What do you pack for campervan holidays in Europe?

What to you pack for campervan holidays in Europe

Volkswagen Caledonia owner Bobbie has many good tips on what to take for long campervan holidays in Europe.

Bobbie is one of a growing number of sunseekers who head south in their campervans at the first sign of winter. We asked what camping equipment she takes for three-month holidays in her VW Caledonia camper.

She says, “I take a small filter coffee machine, as I like real coffee, but I have to be on a campsite with electric hook-up to use it. If not, I just boil the kettle on the gas hob and have instant coffee.  I tend to make a lot of meals in a wok, whether it’s curry, pasta or a stir fry. I have a small Cadac barbecue with its own gas bottle and a two-litre Remoska, which uses less electricity than an oven and in which you could cook a roast dinner if you wished to. I also have a plug-in halogen oven, but I only take it for long stays. Some people take slow cookers. I tend to eat out a lot as well, when the weather is nice, as it’s so much cheaper in Spain.”

VW Caledonia campervan owner Bobbie takes her dog and cat to Spain for three months

Bobbie takes her rescue dog Willow and her black cat Ebony with her wherever she goes

The Volkswagen Caledonia comes equipped with a 50-litre fridge with ice box, a two-burner hob and cold water pumped to the sink. Bobbie likes to eat out as well as cooking in the campervan and entertaining, so she only takes essential kitchen equipment: “Electric kettle, gas hob kettle, wok, a saucepan for rice or pasta, five-litre fresh water bottle for coffee, and for me, my cat Ebony and dog Willow to drink, and bottled fizzy water in the fridge. I just use the campervan’s onboard water tank for washing or washing-up. I also have a collapsible kettle, saucepans, strainer, and a bucket – all blue, of course, to match my van’s interior.”

Spanish markets sell fabulous fruit

Food-wise, Bobbie takes, “Bread, butter, cheese, small tins of tuna, fresh or powdered milk, soup, apples or any fruit that is easy to eat while driving and to store. When on-site in Spain, I go to local markets and buy fresh fruit like kiwi, oranges, grapes, strawberries and avocados, which are all so much cheaper than in England. I also take dog and cat food, treats and bowls.”

For the rest of the camping kit and clothes, Bobbie takes, “The Porta-Potti. and chemical sachets – easier than liquid to store safely. A warm sleeping bag with liner, which is so easy to wash while I’m away, or a duvet in its cover, so that if it’s warm I can just use the duvet cover. I pack nightwear that I would be happy to wear in public, in case of emergencies, or just for going to the site facilities. Like most people, I take flip-flops to wear in campsite showers.”

This is the life... campervan owner Bobbie spends the winter in Spain and comes home in time for spring

This is the life… Sussex Campervan owner Bobbie spends the British winter in Spain and comes home in time for spring

There’s not much time to watch TV

For entertainment, Bobbie takes, “Books and DVDs, an iPad and a 12V TV. Campsites will often rent you a TV lead if there’s no signal. You can organise expat VPN ( or other providers) for secure use of the internet and to watch British TV, for about £5 per month. You can also download Mobdro on tablets to watch TV, but this can be inconsistent and freeze and buffer, especially during sports events. Usually there’s not much time to watch TV, as people are mostly very friendly and you could be out; entertaining or being entertained for many days and nights of the week. Equally you can spend time exploring, or just chilling.”

The VW Caledonia campervan has a twin-burner hob, sink with pumped water, 50-litre fridge and more

How to pack clothes for three months

When packing clothes, Bobbie recommends, “A minimum of three of everything – shorts, T-shirts, casual trousers, fleeces and underwear – so that if you get wet, or it’s hot, or it’s cold, you can change. Put one set in the wash, while another is drying and you’re wearing the third set of clothes. Hand wash your clothes every day, so it doesn’t build up, unless you’re on site with washing machines. I also take walking boots or shoes, short Wellingtons, casual and smart sandals, a waterproof jacket and trousers, a skirt, dress, linen trousers and tops for more formal occasions. I also take my swimming gear and two special quick-drying camping towels – they’re honestly not as nice to use as normal towels, but wet towels hanging inside a campervan are not nice either. In a nutshell only take what you will wear and use.”

Buy toiletries on holiday

When it comes to toiletries, Bobbie says, “I only need one tube of toothpaste and one shampoo, shower gel, etc as you can buy these everywhere in the world. I take a soap bag that I can hang up, as not all floors are salubrious. Flat pack toilet paper takes up less room.”

Medication is one area not to skimp, she says. “If you are on medications, take enough for the trip abroad, or if you’re touring Britain take your prescription. You may be able to buy your medication over the counter in some countries, but they may not be the same, and you might have to see a doctor to get a new prescription.”

Despite all her years of touring experience, Bobbie confesses that even she packs too much into her VW Caledonia campervan. “I usually take far too many pairs of shorts and T-shirts and actually end up wearing same ones. I take three dresses, when one would do, four pairs of smart trousers and blouses, when two would do. Make a list of what you don’t wear and leave it at home next time. This list can be condensed for shorter trips or winter or summer stays when the weather is predictable. Everything basically must be as light and easy to store as possible.”

Happy campervan touring!

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE UK… ISLE OF HARRIS

My number 1 in the Sussex Campers ‘Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the UK’ is the amazing Isle of Harris, situated in the outer Hebrides chain of Islands, off the West coast of Scotland.

There is an incredible diversity in the landscape, from the mountains in the North, to the numerous, unspoilt beaches in the South, the dramatic, rocky west coast and all of the glorious cliffs, moorlands, lochs and meadows. The spectacular scenery in this tranquil, idyllic getaway will really take your breath away. Although the furthest place away in my top 10 for most people, it certainly seems the most worthy of the long trip up there!

Make sure you visit the magnificent beaches of Scarista and Luskentyre, and explore the Harris Hills to discover the castles nestled in lonely bays. Get involved with some salmon and trout fishing, and a game of tennis or golf. Take a cruise to St Kilda, and the other remote islands of the Hebrides, which has been recognised as a wildlife and marine life habitat of world importance, with many different animals and plants including puffins, gannets and guillemots. Whilst sailing the ocean you are also likely to see whales, sharks, dolphins and grey seals. All of the Hebrides itself are great for many activities like sailing, sea kayaking, windsurfing and kite surfing and with the most consistent surf in Europe, the islands are a great spot for surf enthusiasts. Divers can explore a paradise of reefs, caves and forest kelps, all in beautifully clean and clear waters. The Hebrides have a wonderful, unique and spiritual civilised culture with vibrant and lively festivals, the friendly locals will make your stay all the more enjoyable. Find more info on festivals and things to do at visithebrides.com

 

 

 

Travel up through the lovely city of Glasgow, cross the Skye bridge onto the Isle of Skye and take a Calmac ferry from Uig to Tarbert. I would recommend visiting in June or July as they are the hottest months, with the longest days of sun and lowest average rainfall. There are two main campsites on the adjoining Island of Lewis that would be perfect for a trip in your campervan; Laxdale Holiday Park and Eilean Fraoich Camp Site with all that you would need from electric hook ups to clean, hot showers.

Embark on an adventure to the Isle of Harris in the Hebrides for an experience that you will never forget!

Make your holiday how you want it – that is what’s great about having a campervan- you can tailor make it to what you want! Our holidays mostly revolve around our campervan these days – flexible, fun, and family all at once! That’s why we founded Sussex Campers a few years back.

Find us on Facebook to let us know what would be in your top 10 or contact us to have a chat about making your dream camper a reality.

IN AT NUMBER 2… THREE CLIFFS BAY

Here is the next instalment of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK, to give you some ideas for trips away, or maybe even a tour of the UK in your campervan.

Three Cliffs bay, on Gower Peninsular in South Wales, is set in a valley, with huge limestone cliffs towering over the golden sand, surrounded by salt marshes and sand dunes, with a river running through the middle. In 2006 the BBC declared Three Cliffs bay to be ‘Britain’s Best Beach’ and it has since been nominated for Britain’s best view, and once you have visited, it is easy to see why.

As the bay is not that easy to access, it has remained unspoilt, and is a popular spot for horse riders and surfers. The three cliff provide a great challenge for climbers, and walkers and visitors get their fair share of a challenge with the steep sand dunes and cliff top walks. Walk through an archway in the cliff face, leading to the lovely Pobbles beach, or cross the stepping stones to the west side of the river, but make sure to return to the main beach before the tide comes in! Whilst visiting the bay, explore the eerie ruins of the 12th Century Pennard Castle, rumoured to be the home to many magical fairies.
Visit the nearby city of Swansea for a touch of cosmopolitan lifestyle, with its array of bars, restaurants, cafes, shops and museums, just a small selection of what this Welsh jewel has to offer.

The Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park, a fantastic campsite overlooking the bay itself, is open all throughout the year, offering electric pitches, an on site shop, a toilet and shower block and laundry facilities. It has, in the past, won the title for “Number One View from a Campsite in the World” so is a fantastic place to stay.

Find us on Facebook to let us know what would be in your top 10 or contact us to have a chat about making your dream camper a reality.

OUR NUMBER 3… ST IVES

Here is my number 3 review of the Sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK, giving you ideas for places that I think would be worth while for you to visit in your campervan or car.

No top ten would be complete without St Ives in Cornwall, as it feels like you are transported to another world. It won ‘Best UK Seaside Town’ in 2012 and 2011 from the British Travel Awards and has been listed as one of the 32 most beautiful bays in the World. It is clear to see why, with the fine golden sands and the crystal clear waters- possibly the cleanest bathing waters in Western Europe.

Embark on a boat trip to Seal Island to see the grey Atlantic Seals in their natural habitat and spot some porpoises, basking sharks and dolphins on the way, or choose from one of the many different types of boat trips that may suit you, weather you just want to relax or do some birdwatching or fishing. Take surf lessons on Porthmeor Beach, one of the prettiest beaches in Cornwall, or relax on one of the many other beautiful sandy beaches in the area. The Loft Restaurant and Terrace has amazing food on offer, cooked with local produce and fresh seafood or experience the culinary delights of one of the many other restaurants, bars and cafes. Visit the Sloop Inn, one of the oldest inns in Cornwall ‘circa 1312’, on the Wharf to experience some real charm and character.

There are many other interesting sights, within Cornwall including the famous Eden Project, beautiful Trebah Garden, a sub-tropical garden with a coastal backdrop, and Carnglaze Slate Caverns and Woodland Garden.

Ayr Holiday Park is the closest campsite to the centre of St Ives, and so boasts the perfect location to explore the local area, as well as great facilities including electric hook up, shower and toilet block and a laundrette. There are more lovely holiday parks and campsites further out of St Ives itself, but still near the beach, with fabulous facilities like swimming pools and bars and restaurants, if that takes your fancy, for example, St Ives Bay Holiday Park and Polmanter Touring Park.

Find us on Facebook to let us know what would be in your top 10 or contact us to have a chat about making your dream camper a reality.

IN AT NUMBER 4… THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

Here is my number 4 in the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK, to give you some ideas for fantastic trips away in your campervan… the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland.

It is thought that the cooling of some molten lava millions of years ago created the fascinating shapes of the Giant’s Causeway or, alternatively, that a giant ripped up the rocks as he ran along the coast… whichever you believe, this is a truly spectacular sight. For something really special, visit at sunset to catch the sea mists rolling in for a magical view. Once you have seen this coastline for yourself, it is easy to understand why the Causeway Coastal route, from Belfast to Londonderry, has been voted one of the top 5 tourist drives in Europe.

When you have seen seen the Giant’s Causeway, visit Portcoon, with its famous sea cave, made popular with tales of smuggling and ghostly pipers, or take a ride on the old Causeway Tramline. If you are feeling daring, take the coastal footpath to the exhilarating, and vertigo inducing, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Go over to Carrick island with its diverse birdlife and amazing uninterrupted views across to Scotland, making it well worth the scary walk!
There are so many activities to choose from in the area including horse trekking, sailing, sea and lake fishing, surfing, and coasteering. Dunluce Castle, situated on a cliff edge, is definitely worth a visit as it is surrounded by jaw dropping scenery, and gives you an insight into medieval Irish life.

The coastline, dotted with fishermen’s cottages, small sheltered harbours, isolated ruins and shoreline fields, reminds you of the hard life farmers and fishermen endured throughout history, and a new state of the art visitors centre is due to be opened in September 2012, which will allow you to really delve into understanding the history and culture of the area, and give you tips for how to explore it for yourself.

Ballyness Caravan park is ideally located for you to explore the Causeway Coast with all the usual facilities you could need, including electric, water and drainage hook ups, free hot showers and laundry room, as well as internet access and wifi.

Find us on Facebook to let us know what would be in your top 10 or contact us to have a chat about making your dream camper a reality.

OUR NUMBER 5… STANAGE EDGE

Here is the next instalment in the countdown of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK to give you some ideas for short trips away or perhaps even a UK tour in your campervan.

Stanage Edge is the largest and most impressive of the gritstone edges in the Peak District. The beautiful backdrop and spectacular cliff edges has meant that it has become a famous location for rock climbing, and a popular spot for walkers. Picturesque views across the surrounding moors and countryside make Stanage edge well worth visiting, and many agree as it has even been featured in productions of two romantic, epic classics; Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. See if you can spot the Highland Cattle on one of your walks, and discover to remains of the Long Causeway Roman road.

There are so many historic building in the area that I love to visit, and that I think you would like too including, historic North Lees Hall, pretty Chatsworth House and Gardens and handsome Hardwick Hall, which was featured as the Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter!

The Heights of Abraham is one of my favourite family days out in the area, with cable cars transporting you up the beautiful hillside to the Hilltop Park, with great play areas for the kids, as well as historic buildings and fascinating cavern tours, which allow you to retrace the steps of the underground miners, through passages that date back millions of years. Whilst your in the area see the residents of Meerkat Mansion and stunning falconry displays, as well as many other lovely amimals, at the Tropical Butterfly House, take a trip to the local cities of Sheffield or Nottingham, or experience thrills at the nearby Alton Towers.

Greenhills Holiday Park is in a great location for you to explore the Peak District, and is situated near Bakewell of Bakewell Tarts! It has all the facilities that you could need, as well as a cafe and shop on site, kids playground, evening entertainment and internet access.

Find us on Facebook to let us know what would be in your top 10 or contact us to have a chat about making your dream camper a reality.

IN AT NUMBER 6… WASTWATER LAKE

To make sure that you are never short on places to visit if you fancy a weekend away, or a longer trip or tour in your campervan, here is number 6 in the countdown of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK… Wastwater Lake in The Lake District.

Wastwater Lake is a beauty of great proportions, as it is the deepest lake in Britain, the bottom being lower than sea level, and is surrounded by some very high mountains, including the highest in England, Scafell Pike. Wastwater offers some of the most spectacular views, often voted as the best in the UK.

Wastwater and the town of Wasdale are very secluded, perfect for a getaway retreat, with miles and miles of walkways to immerse yourself in. Take care if you chose to walk around the whole lake with ‘The Screes’, a ledge of thousands of fragments of broken rock, on the South East side being quite treacherous. If avoided, the rest of the walks are really pleasant, and safe.

If you need a bit of a rest after all of the activities you can take part in at near Wastwater like canoeing, gorge scrambling and rock climbing, visit the nearby coastal town of Ravenglass with its pretty shingle beach overlooked by lovely fishermen’s cottages or the lovely sandy beaches at Drigg and Silecroft. Muncaster Castle is great for a family day out with plenty of history and some great events year round, and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway has lots of charm with steam trains running daily through the vast picturesque countryside.

The National Trust campsite at Wasdale, nestled under the Scafell mountain range, offers the perfect retreat if you want some peace and quiet and a great base to explore Wastwater and the surrounding area, The nearby Wasdale Head Inn has fantastic pub grub, perfect after a long day exploring the magnificent countryside.

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MY NUMBER 7… THE SHROPSHIRE HILLS

To give you lots of ideas for spectacular places to go away to, for a weekend, or on tour in your camper van or car, I am carrying on with my reviews of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK.

The Shropshire Hills, an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, has always been one of my favourite places in the UK. There are hundreds of miles of walkways and bridle paths for you to explore amidst the lovely, vast rolling hills. The scenery acts as a stunning backdrop to a great way of life, with various activities and festivals, lovely locals and great food.

There is so much history and heritage in the area to discover; “revel in the nostalgia of costume, film and pop culture, food and drink, shopping, sport or travel” in ‘The Land of Lost Content’, a fascinating museum set over three floors in the old town hall.; and visit the Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, to see what life was like on the Shropshire Hills at the turn of the century.

Shropshire has many diverse and bustling market towns, with Ludlow said to be one of England’s finest. It is easy to see why the area is renowned for amazing food; with great markets, independent butchers and specialist food shops all selling fresh, local produce, so make sure that you taste all that they have to offer.

My tips to you: check to see if any festivals are happening when you visit so you can really get involved with local life, and if visiting between mid July and mid September take a trip to the fantastic maize maze, set on eight and a half acres of farmland with 5 miles of walking paths, and lots of fun guaranteed. Also take a trip to Ironbridge, said to be the birthplace of industry with the first cast iron bridge, and wander round the recreated Victorian town.

Fox Holes Castle Camping, a ten minute walk from Bishops Castle market town, is a perfect base for exploring the Shropshire Hills, by foot, bike, rail or camper. Visit the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms to take advantage of the wealth of local knowledge, to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful area.

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MY NUMBER 8… WISTMAN’S WOOD

To give you ideas for spectacular places to go away to, for a weekend, or on tour in your camper van, I am carrying on with reviews of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK. In at number 8 is Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor.

Enter the mystical world of the ‘Wood of the Wisemen’, an ancient forest in Devon, said to be the most haunted part of Dartmoor. The silhouettes of the stunted and gnarled oak trees, with their finger like branches, entwine against the backdrop of the beautiful moors, creating an eerily enchanting atmosphere. If stories of the supernatural don’t put you off, then this is a great place to visit! Thousands of visitors flock to see the sites of the Wistmans Wood, situated on the slopes of the west dart river, with fantastic walking and cycling trails all around the moors.

Park near the Two Bridges Hotel, close to Princetown on the B3357, which runs between Tavistock and Ashburton, and embark on a journey to the mysterious wood. Moss covered boulders line the forest floor so take care if you dare to enter, or just walk the path along the top of the woods for a safe look in and a stunning picture. From the wood, climb to the summit of Longaford Tor, where you can enjoy a windy, panoramic view of Dartmoor, and take the opportunity to explore the rest of this historical national park.

Nearby, Barley Meadow Camping and Caravanning Site offers a peaceful retreat with easy access to the surrounding Devon area. Along with the standard facilities you would expect to find at an award winning camp site, there are also buses to Okehampton and Exeter right outside, and a local Fish & Chip van which stops on site. Enjoy local produce from the on site shop and nearby Inns, horse ride on the moors, or take a trip to one of the beautiful beaches of South Devon.

If you are travelling to the Dartmoor area this summer, be sure to stop at the Wistmans wood- But remember that it is best to visit during daylight hours if you want to avoid the ghostly goings on and the roaming ‘wisht’ hounds…

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Norway

Some family friends took their campervan round Norway and Sweden the other summer, going right up to the arctic circle.  They said how beautiful it was with the fjord and the clean blue skies.  I wonder if they got any sleep with the long days.  Isn’t it great to jump in the campervan and drive to where you fancy.  It could be Russia or Norway or maybe Italy who ones…  I have stack of guide books to inspire us where to go when we are on-route.  I still prefer a guide book to the internet, though the web is so useful giving you up to information.  Otherwise you can be like us who nearly drove down an old road which was now a footpath in Spain.

 Isn’t it a beautiful picture of Norway so peaceful and serene.  Take me through with a good book and some drawing pencils.Norway fjord