Add extra excitement to your caravan holidays in Britain this summer by planning some of your tours to coincide with a festival or event. Whether you prefer seaside caravan holidays in Cornwall, or riverside strolls beside the Thames, we have found five great events that will boost your fun on the water in 2016. As a bonus, there are some terrific caravan sites to try along the way. Wherever you’re touring in the UK this summer, don’t forget you can download our Top 100 Sites Guide 2016 for free, to discover the campsites recommended by Practical Caravan readers.
Go punting on the River Cam – with bats!
From 13 May until 23 September 2016 make sure you visit Cambridge, where there will be Bat Punting Safaris held on the River Cam every Friday evening between May, when they come out of hibernation, and September when they tuck up for winter.
Tours depart from the Granta Place Boatyard just before dusk and Wildlife Trust Bat Experts accompany you. Your expert guide can outline the characteristics and habitats of bats, and there will be specialist electronic bat detectors which will make the sonar signals into something audible so that you can hear the high-frequency communication that is going on all around you.
Stay at Cambridge Camping & Caravanning Club Site, 19 Cabbage Moor, Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire CB22 5NB. Open: Mid-March to the end of October.
Boating spectacular on the Thames
From 3-5 June 2016 if boats are your thing, you’ll find everything you might possibly need at the Beale Park Boat and Outdoor Show.
Here you’ll find some of the very best wooden boat-builders in the country. There will also be modern boats to admire, moored around the lake by the River Thames, perfect eye-candy to enhance your afternoon riverside stroll.
There’s plenty going on to keep the whole family happy. This year the organisers have introduced free boat trips for all ages, while those that prefer to stay on land can take a look at the classic cars and motorbikes which will be on display. You could even brush up on your knot-making skills and learn about sailing and bushcraft.
Stay at Swiss Farm Touring and Camping, Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 2HY. Open early March to early November.
Northern Boat Show and a river festival in Liverpool
From 3-5 June 2016, Liverpool’s docks will be a flurry of activity for the International Mersey River Festival. Everything from tall ships to yachts sail in for the three-day extravaganza. This is a free event to celebrate the River Mersey, which has been the pulsing heart of Liverpool for three centuries.
The Mersey River Festival includes a great line-up of music and entertainment and is a great way to discover more about Liverpool’s history. You will see the Apprentice Ship Cup, the UK’s largest annual tall ship regatta and yet more beautiful tall ships.
There will be street entertainment in the Canning and Salthouse docks, and finally the Albert Dock will be taken over by the Northern Boat Show.
Stay at Wirral Country Park Caravan Club Site, Thurstaston, Merseyside CH61 0HN. Open mid-April to early November.
Go shopping on water near Stafford
From 10-12 June, if you like unique shopping experiences, don’t miss the Great Haywood Floating Market. Roving traders will be moored along a stretch of the Trent and Mersey Canal between Haywood Lock and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, offering their wares for you to peruse at your leisure. While you shop for candles, wooden sculpture, art, hats, woollens and gifts for dogs, make sure you take a close look at the narrow boats; some have very interesting and quirky features.
Stay at Park Farm Caravan Club Certificated Location, Weston Road, Stafford ST18 0BD. Open all year.
From 17-19 June visit Cornwall for two seafaring events. The image of a traditional boating community is embodied in the pretty town of Falmouth. It plays host to many a maritime event, not least the three day ‘Falmouth Classics’ meet in June, when it plays host to an array of classic and traditional boats as they race and rally across the beautiful waters of the harbour.
At the same time, the town’s streets are filled with sounds of the International Sea Shanty Festival. Sit back with an ice cream and enjoy watching the grace of these carefully maintained beauties with the tuneful songs in the background.
Stay at Trewen Farm Campsite, Budock Water, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5DZ.
Electronic bat detectors will make the sonar signals into something audible so that you can hear the communication that is going on all around you