Winter caravan sites and destinations
To the uninitiated, caravanning may seem like an activity that is restricted by the seasons. After all, it’s all about the great outdoor life, days on the beach and barbeques. Surely, come the change of season, all that is required is to lock the caravan, check its fully covered by Shield's caravan insurance and start planning next summers great adventures. After all, where’s the fun in staying on a caravan site when it’s so cold there is frost on the ground?
If this is your point of view then its time to think again! The beauty of caravanning is that you are only limited by your sense of adventure – not the months of the year that you can go away in your trusty hotel on wheels.
After all, what could be more magical than eating a warm mince pie whilst watching the snow settle from the comfort of your own caravan, or wandering down a frosty country lane to find a roaring log fire awaiting you at a friendly local pub.
Caravanning in winter
The attractions of winter caravanning are many and varied. Caravan insulation and heating systems are so much better these days and a lot of campsites are now geared up for the all year round caravanner.
As long as you prepare your caravan properly for the colder months, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to go away in it 52 weeks of the year.
The Sandy Balls Holiday Centre (www.sandyballs.co.uk tel 0845 270 2248) near Godshill in Hampshire’s New Forest National Park, is one of many in the country that is open from 1st January right up until 31st December.
The five-star site offers luxury woodland lodges as well as touring pitches and a range of activities from horse riding to archery and laser clay pigeon shooting.
If you get exhausted by the activities offered on the site, nearby attractions include the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, Portsmouth’s historic dockyard or Peppa Pig World to keep younger visitors happy.
Winter in the UK is certainly not a time when the fun stops with many interesting festivals and events taking place during the chillier months – and caravanning can provide the ideal opportunity to visit them.
The Jorvik Viking Festival in York is a celebration of the historic city’s Norse past, and is set to take place from 16th - 24th February. Established in 1985, the annual festival sees hundreds of armour-clad Vikings descend onto the city for events including music, story telling, arts and crafts, and battle re-enactments culminating in a spectacular burning of a longboat along the River Ouse.
The Willow House Caravan Park (www.willowhouseyork.co.uk tel 01904 750 060), also open all year round, would be a perfect place to stay while watching the festival, as it’s based just three miles outside of the city centre close to a Park and Ride.
Despite its close proximity, the site offers plenty of peace and quiet, as well as coarse fishing in a private lake stocked with carp, roach and bream.
Caravanning - the ultimate winter warmer
Of course, the most famous festival of them all takes place in the deep midwinter, and caravanning also allows you to enjoy some of the magic of Christmas.
In recent years, towns and cities across the UK have been transforming their centres into winter wonderlands by hosting German-style markets during the festive period.
Bath’s Christmas market, running from 22 November until 9 December this year, will see traditional wooden chalets adorn the streets offering everything from handmade gifts to clothing and of course delicious food and mulled wine.
The Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park (www.bathchewvalley.co.uk 01275 332 127) in nearby Bishop Sutton is open all year around, with newly refurbished toilets and showers that are heated throughout the winter. It is set within a country park popular with bird watchers and walkers and is also next to a fly-fishing lake.
But it’s not all just about cosiness and relaxation. Winter caravan getaways also offer something for the adrenaline junky.
November, for example, is one of the windiest months in South Wales and so is the ideal time to head over there and try your hand at land yatching along Carmarthenshire’s Pendine Sands.
Participants sit in wheeled buggies beneath huge sails that propel them across the beach at exhilarating speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Obviously this isn’t an activity you’d want to try without expert supervision, so contact an organised group such as Morfa Bay Adventure (www.morfabay.com) for more information.
Nearby caravan sites, such as The Wern Inn (01267 241 678) and Marros Church Farm (01994 453258) are open all year around.
Take your caravan out a few times over the winter, and you’ll soon discover it can be just as much of an adventure as it is in the summer.