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Subject Topic: Need to book UK sites out of high season Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by MrWez on 28/9/2018 at 9:07am
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When the kids used to come away with us we had to tour when the schools were out e.g. high season, we therefore expected to book our sites in advance.

For the past couple of years since becoming empty nesters we've toured France in June, out of high season. We've never had to book onto any site as there's always been spaces, it has allowed us a more carefree approach to touring.

As our dear old pooch is getting on a bit we've decided it would be a bit unfair to put the responsibility of minding him onto somebody else, we've therefore decided to take him with us on tour. As he's a rescue dog, we loathe the idea of putting him in doggy prison (kennels), on the ferry so we're going to do a tour of the UK.

What's people's experience of touring in the UK during June? Have you ever had any problems getting into sites without book ahead? Have you ever had problems extending your stay should you feel like it?

We'd like to keep our options open and be as spontaneous as possible. Our current plans are to venture along the south-east coast, before going up into East Anglia then back through the central south of the country.

Don't forget to leave a review of the campsites you have visited this year or last!


Message posted by Bob61 on 28/9/2018 at 10:05am
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When I first started camping regularly after retiring 16 years ago I always camped from Friday through to Sunday (or sometimes Monday) most weekends. I am not sure why I went at weekends other than that was when everyone else seemed to go camping but I never booked...just pointed the car and found a campsite when I got there. I don't recall ever failing to get a pitch.

Then, within the last 5-10 years, camping suddenly started to become very popular and although I still managed to find a pitch it was apparent that I was taking a chance by not booking. It wasn't long before I found I was often being told 'no vacancies' when trying to book a campsite at short notice at weekends.

I therefore started camping midweek and outside of school holidays and certainly not on bank holidays and quite often I find many of the campsites almost empty. I guess therefore out of school holidays and midweek you could probably find pitches without having to book. However, I now book every time just in case, and quite often the day before or a couple of days before I go. I would certainly book weekends even in the colder months.

One downside of camping midweek is that many facilities are not open and there is rarely any entertainment (live music) in pubs etc; which I enjoy. However, if you want a quiet life then midweek out of school holidays is the time to go and June is usually fairly quiet.

I cannot comment on the south east coast or East Anglia as it is an area I don't visit often but the south east coast especially is a popular destination for Londoners so can be busy and certainly more expensive than elsewhere along the south coast.

Post last edited on 28/09/2018 10:09:25

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Old people used to be a lot older than me...now most of them are younger than me!

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Message posted by Bob61 on 29/9/2018 at 1:07pm
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I hope that answered your question.

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Old people used to be a lot older than me...now most of them are younger than me!

Message posted by bofs on 29/9/2018 at 11:02pm
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Why not continue touring in France and leave the dog in the motorhome during the crossing? We have had our rescue bearded collie, aged about 8, for 12 months now, and she has been on 3 trips to France already, staying quite happily in the back of the car during the Poole - Cherbourg crossing, which is up to about 5 hours taking into account boarding and disembarkation time. We don’t think she’d actually travelled in cars at all before we got her.

Don't forget to leave a review of the campsites you have visited this year or last!


Message posted by ficklejade on 30/9/2018 at 1:20am
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Quote: Originally posted by bofs on 29/9/2018
Why not continue touring in France and leave the dog in the motorhome during the crossing? We have had our rescue bearded collie, aged about 8, for 12 months now, and she has been on 3 trips to France already, staying quite happily in the back of the car during the Poole - Cherbourg crossing, which is up to about 5 hours taking into account boarding and disembarkation time. We don’t think she’d actually travelled in cars at all before we got her.


I would never leave my dog in my car on a ferry crossing. So it limits my choices of where I go but my dog's a member of my family. That's why I can live on an island as Calmac let you have your dogs with you. My dog had his own life jacket. We have some seriously hairy crossings and I want my family member to have a chance if things so badly wrong.


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Message posted by ficklejade on 30/9/2018 at 1:23am
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Delete post - wrong section. Sorry.

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" When I die I don`t want my life to flash before me in an instant, I want it to be a 3 hour epic !"

Message posted by bofs on 30/9/2018 at 8:49am
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Or you could use a crossing that offers dog-friendly cabins, such as Portsmouth -Le Havre.
If you are staying in the UK though,, our experience is that you at least need to phone before you turn up at a site as even if there’s loads of space, most site owners like to know in advance of your impending arrival (though over here we tend to use mainly CLs and CSs so it may be different with bigger sites).

Post last edited on 30/09/2018 08:56:37

Don't forget to leave a review of the campsites you have visited this year or last!


Message posted by Mrs. Bonce on 30/9/2018 at 1:02pm
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Yes, phone at least, out of season can be the day before. Mind you, we booked and paid for this CL on Arran in advance as requested, and were visited by the owner on the first day asking "who are you"!

Message posted by colinlob on 01/10/2018 at 9:32am
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Can you not travel with the dog to France on the Tunnel? The dog can stay with you during the crossing.

Message posted by MrWez on 01/10/2018 at 7:37pm
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Thanks all for your answers, very helpful.

Firstly on the matter of our dog:

1. He is very, very old and can't be left alone for too long so I wouldn't leave him in the van during the crossing as he'd spend the entire time barking and would be very distressed by the time we'd got back to him (I shudder to think what else we'd come back to).

2. I hadn't considered taking him in a dog friendly cabin or on the Channel Tunnel, mostly based on the advice given by Consulate General of France in the UK

He'd fall into this classification so we don't think he'd be welcome.

Dogues de Bordeaux without pedigree are classified in France as category 1 under the dangerous dogs regulations, and cannot therefore be introduced into France

So going back to the original question, it looks like we can be reasonably footloose during the week but may have to book ahead for the weekends, which is what we'd half expected but it's always useful to get the benefit of the community's experience.

Message posted by RainMagnet on 02/10/2018 at 12:02pm
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What we have found is that even during high season (we have two young children so don't currently have a choice), campsites tend to empty out a bit from Monday to Friday. I guess people have work commitments or the thought of a full weeks camping is too much for some.

Don't forget to leave a review of the campsites you have visited this year or last!


Message posted by lizzie on 05/10/2018 at 7:14pm
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We use the tunnel with our dog so no problem as he is with us the duration and it is very quick.

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Message posted by Fiona W on 22/10/2018 at 3:04pm
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I've noticed far more MHs than there used to be at sites that are closing at the end of October. I put it down to the newer MHs having good heating / insulation, TVs / entertainment, with lighting / seating as comfy as the lounge at home. This is based on comparing our previous 1993 MH with the current 2016 one, and how the pattern of our trips has changed when we changed MH.
It's good for the site owners, maybe more will stay open for longer or open sooner - before Easter rather than at Easter?

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2019 - 13 sites, 35 nights / 2018 - 20 sites, 33 nights
2017 - 10 sites, 22 nights / 2016 - 19 sites, 33 nights / 2015 - 15 sites, 27 nights.

Message posted by Colin21 on 22/10/2018 at 6:58pm
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Quote: Originally posted by RainMagnet on 02/10/2018
What we have found is that even during high season (we have two young children so don't currently have a choice), campsites tend to empty out a bit from Monday to Friday. I guess people have work commitments or the thought of a full weeks camping is too much for some.



You have hit on precisely why, now that we are retired, we always take our short breaks mid-week. Monday is a good time to arrive, and Friday a good time to leave. However, if we want to stay longer, we are already on a pitch on the Friday, so if there is room for us to do so, we just stay where we are.


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Best Regards,
Colin D.

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