Finally, there is light at the end of the Covid tunnel.
The stellar vaccination programme is rolling out like a steam train. Infections are falling. Restrictions are gradually being lifted. We are seeing actual people!
Since April, we have been able to camp as long as we take our own washing facilities with us. But let’s face it, not everyone wants to pack a shower as well as everything else (we are in danger of needing an articulated lorry to carry our bumph as it is.)
The next dates for lifting of restrictions, however, come with the glorious news that we can officially go on “normal”, full-on camping trips this year. This means that yes, we can use the campsite’s washing facilities and toilets – hurrah!
So, when can we actually go? And what do we need to be aware of? Let us clarify a few points.
When can we camp this year?
We are now allowed to cross borders so we can enjoy the full range this beautiful country has to offer.
In Northern Ireland, things are slightly different with the proposed date slightly later at 24th May
What should we take?
As a precaution, I would take plenty of hand sanitiser, soap and masks. Otherwise, all your normal camping gear should be packed – sleeping equipment, tent, cooking gear, washing equipment, more clothes than you will ever need, kitchen sink, jacuzzi, etc (nope I’m not totally serious about all of those items, but I’m sure it won’t be long until we see some!) Depending on how you feel about sharing facilities with others, you might still want to pack those extras such as a toilet, showering and wash facilities. Have a look at World of Camping for some excellent cost-effective examples such as this portable toilet, solar shower, wash basin.
However, do remember that campsites are “on it” this year when it comes to sanitisation. They have upped their cleaning regimes, some have implemented time slots for guests and many have installed extra toilets and showers. The facilities at Upper Hurst Farm in Derbyshire for example are plush! With underfloor heating in the regularly cleaned toilet/shower block, as well as a generous wet room you will stay cosy as you wash.
Will there be changes at campsites?
Yes there will, but nothing too significant. You will now be used to the NHS QR code poster and of course, NHS Test and Trace. Well, it is now a legal requirement for campsites, caravan and holiday parks to display these and follow the procedures.
You may well find the welcome side-effect that you have a larger pitch or more space available as campsites reduce the amount of bookings they take at one time to help maintain distancing. Otherwise, expect to see a lot of signs explaining what you should do to help keep everyone at the campsite safe. Expect to see one-way systems for shared facilities to help maintaining social distancing between different households. Expect to see a LOT of hand sanitiser!
Are there any more changes coming?
The next provisional date for opening up further is 21st June. This does, of course, depend on the data surrounding Covid-19 continuing in the right direction. There are no guarantees that there won’t be any further outbreaks, so we simply have to “stay alert” and keep checking reports and regulations. There is certainly a feeling of optimism around the country, however, so let’s continue to hope that the worst part is behind us.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is so important to support the UK’s tourist industry this year. It is certainly not the only sector to have been affected by events of the last year, but you can be sure that every single one of the businesses has suffered. All the owners want to do is get back to normality, welcoming visitors to their little piece of paradise whilst keeping them safe.
So do give camping a try this year. It is great for families, freedom for kids and you will be doing your bit to help this country to get back on its feet.
Why not have a look at these sites opening up on 17th May?
Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping, Somerset
Bankybarn Caravan and Camping, Derbyshire
Holden Farm Camping, Hampshire
Long Acres Camping, Surrey
Brynawelon Touring and Camping Park, Ceredigion, Wales
Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping, Scotland