Of Santa and static caravans
‘That caravan is bigger than my entire flat,’ is a familiar if heartfelt lament often heard from certain members of the Pitchup.com team, usually when salivating over the latest static caravan models at events like the Motorhome & Caravan Show and the Beaulieu Show . (There was even more lamenting at the Bond in Motion exhibition when we took a detour to Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum , but let’s move on from that before we weep from sheer envy.)
For those who sneer that caravans are cramped and cold tin boxes, we tearfully point them towards some of the latest models on offer, which have lofts, double-glazing, two bathrooms, baths, patio doors and flatscreen tellies. And yes, which are bigger than our entire flats. A static caravan of our very own is now on our Santa list – there are swathes of static sites around the country to plonk your own static caravan at and escape to at any time of the year. There’s a reason why one in ten lottery winners make buying a caravan their first priority …
So, as British Summer Time ends, the nights are drawing in and we’re doubling up on socks, we’re rounding up some of our favourite static caravans – and parks – for you to warm your toes at all over winter and into 2013. Here are a few of the latest models:
The Ridgewood, Willerby Leisure Lodges : If non-caravanners smirk to you that caravans are merely tiny cold boxes, point them towards this latest offering from caravan and holiday home manufacturer Willerby, which has heaps of flashy features including patio doors and a loft space. Yes, a loft space. There are also insulated exterior walls and floors, an insulated roof and energy-efficient double glazing, alongside two bedrooms (one with en-suite shower room), and all sorts of clever bits and bobs such as the wall-mounted TV, MP3 system with ceiling speakers and a built-in wine chiller in the kitchen. And there’s a bath, which is among our very favourite caravanning things.
The Ambleside, ABI : Available in a choice of two or three bedrooms and newly updated to include a bigger kitchen, this static is designed with the Scottish countryside and classic lodges in mind and comes already fitted out with curtains, cushions and cream leather chairs. There’s a master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom, a twin bedroom with main bathroom, an electric fire and insulated walls. It comes with a ‘winter pack’ too – extra insulation and double-glazing, among others – which we think might make it perfect for Christmas.
The Keepers Lodge, Pathfinder : We think we’ll keep this one. The Keepers Lodge has a massive fireplace with wooden mantelpiece and flagstone hearth for the Optimist log stove, double-glazed windows at the front for staring outside over the morning cuppa and a master bedroom with Victorian-style king size bed and built-in wardrobes leading to the en-suite bathroom. And an oak desk with i-Pod docking station – and again, a bath. Not that we’re getting envious or anything.
In the meantime? There are caravan parks where you can get someone else to do the housework before you arrive by hiring a spacious and toasty berth at our sites with caravans for hire . Pick a site with luxury caravans sleeping up to eight, static caravan parks that are open all year , and caravans for hire on parks with fishing , horse-riding or lashings of other leisure options on site or nearby. Clever caravan park owners these days are even branching out further from luxury caravans, offering all sorts of glamping choices including camping pods and lodges , shepherd’s huts and gypsy caravans . (Or you could just buy your own gypsy caravan – also on our Santa list.)
All packed? Here are a few of our most popular static caravan sites for this autumn and winter:
Cofton Country Park, Devon : The Ashburn holiday home at this award-winning Dawlish site sleeps up to six, has one double room with en-suite and two twin rooms, and bed linen and towels included. The park is open all year round, welcomes dogs and has a sauna, steam room and its own fish and chip shop and pub open in high season, a gym, five private fishing lakes, children’s play areas and a woodland adventure zone. Wifi is available across the whole park. It’s a mile from Dawlish Warrens beach and a quick drive to Crealy Great Adventure Park, Exeter Cathedral and dozens of other Devon attractions.
Clashwhannon Holiday Park, Dumfries and Galloway : The deluxe static caravans at this fishing and birdwatching haven near Stranraer sleep up to six and are equipped with TV, full kitchen facilities, double-glazing and central heating. All bedding, electricity and gas is included in the price, from £100 for two nights. Clashwhannon has a pub on site and two more within half a mile, four golf courses and an RSPB reserve nearby and is within easy reach of Stranraer ferry port if you’re going on to Ireland. It’s open from March until December.
Dartmoor Shepherds Huts, Devon : Based in the heart of Dartmoor National Park with castles, tors, woodland and valleys all about, the three new shepherd’s huts at this site are insulated with wool from the site’s own lambs, which we call doing things properly. They sleep up to four, come with a double bed, sheepskin-covered bench, cooking hobs, pots and linen, barbecue, picnic table, gazebo and firepit – logs are available on site. The site is open all year round.
Sunnycott Caravan Park, Isle of Wight : Another open-all-year static caravan park, Sunnycott is a quiet family-run park based at Cowes, with one and two-bedroom statics sleeping up to four or six (and the dog). The holiday homes have a fully-equipped kitchen, shower room, flatscreen TV and outside decking and furniture, with linen available to hire if you don’t want to bring your own. Nearby there’s yacht-gawking at Cowes harbour, sailing, horse riding and mountain biking.
Ty Gwyneth Romany Caravan, Glamorgan : Somewhat of a misanthropic type? Don’t want lots of actual people milling around while you’re on your static caravan holiday? We feel your pain. Try this Romany caravan in Bridgend, a family heirloom now resting in the owners’ garden with nary another pitch in sight. It can sleep two adults and a child, and comes with barbecue and log burner, with loo, shower and kitchen a step away. The caravan is within easy reach of Swansea, Cardiff and the Brecon Beacons National Park for day trips, and there are bags of beaches and wildlife nearby. Ty Gwyneth is open for almost all the year, with prices from £100 for two nights.
There are also, among dozens more pods sites, the camping pods at Hillcrest Park in North Yorkshire and Bryn Dwr Camping Pods in North Wales - both open all year round and with dogs allowed - and both providing yet more inspiration for your very own static spot. Pods might be easier for Santa to get down the chimney too.