Quirky Campers, a unique British campervan hire service offering beautiful, handcrafted campers from around the country, has seen an increase in queries from people wanting to explore the UK this summer – but with a particular interest in quieter, lesser-known spots where they can avoid the holiday crowds.
With some hotter summer weather expected in August and higher costs of living putting more people off holidays overseas, many industry experts expect Brits to spend whatever money they have spare on staycations in the UK.
“Along with people being more sensitive to travel costs, the pandemic also opened people’s eyes to how many fantastic destinations there are right on our doorstep, and a campervan is one of the best ways to enjoy many of those spots. As a result, van life has taken off over the past couple of years,” explains David Ffrench, CEO and co-founder of Quirky Campers, as well as an avid vanlifer.
“That interest in local travel does mean that popular roads and locations are busier than ever, particularly during the school holidays, when the weather also tends to be the most reliable. We’ve been trying to provide people that don’t necessarily want to be amongst the summer holiday hustle and bustle with advice on lesser known, more secluded spots.”
Tips for beating the holiday crowds this summer.
Go remote. Think outside the box and consider alternatives to the tourist hotspots, such as Cornwall and the Lake District, which are likely to be very busy at this time of year. Instead, do your research and consider some of the more remote spots in places like Scotland and the North York Moors for a more relaxed, peaceful vibe.
Consider roads less travelled. Some roads – particularly the major motorways - are inevitably going to be more congested than others, but there are still quieter routes to be found, which are as much about the journey as the destination. The Great West Way, for example, which is a 125-mile touring route between London and Bristol, based on ancient touring routes. Perfect for a campervan trip, there are options to discover cultural cities, traditional market towns and charming villages along with plenty of scenic countryside.
Google Satellite. Many people rely on apps to find an ideal spot to camp. However, a better approach is to simply follow your nose, see what looks good on Google Satellite and speak to fellow campervanners as it's likely they've found some hidden gems they don't mind sharing with you.
Pick an area and stay awhile. A campervan trip doesn’t necessarily require clocking up hundreds of kilometres. Sometimes, it can be worth picking a region to explore and staying relatively local. It’s a great way to really see what an area has to offer and often means avoiding the heavy holiday traffic as well. Before booking your van, do some research on local events and recommendations.
Opt for completely private camping. If you want to guarantee your privacy during the busier times of the year, opt for a private camping site. There are a few businesses around that can provide this, including Wild By Consent, which enables campers to book wild camping spots directly with landowners to get off-grid and ditch the crowded campsites. Each site accepts only one booking per night, so you’re assured the luxury of privacy, peace and tranquillity.
“Last summer, we drove to the west coast of Scotland instead of going to the Scottish Highlands, which is where a lot of campervanners tend to gravitate (to tour the NC500). It was in July, so the height of summer and was strangely really quiet in terms of other vanlifers,” shares experienced vanlifer, Lauren Depass.
“We met some locals and had a BBQ together, which is when they told us about a gorgeous spot not known to others. We headed there the next day and it was glorious. We were the only ones on this beach with clear waters and mountain views. There were seals and dolphins and it felt like we'd hired our own private beach. So another lesson there is to be nice to the locals! They’re a wealth of knowledge.”
Quirky Campers was launched by husband and wife team, Lindsay and David Ffrench in 2010, starting with renting out their own campervan, Bella, while they were travelling in Kenya. The family owned business acts as an agent for a collection of friendly and likeminded campervan owners, each with a vehicle that they have lovingly created and want to share with the world.
The campers even have their own names, such as Roaming Delilah, which is like a luxury Scandi style hotel room on wheels, complete with power shower and fully-equipped kitchen. Or Electric Eve – the first ever electric camper to join the fleet, with everything you need to travel off-grid including an impressive solar set up, a toilet and outdoor shower.
The business also supports people to convert their own vans with an extensive network of Quirky Approved converters who can help; and has a dedicated campervan sales page on the website as well.
Quirky Campers can be picked up from various locations across the UK. Prices include fully comprehensive insurance and booking fees and many are pet-friendly. They have also recently launched the UK’s first and only accessible family campervan for hire.
For more information, visit the Quirky Campers website.