One of the joys of caravanning is that you can tow to a different destination on every trip, and when the weather’s looking good for the weekend, you can up sticks to explore that place you always fancied visiting at (almost) a moment’s notice. However, if for some reason you can’t drive, don’t enjoy the towing, or just like the idea of exploring one region for a whole year, then a seasonal caravan pitch could be right up your street.
A few years ago, I met a chap who did exactly that on a site in Yorkshire. At the water tap, he asked where I’d toured that year and I told him France, Bath, Sussex and now Yorkshire. I batted the question back: “Oh, just here,” he replied, “There’s more than enough to keep me going in this neck of the woods for a whole decade, I reckon.” And of course, he was right.
If you love a certain area and you really want to explore it properly, there’s no need to head off to a different destination every month.
With this in mind, and with the growing army of touring caravanners who are happy to give the touring bit a miss, many sites now offer seasonal pitches, where you can simply pitch and leave your beloved caravan for months, visiting whenever you want – all without the hassle of packing, hitching, towing and pitching. Read on for some more great reasons to consider taking a permanent pitch.
You can also take a look at our guide to the best caravans for seasonal pitches if you’re looking for the right tourer too.
How much do seasonal caravan pitches cost?
Rates vary widely, depending on the location and facilities of the site you choose, but typically you might pay between £1500 and £3000 for a full season, although shorter terms are available. Alternatively, you could use Store & Stay, which costs less.
Reasons to consider a seasonal caravan pitch:
- For many, perhaps the biggest barrier to caravanning is the towing element. Once your seasonally sited tourer is on its pitch, you can forget about this bit, and just look forward to the relaxation part! This might suit older caravanning fans, who find that increasingly limited mobility is making the hitching up a caravan, towing and pitching elements a real chore. In their case, a permanent pitch can extend their touring life indefinitely.
- Find a beautiful seasonal pitch close(ish) to home, and you can be sipping a chilled Chardonnay or an icy beer less than an hour after leaving your house. This inevitably means you’ll use your home-from-home more often, and costs are minimised.
- Talking of costs, pulling a caravan can halve your tow vehicle’s fuel efficiency – my 40mpg VW 2.0-litre CC managed about 21mpg with a four-berth in tow. Without the van, you’ll save money and have a more relaxed drive to reach your campsite of choice.
- If you don’t have to tow a family caravan, you might also be able to buy a smaller, more frugal family car, in place of the hefty SUV that you need for towing the caravan. There could be substantial purchase and running-cost savings to be made here, to0.
- If you love a particular site or region, and it suits your lifestyle and requirements, there’s absolutely no need to ‘take the risk’ of visiting a new, unknown campsite that could be amazing, but also offers the small chance of being a let-down.
- Most of that packing and unpacking becomes a thing of the past as you leave your van filled with all of the kit – and even some clothes – that you will need for your break. Holiday stuff like inflatables, canoes, wetsuits and beach accessories can also live permanently at the van, especially if you keep a sizeable awning pitched, too.
- While some might find the seasonal siting fees rather pricey, remember you’ll be saving on caravan storage fees (around £300 a year), increased fuel costs when towing (possibly £50 a trip) and a nightly campsite fee of around £30 per night. Seasonal pitchers also use their caravans more often, which makes each visit even better value for money.
- Many seasonal pitch caravanners find that they develop a close circle of friends at their long-term campsite.
- Happy kids mean happy caravanners, so if you find a site with facilities and surroundings that your children love, you’ll have a much more relaxing break.
- A 100W caravan solar panel will keep your caravan leisure battery topped up and your alarm/tracker activated when you’re not at your caravan.
- If you have a beloved hobby, from cycling to walking, you might discover the perfect campsite that allows you to indulge your interests on an even more frequent basis. For instance, there are a wide variety of caravan sites with fishing on offer.
- Knowing which pitch you’re going to get can make a big difference. It might be that you like shade from the sun, stronger Wi-Fi or the pitch being close to the site amenities – whatever your preferences, a seasonal pitch leaves nothing to chance.
- Pick a campsite where you feel happy with the kids roaming freely, and it’ll be more fun when children or grandchildren are staying in the van. I live in a city centre, and I’ve always found campsites very secure and ‘freeing’ for my children, because they can roam for hours with other caravanning kids, and we know they are safe.
- Some families enjoy long breaks in the summer holidays, and if you’re staying for a month, a seasonal pitch can make great financial sense. I’ve also met several caravanning families where one parent will take the kids to the site for an extended period, with the other parent then joining them for weekends.
- Seasonal pitches also offer unlimited flexibility if you decide that you want to extend your break, at no extra cost.
- We’d recommend a traditional pole awning for seasonal pitching, because even the best air awnings are likely to lose a little pressure over weeks or months on site. A high-quality awning, such as those from Isabella, will stand up to the worst weather Britain’s climate can throw at it.
- Your caravan will be secure on any quality site with monitored entry.
- In summary, a seasonal pitch is like having a holiday home in a place that you love, but without the rates, the home maintenance, the bills and astronomical house prices! Use it frequently, and this can be a great caravanning option.
Store & Stay
Store & Stay is similar to seasonal pitching, providing a kind of ‘lite’ version of it. This service is offered by many sites that have storage facilities attached, and can be more cost-effective than seasonal pitching, because you only pay campsite fees when your caravan is on a pitch – the rest of the time, you pay the lower storage fees (typically £5 to £10 a week).
When you want a caravan break, you simply ring up the site where your tourer is stored, book your favourite pitch (advance booking is recommended), then, when you arrive, your van will be waiting for you on its pitch.
Some campsites might make a small charge for your caravan to be positioned, levelled and connected, but this will vary from site to site. Contact the campsite owner to discuss their terms.
It’s just as simple when you leave, because your caravan will be towed back to the secure storage and kept there safely until your next visit.
TV touring star Rowland Rivron stored & stayed in a site on France’s west coast, visiting for a month each summer with wife Monica and their kids. He told me how they met the same families there each year, building friendships and creating many brilliant memories.
Both offer CaSSOA-rated storage (Keal Lodge was the very first Platinum-rated CaSSOA site in Britain) and both storage facilities are connected to peaceful and immaculately kept campsites.
“Before they arrive, we move the customer’s van from storage to pitch, level it for them and refit the security devices,” says Helen from Keal Lodge.
“On departure, we simply return the caravan to our secure storage.”
- After more campsite inspiration? Then take a look at our guide to the best caravan parks, where we share our top picks in the UK.
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