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Planning your Great British Holiday.
The ‘Staycation’, or the UK holiday has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, becoming more popular with us Brits. As holiday makers begin to see the sense in avoiding increasingly busy airports and the unfavourable Euro / sterling exchange rate, the benefits of keeping tourist spend at home become clearer to all.
We are as a nation, lucky to be able to appreciate the indescribable beauty of our British landscape, from the majestic mountains of Snowdonia, the lakes in the Lake District, the wildlife and forestry in the New Forest to the amazing coastlines around the UK. As a country, our green and pleasant land has much to offer to those of us staying close to home, as well as visitors from abroad.
The old image of the saucy British postcard, with piers, arcades and men in deckchairs is still with us, but in fact there are plenty of types of holidays to be found – action, relaxation, nature based, sporting and family friendly, depending on what you might like this year. We take a look at the key decisions that need to be made when considering a holiday in the UK.
1.) Type of holiday. (e.g. beach / walking / biking)
2.) Accommodation requirements
3.) Region or area in the UK
4.) Local attractions / activities
5.) Who is taking the holiday
7.) Which holiday season
8.) Planning for those rainy days
9.) On-site amenities and activities
10.) Search for Caravan Parks and Campsites in the UK
1. Type of holiday. (e.g. beach / walking / biking)
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GB is fortunate enough in terrain and season to be able to offer various sorts of holiday experience, and each family will probably have different preferences. You might like beach and sun holidays, biking (motor bikes and push bike holidays), walking / climbing holidays, adventure / activity holidays, sailing holidays or river cruising holidays. Whichever you choose, don’t forget that even in the height of summer, there is likely to be a day or two where the weather is inclement, so try to plan to include some rainy days.
If you take the plunge and book something a little more active, you may need to consider some fitness training before hand depending on your experience.
Obviously there will be budget constraints for most of us, and if you choose an activity holiday then you may well have less choice on the type of accommodation you can choose. In a general, ascending price order, here are some ideas:
B) Camping pods / glamping - posh camping for those discerning campers that don't quite like to admit they don't like the creepy crawlies, mud and lack of space usually found on a British camping holiday
C) Touring caravan holiday – for those with their own or a hired caravan who wish to explore and travel round the country or even Europe
D) Motorhome – which again can be hired if you are not lucky enough to own one
E) Narrow boat / boat
F) Static caravan, usually on a site with amenities nearby
G) Bed and breakfast
H) Holiday cottages
I) Log cabins
3. Region or area in the UK
The next step is to consider geographical locations – terrain varies throughout the UK, and some of your consideration may be based on travelling time or local attractions. Consider:
Covering Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. Usually a holiday in this part of the country will be close to the sea and have some amazing panoramic views across various coastline such as the Jurassic coastline in Dorset. Indulge in a cream tea, visit Corfe Castle, or simply visit the area’s wonderful beaches to make a sandcastle. There are the amazing indoor gardens in Cornwall at the Eden Project which makes for a great day out should you find yourself stuck in on one of those rainy days. If you're looking for a mountainous climbing holiday then the south west isn't for you.
Covering some of our great inland picturesque inland areas of Kent,the coastline in Sussex; including one of our most beautiful pebble beaches in Brighton. The South Downs can also make for a challenging cycle holiday.
Wales is a fabulous destination – mountainous, beautiful and wild, with cultural centres and historical treasures. For those that want to enjoy a great climbing / walking holiday then Snowdonia and her spectacular views may just suit your needs.
Perfect for numerous types of holidays including some challenging mountainous walks as well as varied watersports and sailing holidays on the lakes. There are numerous campsites, caravan parks, holiday cottages and bed and breakfasts throughout the Lake District, making this a popular destination.
Take a break in breathtaking Scotland. Guided tours to the Highlands, a boat trip round the islands, along canals, across a loch is a great way to see Scotland’s stunning scenery. You can always self-tour by car or sit back and watch the landscape rolling past on a train. All accommodation types can be catered for in Scotland from camping to holiday cottages.
This area boasts some beautiful beaches, amazing churches and historical sites. The Yorkshire Moors again can make for some stunning walks. Accommodation is varied enough to suit campers, glampers, caravannners and more.
Norfolk and the Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads are one of Britain’s most amazing inland waterway networks. The area is just begging to be explored on a narrowboat or sleeping river. The rivers and broads (lakes), which are mostly navigable consist of over 303km sq. Dry land features some of the best traditional holidays including family friendly Great Yarmouth, and there are quiet areas to suit a more sedate pace such as Sheringham.
4. Local attractions
Local attractions don't necessarily dictate your holiday location or the accommodation you choose, unless it is something you have particular desire to do such as visiting the Eden Project. It is however, always worth while finding out which attractions are local to entertain the kids and see some more of the area. Look locally to see what’s available before you book. Do you prefer a theme park, gardens, museum, zoo, historical interest site or busy nightlife and great restaurants?
5. Who's going on holiday with you
Not a silly question! Is it just you, you and your partner, your children, your friend, your dog, your parents, or your grand parents? Is it all of them?! Whichever the case, you all no doubt have differing needs and perceptions of what makes the perfect holiday, so sit down and have a holiday planning discussion - there's no point on going on a walking holiday if all your holiday companions hate walking! If you're taking the dog make sure to choose accommodation which allows dogs.
Note that single sex groups can be prohibited from some sites to avoid raucous hen or stag parties on family sites, so do check policy before booking. Likewise, some parks are adult only, so check again if you have kids in tow.
As we said, budget plays a considerable role in holiday planning. Unlike some notorious late deal holidays abroad, the chances are planning properly and booking in advance will actually save you money on your UK holiday.
Most sites have a website for prices and booking, so finding good low cost holidays couldn't be easier. Booking in advance also has the added advantage of allowing you to plan your finances around the booked holiday. In most instances only a small upfront deposit will need to be paid prior to the holiday, meaning the balance can be paid closer to your vacation.
Another crucial decision is when to go, and this will have impact on the type of accommodation you are able to choose. Most caravan and campsites are shut in the coldest part of the British winter from January to March, and although winter camping is becoming more of a thing, your choices may be limited. Some caravan sites are available, but do make sure you have adequate heating as it can get chilly at night in most caravans.
Walking holidays during the winter months especially in any of the British mountains can be tranquil and beautiful, but do ensure you have the appropriate clothing. Frost bite is not uncommon in Great Britain, so watch out.
We are lucky enough to experience a warmer climate during our summers – so an electric fan will always be useful in summer.
8. Planning for those rainy days
Not to labour the point, but do prepare for rainy days. There is little worse than bored, energetic kids cooped up in a tent or small caravan with nothing to do.
Have a back up, find out where the local cinema is and what’s on, and have a look at things like museums, play centres and indoor swimming.
Definitely plan to take some free activities – colouring books and pencils, cards, board games and books for instant gratification.
Swimming is brilliant as nearly all the pools in the UK are indoors, so perfect come sun or rain. Save the indoor swimming slide park for a rainy day.
Wet walks – walking in the rain can be fun. Toddlers and young children will enjoy jumping in muddy puddles a la Peppa Pig, as will plenty of the adults! Don’t forget your welly boots!
9. On-site amenities and activities
With all this in mind, use out checklist below to work out what are your essential amenities from the site or caravan park you are looking at:
Facilities and activities checklist:
- Dog and pet friendly
- Biker friendly
- Indoor swimming pool(s)
- Outdoor swimming pool(s)
- Bike / mountain bike hire
- Crazy golf
- Grocery Shop(s)
- Show bar
- Bar or club house
- Toilet blocks
- Disabled toilet block
- Children play areas
- Showers available
- Water & drainage
- Shaving / hairdryer points
- Washing up facilities
- Calor Gas / Camping Gaz
- Waste water disposal points
- Chemical waste disposal points
- Free hot water
- Electrical hook-ups
- Family friendly
- Camp fires allowed
Nearby leisure you may want (say a 15 minute drive)
- Mountain biking
10. Search for Caravan Parks and Campsites in the UK
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