Caravan sites for real ale lovers
You've arrived at the caravan site, you've pitched up, and it's time to kick back and enjoy the holiday. After all, with your caravan insurance through Shield Total Insurance, you have nothing to worry about and you’re free to relax and do whatever you like.
One of the benefits of staying on a campsite is that, often, they are located within easy reach of useful amenities, such as a supermarket, post office or the delightful beer garden of a village pub. Here you can soak in local life and spend an idle hour or two putting the world to rights with the sun beating down on your neck and a delicious pint of golden ale in your hand. Or just as good - some might say even better - what about next to a blazing log fire in the cosy lounge of a country pub out in the wilderness, watching snowflakes fall ‘o’er hills and dales’…again with a delicious pint of golden ale in your hand.
You may have noticed a bit of a theme here. Alongside outdoor activities and sightseeing, liquid refreshment forms an important part of many people's holidays and we’re not just talking about tea. Unlike package holidays, where the only option is often a faceless hotel bar, the beauty of caravanning is that you can stay within a short stagger of some of Britain's greatest real ale pubs.
Caravanning - mine's a pint!
The Drunken Duck in Barngates, near Ambleside in the Lake District, is a destination pub for connoisseurs of fine ale and food. As well as being a pub, restaurant and hotel, it is also home to Barngates Brewery, creators of ales such as Chesters, Westmorland Gold and Tag Lag. The beer is supplied to pubs across the country, but what could be better than sampling the stuff at its source, while looking out over some of the most stunning scenery the UK has to offer? You can also eat in the adjoining restaurant, enjoying locally sourced dishes such as Goosnargh duck breast, braised venison haunch and pork belly with faggot and butternut squash, but make sure you book well in advance, on 01539 436 347.
The Skelwith Fold Caravan Park is just a mile away conveniently situated downhill so you can enjoy the exercise on the way there and let gravity do the work on the inevitably more difficult return journey. The park has 120 touring pitches, all of which are hard standing with electric hook-ups, while the site also offers toilet and shower blocks, laundry facilities, water standpipes, internet access, a shop and even a library. Even more impressively, the pitches are spread across a huge 130 acre woodland site, meaning visitors can not only get genuine privacy but can experience nature up close.
The site is home to deer, red squirrels, badgers, tawny owls, and woodpeckers, and a couple of years ago the makers of Springwatch named it number two on their list of great locations. And if you like the way they do things at the Drunken Duck, you can always visit the owners' alcohol free version - Chester's Cafe, located next to the site. Call the park on 01539 432 277 or e-mail: email@example.com .
The Snowdonia Park, in Waunfawr, Gwynedd, located as the name suggests on the edge of the Welsh national park, offers an even more convenient option for real ale loving caravanners. The centre is both a campsite, open to caravans and motorhomes, and a pub with its own microbrewery. Snowdonia Brewery creates ales such as Snowdonia Gold, Carmen Sutra and Welsh Highland Bitter, all using clear water from the nearby mountains. The pub also serves home cooked food and has a family room and a children's playground outside. The adjoining caravan site offers electric hook-ups and hot showers and is open all year around.
With the foot of Mount Snowdon just four miles away, the site is perfect for walkers, but is also ideal for fishing, golf, and horse riding, as well as being a close base for sites like Caernarfon Castle, The Welsh Highland Railway, and the Lleyn peninsula's sandy beaches. Contact the park on 01286 650 409 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another caravan site favoured by those who appreciate an adept mix of malt and hops is Callow Top Holiday Park, near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, where Haywood Bad Ram brew on site. Their Dr Johnson ale won a gold medal at the UK Beer Festival, and alongside their Callow Top IPA, it was featured in last year’s Best Bottled Beer Guide, published by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The brewery, which is currently being adapted to use natural spring water, isn’t even the first on the site, as The Callow Inn was originally a drover’s inn that brewed beer with malted barley before the days when hops were used in Britain.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the site comes with excellent facilities – including pool tables, an amusement arcade, and swimming and paddling pools. There’s also bike hire and great opportunities for fishing and walking among the beautiful Peak District setting. Call 01335 344 020 or e-mail email@example.com.
If scrumpy farmhouse cider’s your thing, then you should point your caravan towards the south west. The Square and Compass in the excellently-named Worth Matravers near Swanage in Dorset is a beautiful old pub which has been in the family for more than a century, and hasn’t changed a lot in that time. You can enjoy that other great south west tradition – the pasty – at an old oak table surrounded by painted wooden panels.
Sitting outside, enjoying the view across fields to the sea, you’ll understand why this pub is so popular with coastal path walkers.You can stay at Tom’s Field in Langton Matravers, which is two miles away along the Priest’s Way. The walk back will probably do you some good. The site, situated in the rolling Purbeck hills, offers great views of Swanage Bay and visitors can even take courses in stone carving at the nearby Bumgate Stone Centre. Call 01929 427 110 for more information.