Demand for pitches in Northumberland soars as campervan and motorhome market takes off
The bank holiday weekend, despite the disappointing weather, has given the first indication of the summer that’s in store for some parts of Northumberland.
It was the first opportunity since the partial easing of lockdown restrictions for many people to head to the coast or countryside for a day out or to stay for a few days.
Motorhome and campervan holidays are proving particularly popular, with high demand for bookings along the coastal strip.
“Compared to 2019, there has been a 94% increase in the number of pitches booked at our Beadnell Bay and Dunstan Hill Club Sites this year,” said a Camping and Caravanning Club spokesperson.
"Our advance bookings continue to remain strong, mirroring the trend elsewhere across the UK – and there is still plenty of availability.
"We believe that spending time in the great outdoors at places such as campsites will be a really important break that people need after spending so much time at home. Camping is all about spending time in the fresh air – it puts us on the doorstep of our wonderful countryside and allows us to get closer to nature.”
It is a picture mirrored at Proctors Stead Caravan Park, near Craster, even though its facilities aren’t fully open again until the next planned stage of lockdown easing on May 17.
Julie Milburn, co-owner, said: "We’ve got 60 touring pitches and I would say more than half of them are now taken up by motorhomes and campervans. It’s a definite growth area.
"We get people who come year after year but there are definitely a few new faces around.”
At the Barn at Beal restaurant and campsite, near Holy Island, its 20 campervan pitches are fully booked every weekend until September.
In Foulden, just outside Berwick, Counting Sheep Campers are gearing up for a busy season.
Mark Hibbert, who runs the business with his wife, Alison, said: “Last summer was crazy and we expect more of the same this year, although we’re finding that people are booking up a little later. I get the feeling that they are waiting to make sure we're not going into another lockdown or more restrictions so there is a hesitancy.
"One of the big issues last year and going forward this year is that a lot of the campsites, especially those further up north in Scotland, are not opening their toilet and shower facilities which might be alright for motorhomes but isn’t so good news for campervans. That’s what we have so we need those facilities to be open, although we have added portable toilets to our campervans offer.
"About 80 per cent of our customers head off to do the North Coast 500 but we are encouraging people to stay close to the area and over the past couple of years there has definitely been a growing number choosing to explore Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
"The staycation market is growing in popularity and demand for bookings is good. We think it will get even busier if people find they’re not in a position to go abroad as they might have planned.”