From tanning salons to F1 racing tracks – our top ten Unexpected (and luxury) Extras
We have ranted pointed out previously about unimaginative types who think outdoor hols are all about tent camping (on a slope, in the rain and under a leak). Unimaginative and dwelling under a rock in recent years too, given that with the rise of glamping, even the likes of Mick Jagger have been known to bed down in a yurt.
And yet. Even those who know of, book and regularly snooze on the posher side of outdoor accommodation like five-star or luxury lodges might not cop on to the sheer scale of glammed-up sites and what’s on offer at them. Tanning salons, personal chefs, reiki and massage all pop up on the Pitchup.com listings, and that’s ignoring our more standard stuff like indoor pools on site or sleeping in a Big Red railway carriage/on a double decker bus.
For the naysayers, here are the top ten Unexpected Extras on Pitchup.com sites – most are open all year, and all but one are available to book already for 2014:
A tanning salon and open eleven months of the year, meaning you can get a tan in autumn and winter without having to fly 24 hours to Australia. For true Unexpected Extraness, come back from the tanning salon (or heated indoor pool) at this Cromer site and bed down in a converted double decker bus. Just the ticket.
Possibly the swishest shepherd’s huts in the land, from where you can book a chef to come to your hut and feed you, a beautician to come and pamper you, have fresh bread delivered to your door, and try your unpractised hand at fishing and clay pigeon shooting. Not in the shepherd’s hut for those last two, obv.
Mix with champers above for the ultimate in decadence (you could also try and mix a hot tub with fine dining, but we’d be concerned about crumbs). The tub at Welsh farm Cwmcoedog overlooks lush countryside and is on a site with a private trout fishing lake and camping pods so classy they have their own heated towel rails. And they start from £20 – luvvly bubbly.
More: Cleverly, we’ve actually included a filter (lol) on Pitchup.com for sites with hot tubs, for which we are feeling smug. And a bit wrinkly.
And a sauna, steam room, sports bar, pool and gym. Old Thorns has heated camping pods in the grounds of a luxury hotel (see if you can guess what it’s called) where you can loll in the lap of luxury being pampered in the exact, exact way you deserve.
More: Be ultra lazy and order a bottle of champers to be ready on arrival at your caravan in Brittany’s Camping des Cerisiers — you’re on holiday after all.
We can’t, alas, make the claim that the private beach at this Fort William four-star luxury park will be all your very own, but at least it’ll be shared with fellow guests only and not any of the great unwashed. The lodges at Linnhe come with free wifi and the park has a bee and butterfly garden, adventure playgrounds and a licensed shop with fishing tackle.
Fitness suite: Lincoln Farm Park, Oxfordshire: If you’re the type that likes to stay fit on holiday, the indoor leisure centre with fitness suite at this five-star park is for you. If you’re not, there’s also a sauna, spas, steam room, two pools, a putting green, outdoor chess/draughts and even an old phone box in which to pretend to be Superman.
More: Sites with a fitness centre for your perusal.
Probably connected: sites with a bath (for tired muscles).
Now this type of suiteing we can get on board with. (There’s a gym here too, but ignore). This five-star award-winning New Forest park has said beauty suite as well as a Jacuzzi, sauna and other shenanigans like bug hunting, archery and arts and crafts. You’d be nuts not to.
More: Another beauty salon is to hand at award-winning Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton; the seaside site is five-star and also has a golf course with driving range and two pools.
Like the private beach at Linnhe Lochside above, we cannot alas claim that the Rudding helipad will be reserved for your personal and Bond-like use only. But like the goodies at Old Thorn Manor, Rudding Holiday Park is in the grounds of a luxury hotel with facilities for use for campsite guests – including a spa and a private cinema as well as the helipad – which means you can at least pretend you’re a millionaire during your stay.
Nothing (to us anyway) says ‘romantic getaway’ like ‘free food’. The bothy at Teifi Meadows is gorge enough as it is, and hidden away in the countryside just the way we like it, but when a free hamper of home-produced bacon, sausages, free range eggs and ‘a sweet treat’ is included…well. Take top marks, Teifi.
F1 racing track – and meerkats: Park Rose Caravans, East Yorkshire: And its own award-winning Birds of Prey and Animal Park, crazy golf and quite a bit more at an adventure centre just outside Bridlington. Best of all, the F1 track is officially for the bigger folk too.
Sites with saunas: Cofton Country Holidays, Devon: Sauna + steam room + five fishing lakes + indoor pool with massage jets and hydrotherapy bubble loungers = running away to Devon now. And there's 25% off electric grass pitches until 31 December 2013, so you'll even save money for your Christmas shopping.
Sites with courses: The Bivouac, North Yorkshire: Pick up skills in foraging, climbing and wine tasting (hic) at this luxury park near Masham.