Caravans & Campings

Going back to basic in the UK

Caravans & Campings

The UK has around 3,500 licensed caravan (trailer), chalet and camping parks, 2,600 of which are graded under a quality scheme operated by the British Holiday and Home Parks Association ( and the National Caravan Council ( in co-operation with local tourist boards.

The system used is similar to that for rating hotels, but with as much emphasis on quality as the number of facilities provided. A database of these inspected sites can be found at . In addition to the main caravan parks, the Camping and Caravanning Club maintains a list of over 1,260 certificated locations, which are generally small and secluded camps often located in the grounds of a house or farm. Permission is required to camp anywhere outside official sites.

The cost of parking a touring caravan is from around £8 to £12 a night or from around £8 to £10 for motor caravans, depending on their length and the particular caravan park. The cost of pitching a tent at a camping site is usually from £5 to £8 a night, again depending on the tent size and the site. Many caravan parks also have static caravans that can be hired for £100 to £450 a week, depending on the size, amenities and number of berths required. In addition to buying your own caravan, which costs anything from £5,500 to £25,000 depending on its size (e.g. two to six-berths), build quality and fittings, you can also hire touring caravans in all areas.

Whether you own or hire a caravan, ensure that it’s roadworthy, as over half are found to have faults in police spot checks. Campers must have a Federation Internationale de Camping et de Caravanning (FICC) camping carnet, which covers them for £100,000 against third party risks. It can be purchased for £4.75 from camping and caravanning organisations. A similar card is available from the Caravan Club under a slightly different name – the international camping card – and at a slightly higher price.

The AA publishes Camping & Caravanning in Britain and Ireland and Visit Britain’s Where to Stay series of guides includes Camping & Caravan Parks in Britain, listing over 700 parks throughout the country. Other books on the subject are Camping Caravanning Britain by George Gurney (Mirador) and International Camping and Caravanning Guide to Great Britain 2004 by Dudley Scarff (CMP). Some English regional tourist boards also publish touring caravan and camping guides for their areas. A number of magazines for caravanners, motor caravanners and outdoorsmen are published in the UK, including Practical Caravan, Motor Caravan and Trail.

Various organisations for caravanners and motor caravanners exist, among them Camping and Caravanning Club, Greenfields House, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8JH (0845-130 7631, ), the Motor Caravanners’ Club Ltd, Freepost (TK 1292), Twickenham TW2 5BR, (020-8893 3883, ) and the National Caravan Council Ltd, Catherine House, Victoria Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 1SS (01252-318 251, ).

This article is an extract from Living and working in Britain. Click here to get a copy now.

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