A new view from your bedroom window but with home comforts all around you: a caravan holiday delivers the ideal combo of home and away
Have you ever wondered about the appeal of a touring caravan? Then consider the freedom one offers. Not just the obvious freedom of the road, where you can journey spontaneously wherever and whenever fancy takes you, but the freedom to take your home comforts with you. Fancy a cup of tea? Pull over at a lay-by and put the kettle on. Suspicious of hotel bedlinen? Yours is all there tucked away in neat little cupboards, waiting. Worried that tea and biscuits might not be up to scratch in a B&B? You have tins of your favourites stowed away and ready for use. Miss your real home? Furnish your mobile one with customised cushions, curtains and bits and bobs.
Then there are all the benefits of the outdoors. Arrive on site, erect your awning and you can put up a deckchair, barbecue some sausages, let the children run free (and bring the dog) without wandering more than a few metres from your door. Try doing any of that outside a hotel room.
A caravan (and this includes the unfairly derided static caravan or mobile home) also offers the freedom to escape the workaday routine without going too wild. Instead of eating meals on the sofa in front of the TV, you can eat around a campfire beneath the stars. But no camping hardship here: proper plates, cutlery and glasses can be employed, not plastic cups and billycans. And rather than each family member being glued to their tablet, a pack of cards or a board game provides the evening’s entertainment. Really, what’s not to like about caravanning?
The spirit of the sprite
The first caravan to tickle the fancy of the UK holidaymaker was the Alpine Sprite, above, a light, low-cost (£199) caravan made from tempered hardboard that could be towed behind the family car. It was the brainchild of designer Sam Alper* who in 1948, saw a gap in the market for a post-war leisure vehicle.
As the years went on, Alper developed different models. The model that still survives in vintage caravan sites and the odd front garden is the Sprite 400, which could be towed behind smaller cars, and the Sprite Cadet, launched in 1970
You can still pick up a vintage Sprite on eBay for between £500 and £1,000.
Turn to page 56 of July's The Simple Things for more of Clare Gogerty's caravan feature.
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