One of the many joys of owning a little caravan, is the possibility of taking off for a few days at very short notice.
Which is what we just did over the weekend.
As members of the Caravan Club, we tend to use CC sites, which although much, much cheaper than any other form of short break holiday (Hotel, B&B, Holiday Cottage etc) can sometimes cost up to £25 per night. Not bad when you consider that's for a pitch for car, caravan, 2 adults and 1 Small Dog, including electric hookup.
Incidentally, the electric hookup is for the caravan, NOT Small Dog
CC sites are always immaculately maintained, shower blocks are state of the art, pitch sizes are very generous and the rules insist that children and dogs are kept under strict control at all times which is a Very Good Thing.
Smaller CC sites, (CLs, or Certified Locations) which are licenced to take up to 5 vans, are commensurately cheaper. They can be based in large gardens, orchards, farmer's fields, woods etc and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Most have no facilities aside from fresh water and waste disposal points, although an increasing number have electric hookup. Prices per night range from approximately £5-£15. Over the years we've been camping we've stayed on some stunning CLs, some by the side of lakes, others with fantastic views and even one where we could sit and watch vintage steam trains chug past
However topping all of those for value for money are CC rallies, which are organised by individual CC centres. We belong to East Sussex Centre and at the weekend we attended only our second rally, the first being held over the Jubilee Weekend back in June.
Rallies are held in rally fields, usually attached to farms or CL sites. They have basic facilities (water and waste disposal) but no electric hookup. Most have a theme, and activities are organised around the theme. There is no obligation to participate in any of the activities, although they're mostly good fun, such as the dog show at the Jubilee Rally where Small Dog proudly came away with a rosette. Costs of rallies vary, depending on the number of activities, entertainment, meals provided etc but are usually around £10 per night, which considering what you get is extremely good value.
As new ralliers we have been warmly welcomed and any initial reservations we had have evaporated. Our main reservation was the fact that we wouldn't have electric hook up and so would be dependent on the leisure battery in the caravan for all our 12v electricity needs. This means that we can't use normal 240v electrical equipment. It also means that our fridge and hot water heaters have to be used on gas. However, our fears have proved unfounded as the fridge chilled down beautifully and even produced ice in the freezer, and the water heater quickly and efficiently produced piping hot water for showering and washing up.
Even Small Dog has given the rallying experience a firm paw's up, especially as she got to meet two other Yorkies on site over the weekend.
Looking forward to the next one already.......