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Open all year-round sites for caravanners

So, you thought it was all over? The longer, warmer days of summer might well be behind us as we enter Autumn’s mists and mellow fruitfulness, but that doesn’t stop us hardy caravanners who enjoy a trip the whole year-round.

And the growing number of campsites that remain open 12 months of the year make Autumn and Winter caravanning every bit a delight as it is in the balmier days of Spring and Summer.

So, here is our brief round-up of just some of those all-year-round sites you might want to visit.

South of England

The more temperate climate of the South of England makes touring with your caravan a perfectly reasonable prospect at any time of the year – even in mid-January.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club’s site at Brighton is just two miles from the bustling town itself and nestled in a quiet fold of the beautiful South Downs. It’s likely to prove the perfect spot for touring the whole of the southeast of the country.

With a total of 212 pitches (129 of which are on hard standing) to choose from, the winter months are, of course, likely to be the quietest.

Wales

If you want to enjoy the truly rugged landscapes of North Wales during the Autumn and Winter, you’ll find Plas Farm Caravan Park open all the year-round.

All touring caravan pitches are on hard standing and have electric hook-up, allowing you to choose between standard, premier, and super standards of luxury.

For exploring, try the inviting North Wales coastline or head west into the majesty of Snowdonia National Park.

Midlands

The Peak District is beautiful at any time of year, so take advantage of the all-seasons opening times at Lickpenny Caravan Park, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, overlooking the village of Tansley, with both Matlock and Bakewell nearby.

The 16-acre site has hard standing pitches for all its visiting touring caravans – and the washroom blocks are fully heated to keep you warm and snug even in the height of winter.

North of England

There are so many scenic spots to visit in the North of England – with the Northumberland coast to the east and the Lake District to the west probably the most travelled.

So, why not make a change and head towards the historic city of Chester? Just 12 miles away, you’ll find Elm Cottage Touring Park is open all year round and a handy base for exploring the whole of this part of England. Oulton Park Motor Racing Circuit is just a mile along the road.

All 35 touring pitches are on hard standing and supplied with a 10amp electric hook-up.

Scotland

Take a trip north of the border to visit Scotland’s magnificent capital. Edinburgh is much more than its famous festival in the summertime. For a special Yuletide, why not visit its many Christmas markets – and stay on for probably one of the nest New Year’s Eve parties you’re likely to encounter.

Linwater Caravan Park is perfectly situated for those wanting to explore the city at their leisure. It is just 4 miles away from the Ingliston Park & Ride scheme, where you can hop on one of the regular trams into the heart of Edinburgh.

Caravan news: Baileys of Bristol to cease Australian manufacturing operations and the best sat navs for caravans revealed …

If you’ve been out and about in your caravan in recent months, you’ve probably found a summer that’s had its ups and downs – warm and sunny one minute, chillier the next, not to mention the occasional thunderstorm. All the ingredients for a typical British summer.

If the weather hasn’t put you off, though, there’s still plenty happening in the world of caravanning – and here are a few of our latest caravan news snippets.

Bridport farm allowed to have more onsite caravans

Bridport News reports that Washingpool Farm in Dorset has been granted planning permission to increase the number of pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes at its site in the village of Salway Ash, near Bridport.

Until now Washingpool Farm has had just 5 pitches for touring caravans – each of them on hard standing and with electric and water hook-ups. By bringing into use a further field, the site is now able to double its capacity.

New Nottinghamshire 150-pitch campsite set to open in Spring 2020

Somewhat greater impact on the number of caravan pitches in England will be made by the opening next Spring of an entirely new 20-acre, 150-pitch campsite at Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire, reports Out and About Live.

A joint venture between Forestry England and the Camping & Caravanning Club, Sherwood Pines will offer pitches for all manner of caravans, tents, trailers and motorhomes on grass, hardstanding, and fully-serviced pitches. The intention is to keep the site open throughout the year.

Sherwood Pines covers some 3,300 acres of forest and woodland – the largest publicly accessible forest in the East Midlands. It boasts a wide range of outdoor activities for the whole family, especially those keen to explore the forest. Its well-marked trails link up to still further areas of exploration including Clumber Park and the whole of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.

Bailey of Bristol to cease Australian manufacturing operations

Following a restructuring of its business operations, caravan manufacturers Bailey of Bristol announced that it is to cease production at its plant in Australia and instead concentrate its activities in the UK.

Since it started distribution there in 2010, Bailey proved particularly popular with Australian caravanners thanks largely to its characteristic Alu-Tech body shell. This is more rugged yet lighter than conventional methods of construction and especially well-suited to the conditions often encountered down under.

Bailey undertakes to honour its existing warranty and servicing agreements with caravans built in both Australia and New Zealand – and is currently exploring its options for maintaining the presence of its brand in that part of the Southern Hemisphere.

Revealed: The best sat navs for caravans

The sat nav has become a ubiquitous feature of modern motoring – but have you considered the particular capabilities you need from your sat nav if you are towing a caravan? It might be all very well to be diverted along narrow, winding lanes if you have only the car to worry about, but if there’s a caravan in tow it’s likely to be the last thing you want.

Sat navs specifically designed for use with your caravan, therefore, may be configured to avoid many of the obstacles you are likely to dread – low bridges, narrow lanes, weight restrictions and steep gradients, to name but a few. Even more sophisticated sat navs dedicated for use with your caravan may let you key in the particular dimensions of your ‘van for a perfectly tailored motoring and towing experience.

To help you make your choice, Which? magazine has just published reviews of some of the best on the market.

Portable exercise equipment for your caravan

With all that fresh air and (hopefully) sunshine, your caravanning holiday is likely to feature plenty of time outdoors – some of it more active than other times. Whether you are hiking, mountain biking, or simply walking to explore, you’ll feel the benefit of that exercise.

To keep yourself fully in trim, though, you might also want to maintain the physical fitness regime you are able to keep to at home – if only you had the exercise equipment that could be easily stowed in your touring caravan.

So, the good news is that several UK suppliers offer just that opportunity.

The keys to travel exercise equipment

The website Vagrants of the World suggests just five keys to finding suitably portable exercise equipment. It must be:

  • lightweight;
  • compact;
  • easy to assemble and use;
  • suitable for your level of fitness; and
  • likely actually to be used.

So, let’s take a look at some of the portable kit that is available:

Resistance bands

  • elastic resistance loops and bands always offer a handy way of limbering up before exercise – and they have the great advantage of being light, extremely compact and suitable for all levels of fitness and agility;

Dumbbells

  • for any kind of weight training you’re likely to need a dumbbell – but just think of the size and weight it might take up in your caravan;
  • a space- and weight-saving solution is to buy a heavy-duty dry dumbbell bag that travels empty, but which you can fill with sand or water to give it that essential weight once you’ve arrived at your destination;

Yoga mats

  • a yoga aficionado, but worried about the itchy feel of the grass or scared of getting ants in your pants? Then a roll-up yoga mat provides the perfect answer;

Skipping

  • a simple skipping rope is perhaps one of the most common pieces of kit taken on any holiday – especially if there are children in the family;
  • but do you remember the last time a flailing rope knocked everything off the picnic table – the Skip Fit from Empower might offer a solution;
  • this tethers the rope to an ankle while a rubber ball keeps it circling as you skip over it;

Running shoes

  • you can run in them, of course, but also walk in them, stroll in them and even relax in them;
  • choosing a comfortable and serviceable pair of running shoes is a highly personal matter of choice, but if you go for something fairly multi-purpose, they will take up no more space than any other type of holiday footwear;

Folding bikes

  • more than just a piece of exercise equipment, a folding bike can actually take you places too – the usual problem is finding the space to stow one inside your caravan;
  • the website Travel and Leisure highlights a possible answer to that problem with the Durban Bay Pro Folding Bike which weighs just 26lb folds up in 15 seconds and is ever-ready for a ride around the campsite – or further afield.

You already know that caravanning is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and stay healthy – these days, there is plenty of portable exercise equipment to take with you and continue whatever fitness regime you have become accustomed to at home.

Caravanners’ guide to theme parks in and around the UK

Updated 3rd September 2019

Introduction

Britain’s theme parks are home to some of the best and some of the biggest in Europe says the country’s tourist authority, Visit Britain. If you want faster, bigger and better rides, therefore, you could do a lot worse than a trip that takes you to a different part of the country yet still only a stone’s throw or two away from your own doorstep.

As with many good ideas for trips away from home, though, finding a place to stay once you get there might be tiresome – not to say expensive – especially if you have one or two youngsters along with you on holiday or a few days break.

That is where you are likely to win hands down, of course if you are able to tow your caravan behind the car, pitch up at a nearby camp site, and make as many forays to and from the theme park as the fancy takes you.

This guide offers a tour through some of the country’s most notable theme parks, identifying not only where they are and what they have to offer, but also identifying some of the caravan sites within easy striking distance of each park.

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Alton Towers

Alton, Staffordshire, England

What’s there?

Since its opening at the beginning of the 1980’s the theme park at Alton Towers has grown in size, added still further attractions and become perhaps the best known of all the UK’s parks.

It is situated on an extensive site – now including a water park in addition to the rides – set in the Staffordshire countryside, easily accessible from either the M1 or M6 motorways.

Perhaps best known for its innovation when it comes to the rides – and roller coasters in particular – Alton Towers arranged around major themes such as Theme Park, Waterpark, CBeebies Land, Extraordinary Golf and the Alton Towers Dungeon. There is also an adult spa there too.

Places to stay

  1. The Star, a Camping and Caravanning Club site, in Alton itself, has a bus stop right outside and a short ride from there to Alton Towers – there are pitches for 195 caravans;
  2. Also just half a mile outside the village of Alton, and 2 miles from the theme park itself, is the much smaller Lower Micklin Touring Park, with 10 hard standing and 5 grass pitches;
  3. Occupying 16 acres on the edge of the Peak District National Park, Hales Hall Caravan and Camping Park offers the best of both worlds – the relaxation of a country setting with views over the old market town of Cheadle yet still only a 10 minute drive away from Alton Towers;
  4. Described as being only a few minutes’ drive (3 miles) from Alton Towers is the Cross Inn pub and caravan site – in addition to hardstanding pitches for your caravan, the onsite pub boasts a carvery and extensive menu for those times when your own galley seems like just too much work;
  5. All grass pitches are offered at New Broom Camping and Caravan Site where its two acres offer probably more basic accommodation for you and your caravan, yet still just four and a half miles from Alton Towers.

Thorpe Park

Chertsey and Staines, Surrey, England

What’s there?

Thorpe Park Resort – to give it its formal name – is only 20 miles from the capital and access from junctions 11 and 13 of the London orbital M25.

In the midst of an otherwise completely built-up conurbation, Thorpe Park’s advertising slogan is “an island like no other”. It opened in 1979 and is currently under the same ownership as Alton Towers.

Thorpe Park currently boasts a total of over 30 rides – seven of them roller coasters and five of them water splashes.

Places to stay

  1. At the Camping and Caravanning Club Site Chertsey you are spoilt for choice when it comes to theme parks – not only Thorpe Park, but also Legoland and Chessington are all within just a stone’s throw away;
  2. It may be just a 30 minute train journey from central London, yet the location beside a peaceful stretch of the River Thames gives it a calm and relaxing ambience;

    It is a large site, too, with around 150 pitches, so you are more likely to be successful when making a booking;

  3. The Caravan Club’s Crystal Palace Site is, of course, even closer to central London – yet set in pleasantly leafy surroundings nonetheless – and within easy striking distance to Thorpe Park;
  4. The site has a total of 89 pitches, 60 of them on hard standing;

  5. Just a 30 minute drive away (about 20 miles) from Thorpe Park is the small family run caravan site of Amerden Caravan and Camping Site on the banks of the Thames at Dorney Reach, Maidenhead.

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Chessington

Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England

What’s there?

Practically everyone knows it simply as Chessington, but its full title is Chessington World of Adventures Resort and, so, has a somewhat better ring about the thrills on offer.

It lies just 12 miles southwest of central London in the borough of Kingston upon Thames. Although currently under the same ownership (Merlin Entertainments) as both Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, it has a somewhat longer history, opening first as a zoo in 1931.

The adventure park opened in 1987 and was to all intents and purposes the very first theme park in the country. Today, it boasts a total of 40 rides – four of which are roller coasters and two water splashes.

Places to stay

  1. The Camping and Caravanning Club’s site at Walton on Thames is one of the oldest to bear the Club’s name and Chessington can be reached in just 40 minutes or so by bus – a distance of just over six miles;
  2. The club also has a site at East Horsley in Surrey, which is around 12 miles from Chessington or 43 minutes by train and bus – with some 130 pitches, the site is open from the end of March until the beginning of November;
  3. Head out towards Lingfield in the Surrey countryside and you are still only around 25 miles (a 36-minute drive) from Chessington at Long Acres Caravan and Camping Park – a family run site with both hard standing and grass pitches;
  4. It may be small – only 5 pitches – but Willow Tree Farm Campsite is only a four-mile drive away from the Chessington World of Adventure;
  5. A similarly small site – again, only 5 pitches – is in Cobham, Surrey, at the Woodlands Court Farm Certified Site, a distance of around six miles from Chessington.

Drayton Manor

Tamworth, Staffordshire, England

What’s there?

Drayton Manor is a theme park near Tamworth in Staffordshire, situated in a massive 280-acre site which was once the estate of Drayton Manor, in a village called Drayton Bassett.

It is estimated that around a million and a half people visit the theme park every year and it has a number of unique rides – the only stood-up roller coaster in Europe, for instance – and the five-sided drop tower called Apocalypse.

The park is fully open from the middle of March until the beginning of November, but also has occasional open days from late November until the end of January.

Places to stay

  1. You are unlikely to get your caravan much closer to the theme park than the Camping and Caravanning Club’s site at Drayton Manor – it is right next door, and offers 90 pitches, both hardstanding and grass, with and without electric hook-ups;
  2. Ashdene Farm Certified Site is a small, but equally well-placed site in Drayton Bassett for touring caravans;
  3. Certified by the Camping and Caravanning Club, Willows Farm can accommodate only 5 touring caravans at a time, but is conveniently placed in nearby Tamworth, a mere stone’s throw from the theme park at Drayton Manor.

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Legoland

Windsor, Berkshire. England

What’s there?

Legoland can be found just outside the royal town of Windsor in Berkshire.

The park is themed, of course, around the building toy for children and was opened in 1996 on the site of the former Windsor Safari Park. When it opened it was second only to its original home, Lego Billund, in Denmark.

In terms of visitor numbers Legoland at Windsor – which attracts more than two million a year – is second only to Alton Towers and is designed to attract children between the ages of 2 and 12 in particular.

Places to stay

  1. Practically on the banks of the Thames, Hurley Riverside Park caravan and camping site is just 11 miles from Legoland and merits a listing on the official website of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead;
  2. Scotlands House is a caravan site specially selected and certified by the Camping and Caravanning Club in its category of privately run sites accommodating no more than five caravans in quiet and peaceful setting – it is nevertheless only a 10 minute drive from Legoland;
  3. A further possibility, still in the Windsor area, is another family run site for up to five caravans at the Queen’s Acre Caravan and Campsite;
  4. Legoland is open all the year round, of course, so you might also want to choose a caravan site that stays open just as long – your choice might be Newtonside Orchard campsite, in nearby Old Windsor, just five miles away from the theme park.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool, Lancashire, England

What’s there?

Amusement parks tend not to come more traditional or with such an illustrious history as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, situated on the appropriately named Ocean Boulevard in Blackpool, Lancashire.

It is billed as the country’s most famous theme park and carried away first place in 2014’s Top 10 Amusement Parks awarded by TripAdvisor. According to the website Wikipedia, it is one of the most popular tourist destination in the country, attracting an estimated five and a half million visitors a year.

Places to stay

  1. Blackpool South is a Caravan Club site about five miles due east of the Pleasure Beach – it offers a total of 95 pitches, all on hardstanding;
  2. Kneps Farm Holiday Park is 7 miles from Blackpool and 2 miles from the coast at Cleverleys – it is a family owned and run caravan site aiming to offer peace and quiet, with all pitches on level hard standing, all with electric hook-ups;
  3. Eastham Hall Caravan Park is less than 5 miles from Blackpool in the seaside town of Lytham St Annes, where this caravan park is open from the 1st of March to the 1st of December – it offers 28 nightly touring pitches for caravans (13 of which are described as “super pitches” with your own personal water tap and a 16 amp electrical hook-up, whilst the 15 standard pitches have a 10 amp electrical supply).

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Lightwater Valley

Ripon, North Yorkshire, England

What’s there?

If you are after one of Europe’s firsts, you might want to visit Lightwater Valley theme park in North Yorkshire for the The Ultimate – the continent’s longest roller coaster ride.

The park can be found at North Stainley in North Yorkshire and is, in fact, one of the country’s longest established venues which opened as long ago as 1969. Today it has more than 40 rides and incorporates a novel “Angry Birds” park, falconry centre, shopping village and restaurant.

It boasts more than half a million visitors a year.

Places to stay

  1. Riverside Meadows Holiday Park is situated just outside the historic city of Ripon in the Yorkshire Dales, on the banks of the River Ure and a little more than four miles away from the Lightwater Valley theme park – it is one of the Flower of May sites in Yorkshire and offers fully serviced pitches, most of which are on hardstanding;
  2. If you are happy to travel a little further – 40 miles or so in this case – you might enjoy the rugged scenery of Rosedale Abbey on the North York Moors, at another Flower of May site, Rosedale Abbey Touring Caravan Park, before setting off on your day trip to the theme park;
  3. The two-acre Bluebell Caravan Park is situated in Kirby Hill near Boroughbridge, and is but a short distance from the theme park at Lightwater Valley

M & D’s Amusement Park

Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell, Scotland

What’s there?

M & D’s is Scotland’s theme park” goes the advertising tagline – and with good reason too. It boasts more than 40 rides, including five roller coasters, two water splashes, a covered reptile house called Amazonia, ten-pin bowling, a theatre and an amusement arcade.

M & D’s is near Motherwell, in North Lanarkshire and is open from March until October.

Places to stay

  1. Only three miles away is the Caravan Club’s Strathclyde Country Park which has 107 pitches, all of hard standing and 12 of which are fully serviced – the park is close to Strathclyde Loch and is open all the year round;
  2. Blair Drummond Caravan Park may be some 25 miles away but is also conveniently situated for the town of Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park – the eight and a half acre site has 90 pitches;
  3. At a similar distance of just over 25 miles is The Woods Caravan Park, near Alva in Clackmannanshire – set in 14 acres of a landscaped site in central Scotland, there are 10 fully serviced pitches;
  4. The Camping and Caravanning Club has a site at Milarrochy Bay on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, some 26 miles or so from M & D’s theme park – the site has 150 pitches and is also handily located for day trips into the city of Glasgow.

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The Milky Way Adventure Park

Clovelly, Bideford, Devon, England

What’s there?

The Milky Way Adventure Park is situated in North Devon, between Bude (15 miles) in one direction and Bideford (10 Miles) in the other.

The Cosmic Typhoon is Devon’s biggest and fastest roller coaster, but the park also features displays by birds of prey and ferrets, together with a farm and country enclosure.

Places to stay

This being Devon, there is no shortage of sites for touring caravans, so the following are just a very few that you might want to consider when visiting the Milky Way Adventure Park:

  1. One such is Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, just over 30 miles from the theme park – it has recently installed all weather pitches for touring caravans that include electrical hook-up, TV, personal water tap and grey water waste;
  2. Just 25 miles away from the theme park, you can also enjoy the rugged pleasure of Exmoor from the Blackcock Inn Caravan Park and Campsite at South Moulton – it is open all the year round and offers 65 pitches, 30 of which are on hard standing;
  3. Just outside Bude, and an easy striking distance of just 15 miles, you can find the Wooda Farm Holiday Park – in addition to its hard standing and grass pitches, the site also offers both covered and open storage facilities for your touring caravan when it is not in use;
  4. Some 30 miles or so from the theme park, between Ilfracombe & Braunton, is Hidden Valley, a park offering four different types of pitch for touring caravans, all of which are all weather, supplied with a 16 amp electrical hook-up and on hard standing.

Oakwood Theme Park

Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales

What’s there?

Located near Narberth in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is the Oakwood Theme Park which started life in the late 1980s as a small, family-run park with quite limited facilities. Since then it has grown into a major theme park, with a reputation for new and imaginative rides that attract nearly half a million visitors a year.

The park is just off the A40, about mid-way between St Clears and Haverfordwest.

Places to stay

  1. On the road between Narberth and Tenby, only a few miles from Oakwood, is Croft Holiday Park – it offers both hard and grass pitches, electric hook-ups and grassed areas in between;
  2. Situated just a mile or so from Narberth is the Noble Court Holiday Park – pitches for touring caravans are within 40 acres of rolling countryside, including a coarse fishing lake;
  3. Woodland Vale Holiday Park is also just a mile or so from Narberth – pitches are on grass and hard standing, each with its own electrical hook-up;
  4. The Old Vicarage Holiday Park is close to Tenby, just nine miles or so south of Oakwood – it is open from the 1st of March until early January and can accommodate caravans over 17 feet long by prior arrangement.

Wicksteed Park

Kettering, Northamptonshire, England

What’s there?

Wicksteed Park is said to be the second oldest amusement park in Britain, having been opened in 1921, the result of a bequest by Northampton factory owner Charles Wicksteed.

Since its humble beginnings with little more than a handful of swings for children, the theme park now boasts a total of 26 major rides, including three roller coasters and four water splashes.

The park is located near Kettering in Northamptonshire.

Places to stay

  1. Wicksteed Park is one of the few theme parks to incorporate a caravan site within its estate so you have nothing but a short walk to start enjoying the rides – pitches are on grass and since you are actually staying on the site, it is easy to qualify for discounted entry to the theme park with a “second day” wristband;
  2. The Caravan Club’s Top Lodge site in Corby is just seven miles away from Kettering – it is open from March until October, has pitches for 85 caravans (35 on hard standing) and, unusually, has no toilet block on the site;
  3. Slightly further afield in the south of the county, between Milton Keynes and the county capital, about 40 miles from Wicksteed, is the small but tranquil Ekeney House for touring caravans;
  4. Grendon Lakes is also near to Northampton (some 12 miles or so from Wicksteed Park), a 30-acre site split into three main areas, and part of a 150-acre amenity, set amidst no less than 12 different lakes.

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Paultons Park

Romsey, Hampshire, England

What’s there?

A place for all the family, Paultons Park, is a part of a 140-acre estate in the village of Ower, near Romsey, Hampshire.

It has around 60 rides and attractions, a small zoo of around 80 birds and animals, but perhaps its main claim to fame is that it is home to the favourite children’s TV character Peppa Pig.

Although first opened in 1983, it has since grown in size, with new rides and attractions being added almost every year.

Places to stay

  1. Just as the name suggests, Paultons Campsite is but a short walk to the main gates of Paultons Park – accredited by the Camping and Caravanning Club, it is purposely restricted to just five touring caravans;
  2. Also very nearby, in the same village of Ower is Green Pastures Farm, a caravan site which is open from mid-March until the end of October and has the added advantage of being within easy striking distance of the New Forest National Park;
  3. Only five miles away from Paultons Park and nearer to the market town of Romsey is Hill Farm Caravan Park, set in 11 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside – the owners emphasise that the site has few facilities for keeping children entertained and that is some distance for teenagers looking for any nightlife;
  4. If you are looking to base your holiday in the New Forest itself, Long Meadow Campsite in Brockenhurst also gives you the option of a short drive of less than 10 miles to Paultons Park.

Flamingo Land

Malton, North Yorkshire, England

What’s there?

As the name suggests, Flamingo Land began life – in 1959 – essentially as a zoo. The entire park now spans 375 acres and offers a total of 52 rides – nine of which are roller coasters and two water splashes.

Flamingo Land is located near Malton, on the A64, in North Yorkshire.

Places to stay

Close to both the historic city of York and the majesty of the North York Moors, Flamingo Land attracts a number of caravanners to surrounding campsites which include:

  1. Flamingo Land has their own Holiday Village with a touring field, toilet blocks, electricity pitches, supermarket and laundrette.
  2. In the village of Slingsby, near Malton (and therefore Flamingo Land) is the Robin Hood Caravan and Camping Park – there are both grassed and hard standing pitches, all of which have water, electric and waste water disposal;
  3. Vale of Pickering Caravan Park is close to Pickering itself and, so, only one and a half miles from Flamingo Land, as well as the Moors and the coastal resorts of Scarborough and Bridlington – the site’s all weather pitches can be pre-booked and allocated when making a reservation;
  4. Six hard standing and six grassed pitches may be found at York Meadows Caravan Park, which just as the name suggests is close to the city of York, but still only 16 miles or so from Flamingo Land;
  5. Jasmin Park is a caravan site located between Pickering and the coast at Scarborough, so only 20 miles or so from Flamingo Land – the all weather gravel pitches are all fully serviced and described as “super pitches”.

Landmark Forest Adventure Park

Carrbridge, Inverness-shire, Scotland

What’s there?

Landmark Forest Adventure Park is within the boundaries of the Cairngorm National Park in Scotland, near to the ski resort of Aviemore.

It offers a range of attractions – for the young, and not so young – such as a trail for “Wee Monkeys”, a Wild Water Coaster, Tarzan Trail, Ropeworx, and Lost Labyrinth to name but a few.

The park opened in 2010.

Places to stay

The rugged beauty of the Cairngorms naturally attracts more than its fair share of caravanners, whose needs are especially well met by sites such as:

  1. Set in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, the 10-acre Auchnahillin Holiday Park has 45 touring pitches – it is located about 30 miles from the Landmark Forest park;
  2. Glenmore Campsite is also in the heart of the Cairngorms, near to Aviemore and little more than a five mile drive to Landmark Forest – it offers a huge total of more than 200 pitches for caravans )on both hard standing and grass) and tents;
  3. Grantown Caravan Club Park is in the Highland’s Speyside and located around 15 miles from the Landmark Forest Adventure Park – pitches are on grass or hard standing and have a 10 amp electrical hook-up and TV.

Special bonus park: Disneyland Paris

Paris, France

What’s there?

Quite right! It is not a British theme park, but Disneyland Paris is still readily accessible after a short hop across the Channel and the name alone still proves a huge draw.

Places to stay

In fact, there are two connected parks – Disneyland Park (which opened in 1992) and the Walt Disney Studios Park (which opened in 2002). In terms of visitor numbers it is the second biggest Disney park in the world, attracting an estimated number of more than 15 million. It is the most visited theme park in the whole of Europe.

The original park has all the attractions and entertainment that have come to be associated with the Disney name, from thrilling, vertiginous rides to real life cartoon characters, across five different and equally magical “lands”. Just as the name suggests, the Studios focuses more on the continuing film making history of Disney.

Disneyland Paris is situated in the new town of Marne-la-Vallée, about 20 miles east of Paris.

Places to stay

  1. Campsite Caravaning des 4 Vents is just a 15 minute drive from Disneyland (entrance tickets are for sale onsite) and is set in the quiet rural location of Crécecoeur-en-Brie – pitches are large grassed areas;
  2. A similar distance away, and also on the Ile de France is L’International de Jablines – there are 150 pitches, each with a 10 amp electrical supply and waste water disposal point;
  3. A 25-minute drive from Disneyland Paris is the caravan site Camping Les Etangs Fleuris, which aims to offer some peace and calm after a hectic day at the theme park – there are shaded and sunlit pitches, each with a 10 amp electrical supply and water.

Summary

As big a surprise as the sheer number of theme parks in the UK (allowing for a bonus one near Paris) is the range, standard and choice of places to stay nearby in your touring caravan.

Hopefully, this guide has helped to identify just what goes to make each theme park unique, how it fits into the surrounding countryside and has given a flavour of the amenities and facilities you are likely to find at the many caravan sites mentioned.

Caravan insurance money saving tips

Whether you own a touring caravan or a static caravan used as your holiday home, you are probably aware of the importance of caravan insurance – to protect the ‘van itself, its contents, and the various liabilities with which you may be faced as its owner.

Here, then, are some of our top tips on saving money on your caravan insurance.

Safeguarding your pride and joy

Your caravan might be the pride and joy of you and your family – a prized possession which gives you many exciting holidays throughout the year and one which deserves the adequate and effective protection of suitable insurance.

Away from the hustle, bustle and all round excitement of the long days of summer caravanning, this time of year might be just the time to review how much you are paying for your caravan insurance – and whether there are ways you might be cutting that cost.

At Cover4Caravans, we understand how many of you are looking for ways to manage down your costs.

That is perfectly understandable, and it applies, of course, to caravan insurance as much as anything.

We are and always have been, firmly committed to providing our customers with suitable and what we consider is highly cost-attractive insurance deals, but some components of your cost base might actually be under your control. That’s why we are offering here some of our top tips on things you can do that may help you to keep your cost of caravan’s insurance down.

Saving money on the cover you need

You might quite properly give your touring or static caravans insurance a high priority, but that does not mean overlooking the opportunities for saving money on its cost.

Whenever you are buying any kind of insurance or getting a quote, it is not just a question of going for the cheapest, but the cover you actually need – the cover that provides the protection for your individual needs and circumstances.

This is just as true when looking for caravan insurance whether your van is continually used for holidays or in storage – bearing in mind that your needs and circumstances may change from one year to the next.

The aim, therefore, is likely to be finding cover that represents good value for money and includes features and benefits you need, rather than just an apparently bargain basement deal or an offer that looks too good to be true – which is just might be.

Shopping around

You are likely to want to do some shopping around, but this may prove a daunting task these days, with so many insurance providers offering such a wide range of products and different policy terms, conditions and benefits.

Advice might be given by friends, relatives or fellow caravanners, but what you are really likely to appreciate is expert, professional advice about securing good value for money insurance cover.

Using a specialist insurance broker

It might prove quite an involved and complicated question deciding the insurance cover you need for your particular make, model and age of towing or static caravan and the use to which it is put.

To complicate things still further, there is a wide array of insurers all apparently competing for your business and offering a broad range of products to do so.

An experienced broker – such as ourselves here at Cover4Caravans – may be in the best position to make the closest match between your particular, individual needs and the products available in this niche of the insurance market. With an expertise and experience gained over a number of years, we not only recognise your particular, individual requirements, but also have the industry wide connections to suggest those insurance policies matching your requirements – at a competitive market price.

We may help to identify caravan insurance products which you might not otherwise find for yourself – and, into the bargain, help you to save money on the price of the insurance premiums. We can answer many of your questions – and arrange the cover you need – entirely online, but if you prefer an even more personal touch, simply ‘phone us on 01702 606301 – no waiting in a queue to talk to an anonymously distant call centre agent.

Additional money saving tips

Even with our help in identifying suitable caravan insurance policies, there are still further ways you may be able to save money:

Club membership

  • your membership of a caravan club, for example, helps to show that you are a responsible caravan owner, sharing the ideals of your fellow caravanners;
  • these are traits recognised and valued by some insurance providers, including ourselves, who are able to offer discounts to customers who are also members of a recognised caravanning club – such as the Caravan Club or the Camping and Caravanning Club;

Security and safe storage for your caravans

  • insurers are taking on the risk of loss, theft or damage to your towing caravan and its contents;
  • the more you are able to mitigate those risks, the fewer are there for the insurer to cover, and so a reduced rate of premiums may be charged;
  • fitting safer and more secure locks on doors and windows might be a good place to start, but whilst you are about it, why not also look at immobilisation devices such as hitchlocks and wheel clamps (which may be required by your insurer in any case), and motion-detecting intruder alarms to reduce any chances of theft;
  • some security measures may be for your own personal safety, too – fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are just two such devices which spring immediately to mind;
  • the winter time, or other periods when it is not in regular use, may leave your touring caravan especially vulnerable to risks of loss or damage, particularly from theft and vandalism;
  • these risks are likely to be apparent if the caravan is left for long periods of time in the driveway of your home and may become even more acute if your caravan is parked some way away, in the corner of a farmer’s field, for instance;
  • given these vulnerabilities, some insurance providers – including us here at Cover4Caravans – offer a discount on the price of premiums if you opt to store your caravan at a site registered by the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA);
  • CaSSOA storage sites all meet established standards of security for the safe storage of touring caravans out of season and the sites are graded according to the particular level of security maintained;
  • a further security measure is ensuring the registration of your tourer with the Central Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) – providing you with the confidence and peace of mind of holding something rather like the logbook which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issues for your car;
  • an alternative register – and one recommended by the Caravan Club – for helping to trace your caravan if it is stolen or for checking the status of one you are planning to buy is TheftCheck;

Review the cover levels for both your caravan and its contents

  • it is not unusual to see cases where owners have either over or underinsured their caravan;
  • it is worth making sure that your maximum cover levels are not unrealistically high (or too low) even if you need to ask for assistance in reaching an accurate estimate – please feel free to ‘phone us;
  • however, we would advise against over-reacting here and simply reducing reasonable cover levels simply to try and save relatively modest sums on your caravan insurance – you might regret it if something went wrong and you needed to make an insurance claim;

Do something about high-risk components associated with your caravan and its cover

  • at its heart, insurance for caravans and the price you pay for it is closely related to the policy provider’s perceptions of the risks they are taking;
  • if you are currently doing something with your caravan that an insurance provider considers to be a high risk, then typically the premium will increase – if all other things are equal. It therefore follows that anything you do to remove those risky behaviours may result in a reduction in your premium;
  • an example of this might be if you unhitch and a park your caravan on the public road outside your property;
  • some insurance policies might actually prohibit that – making your cover invalid – and those that do cover it may increase their premiums accordingly. By making sure that your touring caravan is never unhitched, unless it is on either an approved site or your own property, you may be able to reduce your insurance costs.

By taking on board some of these tips and suggestions you may be able to secure suitable protection for the pride and joy of your family’s holiday life, whilst enjoying the benefits of money saved on the cost of insurance.

A further note on saving money on your static caravan insurance

When looking around for a longed-for second or home for holidays, you might have settled on a static caravan. This is a home that can be moved, of course, but rarely leaves its designated pitch on a purpose designed holiday park or resort – so static caravan is generally a more apt description than the alternative mobile home.

The annual rent you pay to the park owners for keeping your static caravan on its chosen pitch is likely to be a major source of expenditure. But there are other ongoing running costs and chief of these is static caravan insurance for your holiday home.

In addition to the many money saving measures you might take for caravan insurance in general, there are a few steps that might be especially relevant to your static caravan:

  • it is not simply a question of arranging sufficient cover for your holiday home and its contents, but there are other risks to think about too – public liability insurance, for instance, to protect you against claims from members of the public who are injured or have their property damaged in some way connected with your static caravan;
  • you may find that your site owner offers their own static home insurance cover – in most cases, however, you are not obliged to take their cover and may get more comprehensive protection and at a more cost-effective price, by shopping around, provided you are able to show the park management company that you have a minimum of public liability insurance;
  • many owners of this type of holiday home also enjoy the extra income that may be earned by letting it out to paying guests or tenants from time to time – an occurrence your insurer is likely to regard as a “material fact” affecting the risks that need to be covered, so you need to disclose that fact to your insurance provider;
  • your static caravan faces a number of risks and perils – during the times that it is occupied by you or your paying guests and during the park’s closed winter season when it is left unoccupied;
  • if you want to save money on your caravan insurance premiums, therefore, it is worth demonstrating to any insurer that you are taking every reasonable precaution to ensure the security and safety of your holiday home and have invested in mitigating against any loss or damage;
  • this extends to some of the more obvious measures such as the locks used for securing doors and windows and the installation of smoke detectors and fire alarms;
  • but it might also extend to the levels of security maintained at your chosen holiday park, during the closed season or when your holiday home is left unoccupied – when 24-hour monitoring and onsite patrols by the site’s management may be taken into account by your insurance provider;
  • remember, too, that if you intend to let your holiday home for any period, you also assume the responsibility for tenants’ safety – with respect to gas appliances, the risk of fire, and any danger from carbon monoxide fumes;
  • the Camping and Caravanning Club has published advice on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and, however temporary it might be, your role as a landlord also requires you to conduct an annual gas safety inspection carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

In summary, whether you own a static caravan or a touring caravan, securing good value for money insurance as well as saving money on your insurance premiums, therefore, might be a combination of drawing on the expertise and experience of an established broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) such as ourselves here at Cover4Caravans as well as using the tips suggested above.

Finally, remember that if you have questions or concerns over your caravan insurance; you need a reminder of your policy features, benefits or excess; or, you would rather get a quote from a person rather than getting an online caravan insurance quote, then please do please ‘phone us on 01702 606301. We’d love to hear from you and would be delighted to help.