Gas hob checks, Coachman price freeze, vintage caravan hotspots, caravan crime busters and other UK caravan news
Here we round up some of the latest caravan-related news stories from across the UK …
Caravanners urged to check their gas hobs
The government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is urgently investigating a range of gas hobs from various suppliers following an explosion and fire in a caravan earlier this year.
Given the potentially very serious nature of any faulty gas appliance – with the risks highest from LPG gas hobs installed in caravans – the OPSS has issued Suspension Notices that have the effect of temporarily banning the supply of the relevant equipment. The manufacturers, too, have agreed to carry out the necessary modifications to the gas hobs in question. The corrective measures mainly call for the replacement of a defective elbow joint in the supply line to the hobs.
So, check the gas hob in your mobile home or motorhome today. Immediately disconnect the appliance from your LPG cylinders if the hob is from one of the following suppliers:
- Statesman Gas Hobs;
- Russell Hobbs Gas Hobs;
- Kitchenplus Gas Hobs;
- Electriq Gas Hobs;
- Cookology Gas Hobs;
- Cooke and Lewis Gas Hobs;
- Cata/Cuilna Gas Hobs;
- Caple Gas Hobs; or
- Belling/Stoves Gas Hobs.
Coachman 2024 price freeze
Wherever you look, all around you, prices are going up. Against a background of relentless increases in the cost of living – not to mention the pleasures of a holiday now and then – it is especially welcome news that Coachman has put the prices of its sought-after caravans on hold.
In an article describing two new layouts of trailers in the Coachman range, Practical Caravan magazine on the 9th of August revealed that the manufacturer would be freezing its 2024 prices at 2023 rates – “for a limited time” at least.
Renowned for the quality of its craftsmanship and innovation of design, the Coachman range has been tailored back just a shade for the new year – with a slightly more restricted choice of models.
Nevertheless, the current attractive price freeze is also accompanied by a free giveaway on each sale of a caravan motor mover from Powrtouch.
Top 10 best vintage caravan stays in the UK revealed
Retro or vintage caravans have become all the rage of late – especially when they are parked up against some of the most bucolic of rural or wooded settings.
Spotting just how popular these camping treats have become, the Guardian newspaper recently published a top ten of the best vintage caravan sites.
The combination of a wild and woolly backwoods plot, with a retro caravan to sleep in, makes for a list of sites as varied as:
- Towed Town Camping, Bristol;
- Tilly, Cornwall;
- Club Jupiter, Kent;
- Cerys, Gwynedd;
- Van Goff, Powys;
- Fishing Hut, Scottish Borders;
- Tina, Highlands;
- The Bluebird Penthouse, Devon;
- The Scrumpling, Somerset; and
- Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans, Herefordshire.
Lincolnshire Police use drones to tackle caravan crime
Every season seems to bring its spate of caravan crime. It’s sad, annoying, and costly for those affected. But this year sees a new weapon in the arsenal of a police force tasked with catching at least some of the wicked culprits.
The BBC revealed that Lincolnshire Police have this year taken to the skies with remote-controlled drones to catch the thieves in a part of the country where some 40% of all residential burglaries are from caravans and other holiday homes.
The new technology has already met with some degree of success, says a spokesman for the force – 30 of the incidents reported to the police so far this year have resulted in arrests.
It’s only an hour or so from London – either by road or rail – but you’ll be entering what seems like a different world completely when you visit Suffolk. A host of varied destinations offer plenty of natural beauty, history, and unique charm.
Bounded by Essex to the south, Norfolk to the north, and Cambridgeshire to the west, Suffolk is an ancient county and the hub for important trade routes across the North Sea on the east coast of England.
Here is our list of the top ten places to visit.
The county town is the most populous and continues to thrive not least because of its proximity to the container ports of Felixstowe and Harwich.
But the town retains an attractive blend of ancient and modern – with a waterfront home to the historic Old Custom House and a vibrant community of cafés, shops, and galleries.
2. Bury St Edmunds
In the rural heartlands of Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds also oozes history in the shape of its medieval abbey, exquisite cathedral, historic architecture, and streets and markets seemingly just made for browsing.
For a more contemporary take on the arts, you’ll not want to miss the charming seaside town of Aldeburgh, which fronts the attractive Suffolk Coast and Heath Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
To catch the famous Aldeburgh Music Festival – which has been staged every year since 1948 – you’ll need to visit in June.
Further north along the coast – but still within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – you may also find time for a leisurely walk along the beach at Southwold, admiring its quirky pier, lighthouse, and jumble of bright beach huts or a stroll through the charming town itself.
5. Framlingham Castle
Just inland from both Aldeburgh and Southwold sits the stunning 12th-century castle of Framlingham.
Set among manicured parkland and a peaceful lake, the castle is extremely well-preserved and will make the perfect day out for the entire family.
6. Sutton Hoo
If your quest for history goes back still further in time, then you’ll certainly not want to miss a visit to the archaeological site of Sutton Hoo – an ancient and fascinating ship burial site from Anglo-Saxon times.
Lavenham is another village imbued with the richness of its very English history – and preserved today in its picturesque collection of timber-framed buildings.
It’ll maybe come as little surprise that Lavenham is frequently acclaimed as Britain’s most perfectly preserved medieval village.
8. Dunwich Beach and Heath
Returning to the Suffolk Coast and Heath Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, probably the best place to appreciate the vibrant landscape of this part of the East of England coastline is at Dunwich Beach and Heath – it’s everything you’d want for picnicking, hiking, or simply relaxing in nature’s glory.
9. Orford Ness National Nature Reserve
An exposed, remote, wild – and once secret – shingle bank just south of Aldeburgh and to the north of the busy shipping lanes around Felixstowe forms the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve.
From the abundance of wildlife and rare flora that makes this one of the most important shingle banks in the world, it is difficult to remember that in its fairly recent past, it was the site for testing Britain’s nuclear weapons.
For the final stop on our list of ten – which is by no means an exhaustive list – let’s take afternoon tea at the café within the ruins of the 13th-century priory at Clare.
Deep in the countryside of Suffolk, this quintessentially English village marks the perfect way to wrap up any day trip.
Although it’s a relatively easy part of the UK to access, Suffolk is often given a miss among those exploring the delights of the country. But the county is most certainly worth a visit – and you may be taken aback by some of the pleasant surprises that lie in store.
Recent figures show that in 2022:
- sales of touring caravans increased by 23.5% compared with the previous years – with a total of 17,639 being sold;
- sales of campervans and motorhomes increased by 12% – to reach a total of 14,074 vehicles sold; and
- there was a 38% increase to a total of 19,624 holiday homes or static caravans sold during 2021.
This increase was undoubtedly fuelled by the pandemic where overseas travel was restricted and staycations came in to their own.
Against this ever-growing popularity then, here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about buying a caravan.
Why buy a caravan?
If you are thinking of buying a touring caravan or a static caravan, you are likely to have one thing in mind – holidays.
Whether it is a tourer or a static holiday home, it makes it so much easier to plan your holidays – and you can set off any time you choose. With a touring caravan, you simply hitch it up behind your car – and follow your planned route to the campsites you’ve booked beforehand. Trips to your holiday home will be to the park or resort you have been to before and have already grown to love.
When you own a caravan, you immediately cut the costs of your holidays at a stroke. For one thing, of course, you no longer have to pay for what is often the most expensive component – your accommodation.
But you might also make savings by having the equipment on which to make your own meals, and also cut the cost of travel from one hotel or bed and breakfast to the next.
If you want to learn more about the relative benefits of owning either a touring caravan or a static holiday home, then look no further than the whole bookcase of easy to read guides we have published.
What do I need to consider when buying a touring caravan?
The frequently asked questions become more detailed, of course, once you have chosen the type of caravan you want to buy. If it is a tourer, for instance, you must consider:
- your budget – and how you plan to finance the purchase of a caravan;
- the size of the touring caravan – typically a balance between the length and spaciousness for comfortable living, yet a sufficiently compact wheelbase to allow easy manoeuvring and parking;
- a welter of caravan and towing measurements – from the weight of the caravan, the kerbweight of the car towing it, the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) of your fully-loaded caravan, together with the trailer’s “noseweight”;
- the category of driving licence you will need – for the majority of caravan weights and sizes, your regular car-driving licence should suffice. You can refer to the Government website as to what driving licence you need in order to tow a caravan;
- suitable touring caravan insurance; and
- your options for storage when your touring caravan is laid up for winter – and the opportunity to take advantage of the insurance premium discounts available (at Cover4Caravans) if you use a storage site authorised by the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA). You can read more about this here Choosing a caravan site (to store your tourer).
Please also refer to our: Cover4Caravans’ Guide to buying a tourer.
What do I need to consider when buying a static home?
If you choose a static home, you have none of the potential worries about learning to tow a caravan behind your car or wondering just where in the country – or abroad – you decide to take your holidays.
A static home is just that. It stays in the one place – somewhere that becomes ever more familiar with each visit and that you look forward to returning to again and again. For that very reason, of course, the location of your holiday home, the part of the country it is in, and the type of amenities offered by the site, park or resort on which it is pitched may become greater considerations than the overall size of the static caravan itself.
Along with that, of course, you also need to choose the park or resort on which the static caravan is berthed. You will be paying for the lease of your pitch, so that is one of the running costs which you need to add to the purchase price of your holiday home when preparing your budget and arranging suitable finance.
Do I have to take the site owner’s insurance?
When it comes to insuring your static home against loss or damage, you are almost certain to be offered an insurance package by the managers or owners of the park or resort on which your static caravan is berthed.
In the vast majority of cases, you are not obliged to buy that insurance but may look for competitively priced static home insurance cover elsewhere. One of the conditions of your lease agreement, however, may be a requirement for adequate third party, owner’s liability indemnity insurance – and you might need to furnish evidence of your having arranged such cover.
Can I live permanently in my static home?
One of the biggest and most frequently asked questions is whether you can live in a static caravan or holiday home all the year round. The answer is almost certainly not. The site on which your holiday caravan is berthed is subject to local authority licensing which is almost certain to ban year-round residence and require holiday home owners to maintain a permanent residential address elsewhere.
The current licensing regime is subject to the Mobile Homes Act 2013 and explained in more detail in official guidance published in March 2015.
Further reading: Guide to buying a static home.
Owning any type of caravan, therefore, opens the door to as many staycations as you desire.
With a touring caravan, of course, you have the freedom of the open road and the possibility of exploring any corner of these beautiful islands. If you choose a holiday home, you never have to worry about choosing the location for any staycation again.
Either way, buying a caravan not only gives you the freedom to take a holiday whenever the fancy takes you but also significantly reduces the costs of those holidays – the accommodation is already taken care of and paid for.
Date of Visit: August 2023
This is a family friendly Caravan and Motorhome Club site close by the village of Dulverton, Somerset in the Southwest of England. The site itself sits on the border between Devon and Somerset and is usually open from March until the end of October.
Access is straightforward until the last few country road miles. We are, however, pleased to note that since our visit earlier in the month, the problem road surface is about to be redone which will greatly improve matters. Access from the M5 (J27) is advised. Please see arrival video HERE.
The site is situated in a very beautiful countryside area with great views across the valley. The site is broadly tiered and there are a range of types of pitches available out of a total of 79, from grass up to and including fully serviced, hardstanding pitches – arguably some of the best view pitches, particularly if you place your van front in.
The site sits alongside the A396, although it is not of the standard of the A1 or A5 for example, there is some road noise – particularly farm traffic during the daytime. At nighttime it was perfectly quiet and did not affect us during our days at the site.
The wardens were very friendly and available to help if require and the upkeep of the site overall is a tribute to them all.
This site has the full range of facilities you would expect from a Club site. There is a main facilities block which encompasses showers, toilets, dishwashing area, laundry room and accessible bathroom. The facilities were kept immaculate throughout our stay.
The drive over motorhome service point is to one side of this building and behind that is an EDP and bins with a recycling area.
Security on site is good as there is a barrier card system in operation. The Reception being just by the gate and also includes the well-stocked information room.
There are other service points dotted around the site.
There is a fully enclosed dog walk at the far end of the site which was very popular.
Unfortunately, the children’s playground is still out of action due to the equipment being unsafe.
The WiFi offering on club sites is being gradually upgraded and we didn’t try it this time. However mobile wise both 3 and EE were excellent up to 4G and the coverage maps from O2 and Vodafone indicated the same.
TV reception was reasonable but don’t expect to get as many channels as you may get elsewhere.
Review of Site Pitch
We had opted for a fully serviced hardstanding pitch and on arrival quickly decided to place the van front end in so as to get the best views, we were not to be disappointed.
The pitch was level and legs down were quick and easy. One point to note, however, is that if your van has its disposal points to the rear of the van then it will be necessary to ensure you have sufficient pipe length to reach the grid which is at the opposite end of the pitch.
Pitches were clean, tidy and the area around regularly maintained. There are also hardstanding and a good number of grass pitches – some which are only in use if the rest of the site is occupied.
Around and about
The site’s location lends itself to a wide range of activities to suit all ages and abilities. As the site is close to Exmoor, there are numerous walks and hikes plus mountain bike trails for the most active. Towards the coast there are plenty of seaside towns and villages with history a plenty. The nearest big town is Tiverton where all the big supermarkets reside, and relatively cheaper fuel is available. A good starting point is to visit this website: www.visit-exmoor.co.uk
The nearest towns and villages to visit on the coast are Dunster and Minehead. Dunster is very traditional and has a very wide high street and medieval marketplace at the top of the street. There are many independent shops including cafes, delis, pubs, clothes, and gift shops. Parking can be very busy but there are larger car parks on the outskirts. www.Dunster.org.uk Dunster is also home to a National Trust Castle – members entrance is free.
A few miles further on is the traditional seaside town of Minehead – all the usual activities are available, and it is one end of the Southwest Coast Path, marked by a statue. (The other end is in Poole some 630 miles away).
It is also one end of the West Somerset Heritage Railway and runs between here and Bishops Lydeard. It is a good way of seeing the coast from the comfort of your seat and stops at most of the seaside villages along the way – usually right by the coast. Dogs are allowed on the trains.
There are a good range of pubs/restaurants in the vicinity of the site. The nearest one is walking accessible, (although a steep hill on the way back) from the bottom of the site and sits on the River Exe. The Anchor Inn. Food is available and is dog friendly.
Slightly further afield, but highly recommended is the Royal Oak, Winsford, Exmoor. The food is excellent, a very old and much-loved pub with family run service both friendly and efficient. The pub is dog friendly
There are also a number of pubs/cafes in the town of Dulverton – which also houses a Co-Op, Post Office, and gift shops.
If you are looking for a full day out including visiting the well-known surfers paradise, then it is possible to visit Croyde Bay on the North Devon coast. It’s beach is known for its surfing and is a very popular destination. Parking is costly but if you are NT members, there is a free car park at the far end of the bay. There are numerous cafes, beach bars and surfing shops in the Bay and in the village is all the traditional amenities you would expect including a Post Office. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the beach from end of March until beginning of September.
Whilst visiting Minehead you may wish to add on a short detour to visit the tiny fishing village at Porlock Weir and the adjacent Porlock village which is chocolate box pretty and can be very busy indeed during the peak season. There is reasonable parking at the Weir and there are a couple of pubs, gift shops, cafes, and a walk along the harbour wall. Care should be taken as the infamous Porlock Hill (1:4/25%) with hairpins is just north of the village and definitely not one to attempt to tow your caravan up.
On the way back to Minehead and then on to Dunster you pass a National Trust sign for a village and church called Selworthy. It is well worth making the short detour, (you return the same way back to the main road)for the views and the history of the area. Parking is free but please note is it quite steep and access is limited. However, that should not deter you from visiting as it is possible to see the views from the car park itself. We did not find any toilets or facilities.
There is a bus stop a few minutes walk from the site, by the Toll House on the Dulverton road. Check out Buses of Somerset for up to date routings and timetables.
A lovely countryside site – up to the usual Club standards and very well maintained by the wardens. Its location allows you to tailor what you do to suit your own individual needs and interests. A site to which we would return.
Just as an extension or sunroom can give you extra space at home, so an awning can increase the space and comfort of your caravanning experience – at a fraction of the cost and without any building works at all.
An awning might double the covered ground area of your caravan pitch, giving you not only somewhere to dry out wet clothing and boots, but also a store for bikes or your water sports equipment.
Some awnings might even give you a room kitted out to sleep additional guests, a separate space for leisure and recreation, or a covered dining area. Indeed, they could serve all three functions at various times during the day.
The awnings available on the market today are all relatively easy to put up and take down. They’re lightweight and typically pack into a compact space for convenient storage and transport.
The different types of caravan awning
The awnings from which to choose also differ in design and function explains a guide published by the Camping and Caravanning Club, making them highly adaptable for use on practically any type of caravan:
- this is the type of awning that fills the entire side of your caravan from front to back and, in doing so, is likely to double your floor area;
- they come in a range of different qualities and fabrics – and, rather like a tent, may have internal partitions for use as bedrooms, sides that can be lifted to let in the air on sunny days, and even “windows” with their own curtains;
- since it’s designed to cover the entire side of your caravan, this type of awning clearly needs to be measured and fitted according to the particular model of trailer you own – you cannot switch it from one caravan to another;
- these are sometimes called universal awnings because unlike the full awning they occupy only a part – though probably the major part – of the side of your caravan;
- the awning can be moved from one end of your caravan to the other, therefore, or – perhaps more importantly, can be taken with you for use with an alternative trailer if you subsequently decide to upgrade;
Canopy or cassette awning
- this variant relies on a box-like structure – the cassette – permanently fixed along the top edge of the caravan, with an awning that can be drawn out rather like a roller blind;
- there are typically foldaway legs at the corners of the canopy-like awning to add stability – and, in some cases, fabric walls that can be used to enclose the space covered by the canopy.
The awning you choose depends on the way in which it is likely to be used – and the Caravan and Motorhome Club suggests some of the questions you might want to ask yourself to help you decide.
The importance of insurance
Like any other valuable piece of caravanning kit, your awning also needs the protection of suitable insurance – awning insurance.
In many ways, though, the awning itself might be regarded as separate from the caravan itself. While your awning extends the useful ground area of your caravan pitch, it remains a separate extension – which can be dismantled entirely from the caravan – and is constructed from different materials.
The risks to which any awning is exposed are likely to differ substantially from those affecting the caravan itself – if you are caught out during storms on your caravanning holiday, for example, loss or damage is more likely to be suffered by your awning than the caravan.
Some – but not all – caravan insurance policies typically incorporate awning insurance as a separate part of your caravan insurance. And, because of the different nature and order of the risks to which any caravan awning may be exposed, it is important that you check your awning insurance is separately and specifically identified on your policy schedule.
As with the cover for the caravan itself and other pieces of valuable caravanning kit, the total sum insured for your awning has to be sufficient to cover the cost of repair – or replacement in the event of a total loss.
Keep records of your awning’s purchase, installation, and any maintenance performed. This documentation can be valuable if you need to file a claim as it provides evidence of the awning’s value and care.
Be aware of any policy exclusions
As with all insurance policies, do be aware of the policy exclusions typically associated with this type of cover.
An exclusion that is likely to have caught out many a caravan owner, for example, is loss or damage to an awning out of season while the caravan is laid up in your driveway or otherwise in storage.
Most awning insurance policies make clear that cover is in operation only when the caravan itself is in use – and cover may be excluded if you are away from the trailer for longer than a day or night or if you have already returned home and it is no longer being used. For example, storm damage to your awning may be excluded if you have left the awning up and are away from the caravan.
Some insurance policies might require you to perform regular maintenance on your awning to ensure its longevity and prevent avoidable damage. Failing to meet these maintenance requirements might affect your cover.
Also, do note that the contents of any awnings may not be covered under your caravan insurance policy, so do check with your insurance provider.
An awning is likely to prove an indispensable, versatile and highly adaptable piece of caravanning kit – that may well double the usable ground area at your caravan pitch.
Like any piece of valuable equipment, your awning also needs cover – and, in this case, cover that is distinguished from the regular insurance for the caravan itself.
If you have any questions relating to your awning insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us – we will be very happy to help.
Further reading: Guide to Awnings.