Caroline MillsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Caroline Mills
Pack the mince pies, the battery-powered fairy lights and the bottle of fizz, and you could be off for a relaxing Christmas or New Year break in your caravan.
No more listening to Uncle Ron guffawing at his own terrible jokes or Aunty Mabel snoring over the top of that Christmas afternoon film you were hoping to watch.
There are dozens of campsites across the UK open throughout the festive period so you can indulge just as you wish – some sites have got something extra laid on, too. Or kick back while the turkey crown is in your tourer's oven and simply enjoy the view of somewhere different this Christmas or New Year.
No need to cook
For an active family Christmas with your caravan, you may want to head to Lincolnshire’s Tattershall Lakes. As its name implies, the country park is dominated by a series of lakes around which there’s masses of space to go for a walk or a bike ride.
This year, Away Resorts opened a new £4 million entertainment complex at Tattershall Lakes so the focus on festive activities will be in this Merlin complex, which already has its Christmas decorations up.
Open throughout December, festive activities include themed Christmas arts and crafts plus a Christmas Day dinner (bookings to be made in advance as space is limited). There’s Christmas music and carols for all, too. The Spitfire Bar, within the complex, will be open every day including Christmas and New Year.
But if you’re planning on cooking your own Christmas dinner and you need to get the kids out of the van while you prepare the sprouts, the luxurious on-site indoor heated swimming pool will be open on Christmas Day from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm.
Collect your own Christmas tree
Should you feel the urge to don a wetsuit rather than a Christmas jumper, head to Bosworth Water Park, near Leicester. It’s open every day except Christmas Day and there’s sailing, kayaking and windsurfing in addition to several carp fishing lakes.
You can, of course, stay at the on-site campsite even on Christmas Day – with some of the best hardstanding pitches located along the waterfront.
Want to really get into the Christmas mood? Arrive before the big day and head to the on-site Christmas Tree Farm to wander through the wood and select your own real Christmas tree.
There’s a Christmas Cabin, too, selling decorations, fairy lights and handmade wreaths – perfect to hang on the caravan door and welcome Father Christmas if he can’t get down the caravan ‘chimney’.
Make a splash!
The pitches include use of electric and have digital and analogue TV aerial connection. Three nights can be booked from £57, rising to £150 for a week.
Prices include access to a heated indoor pool with a splash pad area and hydrotherapy loungers, a gym, restaurant, pub, steam room, sauna, fitness studio, soft play area, playground, sports wall, woodland adventure area and much more. Phew!
Guests also have the use of five coarse fishing lakes, miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take visitors through woodland, parkland and mature meadows to Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve.
Bear in mind, though, that on-site facilities will be closed on 25 and 26 December so if you’re not planning on cooking, you might want to book a table at a restaurant in nearby Dawlish.
Guests staying over Christmas can enjoy Cofton's parkland however, and walks to Dawlish Warren where every winter up to 23,000 wildfowl and wading birds visit from the far north, a birdwatching paradise.
A child-free Christmas
If you’re up at 4am on Christmas Day opening presents at Somers Wood Caravan Park, it won’t be because the grandchildren have woken you up. Sheltered by mature Forest of Arden woodland in the little village of Meriden, Somers Wood is an adults-only site so you can only blame your own excitement!
All-weather hardstanding pitches and top-notch creature comforts in the heated amenity building mean you won’t be left in the cold, whatever the weather.
And if you’d prefer someone else to baste the turkey while you’re enjoying a morning tipple, there are numerous pubs and restaurants within walking distance of the site.
Of course, what makes a stay at Somers Wood even more special at this time of year is Birmingham’s Frankfurt German Christmas Market, accessible via public transport from the site.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is billed as one of the largest of the German Christmas markets outside Germany itself. This year, the market is celebrating its 50th year in the city by staying open until 29 December (it’s already up and running).
Over 180 decorated wooden chalets fill the city centre along New Street up to City Hall in Victoria Square. Visitors come from all over the country to sample the selection of seasonal food treats while a ‘stein’ of German lager or warming glass of glühwein sets the mood for browsing the continental gifts on offer.
But there is much more to the Birmingham markets than shopping. There's a daily entertainment programme in Victoria Square until 26 December, while Centenary Square hosts a Christmas Craft Fair surrounding the city’s popular outdoor ice rink.
And there's more! Visitors can get a bird’s eye view over the markets from a big wheel located in front of the International Convention Centre.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque setting than the shores of Loch Ness to welcome in the New Year. If you were planning on a mug of cocoa and an early night though, think again.
For the Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club Site in the Highlands of Scotland is offering guests a free Hogmanay Ceilidh with bagpipes on New Year’s Eve, followed by drinks and nibbles in the afternoon on New Year’s Day. There’s no drinks licence on site, so you take your own party punch to the celebrations.
The ceilidh kicks off at 8pm and, for the last man standing, finishes at 4am, by which time you’ll be declaring sightings of Nessie if you’ve stayed the course. And, if you need a cure for a monster headache, the scenery and fresh air offers the perfect tonic.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2017, wherever and with who ever you may be spending it!