On The Road: Travel Around The UK In A Campervan
Are you looking for a socially distanced vacation, this summer? Touring the beautiful sights of the Uk with an RV (recreational vehicle) – whether a campervan or a motorhome – is a fabulous holiday idea, after a long period lock-down. The sensation of liberty when hitting the road, stopping for memorable visits and breath-taking sights, and setting camp at your preferred location is unique. It is the perfect way to cut down unnecessary contacts with other travellers and much cheaper and more flexible than booking hotel accommodation.
Rental options in the UK
With UK camping grounds opening on July 4th, you can start planning your holiday tour right away. If you’re a first-timer as a caravan or motorhome vacationer, the best idea is most likely to rent one. There are plenty of options to choose from and you can check out Indie Campers, Just Go, McRent and Camper Rent UK amongst many other rental companies, to compare the offer and rates. If you’d like to try out something a bit more funky and original, take a look at Quirky Campers. Experience your adventure in the fairy-tale-like Vera or the Nordic elegance of Mo to grant your tour a real special flavour!
If you’d like to get a taste of caravan/motorhome living before setting off, get your hands on Renting an RV by Jeff Wildrick or How to live in a van and travel by Mike Hudson. There are also monthly magazines that feature the latest news and keep you up to date on the RV world happenings. The Great British Adventure Map that proposes routes, views, beaches and wild places might also come in handy when planning your trip, although navigating through the routes is certainly best done with nav apps.
Before you start planning
If you are wondering whether your licence is good to tow or drive RV, you need to think about the size of a caravan/motorhome in terms of its weight ratio. If you passed your driving test after 1 January 1997, you’ll be more restricted by your licence when towing above certain weights. Here you can check the licence requirements for different types and sizes of vehicles.
Even if your licence is good to go, driving and parking a motorhome or a caravan is very different from a car, so it might be useful to take a course before hitting the road. There are training courses to boost your manoeuvring confidence and to learn the basics of driving a caravan or a motorhome, organized by the Caravan Club, among other clubs.
The UK Camping and Caravan Club provides handy advice for both arriving at a camping ground as well as setting off to the next destination. Here are other useful tips for first time RV renters.
Where to head
As for the itinerary to choose for your adventure, you can search from a database of thousands of campsites around the UK and plan your route according to the miles and days you are able to spare on four wheels. While on the road, Park4night is a useful, international app that helps you locate the nearest camping grounds, check availability and book your stay. Although to avoid surprises, it is always recommendable to book your pitches in advance.
Seaside family wonders
If you are looking for camping sites by the seaside, Slapton Sands is a family site with sea views and sandy beaches within walking distance. Located on the beautiful South Devon Heritage Coast, the Slapton Sands campsite offers a quiet, rural setting. Lined by trees and flanked by rolling countryside, this campsite is the place to sit back and enjoy the views.
The freshwater lagoon Slapton Ley is separated from the sea by Slapton Sands Beach and is set within a National Nature Reserve. There are many walks and trails around the reserve offers the possibility to observe birds and wildlife. To the north of Slapton Sands, the Blue Flag Award-winning Blackpool Sands awaits. Backed by evergreens and scented pines, this stretch of golden sands has a real Mediterranean feel.
Off-site there are plenty of coastal walks to enjoy including to Beesands and Hallsands. Slapton Sands Beach is a few minutes’ walk from the campsite, ideal for families and water sport enthusiasts can enjoy surfing, windsurfing and canoeing.
Another popular seaside location is Scarborough. The beach is a short cliff-top walk from the campsite, while the town of Scarborough, which has two sandy bays divided by the castle headland, is just 1.5 miles away from the site. Scarborough is a spacious site with well-placed facility blocks.
The town’s attractions include the dramatic ruins of a 12th-century castle, the Sea Life & Marine Sanctuary, a miniature railway, Peasholm Park and the Alpamare Water Park. Nearby at Wykeham Lakes is the newly opened Aqua Park. Local walking options include the Cleveland Way National Trail, the North Yorkshire Moors National Park or you can view seabirds such as puffins and gannets at the RSPB nature reserve at Bempton Cliffs. Local cycling options include the ‘Cinder Track’ which runs from Scarborough to Whitby.
Camping in the forest
If you’d prefer a forest setting for at least some of your stops, Hollands Wood Campsite is set amongst 22 hectares of beautiful oak woodland – the ideal backdrop for relaxation or an action-packed break. You can visit Hurst Castle, a fortress built by Henry VIII and take your family to Paultons theme park, home of Peppa Pig. At nearby Brockenhurst, there are several restaurants and bars.
Some touring ideas
For a true change of scenery, there are beautiful camping sites on the Scottish Highlands and the coastline of Wales. There are also hundreds of ready-planned tours that you can follow fully or adapt to your needs. If you crave for some culture, this 330 mile tour guides you through the Neolithic village of Stonehenge, the Roman baths of Bath and Shakespeare’s Birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Should you have full 3 weeks of holiday, it is worth trying this ambitious 21-day-tour proposed by JustGo UK. It leaves from London, passes through Wales and reaches all the way to Inverness, visiting 17 different locations altogether. Naturally, you can do only parts of the tour as well or build the perfect combination for your family of the many suggested sites. Most travellers get excited about the prospect of a road trip, and for good reason. There are some things you just don’t get to see unless you hop in a campervan and drive out there.