The cut-price holiday that's coming home

Eurocamp is returning to the UK. So what is the experience like? Kate Simon reports

The atmosphere is convivial on the decking tonight. We've showered off the sand from the beach and, still tacky with after-sun lotion, are attempting to relax on our plastic deckchairs with the first glass of wine of the evening.

Across the way, Gillian and Derek, a middle-aged couple from Lancashire, have marked the end of the afternoon by putting down their blockbusters, closing the parasol and lighting the barbecue. We pass the time together as we go about our evening rituals.

We are on a Eurocamp holiday in Sicily, at a campsite just outside San Vito lo Capo on the north-west coast of the island. Our base is a mobile home, a study in veneer and corrugated plastic that gives new meaning to the word compact. It shakes like the set of Crossroads, but it suits the needs of our family of three: it has two bedrooms, positioned at either end of a lounge with kitchenette, off which, a little close for comfort, is a shower room with toilet.

The decking, for elevated al-fresco dining, comes at an extra cost. So do linen, beach towels and a pack of basic foods and useful items. In fact, you buy accommodation by the day, not blocks of weeks, in one, two or three-bedroom units, across a range of styles, from classic to superior, which feature air-conditioning, extra patio doors and a little more space as you ascend the price scale.

How you travel to your chosen campsite is also up to you. Road, rail and air can all be arranged in your package. The point of a Eurocamp holiday is that you fit it together to suit your purposes – rather like the mobile home you stay in.

It's a winning formula, especially with the British, who make up 60 per cent of clientele. The Cheshire-based self-catering and camping company, which set up shop 36 years ago, welcomed thousands of visitors last year to its sites across Europe, and for its recently added motorhome holidays in the United States and Canada.

Now Eurocamp is coming home, or rather returning. The company struck camp on British turf 15 years ago, due to lack of demand. It's hoping that the recession and the weak pound will dovetail to attract both a home-grown and an international audience in search of good-value breaks.

Nine destinations have been earmarked across the UK: at Cobeland and Cashel in Scotland, Low Wray and Great Langdale in the Lake District, Spiers House in North Yorkshire, Beddgelert in Snowdonia, Holmsley and Roundhill in the New Forest, and Christchurch in the Forest of Dean.

The geographical spread puts most homes within easy reach of a UK Eurocamp site, a point that is not lost on the company. Eurocamp's Chris Hilton said: "More people than ever are interspersing holidays abroad with short breaks and weekends away in the UK that are a convenient drive from home." A family would be looking at £100 for a three-night break in a six-berth tent – such pricing is very competitive.

The holidays will differ from the Continental model, there are the vagaries of the British weather to contend with, after all. To that end, Eurocamp has formed partnerships with the National Trust and Forest Holidays to offer pre-erected, fully equipped tents on Forestry Commission land, where the focus will be on enjoying the natural surroundings.

To fill the days, Forest Rangers will be on hand to educate and entertain by sharing their knowledge of survival skills, including fire-making, animal tracking and shelter building. Other activities laid on will include hill walking, fishing, bird-watching and watersports.

Back at the campsite in Sicily – the Italian island returned to Eurocamp's brochure just last year – the diversions are many. Nearby excursions include the cities of Palermo and Trapani, jaunts to the medieval fortress of Erice and the Greek temple at Sagesta, walks around the neighbouring Zingaro nature reserve or drives through the badlands around Corleone.

But we are happy to spend most of our time lazing on the pleasant beach in St Vito, a five-minute drive away, only stirring for lunch at one of the town's excellent restaurants. A week in a mobile home is a real bargain when the sun shines.

Compact facts

How to get there

Eurocamp (0844 406 0552) offers seven nights at the El Bahira Parc in San Vito lo Capo from £186 for a family staying in a two-bedroom superior mobile home, sleeping up to seven, with air conditioning and decking.

A three-night weekend break at Great Langdale in the Lake District starts at £100. A seven-night holiday in the New Forest costs from £240.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower