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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Caravanning and camping are… posh!

Camping, camper- vanning and caravanning are so incredibly popular in the UK now and have such wide appeal they're even attracting aristocrats. That’s right! According to a January article in The Sunday Times: “A few years ago, the trend-watchers would have happily sent camping and caravanning holidays the way of the tinned pilchard and string vest,” (reporter Cally Law obviously slept through the cool camping craze and hasn't heard of Agyness Deyn, singlehandedly responsible for bringing the string vest back into fashion again), however, Law tells us the Camping and Caravanning Club membership has grown 44% in the past 10 years while the Caravan Club has experienced a 33% increase. The cause? The unpleasantness of air travel (surely an understatement after the recent Heathrow T5 debacle?) and a rediscovery of UK attractions: “Not that the kind of families used to the comfort and convenience which hotel living provides will have to rough it... Standards have been rising in response to a more demanding customer profile,” Law says, and as evidence: “At Ayr Holiday Park in St Ives, Cornwall, for example, the lavatory blocks have mosaic floors and piped music.” But of course they do! We already knew this - we read it in that April 2006 BBC story ‘Why the British Carry on Camping’ which I blogged about the other day: “The toilets at Ayr Holiday Park in St Ives, Cornwall, for example, have mosaic floors, heating and piped music.” Law goes on to enlighten us: we could “spend a whopping £250,000 on a motorhome - or get rolling in a caravan for just £10,000. Most modern tents are cheap, light, simple to erect and keep you snug all night long, whatever the weather.” (Huh?!) “Even the vocabulary is new,” she continues, “caravans are now tourers, static caravans are holiday homes and camp sites have become holiday and touring parks.” (Really?) Law informs us that: “Viscount Coke, 42, of Holkham Hall on the north Norfolk coast, is an enthusiastic caravanner." He's also owner of Pinewoods Holiday Park on his estate at Wells-next-the-Sea, a British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) member and Caravan Club president. Law writes: "When he was a child, he and his family used to spend all their holidays under canvas, and often visited his grandmother at her static caravan at Mother Ivey’s Bay in north Cornwall. “We had a whale of a time running about with the other children,” he says. “It’s classless, it’s safe, you are in a family park where lots of the owners know each other and it’s about location, location, location." It's all making sense now. Coke owns “550 holiday homes at Pinewoods, including 12 luxury wooden lodges overlooking Holkham National Nature Reserve”. I wonder if the Viscount issued that 2006 press release everyone seems to be quoting from? Is he the one we thank for getting us all back to nature? I have no problem with ‘posh camping’ although it's not as catchy as ‘cool camping’ – it’s lazy travel journalism I have the problem with. I do like the Viscount's 1965 22ft Airstream Safari. Nice.

The luxury tent pictured is at Karijini Eco-Retreat in Karijini National Park, Western Australia.


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

We are having dinner tonight with friends who go everywhere in their caravan. The man in the family was scared of flying, so it was 1 caravan and then a bigger one. It's totally comfy. I want one!

TravelMuse said...

Here in the U.S. we call is "Glamping" (glam + camping). How silly is that?

Lara Dunston said...

Oh Maryam, I can just imagine your Airstream now - all decked out in colorful cushions and kilims, filmy curtains, shimmering fabrics... it would look so exotic!

Travelmuse, thank you for the tip! Glamping! It's so silly, I just love it! I'm going to have to go google that now!