From camping in remote wilderness to the lounge room, kids really love the experience of pitching a tent and curling up in a sleeping bad. Surprisingly, though, camping holidays can be quite expensive when you consider site costs, travel expenses and equipment. To get you on your way, we’ve put together this list of cheap camping holidays in the UK and Europe.
There are dedicated camping facilities across the UK, so you don’t have to resort to camping out in the middle of the woods without anything to see or do to enjoy cheap camping holidays. Find out where to get discount family camping supplies and get all the top tips on keeping camping costs down here.
Haven has 35 parks across England, Wales and Scotland, meaning there should be a site not too far from your home. Better still, unlike some other campsite operators, Haven charges per pitch instead of per person – which can work out much cheaper for families.
- Online special offers: Check out the Haven website, which has plenty of great special offers and discounts. These include family breaks and last minute offers, with savings of up to 20% or more.
- Last minute discounts: Haven has a ‘Get away this week’ offer, with dozens of discounted offers for last minute bookings. This means you can check out the offers, book one that takes your fancy and then pack the kids in the car to begin your holiday straight away! Some of these offers can be up to 50% off, so in this case it could pay not to plan ahead.
- Up to 20% off summer breaks: You can save up to 20% on a large range of Haven’s summer breaks if you book online. The offers are valid until August 31 and offer basic pitches for three nights from just £38.25 – which is less than £15 per night for your family.
- Freedom Trail membership discounts: Haven operates a frequent traveller club called Freedom Trail, which gives members an additional 10% discounts on their holidays, free late stays and the opportunity for a free three night break. To become a member, you just need to book two 2012 breaks with Haven of two nights or more.
Park Holidays is a renowned operator of holiday parks across the South. Of its parks, seven have camping facilities, and all are welcoming of pets (for an additional charge of up to £4 per night). Sadly, the company does not readily offer discounts on its standard prices for camping sites; however with a bit of planning, you don’t need to pay top price.
- Seasonal tariffs: You can save money on your camping holiday simply by avoiding peak season, which runs from now until September 2.
- Campsites from £18 per night: Also consider which park you really want to stay at, as prices vary greatly from park to park. Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey is the cheapest site: during peak season, it offers unpowered sites from £18 on Friday and Saturday nights and £14 the rest of the week. Powered sites are slightly more expensive. The Isle of Sheppey is accessible by road, meaning there are no additional charges for ferries.
Park Resorts is a popular holiday park operator, and 16 of its parks offer camping facilities. Some of their offers include:
- 20% off summer discounts: Get 20% off a range of holidays and short breaks this summer. Many of the offers are last minute and prices depend on dates and locations.
- Pitches from just £5: It’s not often you get anything for £5, let alone accommodation. But Park Resorts has some basic camping pitches available from just £5 per night. These prices are restricted to certain dates, usually mid-week. Bank holiday weekends and peak season during the summer school holidays are generally more expensive.
With the focus currently on the UK as the Olympics arrive, there are plenty of cheap camping holidays on offer to holiday on the continent – a fantastic way to escape both the crowds at the Games and the dreary British weather!
Eurocamp offers a huge range of camping holidays across Europe, especially in France. And there are plenty of special deals and offers to help you save money.
- Summer discounts: Eurocamp is running a Real Holidays, Real Value campaign with discounts of 15% and 25% on selected sites. Take the kids on a fabulous trip to the Loire Valley or French Riviera, see the mountains of Austria or laze away in the warm Italian sun. These discounts are only valid until August 10, so you will need to get in fast.
- Family holidays for under £900: You don’t to spend thousands on a week-long holiday with the kids with these camping holiday packages especially for families. However, these holidays are last minute offers, so be sure to get in quickly.
- Three weeks for the price of two: If you’re looking to really unwind and enjoy a long holiday with the family, then Eurocamp has a range of selected parks where you can stay for three weeks for the price of two. As part of the offer, if you book a stay for two weeks, you can stay up to seven extra nights for free. To take up this offer, your holiday must begin on or after September 3 and the cheapest nights during your stay will be free.
- Eurocamp loyalty bonus: Families who have previously booked a holiday through Eurocamp are eligible for an additional 5% loyalty discount. This discount is available on all Eurocamp holidays throughout the year.
Keycamp is another family holiday booking website that gives you access to a range of deals and discounts across Europe.
- July and August special offers: Until August 10, Keycamp is offering discounts of up to £280 on selected family holidays. These discounted one week family holidays start from £624 per family.
- Flexible stays: You can save between 30% and 40% on the cost of your holiday if you are willing to be flexible with your accommodation. This means that if you are open to changing accommodation types and even parks during your holiday, you will get big discounts depending on the number of changes you accept. It can mean that you get to visit several of the best sites available even though they are largely booked out – all while making big savings on your stay. This offer is valid until August 31, 2012.
- Single parent family discounts: If you’re a single parent, or will be travelling alone with the kids, then Keycamp offers a special single parent discount of £75 on holidays of seven nights or more for holidays taken until August 26, and £50 on all other dates in 2012. There is also a saving of £25 on short breaks.
- Keycamp’s whole family prices: All of Keycamp’s holiday prices are based on two adults and not per person. Better still, all kids and extra adults stay for free (up to four adults in total) – so you can take two grandparents, other adults or under 18's for no extra charge. Keycamp also offers a 5% loyalty discount to families who have previously booked a holiday with them.
A more comfortable, modern take on the traditional camping holiday, Select Camp offers a range of luxury camping holidays with large chalet tents even mobile homes in a number of popular European destinations.
- High season super sale: Select Camp is having a super sale on high season holidays, with savings of up to 30%. Each offer has its own booking deadline and most are valid for fixed dates only.
- Olympic discounts: Other sites are available at up to 30% off as part of Select Camp’s Olympic discounts. Each offer is valid for different dates until the end of August, meaning you can escape on fun-filled cheap camping holidays and avoid the crowds during the Games.
- Cancellation bargains: Check out the 'cancellation bargains' page to get the latest specials on last minute cancellation deals. These deals can save you up to a third of the normal price, but can only be booked by phone and are only available on the specified dates.
- Get up to 20% off next year’s holiday: Why not think ahead and book your family holiday for next year – and save up to 20% at the same time. The discounts apply to selected locations, and must be booked by October 31, 2012. If you change your mind after booking, you can cancel for free until December 1, or make free alterations to your booking until March 1 next year.
If the idea of camping in a tent, sleeping on the ground and sharing communal toilets isn’t for you, Thomas Alfresco offers a means to camp in style with mobile homes. But luxury does come at a price, and you probably won’t find a one week holiday for under £1,000.
- Last minute deals: Thomas Alfresco has a number of last minute deals if you’re looking for somewhere to go at short notice. Depending on where you choose to go, you could save up to 50% on the standard price, making this luxury camping experience more affordable. Last minute holidays for seven nights cost just over £1,000.
- Two for the price of one: You can save considerable money by taking another family on holiday with you. Thomas Alfresco is offering two mobiles for the price of one on bookings of between seven and 14 nights. That means you can split the cost, with each family essentially paying a quarter of the standard price.