Welcome back to the Adrian Flux Caravan Week. Today, on day four of our run-through of caravan top tips, we’ll be looking at how to pick the ideal campsite.
No matter how long you spend preparing for your holiday, all of your work buying and furnishing the perfect caravan will have gone to waste if you can’t find somewhere nice to make camp.
There is a huge range of campsites out there to suit practically any sort of holiday, from woodland retreats to seaside villages, family-focused holiday parks to mountaintop hideaways – so you’re sure to be able to find somewhere you like.
The perfect campsite is an illusive and subjective thing – one camper might love the tranquility of rural sites whilst another wants family entertainment and nearby shopping centres.
The first step to finding your ideal site is deciding what kind of holiday you want to go on – the locations for shopping city breaks and relaxing beach holidays are worlds apart.
Once you know roughly what area you want to stay in, consider campsite amenities. Some sites are nothing more than an empty field, whilst others house their own fully stocked supermarkets and restaurants. You get what you pay for, of course, but better-equipped sites can make your holiday much more comfortable.
The type of holiday you have in mind will determine the size of campsite you choose too. Small, privately-owned sites might be more picturesque and relaxing, but with fewer facilities, whilst larger sites might be better equipped, balanced by being busier and louder.
There are all sorts of caravan and campsite directories available, both online and as books and catalogues – perfect for taking with you when travelling. Guides will usually let you sort campsites by facilities, location and size, enabling you to shortlist a few favourites to visit in the future.
One of the best campsite directories is available from the Camping and Caravanning Club – head over to the Site Seeker to check it out.
It can be temping to camp on private land, outside of campsites – often just in fields, on tracks or farms. Whilst this is legal in some countries, in the UK you need to make sure you have the landowner’s permission before you set up camp, and failure to get it can land you in serious trouble.
On arrival at your campsite of choice, you might be given the chance to pick where you want to park your caravan. Some sites may not give you a choice, and in those cases you’ll just have to hope they chose well, but here are a few tips for picking your own when you can:
- Facilities – Think about whether you want to be sited close to the campsite’s facilities or not. Being near to the toilets or the shops might be more convenient, but can mean more people walking near your pitch, and more noise late into the night
- Flat Ground – It’s fairly simple to get your caravan level, no matter where you park it, but choosing a flat pitch will help prevent rain water running into your pitch when the weather turns bad
- Clear Ground – If you’re thinking of setting up a small tent or seating area on your pitch you’ll need to make sure the ground is clear of stones, food waste, discarded pegs and other rubbish
- Roads – It might make it easier to manoeuvre in and out of your pitch, but being next to a road could mean tolerating traffic at all hours of the day and night as other campers come and go
- Natural Shelter – Trees, hedges and hills all provide natural shelter from wind and rain, but come with some downsides too. Watch out for camping under trees in a storm, and remember that hills could direct rainfall your way!
- Insider Info – If you get the chance, ask other campers which pitch they think is best. It’s unlikely that you’ll get the chance to ask anyone when you arrive, but look online for reviews before you set off; people often give tips on the best pitches to choose
Have you got any tips and tricks for campsite and pitch selection? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.
Check back tomorrow when we’ll be taking a look at some of the most frequently asked questions in caravanning!