Campsites across England are seeing sharp rises in bookings as the government-appointed reopening date of July 4th edges nearer. With holidaymakers likely favouring staycations in the UK this summer, the inevitable choices for the itchy-footed among us are campground trips or package breaks. Figures aren’t quite back up to annual averages yet, but reservations have quadrupled for many sites since the relaunch date was revealed in May.
Several of our Lotus Belle-pitching friends are preparing to reopen. Moat Island in Norfolk, who use our Stargazer tents on their glamping site, are taking bookings from July 5th onwards. They were affected by the lockdown a bit differently to most: filming for the next season of Channel 4‘s ‘Four In A Bed’ couldn’t go ahead on their grounds! Hopefully production will get back underway later this year, or in early 2021.
Over in Wales, Welsh Glamping aren’t looking forward to reopening — because they hadn’t even managed to open to begin with! Back on February 5th, they posted a photo of the first Lotus Belle pitched on their site. A matter of weeks later, restrictions hit. They’re taking it in stride, though; a more recent Instagram post reads: “The bright side to being unable to open due to COVID-19 is that we can spend even more time on finishing touches.”
Other campsites with Lotus Belle tents have written detailed FAQs on their websites, including Broadhembury Caravan & Camping Park in Kent, Mena Farm Camping & Glamping in Cornwall, and Leekworth Camping Park in Teesdale (that’s not too far away from Barnard Castle if you’re reading this, Mr. Cummings). As well as taking on new bookings from July 4th, many are allowing campers to shift their existing reservations to later dates.
Some UK holiday park chains have opted for similar ‘free rebooking’ guarantees. Haven have covered all 2020 and 2021 bookings with the promise of free reservation changes and a straightforward refund process.
Most franchise parks are also reopening from the 4th, 5th, or 6th of July. Butlins and Centre Parks — two of the biggest — are a couple of the exceptions. They’re taking a week or two longer. With hundreds of resorts and thousands of employees, the enormity of the health, safety, and cleaning procedures they’ll be implementing must be staggering.
Social distancing between groups will be enforced at campsites of all sizes. Savvy campers are figuring out ways to stay two metres apart within their own groups, too, with some turning to large six metre or five metre tents, or even isolated tents within larger tents.
While plenty of campsites are simply reducing the number of available space and accommodation, others are spreading out into surrounding fields to keep campers socially-distanced without limiting their capacity. Chapelfield Camping in the New Forest have opened a whole second meadow to plot their tents further apart. Absolute pros.
Then there’s the issue of nature’s call. The tabloids have been causing a stir with headlines about campsites reopening without toilet facilities, disregarding the hard work that goes into heightened hygiene policies and tightened cleaning rotas. Ettie’s Field, a glamping ground in Atherstone, will manage toilet and shower block use through a time slot system when they reopen in August. Hats off to them for doubling down on protecting visitors.
One final note on the wider travel industry: Visit Britain are (at the time of writing) developing a mark of quality that’ll be awarded to tourism businesses who make notable efforts to keep their customers and staff safe. It’s not available as we publish this blog post, but keep an eye out. Campsites will be viable for the badge!
If you’re looking to book your next camping adventure now, I’d defo recommend going with a smaller independent campsite. They’ll typically have fewer guests at any one time, so cleaning schedules and safety protocols will be much less stretched. You’re also bound to find grounds with Lotus Belle tents. We designed them to be as spacious as they are cosy, so they’re a perfect fit for socially-distanced relaxation. Check our UK staycation list to get inspired.