A guide to seasonal caravan pitches
Every now and then you pitch up at a campsite so perfect, you never want to leave! Even those with wanderlust crave the peace of knowing they could go back and enjoy a campsite where they have made fond memories
Most campsites have a number of seasonal caravan pitches, where a touring caravan can be left in the same spot all season or all year long.
Imagine the convenience of not having to book a campsite – it’s 4pm on Friday and you can just jump in the car and go to your pre-pitched caravan on a campsite you love. These are just some of the benefits of seasonal caravan pitches.
- What are seasonal caravan pitches?
- How much do seasonal caravan pitches cost?
- Pros and cons of seasonal caravan pitches
- Things to consider when looking for a seasonal caravan pitch
- Final thoughts
- About our magazines
Words by Louise Cottrill
What are seasonal caravan pitches?
(Photo courtesy of Exe Valley Caravan Site)
Seasonal caravan pitches are sites where you can lock up and leave your caravan for the whole season. This means if there is a region that you really love along with a campsite, you can choose to pitch your caravan there for the season and drive away caravan free. It will be safe on the campsite and only available for your occupation.
You pick your spot in the seasonal caravan pitch area (which is usually not part of the standard campsite area), and then come and stay as often and for as long as you want to.
How much do seasonal caravan pitches cost?
(Photo courtesy of South Wales Touring Park – Llwynifan Farm)
Costs can vary from campsite to campsite and prices start from around £1,500 for a full season; you may find some a little cheaper. However, some of the larger campsites, with numerous facilities, may be charging as much as £3,000.
It pays to do a bit of shopping around to make sure you know just what you are getting for your money. Some campsites offer shorter terms, too, so you could pitch up for a month for a fixed fee.
There are campsites that will charge you extra for electric hook-up when you stay. If you don’t mind paying extra for this, or you just want to come and go as you please with no extra cost, the choice is yours… but it takes research.
The real point of having a seasonal caravan pitch is that you tow your caravan to a campsite in March, get it sited and nicely levelled, set your TV/satellite up and make the inside just how you like it – then just lock up and leave and use it as you want it.
Pros and cons of seasonal caravan pitches
- You have a ready-made holiday when you want it! Just pack the car and go
- If you are regularly visiting your caravan, you will get some of the best nightly rate equivalents
- You can leave spare clothes and non-perishable food in the caravan
- Stay for extended periods of time without needing to consider costs (ie summer or Easter holidays)
- You’ll save extra wear and tear on your car, including fuel efficiency with less towing
- No towing through the Friday night traffic or having to unpack the caravan regularly
- You could find an ‘all-year campsite’ and visit year-round
- Find the perfect pitch and have the benefit of knowing you’ll be having your breakfast with the sun shining on you, or be sited in a quiet corner – a home from home
- You’ll always have a place to stay – no last-minute campsite bookings or scrambling to find a place to stay if you decide at 5pm on Friday you feel like getting away
- Make new friends – many seasonal caravan pitchers will develop friendships on the campsite
- It can be quite difficult to find a seasonal pitch. You may have to call or visit several sites before you find somewhere suitable
- You have to pay costs up front
- Some caravanners find it off-putting having shut-up caravans around them
- You are stuck in one area on one campsite, which will cut down on your exploring capabilities
- You need to consider campsite security and caravan security
- You will need to notify your insurer of the location of your caravan – there will be a small charge for this
Things to consider when looking for a seasonal caravan pitch
One of the first things to consider is whether you will use your caravan enough to break even. Even if this is not one of your main considerations, cost is one of the biggest factors in whether people decide to take up this option as paying upfront costs can be difficult.
When you have a seasonal caravan pitch, you can literally jump in the car and go when you feel like it. The other side to that is perhaps you will get fed up of staying in the same place all the time. If your pitch is too far away, it may deter you from going to the campsite often, so it may be a waste of money. With all this in mind, it may be worth considering campsites about an hour away from home.
Does the campsite have enough amenities to suit your needs? As you can choose simple campsites with hook-up facilities, or campsites that have swimming pools and activities, too, it makes sense to create a wish list of what your ‘dream campsite’ looks like when it comes to facilities and amenities, as well as distance to places of interest and local pubs and shops.
Does the campsite look secure enough for you to leave your asset? It is best to choose a caravan site where the owner or warden is a resident.
(Photo courtesy of Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park)
What is the cost of the pitch?
Most campsites offering seasonal pitches send out an invoice for the full amount you are expected to pay in the late winter and expect to get paid either before you arrive or when you do. Many do offer the facility to pay the amount in two halves but check they don’t add a surcharge for allowing you to do this. Costs of pitches vary widely depending size and popularity.
Can you choose your pitch?
Sometimes. The choice of pitch depends on the campsite and the owner. If there is a waiting list, you will have to take what comes up. If the campsite has a lot of seasonal pitches, the owner might give you choices of a few. It also depends on the length of your caravan – some pitches are smaller than others, and you may have to go where there is space for your outfit.
Is it economical?
For example: a seasonal pitch of £1,300, with an average pitch costing £25 per night, it works out at 52 nights.
In reality, that means two to three weekends a month, plus a few week-long stays.
Assuming that average of £25 per night for a pitch, and most caravanners only being able to use the caravan at weekends during an eight-month season, three (two-night) weekends a month would total about £1,200 in site fees. Of course, there are long bank holiday weekends and extended breaks, too, and, remember, this is more about convenience than overall cost.
Servicing on pitch
There are mobile independent caravan servicers who will come and do a full caravan service for you on the campsite, and at a reasonable cost. A lot of dealerships like the caravan you bought to be taken back to them for servicing to prevent voiding the warranty.
Taking it back to the dealer is not essential, but ensure you check on it. We book our caravan in for its annual service the week it comes back off the campsite after the end of the season, so we can get it all over with quickly, give it a wash and get it ready for the winter.
Does your caravan insurance go up?
Not really. As long as the insurance company knows where the caravan is and has it marked on your records as a ‘known location’, the premium usually remains the same. You will be charged a fee (about £15) for having the additional location added to your records.
What about security devices on the campsite?
Security is just the same as if you were at home – wheel locks firmly in place and a hitch lock on. Always set the alarm when you leave the caravan, as the insurance may be void if you don’t. Ensure Aquarolls are put away when you go home or, at least, locked to something secure.
What do you do about gas, battery and electric hook-up?
Always turn the gas off and disconnect the electrical supply. I usually just unplug it from the electrical box and place it neatly under the caravan with a plastic bag around the connection, so it is then a simple and quick job to plug it in when you arrive.
Batteries are OK left connected (if you are coming regularly), but make sure all the switches on your control panel are turned off, and we recommend turning off at the RCD unit, too.
Will I be allowed visitors?
You will be allowed visitors, but make sure they park carefully and don’t obstruct other pitches. Most campsites will allow family or friends to use your caravan when you are not there, but make sure you let the campsite owner know who will be coming and when.
Can I sublet?
Most campsites are not keen on this. Check with your campsite owner to see what the official stance on it is.
Should I drain on-board water tanks when I leave?
We would advise you to do so early and late season, when there is likely to be a frost. Also empty the ‘flush’ tank for the toilet.
If you are considering opting for a seasonal caravan pitch, do your research first. There is so much to consider before you commit to an area and a campsite. The pros could outweigh the cons for you or the other way around, but as a seasoned caravanner it is lovely to just pitch up and leave with the convenience of popping back whenever the feeling takes you.
Swap your seasonal caravan pitches every year or tour one year and pitch the next! The freedom is yours with a caravan.
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