Video: Caravan Club reports 40% spike in bookings but what makes holidaying in the UK so enticing?
Bookings are up, and more and more of us are experiencing the joys of caravanning.
With an estimated 1.7 million caravanners in the UK and an industry worth £1billion a year, caravanning is a mainstay of the UK and Suffolk tourist economy.
And the White House Beach Caravan Club Site at Kessingland has been full for months.
Warden Bernie Binnie said: “We have been full since Whitsun until now. Now the school holidays are over and the children are back at school we have a slightly older clientele.”
Bernie, 58, has been a caravanner for the last 28 years and he and his wife Sandra have spent many holidays touring the UK and Europe.
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He said: “I am one of the wardens here for eight months of the year. After the season is over we get in our motorhome and we will go to Spain for about a month. We aren’t at home much.”
The pair are responsible for maintenance, gardening, cleaning and administration at the Caravan Club-owned site.
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Bernie said: “We get to go to some lovely places and we get to meet some lovely people. It is a lovely life.”
At stand 81 John Couzens arrived with his Senator 6 California caravan a day ago with his puppy Brandy.
The retired biscuit salesman said: “I am here to meet some friends. We all grew up together in Surbiton and we have friends nearby at Oulton Broad. We come each September.”
For the 70-year-old, whose wife of 46 years, Margaret, died two years ago, an interest in caravanning began after holidays bed and breakfasting in France.
He said: “We thought it might be easier to have a caravan instead so at first we bought a secondhand caravan. We had some lovely holidays and I have some lovely memories of holidays with my wife in Spain and Portugal.”
John, of Yately in Hampshire, said: “My wife died suddenly and I lost my soul mate. I wasn’t sure what to do about the caravan but I went on a holiday organised by the Caravan Club and everyone was so friendly I decided to keep it. I’ve been away five times already this year.”
With a new air pump awning – easier to put up on his own – John’s caravan is a home from home. Inside there is a full-size oven, lounge area, double bed, toilet and shower, fridge freezer, microwave, radio, television and dvd player.
He said: “If I was young and fit it would take about half an hour to set up but it takes me just over an hour. It doesn’t take long.”
Next door at stand 82 Bob and Janet Thornton, John’s friends, have set up home in their motorhome for a few days. They have travelled from Surbiton via Corfe Castle in Dorset.
Retired television lighting engineer Bob, 70, said: “It is a fantastic site and handy for us to see our old friends. We have a Peugeot Compass motorhome. It is very convenient.”
Janet, 69, said they initially had a static caravan but prefer the flexibility of a motorhome.
She said: “I like sitting in the front because you can see everything. The lounge area doubles up as a bed, there’s a toilet and shower and kitchen area. We use the motorhome about once a month; we are retired so we can just decide to go away for a few days.”
The couple, who have just celebrated their golden wedding, said they go on other holidays as well.
This year bookings across Caravan Club sites across the UK are up by 40%.
Janet added: “We have seen more and more people using the sites.
“We love the freedom and the sites are very welcoming and there are lots to choose from. I love being by the sea and waking up near the beach. It fits in with our retirement and it suits us.”