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Fire safety tips in your ‘van

Fires are dangerous anywhere and caravans are no exception.

Prevention

It’s always better to stop a fire happening than to try and deal with its consequences.  Many basic fire prevention techniques are common-sense but don’t take them for granted.

Familiarise yourself with them or perhaps just refresh your memory.  Either way:

  • don’t smoke in caravans;
  • use heaters for heating, not for drying clothes;
  • if your caravan is an older model, make sure you replace potentially flammable foam coverings with modern fire-resistant varieties;
  • whatever the attractive call of the outside world, don’t leave your caravan unattended while food is cooking on the stove;
  • unless you are a qualified electrician, don’t try to enhance the caravan’s electrical systems;
  • make sure there are at least six metres between you and other adjacent caravans.  This stops fires spreading;
  • pay special attention to young children and sources of flame.  In the modern world, many might never have seen a lighter or a box of matches before they go on a caravan holiday and you won’t want them experimenting inside while you are outside.

Precautions

There are some steps you should take just in case:

  • fit optical smoke detectors.  They should detect a fire in its very earliest stages and give you a chance to deal with it before it becomes a major threat;
  • have a fire extinguisher or extinguishers fitted somewhere away from the stove.  There are different types to be used in different situations, so you should select those that are appropriate based on professional advice;
  • familiarise yourself thoroughly with how extinguishers work.  In the event of a fire, you won’t have time to stand around reading and trying to learn all this;
  • no fire extinguisher is particularly ideal for cooking fat fires.  So, you should also have an approved fire blanket.

What to do if the worst happens

If you need to react to the fire:

  • your absolute top priority should be to get everybody out of the caravan immediately.  It doesn’t matter whether it is raining outside or the fire appears minor, get everybody out.  Do not start trying to collect valuables or other personal belongings;
  • attempt to deal with the fire with your own appliances if it is minor and you believe it is safe to do so. Above all, keep your access to the exit entirely clear.  Do not let the fire come between you and that exit;
  • if a fire appears severe or you doubt your ability to deal with it, call immediately for professional help through the emergency services;
  • be certain you are using the right type of extinguisher for the type of fire;
  • do not try to deal with fires originating from bottled gas supplies or those which are directly adjacent to them.  Retreat a long way away and call for Fire Brigade assistance.  Where gas supplies are involved, remember to notify your neighbouring caravans so they can evacuate a further distance away too.

Remember – study in advance

As mentioned above, when a fire has broken out is not the time to start trying to learn for the first time about how to deal with it.

For the protection of yourself, your family and other caravanners around you, make sure you find 30 minutes or so to familiarise yourself with basic fire prevention and fire- fighting techniques using appropriate safety equipment.

The Caravan & Motorhome show 2020; caravan sales increasing due to Brexit; and caravan battery thefts …

A general election – and all the political shenanigans that go with it – is not the only thing making the news as Christmas approaches.

If you are a member of the caravanning community – or hope to join it – any news on the subject is likely to be equally interesting and important.

With that in mind, here are some of the latest snippets.

Warning after spate of caravan battery thefts in Telford

One of the first lessons any caravan owner is advised to learn is the importance of security. Your caravan insurance, of course, helps to indemnify you against any losses, but you still need to play your part in preventing unnecessary thefts.

So, a timely warning was issued by the local community police force on the 21st of November in the Shropshire Star about a spate of battery thefts from caravans in the area.

Even when your caravan is parked in the driveway at home, remember to keep it locked, put the keys in a safe place, and seriously consider installing an intruder alarm.

The Caravan & Motorhome show 2020 returns to EventCity next month

If you live in the north of England, probably the major event of the year is next month’s Caravan & Motorhome Show 2020 at Manchester’s EventCity.

Open from the 16th to the 19th of January, it is the biggest such outdoor exhibition in the North, featuring not only caravans and motorhomes, but awnings and tents, lodges and a dazzling array of every accessory and gadget imaginable.

Stuck for ideas for the next outing or holiday in your caravan? Then you’ll also be able to pick up a long list of suggested destinations and places to visit.

This annual jamboree for anyone with even a passing interest in outdoor leisure activities is expected to attract 35,000 or more new and returning visitors.

Brexit worries increasing sales of caravans says the ‘King of Caravans’

Try as we might to keep politics out of the caravanning news headlines, the dreaded topic of Brexit has managed to sneak its way in – but, for once, it’s good news!

According to a story in the Derby Telegraph on the 16th of November, Brexit can be thanked for a surge in the sale of static holiday homes and lodges. Political uncertainty seems to be encouraging more and more people to holiday in the UK rather than take their chances with fluctuating exchange rates, worries about healthcare overseas, insurance, the reintroduction of passport controls, chaos at airports, and driving abroad.

One Derbyshire-based company specialising in the sale of luxury leisure homes and lodges reports selling more than £3million-worth of goods at the recent Motorhome and Caravan Show held in Birmingham’s NEC alone.

New owner at Elmhurst Caravan Park on the Isle of Sheppey

Brexit’s “staycation” effect is also one of the reasons behind new owners planning to invest some £1.5million in upgrading one of the Isle of Sheppey’s prime holiday venues, Elmhurst Caravan Park, at Eastchurch.

Speaking to Kent Online on the 6th of November, the new owner Henry Cooper – himself a native of the island – described plans to bring the established caravan park into the 21st century while retaining its family-friendly atmosphere for safe and affordable holidays.

A feature of the park is a large manor house, in which Mr Cooper plans to install a fine-dining restaurant, swimming pool and spa. It is surrounded by 18 acres of grounds which are currently licensed to hold up to 301 static leisure homes.

An established favourite at the holiday park are regular bingo nights but the new owners plan to expand the entertainments on offer.

Coastal campsites for Caravanners – where to go and where to pitch up

Updated 20th November 2019

Introduction

The coastline of the UK is around 11,000 miles – a very considerable distance to say the least.

Just as you would expect of such a coastline, there is a huge number of places where visitors flock in the summer and go to blow the cobwebs away on a blustery winter’s day. At any time of year, a trip to any one of thousands of spots on the coast is likely to be worth a visit.

If you have hitched up your caravan behind you, any visit can be made still more enjoyable and give you the chance to make the very most of your journey there – in your home away from home.

Because we have so much coastline, a spot by the beach is never far away and there is a huge range of caravan parks on which to pitch your caravan once you get there.

So great and varied is your choice that this brief guide could never claim to be exhaustive – on an entirely subjective basis, therefore, it is designed simply to whet your appetite!

Cornwall

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This large peninsula in the south-west of Britain is surrounded on three sides by the sea and claims a coastline in its own right of some 300 miles, according to the local tourist board Visit Cornwall.

Situated at the most southerly point of mainland UK, the climate is probably the mildest the country has to offer and its glorious beaches are perhaps the main attraction of a stay in Cornwall, says the national tourist agency Visit Britain.

With the massive lure of its golden sands and the sheer length of its coastline, it is little wonder that caravan sites on this sunny peninsula abound. Here are just a few of them:

  1. at Sennen Cove Camping and Caravanning Club Site you could not be any closer to the edge of Great Britain and the appropriately named Lands End. Sennen Cove offers an atmosphere of sheltered tranquillity from which you can enjoy the beaches of Cornwall’s northern and southern coasts. There are 72 grass pitches on the site;
  2. if it is surfing from some of Europe’s best beaches for the sport, Newquay is likely to be your choice of venue and Treloy Touring Park is just minutes from the town and its beaches. The park has its own outdoor swimming pool and pitches, on grass, that provide either electric hook-ups or are fully serviced;
  3. The charming old fishing port of Padstow and its neighbouring beaches attracts visitors throughout the year and if you have your touring caravan in tow you might want to pitch up at Padstow Touring Park, just a mile’s walk from the heart of the town. Standard, standard plus and deluxe pitches are available, the latter on hard standing;
  4. rated by the Camping and Caravanning Club as one of Cornwall’s top sites for beaches, the touring park at Bude lets you explore this part of the North Cornish coast, its sandy beaches and the ancient ruins of King Arthur’s castle at rugged Tintagel. The site has around 100 pitches, many of them on hard standing;
  5. Trevornick Camping and Caravan Site is but a short walk across the fields to an ideal, sandy, family-friendly beach extending for a mile or so at Holywell Bay and owned by the National Trust. There are extensive facilities for touring caravans, spread across seven fields and offering six different types of pitch.

Devon

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You might want to save yourself the longer drive to the busier Duchy of Cornwall by instead stopping off to enjoy the equally fabulous beaches of its twin sister Devon. It has both a northern and a southern coastline which together extend for a total of 450 miles, with one-third of that distance managed by the National Trust.

North Devon is where Exmoor comes down to the sea, providing dramatic and rugged cliff walks interspersed by sandy coves and beaches. The gentler southern coastline has rolling countryside as the backdrop to its sandy beaches, many of which are ideal for family outings.

Sites for touring caravans are many and varied, with just a selection highlighted here:

  1. Watermouth Cove Holiday Park is on Devon’s north coast, near the town of Ilfracombe. The park is set right beside a sheltered cove in an otherwise rugged and dramatic coastline, offering immediate access to its tranquil beach. This relatively large park has all weather, grass and hard standing pitches with electric hook-up;
  2. views of the sea from practically every one of its 50 individually marked pitches can be enjoyed at Little Meadow Campsite, situated between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin on Devon’s north coast. Pitches for touring caravans are described as generously sized and some (but not all) have electric hook-up;
  3. Soar Mill Cove, South Sands and the access to the long coastal path are all within just a mile of Higher Rew Caravan and Camping Park in the verdant South Hams on Devon’s south coast;
  4. Salcombe Regis Touring Caravan Site is well situated for easy access to Devon’s Jurassic coast which extends all the way into neighbouring Dorset. Close to both Salcombe and Sidmouth, the site offers pitches that are almost all on hard standing, each with its own electrical hook-up and water tap.

Dorset

For 95 miles from its boundary with Devon, Dorset is home to the famous Jurassic Coast – so named because of its geological treasure trove or fossilised remains stretching back 185 million years. Not for nothing has this natural wonder been accorded World Heritage status.

Thanks to its location in the middle of southern England, Dorset’s coastline is not just for geology buffs, but has mile after mile of coastal paths, enticingly secret coves and both pebbly and sandy beaches.

Unsurprisingly, the Dorset coastline offers a number of sites to visit with your touring caravan, including:

  1. at Burton Bradstock, near Bridport in the east of the county is Freshwater Beach Holiday Park, with its 400 pitches for touring caravans, each with its own electric hook-up. Situated on what is fondly known as Dorset’s Golden Coast, the park is open from mid-March until mid-November;
  2. just 3 miles from a gloriously sandy beach at Charmouth you will find Monkton Wyld Farm Touring Caravan Park, set in the Dorset countryside and rarely seeming to be overcrowded. There are 150 generously sized pitches for touring caravans, 100 of which are on hard standing and all with electric hook-up;
  3. Lyme Regis is the setting for the novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman and the coastal town is little changed from the one painted in the book. Just a mile’s walk upstream along the banks of the River Lym can be found Hook Farm Camping and Caravanning Park, with its 100 pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

Sussex

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The county of Sussex on the south-eastern coast of England has such a long coastline that it is divided into West and East Sussex, each with its fair share of beaches, coastal walks and historic sites, all within a stone’s throw away from a nearby campsite for your touring caravan.

From the towering heights of mighty Beachy Head to the charms of the Brighton made famous by a former Prince of Wale’s Pavilion, the county’s tourist board, Visit Sussex, can guide you towards just some of the many attractions on offer.

For those caravanners with a hankering to be close by the sea anywhere along the county’s coastline, some of the following sites may appeal:

  1. The Lillies Caravan Park is within the seaside town of Bognor Regis, East Sussex, so just a minute or two from the beach, yet also offering easy access to local shops and to the city of Chichester. This relatively small, secluded site has 33 pitches for touring caravans on a 3-acre site;
  2. the seaside, the bright lights and the enduring charm of a Victorian resort, Brighton has it all, so where better to park up your touring caravan than the Brighton Caravan Club Site. It is just 2 miles from the town itself, in a tranquil fold of the South Downs and offers a total of 213 pitches for caravans, 126 on hard standing and 11 of which are fully serviced;
  3. you would be hard pressed to find a more historically iconic location close to the coast than the scene of the Battle of Hastings. Although the sea has receded some few miles further away than in 1066, Sheer Barn Holidays and Touring Park remains the ideal base from which to explore the battlefield, the old port of Hastings and the surrounding coastline. The park has a selection of different pitches, from grass to hard standing, with or without electric hook-ups.

Kent

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In the south-eastern corner of the British Isles lies the Garden of England, our closest point to continental Europe, yet still the first line of defence of the nation’s independence.

As the local tourist board, Visit Kent, points out the county was once a separate kingdom in its own right, and the place still seems to carry echoes of that distinctive history.

Naturally, the county has a wrap around coastline that borders both the English Channel and the edge of the North Sea above the Thames estuary. If you want to get away in your caravan to a place by the sea in Kent, therefore, there are a number of places you might want to visit:

  1. there may be times when you want to pitch your caravan for just a night or two near a coastal port just for its ease of access to a Channel crossing. If that is your aim, Hawthorn Farm in the village of Martin Mill is just a mile or two from the bustling port of Dover and the seafront at St Margaret’s Bay. The site’s grass and hard standing pitches are spread across 28-acres;
  2. if you are heading for the east Kent coastal resorts of Margate and Ramsgate, Quex Park in Birchington is handily placed for both. This is a large park for touring caravans and motorhomes only, no tents are allowed.

South Wales

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Cross over the border into Wales and you are in a different country, scenically, historically and culturally – even the language may be different.

Through its industrial heartland of the Welsh valleys to the green and pleasant Pembroke peninsula, the principality is a land of contrasts – and these become nowhere more apparent than along its coastline.

Barry Island, for example, is close to the capital, Cardiff, and the faded industrial glory of Swansea Bay, yet has a stunning, golden sandy beach. As one of the first places English visitors to South Wales may encounter, it is a taste of still further blue star beaches to come:

  1. just a couple of miles inland from Barry is Happy Jakes Touring Holiday Park, where all 30 of its caravan pitches are south facing. The Jake in the park’s name is a reference to the owners’ son and a way of letting disabled caravanners know the importance they place on providing access for those with a disability;
  2. travel further westwards along the coast and just past Swansea, you will find the gateway at Mumbles to the stunning Gower peninsula, designated Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956. To share a taste of life on the Gower and sample within a short walking distance the sandy beaches of Oxwich and Three Cliffs Bay you might choose to stay at the Nicholaston Farm Camping and Caravan Site. The majority of pitches for touring caravans are on hard standing.
  3. visit the Caravan Club’s St David’s Lleithyr Meadow site for touring caravans and you have mile upon mile of coastal path in both directions at this most south-westerly part of Wales. The site offers a total of 115 assorted pitches for touring caravans.

North Wales

North Wales is dominated by Snowdonia National Park and the majestic Mount Snowdon itself, the highest mountain in England and Wales. More down to earth, there are plenty of other things to do and to enjoy than scaling the dizzy heights – as the Welsh tourist Board, Visit Wales, is keen to point out.

There is the distinct charm of the island of Anglesey, where you are never so far from the coast, and beaches along both the north Welsh coast and to the south of Snowdonia:

Seaside towns in North Wales are readily accessible from some of England’s biggest, busiest and once industrial towns – the seaside resorts therefore have a nostalgic character all of their own. Towns such as:

  1. Llandudno – with its iconic rock, the Orme, which can be seen from nearby touring caravan park, Tyydyn Du. The mainly grass pitches all have 16 amp electrical hook-up;
  2. Abersoch – where you might choose to pitch up at Hen Siop y Mynydd campsite, overlooking the dramatic if somewhat alarmingly named Hell’s Mouth (Porth Neigwl);
  3. Barmouth – Hendremynach or the Barmouth Touring Caravan and Camping Park is practically on the beach at Barmouth and offers both grass and hard standing pitches, all with 10 amp electric hook-up.

East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk and North Essex)

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Even the local tourist boards seem to recognise the temptation of many potential visitors to overlook the charms of East Anglia – which has probably the longest coastline of any region of England.

North Norfolk has some wonderfully sandy beaches, Suffolk has pebbles, and Northern Essex still retains some surprisingly quaint and old English coastal villages.

East Anglia occupies a large region of England and so offers plenty of contrast and variety as some of these caravan sites along its shores might illustrate:

  1. Walnut Farm Caravan Park is a short distance from several sandy beaches in Norfolk and only half an hour’s drive from the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth. The park has 20 large pitches, each served by a 16 amp electric hook-up;
  2. Cakes and Ale Holiday Park – this delightfully named caravan site lies in the centre of Suffolk’s Heritage Coast. Pitches for touring caravans are deliberately left with plenty of space between them, so you can enjoy the best of the tranquillity, peace and quiet; (Read our blog written by Cakes and Ale on what it is alike to run a holiday park)
  3. Grange Farm Campsite makes a point of being mainly for adults and only a few pitches are reserved for families with children. A small, quiet site, it is close to the popular beaches of Clacton, Frinton-on-sea and Walton on the Naze.

North England

Although included under the same heading in this brief guide, many would argue that northeast and northwest England are as different as chalk and cheese – certainly the respective tourist boards for east and west would insist on it.

On the east coast there is the bird and seal watchers’ paradise of the Farne Islands, set just off the Northumberland coast and the sandy beaches that continue down through County Durham, as far as the drama to be had where the North York Moors also reach the sea.

On the west coast in Lancashire, there is the huge sweep of Morecombe Bay, the bright lights and kiss-me-quick hats of Blackpool, and the point where the mountains of the Lake District come down to the sea.

A region to be enjoyed in two halves, therefore, here are a few suggestions about where to pitch your caravan:

  1. Seafield Caravan Park is the ideal base from which to explore the Northumberland coast, Farne Islands and the imposing castle at Bamburgh Head. Pitches for touring caravans on the site are a particularly high standard, with each one on hard standing and electric, water, drainage and sewerage points illuminated by an individual light; 
  2. Middlewood Farm Holiday Park is set on the rugged North Yorkshire coast, near the scenically charming Robin Hoods Bay, nestled in its on sheltered cove. The site has a 5-star award and all of its pitches for touring caravans are on hard standing, with electric hook-ups;
  3. if you want the bustle of Blackpool yet an escape at the end of the day to a semi-rural setting, the site for you might be Beechwood Stables Caravan Site over on the North of England’s west coast. A relatively small site, all pitches for touring caravans are on hard standing;
  4. Seacote Caravan Park is right on the beach at St Bees in a unique corner of England where the edge of the Lake District meets the sea. Pitches for touring caravans are all on hard standing and some have a grassed area to the side to accommodate awnings. All have 10 amp electric hook-ups and mains water.

Scotland

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You probably don’t need the reminder from Visit Scotland that the country is world famous for its stunning scenery, its culture, its diversity – and, of course, its whiskey!

What may be less commonly quoted, though, is the fact that a country the size of Scotland and its many outlying islands, has an enormously long coastline – perfect for those who want to take their caravan north of the border and still pitch up on a coastal campsite.

From north to south, east to west, Scotland offers tremendous variety and diversity, making a short selection of coastal caravan sites especially difficult. The following, therefore, are very much just for starters:

  1. if you would prefer the gentler surroundings of the Ayr peninsula, you might want to consider the Heads of Ayr Caravan Park, on the beach, just five miles south of the town of Ayr itself. A relatively small number of pitches for touring caravans is offered, but each has its own electric hook-up;
  2. in northeast Scotland, Banff Links Caravan Park is right alongside the sea front and lays claim to being situated in one of the driest regions of the country. For touring caravans the site offers 38 pitches, all with electric hook-up;
  3. you’re almost certain to have heard of the Mull of Kintyre – now you can take your second home there. Muasdale Holiday Park overlooks the wide sweep of this Argyle peninsula and is ideal for island hopping. But there are pitches for only 8 touring caravans – each with electric hook-up – so advance booking is essential.

Northern Ireland

The stunning coastline of Northern Ireland is probably rarely visited by English caravanners – because of the relatively high cost of the ferry across the Irish sea.

But the voyage might prove well worth the time and expense in order to enjoy the dramatic scenery and unspoilt beached which you might find along a coastline which – according to Discover Northern Ireland – is some 124 miles or 200 km long.

From the world famous Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, the golden sands of many beaches in Londonderry or the Mourne Coastal Route in County Down, there are certain to be pleasant surprises around every corner.

Here are some of the touring caravan sites at which you might want to stay:

  1. Ballyness Caravan Park in Bushmills, in the north of County Antrim, is just minutes from the iconic Giant’s Causeway and the sandy beach of Whitepark Bay. The park offers 50 fully serviced pitches for touring caravans, all of which are on hard standing;
  2. Ballyleese Town and Country Caravan Park is close to Portstewart on the north coast of Londonderry, near to The Strand beach and golf links. It is described as a family-friendly caravan site;
  3. Between Strangford Lough, rolling countryside and the coastal paths of County Down is Strangford Holiday Park, which offers up to 10 pitches for touring caravans.

Summary

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The British Isles are naturally surrounded by the sea and therefore have an extremely long coastline. If it is the coast that draws you towards destinations for your touring caravan holiday, therefore, you are unlikely ever to be at a loss for somewhere to go – be it in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

This brief guide has only scratched the surface with suggestion about just a few of the coastlines you might explore and the touring sites you might choose as your base.

 

Top tips on buying a static caravan

If you are considering buying a static caravan for the first time, then there are lots of things you need to think about with your investment. Here we share some tips on things that you may wish to consider but which are sometimes overlooked in the excitement of selecting and buying a static caravan itself!

Choose your caravan site carefully

Your static caravan might be equipped to superstar levels but if it is in a location that is unsuitable for you, there’s a fair chance you are not going to be happy.

This isn’t just a question of trying to avoid sites that overlook that nuclear waste reprocessing facility – sadly it is a little subtler than that!

How far away is the site?

How far is the static caravan from your home? If you are planning on using your static caravan for quick weekends away or an ad-hoc holiday, you probably won’t want to spend too long in a car getting there. So, check out the route and do a few trial runs at different times, to see how long the journey really takes.

Where is the home on the site?

Is the static caravan in a permanently shaded woodland area? This may be great for hot days, but a bit depressing if it is miserable out.

Is the caravan close to or far from the site’s amenities? This is an important one – if you like being close to everything, you probably won’t want to be at the far end of the site. Similarly, if you are looking for peace and quiet, you may wish to be away from the main activities in a more secluded spot.

Some sites may be very rural, have few if any onsite facilities and be a long way from things such as shops. If you like rural isolation that may be fine but not if you like having a shop or a pub (etc.) within just a few minutes of where you are staying.

Rivers and flooding

A site may be beautifully located but if, for example, you have very young children and there is an open river location, you may find that you spend more of your time worrying and fretting over their safety than enjoying your caravan and surroundings.

Remember that the river or nearby sea may not always be inclined to stay where they’re meant to be – and that may result in disaster for you. Before investing in a static home, check with the environmental agencies to see if your site is prone to flooding.

When choosing a location, remember that your site may affect a number of things including the cost of your static caravan insurance. Sites known for flooding or which have security issues, may result in you needing to spend more on your annual policy.

Think about the future

Your caravan and its location may be ideal today but remember to consider:

• do you have any plans to start/expand your family – then you may need to reconsider the size and location;

• those fields directly adjacent to your caravan may be beautiful today, but do you know whether or not there are any planning applications going through the system?

Who will be using the static home?

Are you planning to use the static home purely for friends and family, or are you thinking about letting it out to holidaymakers? These are two very different scenarios when owning a static caravan – if the former, then you may be more flexible in where you choose to invest in a static home.

If the latter, you may have to think about making sure the site is attractive to holidaymakers, so you may need to think about the location and on-site services differently -i.e would you like to holiday there?

Your second home

  • your static caravan is likely to be, to all intents and purposes, a second home – whether for a holiday for you and your family, as a regular bolthole, or as a money-spinning holiday let;
  • whatever the purpose, your choice is likely to be guided by similar principles to those when buying your main place of residence;
  • in other words, is it big enough, does the layout suit the different purposes for which you may be buying it, are the fittings and appliances up to the standard you expect – and, quite simply, does it offer a welcoming home away from home;
  • if you are buying your static caravan principally for holiday lettings, does the location offer the appeal and attractions most likely to be sought by tourists and other visitors?

Check out the interior

When looking at the caravan interior, see if you can put your own mark on the place.

A difference between the interior of your principal home and static holiday home is likely to be that the latter has more in the way of fitted furniture and equipment – unlike the lounge and dining room suites you might have in your main home, for instance.

Even though some of the furniture and furnishings may be fitted, however, you may still have plenty of creative opportunities for the interior design of your static caravan. A lick of paint, the introduction of new fabrics or even a carefully placed rug might go a long way to putting your own personal stamp on the décor.

The reason for sale and the condition

If you are buying a second hand static holiday caravan, then check the reason for its sale. Being realistic, no potential vendor is likely to honestly share with you that they are trying to sell because (e.g.) the site and area are unpleasant! Even so, pushing people a little on this and getting into a discussion with them, may result in you spotting a few warning signs that suggest their reasons for the sale may be ones that you yourself might find to be issues in due course

Look closely at the condition of the caravan. A lot of this is common sense but if you are not familiar with statics, it might be advisable to take someone with you who is. Get them to check things such as the underneath, couplings and for signs of significant corrosion. Is there water getting in anywhere? Will your holiday caravan need a lot of maintenance?

Terms of sale

  • an important consideration is whether to buy privately or directly from the holiday park on which the static caravan is already sited;
  • although with private sale from buyers the price might seem attractive, you may need to add to that the cost of transporting the caravan to your chosen location or pay a commission to the holiday park owners if you are buying a static caravan already pitched on that site;
  • make sure that you understand the full nature of the site’s pitch requirements, regulations and costs. Verify what you are told with other caravan owners on the site. Unpleasant surprises are something you will presumably wish to avoid after purchase;
  • keep in mind that the time to ask a difficult question is before you sign on the dotted line and not after. Once you have, it’ll be too late!

Know your site obligations

A static caravans site typically has a set of rules and regulations that should be made clear to you before you sign anything.

Don’t make the mistake of writing these off as boring small print, as they may contain conditions For that might cause you some difficulty in future (e.g. banning pets from the site etc. or holiday usage). Check out the terms and conditions and ensure you will be able to fully comply.

More top tips on choosing your investment

Walk and drive extensively around the area of the caravan site. For example, an animal silage farm a mile or two down the road might prove to be a significant issue for you at the height of summer when the wind is blowing in a certain direction! These are things you’ll want to discover in advance rather than afterwards.

Note the condition of your neighbours’ static caravans. The one you are looking at might be in pristine condition but if others around are shabby and slightly run down, it may tell you something about the nature of the site and your probable outcomes for the future sale of the caravan if and when you need to.

Money, money money

Massively depleting your financial reserves to buy the best caravan you can afford might seem like a good idea but do keep in mind that caravans cost money to maintain from the basic costs such as static caravan insurance, and site fees right up to ongoing maintenance.

It might be advisable to keep some cash reserves to cope with this and any unexpected issues that may arise.

Compare your static caravans insurance cover

Of course, price is always going to be important. Nevertheless, try to balance this off to some extent against the cover being provided by a policy. If you ever need to make a claim, you will be looking very closely at the cover details and not how much the policy has cost. It therefore makes sense to adopt that approach from day one and before you actually choose the policy to begin with.

Look at the totality of the cover provided. For example, some policy advertisements may contain prominent headline good news items but some of the detail of the policy may be rather less satisfactory. It is necessary to look at that fine detail before you will be able to decide whether the policy is right for you.

Think about specialisation. Some organisations offer insurance for every conceivable requirement, which is fine, but they may struggle to display the in-depth knowledge of caravans that might be required in order to find you suitable cover. That might only come from people who specialise in caravan insurance.

Don’t get stuck in a rut. It may be easy to slip into the comfortable familiarity of simply renewing your existing policy each year. The trouble with that approach is that the market changes regularly and what might have been a good deal for you when you selected your existing policy, might now have been significantly superseded by better options in the marketplace. If you simply automatically renew each year, then you may never be aware that those opportunities exist.

If you are going to let your static caravan as a holiday home for paying guests, ensure you inform your insurer. You will typically need specific caravan holiday home insurance cover.

Look carefully for discount opportunities. There are many potential areas where this may be available through some policies, but some caravans insurance providers may be rather more forthcoming in this respect than others.

Money-saving tips for your static caravan insurance

The following tips may offer ways of reducing the cost of your static holiday home caravan insurance premiums:

  • review your security. Some policies may recognise and reward policyholders who have taken additional security precautions, such as installing security bolts, intruder alarms and the like;
  • being a member of a recognised caravan club;
  • look carefully at your site. If you have a static caravan that is sited somewhere with a known history of flooding or perhaps burglaries, you may find your premium prices are elevated. This step might only be meaningful if you take it before purchasing or locating your caravan of course;
  • take particular precautions during the winter season, when your static caravan is more vulnerable to storms, bad weather and possible break-ins.

Finally … investment in and owning a static caravan or holiday caravan can be great fun! please read our Guide to buying a static caravan for more information on considerations when investing in a static holiday home.

The 1930’s couple who took a motorhome trip to the Sahara and more caravan news …

The days are growing ever shorter and winter is setting in, so why not snuggle down with a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest caravan news here …

The 1930’s couple who took a motorhome trip to the Sahara

Do you think you travel far and wide in your adventures with your caravan? A series of charming photographs published by the Nottingham Post on the 23rd of October might knock your outings into a cocked hat.

They illustrate the expedition to the Sahara undertaken by a Mr and Mrs Fuller back in the 1930s – when the Great Depression kept many other couples rooted in the gloom of the UK.

In a Chevrolet Eccles motor caravan – the original motorhome – they travelled a staggering 2,300 miles from Dover to the Sahara.

In 1934, when the couple made the trip, Eccles motor caravans had only just started production at the factory in Birmingham. You needed to be quite well-off to afford one – many of the buyers were titled people – and orders were generally custom-built.

The Fullers’ adventure was before the many metalled roads that now mark most of that route, of course – although being from a somewhat wealthy class of caravanner, they took along their housemaid from England.

Councillors to discuss caravan park extension

Plans to extend a caravan site in Mearns, Aberdeen, have met with a mixed reception, according to the Mearns Leader on the 28th of October.

The local planning authority is considering proposals by Cloak Caravan Park near Catterline to extend the site by an additional 17 spaces for static caravans, each with parking for two cars, and connections to the mains water supply. The increase would see the number of caravan pitches increase by around 50%.

Representations about the planning application are equally divided for and against – with the latter complaining about increased traffic noise and dangers to pedestrians on local roads.

Police investigate claims over caravan bookings

A caravan holiday booking agent is currently under investigation by Police Scotland.

It is alleged that the person responsible accepted thousands of pounds in booking fees from hopeful holidaymakers in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, but failed to pass on the takings to Craig Tara, Aberdeenshire.

In a report on the 19th of October, the BBC reported that those who had made such bookings have been turning up at the site to find their caravans locked or already double-booked.

It is believed that more than 60 people have reported the unofficial booking agent to Police Scotland or the UK’s main centre for fraud and cybercrime, Action Fraud.

Plans for more static caravans at Colchester Holiday Park

In another story underlining the wide appeal of static caravan holidays, a caravan park in Essex is looking to substantially reduce the number of its touring caravan and camping pitches, substituting them for static caravans, according to reports in the Daily Gazette and Essex County Standard on the 29th of October.

Colchester Holiday Park currently has planning permission for 221 touring caravans and just 42 static caravans. The current application is to change this to a total of 85 static caravans and just 50 pitches for touring caravans and tents.

Opponents of the application bemoan the potential drift away from holiday and tourism use of the park towards residential purposes, although planning officials have noted the likely reduction in traffic noise and congestion in surrounding areas following any switch towards static caravans.