Delightful caravan destinations
A touring caravan is like having your own hotel on wheels; a comfortable bed and roof over your head whenever you need it and, if you get the right travelling partner, you can even enjoy 24/7 room service!
Pack it up with life’s holiday essentials (as well as lots of little things you don’t really need but that might be useful) and, once armed with a comprehensive caravan insurance policy from Shield Total Insurance, hit the road!
The only question is – where do you head to first?
For inspiration, here’s a look at four classic destinations, which may have a little more on offer than you first thought.
England’s wild western county has lost none of its charm, with something to offer every type of holidaymaker.
Thrill seekers can make their way to Newquay to squeeze into a wetsuit and try their hand at surfing; hikers and mountain bikers can go in search of an elusive giant cat on Bodmin Moor, while those seeking stunning scenery will be in their element with the dramatic cliffs of the Lizard Peninsula and the mysterious standing stones of West Penwith.
If you prefer a more sedate kind of holiday you won’t be disappointed either. From the giant greenhouses of the Eden Project to the giant rhododendrons of Trebah, Cornwall is home to some of Britain’s most jaw-dropping gardens, while St Ives is a haven for art lovers and the extravagant estates of Cotehele and Lanhydrock will please history buffs.
Food lovers will also find Cornwall offers an embarrassment of riches. The county is not only loved by celebrity chefs – with Rick Stein’s numerous eateries in Padstow and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall in Watergate Bay – but yields exquisite local fare such as oysters from the River Helford, home grown British wine from the Camel Valley, fresh fish and of course, the legendary Cornish pasty.
Caravanners can take their pick from a wide range of sites including the child-friendly Tollgate Farm Touring Park (01872 572 130) near Perranporth on the north coast, Padstow Touring Park (01841 532 061) or the family-run Kelynack Caravan and Camping Park (01736 787633) near St Just.
While its southwest neighbours Cornwall and Devon often hog much of the limelight, Dorset is a county that should not be ignored.
Dorset’s coastline is its big draw – from the 185 million-year-old Jurassic Coast, to impressive stone stacks such as Durdle Door to quaint villages such as Lulworth Cove and Lyme Regis, to the Georgian seaside town of Weymouth, hosting the sailing events at next year’s Olympics.
Eating high tea at the Portland Heights Hotel while looking down on the view across the giant pebble ridge of Chesil Beach is an experience that epitomises the typical English holiday. And there is plenty more on offer further inland, with charming towns such as Sherborne and Dorchester, the romantically ruined Corfe Castle and the cheeky Cerne Giant.
Stay at Lulworth’s Durdle Door Holiday Park (01929 400 200), with its incredible sea views, Beacon Hill (01202 631 631) on the outskirts of sophisticated town of Poole, or the Warmwell Caravan Park (01305 852 313) near Dorchester.
Superlatives seem to spring to mind while describing the Lake District. England’s largest national park contains its highest mountain – Skafell Pike – and its deepest lake – Wastwater.
The lakes is a climbers’ paradise, with many flocking to this region to see some of the most dramatic landscape England has to offer, and some making an obsession out of ‘bagging’ every one of the 358 fells listed by Alfred Wainwright – from advanced peaks such as Helvellyn and Skiddaw to gentler slops like Humphrey Head and Raven’s Barrow.
Non-walkers may prefer to take to the water, with opportunities such as sailing, water skiing, kayaking or windsurfing available on many of the lakes. Those who’d prefer to let others do all the hard work may prefer to take a pleasure cruise, such as on the Ullswater Steamer.
For an even gentler alternative, visitors can delve into the region’s rich literary history at Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery off the A591 near Grasmere.
Those looking to replenish calories they’ve burned while hiking across the fells could treat themselves to a meal in one of the area’s many excellent eateries, such as the Drunken Duck Inn and Restaurant at Barngates, which contains a bar selling beer brewed on site, or the Michelin-starred Gilpin Lodge in Windermere. Visitors are advised to book in advance.
Caravanners should head to the 130-acre family park of Skelwith Fold (01539 432 277) just over a mile outside Ambleside, Park Foot (01768 486 309), which offers a private beach on Lake Ullswater, or Hill of Oaks Lodge and Caravan Park (01539 531 578) set amid ancient woodland along a mile of Lake Windermere’s shoreline.
The Harry Potter films and an ambitious marketing campaign may have done their bit to put Northumberland on the tourist map, but this still remains one of the most tragically overlooked counties in England, particularly by those who rush through it on their way up the A1 to Scotland.
This hidden gem is a haven for walkers, with the beautiful Cheviot Hills and St Cuthbert’s Way, as well as unspoilt beaches at Bamburgh and Cocklawburn. Nature lovers should take the short boat trip from the port of Seahouses to the Farne Islands, where close encounters with seals and puffins are guaranteed.
Fans of a certain young magician will be familiar with Alnwick Castle, which was used for interior and exterior shots of Hogwarts School, but this once volatile border region is brimming with history.
The countryside is littered with ancient battlefields, while the stunning tidal island of Lindisfarne is the only place in the UK where three castles can be seen in the same view. And at the stately home of Cragside, visitors can wander around the first building in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power.
Caravanners should head to the Border Forest Park (01830 520 259), well within the Northumberland National Park in Otterburn, the Seafield Caravan Park (01665 720 628) in Seahouses or the Demesne Farm Campsite and Bunkhouse (01434 220 258) near Bellingham.
And of course, the journey doesn’t just end there. The beauty of caravanning is its lack of limitations. If you have half-decent sea legs and are able to make it to Holyhead, Liverpool or Stranraer, then Ireland is only a short hop away.
And of course, if you can get to Dover, Hull or Portsmouth then it’s only a short ferry ride to reach all the delights that Continental Europe has to offer. But that is another adventure altogether...