Caravan holidays in the UK are definitely on the increase, especially for families. It’s a far cheaper, hassle-free alternative to packing up the children for a trip overseas – perhaps on a budget airline where weight and size of luggage (comprising of toys, books, and 2 or 3 favourite cuddly toys etc) is a massive hindrance, not to mention expense. Bring forth the trusty caravan; no weight limits, no restrictions on cuddly toys, prams or dad’s golf clubs. The caravan holiday resurgence is no surprise – see below this post for an infographic which paints a very positive picture indeed.
The UK boasts 15 designated national parks, all set in pristine countryside with stunning scenery from the snow capped Cairngorms in the Scottish Highlands to the eerie rolling heathland of Dartmoor in Cornwall – you’re spoilt for choice. The Caravan Club has a wide selection of well run, established campsite dotted around these parks. Whilst Mum would probably go a little stir crazy if the children never left the caravan, it makes for an educational experience to get out and explore the local area, so we’ve compiled a shortlist of options, all with a nature based theme to give your children a day trip to remember:
1. Lake District:
There’s nothing like a boat ride to keep the children quiet! Derwent Water is one of the most painted lakes in the area and its easy to see why. Teach the children all about how the lakes were formed as you cruise along taking in the scenery. There’s a launch site offering hour long trips around Derwent Water (£23.50 for a family ticket) just 5.7 miles from the Borrowdale Caravan Club site.
2. Yorkshire Dales
A fabulous day trip, only 23 miles from from Hawes Caravan Club Site is Ingleborough Cave, a show cave near the village of Clapham. Take the opportunity to safely walk into the mountain with an informative guide and marvel at the cave formations such as stalactites and stalagmites which are lit up for all to see. Tours start on the hour, every hour, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (£18.00 for a family ticket). It is accessible for prams and wheelchairs.
3. Peak District
Only 6 miles from the stunning Castleton Caravan Park is the unique Chestnut Centre, otter, owl and wildlife park – a must for every child! Set in 50 acres of grounds you can follow paths and explore the woodland trails, wildlife spotting on the way. Also take the unique opportunity to see animals such as giant otters Manoki (male) and Panambi (female) with their cubs Kaituma (boy) and Meamu (girl), who are unfortunately an endangered species and don’t miss the educational daily “meet the keepers” sessions. (Family ticket £23.50).
There are so many things to do in the magnificent Snowdonia National Park but if you want something a little different that the children are guaranteed to love then the the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay is only 18 miles away from Riverside Touring Caravan Park. The latest addition to the zoo are 2 red panda cubs born in October 2013, the first time this species has bred in the zoo for over 40 years. (Family ticket, £31.40). I don’t think that there are many children who would turn their nose up at a day at the zoo.
Only 0.3 miles walk from Kielder Caravan Park in the heart of the magnificent Kielder forest is Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre. Perfect for a day that you don’t want to get in the car! Demonstrations starring different birds each day are held every day between March and October, weather permitting, at 1.30pm and 3pm. Your children will marvel at seeing a falcon stoop across their heads at 100mph! (Family ticket £21)