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Tent sales rocket as Suffolk gets set for a summer under canvas

PUBLISHED: 17:02 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:02 27 May 2020

David Broughton owns Camperite Leisure in Marks Tey and has been in the camping industry for 30 years. Picture: DAVID BROUGHTON

David Broughton owns Camperite Leisure in Marks Tey and has been in the camping industry for 30 years. Picture: DAVID BROUGHTON

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Record tent sales have been recorded across Suffolk and Essex over recent weeks as families seek out holidays closer to home this summer.

Will you be heading to a beauty spot in East Anglia to camp this summer? Picture: GETTY/a_TaigaWill you be heading to a beauty spot in East Anglia to camp this summer? Picture: GETTY/a_Taiga

Thousands of foreign holidays have already been cancelled and those who are still hoping to jet off to the Med this summer face a two week quarantine period on return, meaning families are looking at alternative options to a traditional package holiday.

Some are upgrading their gardens and plan to spend their leisure time at home - with one Suffolk dad even built a DIY hot tub out of an industrial water tank for his wife and children.
For others, camping holidays seem like the safest option and the most likely holiday to be allowed this summer as lockdown is gradually lifted and life begins to return to normal.

David Broughton has been in the camping industry for three decades and has owned Camperite Leisure at Marks Tey for 16 years, he said the sunny bank holiday weekend set a new sales record for his company.

“People have seen the beauty of Britain and want to appreciate it – outdoor activities aren’t just for the weekend now, people are doing it midweek and every evening, and they’re actually enjoying being outside.

“There was also a spike with the good weather as people have camped in their gardens over the bank holiday weekend and decided they want to do it more often.”

According to the industry veteran, sales of tents and other camping items were unusually low in March and there were even a few days where the shop didn’t receive any orders at all – unheard of before lockdown.

Despite many people being on reduced incomes because of furlough, sales of caravans and heavy duty barbecues have also seen a rise with shoppers looking for kit which is more substantial and durable - suggesting they expect to be holidaying closer to home for the forseeable future.

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Mr Broughton added: “We have sold a really mixed bag, anything and everything including more specialist and expensive equipment.

“What we really need now is for the campsites to open.”

Action Outdoors is based in Brantham and store owner David Tonks specialises in trekking, climbing and rambling gear as well as camping supplies.

Sales have been quiet during lockdown, but in light of the quarantine announcement he said: “I don’t think anyone is planning on travelling out of the country this summer.

Action Outdoors was based in Ipswich for many years before owner David Tonks decided to move the premises to Brantham. Picture: JAMES FLETCHERAction Outdoors was based in Ipswich for many years before owner David Tonks decided to move the premises to Brantham. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

“We’ve had a lot of people looking but not necessarily buying, so I think there is an interest and we’re starting to see things pick up now.

“I am looking at it in a positive way as people are starting to buy again and getting prepared for the summer.”

The government has yet to give permission for campsites across East Anglia to reopen, but many campers are hoping they will be able to in time for the school summer holidays in July and August.

Social distancing will need to be observed and sites are assuring would-be holiday makers that tent pitches will be spread further apart and some will offer designated shower slots to avoid congestion around amenity blocks.

Camperite in Marks Tey has been closed during lockdown but online sales have rocketed recently. Picture: DAVID BROUGHTONCamperite in Marks Tey has been closed during lockdown but online sales have rocketed recently. Picture: DAVID BROUGHTON

MORE: Dream destinations - our best-ever breaks, and the holidays we can’t wait to take when lockdown is over


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