Book and review 6,422 holiday parks and campsites in 20 European countries

Facts and figures

We've collected some facts and figures about the UK camping and caravan market below. For information about Pitchup.com, visit our about us page and our press releases page. Or see our guide to how to set up a campsite or caravan park.

The market

  • In 2012, spend by GB residents during domestic camping and caravan trips was up 5% compared to 2010 and bednights were 2% up (source: GBTS)
  • In 2012, UK residents took 15.9m camping and caravanning trips, spending £2.5bn during their trips (source: GBTS). By contrast, they made 9.8m visits to Spain and 6.2m to France (source: GBTS)
  • Of the 15.9m trips, 48% were spent in static caravans, 26% camping and 26% in touring caravans or motorhomes
  • In 2012, some 71m bed nights were spent in caravans, tents and motorhomes by UK residents. The accommodation category is second only to hotels and larger than the combined B&B, guest house and built self-catering sectors, by domestic trips/bednights (Source: GBTS)
  • In 2012, average trip length was 4.5 nights and average spend per trip £159 per person for domestic camping and caravanning breaks (source: VisitEngland)
  • One in three people has taken a camping or caravanning holiday in the last three years, up from one in five in 2009 (source: Mintel 2011)
  • At least 17% of holiday parks and campsites are open all the year round (source: Pitchup.com)

Holidays abroad by UK residents
By trips (in '000s) or By spend (in £'000s)

 chart

The 'staycation'...

  • In 2009, camping and caravanning trips by UK residents grew by 20%, ahead of overall domestic holiday growth of 17% (source: UKTS)
  • Meanwhile, holiday trips abroad by UK residents fell by 15% from 46m in 2008 to 38m in 2009 - the largest annual decline in overseas holidays for more than 25 years (source: National Statistics) - reaching 36m in 2012

...continuing in the 2010s

  • According to VisitBritain research in 2010, 90% of "staycationers" expect to take at least one England break in 2010 - the 2009 experience has improved opinions of holidaying at home for many, and left them keen to discover more
  • Holiday trips abroad in the first half of 2010 declined by 10% versus the same period in 2009 - equivalent to a reduction of 26% in the last two years (source: National Statistics)
  • Registrations of new touring caravans rose by 14% in the first quarter of 2010 (source: European Caravan Federation)

A permanent shift? 

  • There are signs that a more permanent shift in attitudes is occurring, with almost half the population (and 70% of staycationers) expecting that beyond 2010 they will take more holidays in the UK than they have in the past (source: VisitEngland)

Adverse exchange rate movements

  • In May 2010, your pound buys you 21% fewer euros than in May 2007 (Source: X-rates.com)
  • In May 2010, it costs 26% more in pounds for a holiday of the same euro value, compared to May 2010 (Source: X-rates.com)

Other trends

90% of
stayca/oners expect to take at least one England break in 2010 – the 2009 experience has improved
opinions of holidaying at home for many, and le them keen to discover more, though this may mean
taking shorter breaks rather than a longer holiday.
The con/nued impact of the recessionmeans that some will have to take domes/c breaks again in 2010 for
financial reasons, but there are signs that a more permanent shi in a1tudes is star/ng to happen, with
almost half the popula/on (and 70% of stayca/oners) expec/ng that beyond 2010 they will take more
holidays in the UK than they have in the past.
  • Camping and caravaning is green, cheaper and takes less time than foreign travel. For a typical journey comparison, a family would save 8.6 hours of travel time, spend 92% less on transport costs, and save 95% of their CO2 emissions - enough to brew 80,472 cups of tea
  • Adult-only camping and caravanning is on the rise. Between 2006 and 2010 the number of domestic camping and caravan trips in England taken without children rose from 44% to 50% (source: VisitEngland)
  • There has been a 50% increase in 'glamping' sites listed on Pitchup.com in 2011
  • Bookings are being made later for shorter holidays closer to home. In 2012, 44% of bookings on Pitchup.com were for within one week of departure, with an average stay of three nights
  • Camping and caravanning is moving upmarket, with the AB category growing from the smallest customer segment to the second largest between 2006 and 2009 (source: UKTS)
  • Activity holidays increased by 13% between 2004 and 2008 (Source: Mintel)
  • eFestivals listed just 12 music events in 2000. Pitchup.com now lists 500 events

Greater willingness to book online

  • According to VisitEngland, 60% of advance bookings for domestic holidays were made online in 2010. The number of domestic online bookings grew by 65% between 2006 and 2010
  • Online booking is available at only 28% of camping and caravan sites, compared to 79% of hotels and 36% of guest houses and B&Bs (source: VisitEngland)
  • In 2010 Center Parcs reported that over 70% of its bookings are made online

Celebrities and quirky camping

  • At £9,600 for two for a four-night stay, Britain's most expensive campsite is believed to be Camp Kerala in Shepton Mallet, near Glastonbury. The cost includes interstage festival tickets and Winnebago access, food and concierge (it's £900 extra for an ensuite toilet, and visitors pay extra for drinks, spa treatment...and helicopter transport)
  • A three-bedroom caravan at Abersoch, North Wales - complete with underfloor heating and a luxury Italian kitchen - was sold for £550,000 to a millionaire couple in December 2010
  • Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame has published a book – a Short History of Caravans – and has destroyed 56 caravans during his time on the show
  • Images of Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Jamie Oliver and Jodie Kidd on camping trips have made camping cool again. However, celebrities have also driven a new trend in luxury camping
  • Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes have taken camping holidays both as a family this year and previously before the birth of their daughter Suri
  • Designers including Ted Baker and Cath Kidston have created stylish tents ranges. Many campsites now offer tipis, wigwams and yurts (Mongolian-style domed tents)
  • UK TV programmes have increased the interest in UK camping and caravanning holidays including Coast, Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, BBC 4 Documentary Caravans – A British Love Affair and Julia Bradbury’s Railway Walks. The Caravan Channel is available four days a week from 7pm on Sky 166 and Freesat 406
  • The Kabes Royal Tower at 4.5m is the tallest caravan you can buy, with two storeys and a balcony