance/touring-caravan-insurance/