Food glorious food - fill your boots for winter camping and caravanning
As we wisely pointed out in our guide to winter caravan sites, winter is not the time to be worrying about waistlines. Tis the season to be jolly, eat until bursting and blame a dodgy setting on the tumble dryer for shrinking our jeans. A nice layer of podge over the winter also helps to keep the cold out. Hurrah!
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some easy as pie ways to round off your stomach on camping and caravanning hols this autumn and winter. Here are our top tips on finding sites and parks for you to feast at:
The very phrase conjures up images of oysters, rich dark chocolate and rosy-cheeked hobbitlike indulgence, which are all among our very favourite things. We've dozens of sites listed as in an area of gastronomic delight - in our search results go to ‘Filter by feature’ on the left, then down to ‘Themes’. Our listings are searchable by type of pitch, availability, user review, leisure on site, amenities and more.
For Devon delicacies, roll along to the Kingsmead Centre in Cullompton, which is not only named after honey wine but which has Devon’s Dining Pub of the Year 2011 The Merry Harriers within a few minutes’ walk. About a mile up the road is The Half Moon, which has a Silver award from Taste of the West but which sensibly says it’s not trying to turn into a gastropub. Yay. Bag a two-bedroom static caravan at Kingsmead from £40 a night for up to four people; there are also electric and non-electric grass and hardstanding pitches from £10 per night.
If you’d rather land your own supper, and get in a spot of glamping along the way, the tipis, yurt and wooden wigwam at Loch Tay Highland Lodges in Perthshire should have you hooked: you can take a boat out to land salmon and trout in the loch and the owners can even arrange your fishing permit. Steam gently afterwards by the fire at the on-site Boathouse restaurant with vintage wine and vivid views. Prices start from £30 per night.
Unfortunately browsing around a farmers’ market for the latest fresh local produce does assume that you’ll be putting together your own meal rather than having it placed tastily in front of you, but perhaps you can call in a favour from the other half (we find that flattery along the lines of their superior cooking skills works well here).
We have farmers’ markets sites all over the country starting at £10 per night: bag a camping pod at Moorlands Caravan Park in Lancashire from £40, with tent and touring pitches available from £14; or combine a farmers’ market stay with a fishing trip at Yet-Y-Gors Fishery in Pembrokeshire with four coarse fishing lakes along with fishing lessons and hire rods available. A week in a six-berth static caravan at Yet-Y-Gors is £180. For Cornish cuisine, a gypsy caravan at Outlandish Holidays in Helston can be had from £75 per night.
Eating your way around the country like Pacman is one of the best things about camping and caravanning in the UK, so to help out we also have sites with local produce available on site (filter these with gastronomic delight parks to really fill your boots). We have them up and down the land: bed down in a luxury bell tent or tipi at Magical Camping in Norfolk from £85 a night where you can cook indoors or over a fire pit outside, or pick up some Perthshire produce at Ecocamp Glenshee, with camping pods from £40 per night for up to five people.
We’re with The Half Moon in Devon in giving the evil eye to gastropubs, so it’s just as well we also list proper pub sites in our quest for the ultimate spare tyre. Baron of Beef in Shropshire has pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £11 per night steps away from an acclaimed country inn dishing up homemade grub and accredited real ale. There’s also snoozing your grub off at one of the three open fires at Cornwall’s Golden Lion Inn Lakeside Camping close to Redruth, Falmouth and Truro, with pitches from £13 per night for tents and £15 for tourers and motorhomes. Both sites are open all year.
Still hungry? Look for campsites and caravan parks with a restaurant or café on site – and/or a takeaway or food shop if you want to eat in your underwear (generally recommended for your caravan, tent or lodge and not in public). Clashwhannon Caravan Park near Stranraer has a restaurant, takeaway and bar on site and is in Dumfries and Galloway with the food town of Castle Douglas as well as foodie events, farmers’ markets and a Flavour Fortnight every summer. We’ll have the salmon please (and a pint of Galloway Gold to wash it down).