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Are we there yet? Quick-drive family breaks near cities

July 18, 2012
by Laura Canning | destinations

'I like driving in my car...'

It’s what mothers call ‘taking a notion’. You get home from work – or sneak online at work – deciding that you can’t wait for the annual two weeks’ holiday so by hook or by crook you’re going to get away this weekend. (Fist-shaking optional.) You’re in good company – almost half our bookings in 2011 were made within a week of departure and with an average stay of three nights. Clearly no-one likes Mondays.

But if you’re going to book at the last minute, throw some stuff into a Tesco bag and jump into the car whistling ‘Freebird’, it can spoil the effect somewhat if you then have to drive four hours to get to your site. Many of our last minute bookers pick a site within an hour or two’s drive away of their home, and we have hundreds of sites within an easy drive from the major cities. You could even cycle to some of our sites near cities if you’re so inclined, although probably best not to bring the kids along on that trip.

There are several different ways to find campsites and caravan parks near you if you want a last minute family holiday this weekend. You can enter your postcode into our search facility and see what comes up nearby, from anywhere to between five and 60 miles. Or enter your county or neighbouring county for a general search, or search by region , e.g. East Anglia or the North-East . You can also search by city, again for sites within five to 60 miles.

But if you’re feeling lazy – and why not, you’re booking a last minute break – we have some camping options near cities here:

London: Campsites near London include ones in Surrey , West Sussex , East Sussex and Essex , with several within a 40-mile drive . The working family farm Sumners Pond Fishery and Campsite at Horsham in West Sussex has a play area and clubhouse on site as well as three fishing lakes including a smaller one for children. In East Sussex, wildlife-oriented folk should like Owlsbury Park at Crowborough; there's a fishing lake on site here too. Both sites offer pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes, with Sumners Pond open all year.

Bristol : Our sites within 30 miles of Bristol include campsites, caravan parks and holiday parks in Bath , Cardiff , Monmouthshire, Weston-super-Mare and Cheddar . Newton Mill Holiday Park is 11 miles from Bristol and just two miles from Bath, and has fishing and a play area on site. It's open all year and has electric and non-electric pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes. Ebborways Farm at Wells in Somerset is 15 miles from Bristol and is family-friendly; campfires are allowed and like Newton Mill you can bring the pooch along on holiday too. Pitches are low-priced and have unlimited car parking included.

Leeds : Take your pick from loads of sites within 30 miles of Leeds covering North Yorkshire , West Yorkshire and Lancashire . York Touring Caravan Site is family friendly and has loads to do for all ages including golf, a nearby farm to visit and an on-site café with free wifi; the park has non-electric grass tent pitches and serviced pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes. Or glamp it up at Moorlands Caravan Park in Oldham, where you can hire a family pod sleeping up to five and where there’s fishing, sailing, golf, horse-riding, mountain biking and a farmers’ market all nearby. Moorlands also has electric and non-electric grass pitches.

Evenings at Whitley Bay Newcastle upon Tyne : Campers in the North-East can also escape for the weekend without much driving to one of our sites within 40 miles of Newcastle . Northumberland's The Railway Inn is a pub campsite with its caravan park right outside the inn, so not far to go for dinner. Pitches are electric and for tents, tourers and motorhomes. Also in Northumberland, there's a glamping van at BlueBell at Birdsong Garden at Alnwick, and there are camping pods at Hillcrest Park in North Yorkshire.

Cardiff : You’ve tons of options within an hour’s drive of Cardiff, whether you want to stay in Powys , Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, or edge into Somerset to Glastonbury , Burnham-on-Sea , Minehead and more. Campsites and caravan parks within 30 miles of Cardiff include Bridgend ’s Brynhyfryd Camping and Caravanning , with a nature reserve half a mile away from the site and several beaches within a quick drive. Or let the kids go wild on the adventure playground or in the games room while you soak in the jacuzzi and sauna at Quantock Orchard Caravan Park in Taunto n, which has won several awards including Best Site in the West of England. Both parks have pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes. Nettwood Country Breaks , also in Somerset, has three-bedroom caravans for hire.

Edinburgh : There are several options within 40 miles of Edinburgh : the award-winning Thurston Manor at Dunbar is set on a former country estate and has a freshwater lake for fly fishing, a children’s play area, a fitness centre, bar and restaurant and a heated pool, sauna and steam room. If you’re closer to Glasgow, we have sites within 30 miles of there too – Balgair Castle Holiday Park at Fintry has a new outdoor pool, fishing on site, a play area, bistro and evening entertainment in season. Both parks have electric pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes, and Balgair Castle is dog-friendly.

Birmingham : Pitch up in the West Midlands with our sites within 30 miles of Birmingham . The family-friendly Twitey’s Tipis and Campsites in Warwick a good option for small naturalists, with rare breed sheep on site as well as the chance to spot buzzards, badgers, deer and foxes. Also in Warwickshire and within easy driving distance of Birmingham, there are camping pods at Wootton Park and Riverside Country Park , and electric pitches at the adults-only Somers Wood Caravan Park .

Ready to go? Got ‘Freebird’ on loop to annoy the kids and worry your other half with? Good – Monday is miles away.