Forget mile-long tailbacks and dashboard-thumping frustration – caravans are cool. They have crept into all sorts of unknown territory, from summer festivals to boutique short breaks. Now you’ll find models that have been stylishly retro-fitted, others in bucolic settings and traditional gypsy caravans kitted out with mod cons.
Rock’n’ roll up
If you can’t face that little two-man tent anymore, you can book a caravan ticket at most of the UK’s music festivals, from Womad (24-27 July) to Bestival (4-7 September). Take your own or hire a “boutique” caravan from Festival Caravans (festivalcaravans.com) which has a fleet of restored 1980s models. They cost £500 plus a delivery fee that varies for each festival: for Glastonbury it’s £400, for Latitude £300. Festival tickets and campervan access tickets not included.
A head for heights
The Rooftop Rockets are silver, vintage-style, but modern purpose-built caravans –on the roof of Brooks Guesthouse (0117 930 0066; brooksguesthousebristol.com) in Bristol. With all the mod cons you’d expect from a contemporary hotel, there are four caravans in all – two for couples and two for families, starting at £99 per caravan per night for two sharing including breakfast.
If you’re going to cause a traffic jam, do it in style – with a horse-drawn gypsy caravan in Cumbria. Barny the driver and Charlie and Bob the horses will take you to your first campsite. There are three to choose from including Little Salkeld Watermill, an organic working mill with bakery and café. From £150 per night for two adults (0117 204 7830; canopyandstars.co.uk/wanderlusts).
Beryl is a 1963 Cheltenham sable caravan. Kitted out with retro fixtures and fittings, she’s offered by Kent-based The GlamperVan Hire Company (0800 035 3454; theglampervanhirecompany.com). You can tow Beryl yourself, but if you’d rather have her delivered to a campsite then this can be arranged for a fee. A glamping package during August for Beryl at Dogwood campsite costs £550 a week including set up on site at Brede in Sussex, pitch fees, gas and bedding. Hire costs from £150 for two nights including barbecue and outdoor table and chairs. On the Isle of Wight, Vintage Vacations (07802 758113; vintagevacations.co.uk) has a fleet of 13 restored Airstream caravans dating from 1946 to 1966. Two-night breaks cost from £255 this summer.
The ultimate in designer caravanning is still the sleek, silver Airstream (0845 070 5990; airstream-rentals.co.uk). Airstream Rentals offers the luxury option, delivered to the site for you, pitched and ready, with wine in the fridge, towels warming on the heated towel rail and beds made. From £1,000 a day for a minimum of three days, £400 per day after that, including a gourmet welcome hamper and flat-screen plasma TV.