It’s National Camping and Caravanning Week and many Brits sing the praises of alfresco holidays. Others are put off by the UK’s dodgy weather. Which camp are you in?
If you sang or heard the national anthem this weekend, the line ‘Long to rain over us’ probably seemed fitting.
OK, it should be ‘reign’, but this was yet another bank holiday where many of us had to put up with a soaking.
This seems particularly unfortunate as it’s half-term and the week where camping and caravanning holidays are being promoted. I’m no champion of camping. In fact my parents never took me on a camping holiday, I was never in the Scouts and I haven’t slept in a tent at a festival.
I did give it a go for a while during a backpacking year in Australia during the 1990s. But my memory of it is scarred by the experience on my first night trying out a newly bought second-hand tent. I returned to the rain-lashed Byron’s Bay campsite to find water had seeped into my pre-erected (and possibly badly-erected) tent. Vowing not be a wuss, I slipped into the damp sleeping bag, but gave up when a worm slithered onto my face – then shelling out for a room in the nearby hostel.
So I admit I’ve become a rare, and fair-weather camper. I’ll probably join friends on a British hiking weekend later in the summer, but they want to sleep in tents along the way rather than a hostel. I know that it’s easy to find really reliably watertight tents these days (and worm-free I hope), but I’m still put off by the idea of getting drenched in the rain and then having to shelter inside the tent until things dry off.
Am I ignoring all the benefits, though? Obviously, it can make for a really affordable holiday – especially for families. The Camping and Caravanning Club says that a grass-only pitch can cost just £66 for three nights with no electric hook-up, and £70 with electric hook-up (based on a members’ family deal).
With the rise of ‘glamping’ over the past few years, and guides like Cool Camping, it’s much easier to find campsites and tents with a little extra luxury and home comforts such as wi-fi access.
It seems most people who take the plunge love it nowadays. In a recent survey for Which? Travel, 84% of those who took a camping or caravan holiday rated it as good or excellent. So maybe I’m missing out.
I’m canvassing opinion on whether you love the UK camping experience. Can you convince me that I’ll enjoy a tent-based holiday? I look forward to hearing your pitch!