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Cottages and candlewick – Liz Jones on holidaying in the UK

June 11, 2012
by Laura Canning

Holiday cottages - not for Liz Jones Liz Jones is at it again . Those of us who, over the years, have followed the life of the Daily Mail hack with horrified fascination are familiar with the drill. Dialling 999 because her kitten ‘had its head stuck in a hole’, saying that her border collie is ‘cleaner than most shop assistants’, and what we shall tactfully term ‘eccentric views’ are all no problem to the Lizster.

But now she’s turned her attention to caravanning, UK holidays, families, the British weather and, er, Auschwitz in her latest piece, in which she bemoans the state of English holidaying in general while complaining that she is discriminated against because no-one agrees that her animals are her family. To be more specific, her ‘collie daughters, pony son’ and ‘turkey nephew’. Again, we shall be tactful and assume that this bit was tongue in cheek.

But not the caravanning and holiday bits, which has Liz in full rant. Referring to the flooding last weekend in Wales, when caravan owners had to be airlifted to safety from parks , Liz first of all opines that ‘mobile homes should definitely have a higher rate of VAT, given the expense of dispatching a helicopter, and no fewer than 75 firemen.’ Not that it should matter anyway though, as she ‘really do[es] not understand the British compulsion to holiday somewhere cold and wet.’

In the ‘South Wet’ over the Jubilee weekend, she says, she watched TV footage of families out and about in the rain at Minehead, ‘…the sort of place that melts cheese on top of chips without even being asked’. (My favourite local chippy does this too, which is one of the reasons it’s my favourite local chippy.) This is madness, she goes on, as is the whole idea of holidaying in Britain like in those ads by Stephen Fry and the woman from Downton Abbey. It’s freezing, it’s muddy, people are smug and some places have a hog roast.

But it could be worse – you could be in a British holiday cottage, which Liz was forced to do recently. British holiday cottages smell, Liz says, there is no wifi, the soap is so small you ‘have to use a magnifying glass to find it’, the coffee is in ‘teeny instant sachets’ and – worst of all – ‘the bedspread will be made of candlewick’.

We can’t make any claims about the size of soap or the ubiquity of coffee sachets (and we like candlewick bedspreads so clearly have no taste), but maybe Liz could check out our sites with wifi – we have plenty of luxury ones available too. And we can’t really argue that the British weather can be unpredictable at times, and that even the best laid holiday plans can go awry if the weather is bad, but we think Liz should check out our rainy camping checklist and rethink holidaying at home.

But then, it’s not clear if Liz is a fan of the English countryside in general. Yes, even though she lives there. As she reminds readers in many of her pieces, she gave up her swish London lifestyle for an Exmoor farm a few years ago, and it’s been tough. Not so much because of the country living and no longer being able to nip across the road for a soya latte, but because of writing things like the locals are ‘toothless’ and that the staff in her local Co-op ‘were stupid for never having heard of Illy coffee beans’. Each to their own and all that, but maybe not the wisest way to settle into a new village. And she lives on the edge of Exmoor National Park – what’s not to like?

So, Liz is perhaps not a Pitchup.com type. But we’re convinced that’s only because she hasn’t seen some of the parks and glamping options available nowadays. Or she could check out one of our 700+ lodges , or a tipi, yurt or wigwam . There are even options for luxury camping on a budget if she wants to keep the costs down, or she could read our guide to camping on a shoestring , for starters (not a Manolo Blahnik shoestring, sadly, a Doc Marten). We think Liz should ditch the designer handbags for a weekend and give holidaying in the UK a go. She might even like it.

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