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Can caravan holidays ever be cool?

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In a yr not precisely in need of surprises, maybe the most important one but is that caravan holidays are having fun with a comeback. I communicate from fairly stable expertise: late final summer season, as a grounded journey and tradition author, I purchased a caravan with two of my finest mates, artwork advisor and inside stylist Emma Jane Palin and inside designer Whinnie Williams. We all reside on the identical road in Margate, and share a love of midcentury design, and we’ve usually daydreamed about opening a superb resort collectively. This was our pandemic marketing strategy B: a three-bedroom static 2010 Willerby Bluebird in Birchington Vale Holiday Park. All three of us grew up with caravan holidays in our lives, and have nostalgic recollections of caravan life by the ocean; hanging out within the arcades with boys, spending all our cash on Curly Wurlys within the tuckshop, and the joy of caravan sleeping preparations, like tucked-away bunkbeds or pull-out sofas.


The crew behind Club Jupiter

Joanna Bongard

And so we spent our winter lockdown giving our beloved Creme Brulee (so-named due to her beige and brown interiors) a melodramatic makeover, with a mock-brick desert-modern type hearth, marmoleum flooring all through, tongue and groove wood ceiling, and reupholstered the unique couch in Poodle & Blonde velvet designed by Whinnie. When we arrange our firm, Club Jupiter we joked that we had been making a “Pontins meets Palm Springs” vibe, in order that British travellers may journey the world over… all from a caravan in Birchington. Emma’s Space Disco bed room is all sequins and mirrors, transporting visitors to Studio 54 in Nineteen Seventies New York. Whinnie’s Lonely Hearts Saloon is a pink cowgirl fantasy, impressed by a ranch vacation we took collectively in Arizona final February… just a few weeks earlier than the Covid disaster hit. My Jungle Room is part-inspired by Elvis Presley’s ridiculous Jungle Room at his house of Graceland in Memphis, all bamboo and rattan and tiki lamps. As a grounded journey author, I needed to take folks locations.

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We had been impressed by a love of caravan holidays and a love of flamboyant midcentury design, and fabulous themed inns like California’s Madonna Inn, however deep down, we actually need adventure-hungry travellers like ourselves to really feel they’ll have fabulous holidays right here within the UK. Staying in a vacation park can be a community-minded resolution in areas – like Margate – that have overtourism in the summertime months, sidestepping the thorny difficulty of communities being affected by homes taken out of the rental market to perform as vacation properties.

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Club Jupiter dwelling space

Joanna Bongard

And as a journey author who loves caravans, I’ve made it a private mission to remain at a number of the coolest caravan parks on this planet – and all the time discovered myself questioning why we didn’t have something related within the UK. In the US, a gleaming silver Airstream is essentially the most coveted of possessions, and my first style of a hip, reimagined trailer park was at Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, California, the place Airstreams and slickly renovated gypsy wagons encompass a swimming pool made for lounging with a Pisco Sour. Then there may be El Cosmico in Marfa, West Texas, created by the visionary hotelier Liz Lambert, a bohemian utopia the place visitors drift round in Missoni kaftans, tasselled suede jackets and Cobra Rock cowboy boots. Years earlier than road-tripping throughout America searching for out particular trailer parks, I’d labored as a ‘tipi caretaker’ at Solscape within the surf city of Raglan in New Zealand, the place yurts decked out with Persian rugs and Moroccan textiles cosied as much as renovated practice carriages and classic caravans. There’s simply one thing about properties on wheels that evoke a way of true escape, freedom and ease, and for a nomadic hippy like myself, I’ve all the time most well-liked an evening in an Airstream to an evening at a elaborate metropolis resort or spa.

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Saloon room at Club Jupiter

Joanna Bongard

The indisputable fact that caravan holidays merely weren’t on the radar of younger British travellers is even stranger given our fascinating caravan tradition heritage. Caravan holidays had been widespread in Britain by the 1900s, when so-called “gypsy gentlemen” would have caravans transported by practice to their vacation vacation spot of selection. But it was within the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties that Eccles Caravans marketed the thought of car-pulled caravans and pushed them out on a business scale. After the warfare, the Sixties noticed a lot bigger fashions – with bunks and different improvements – whereas within the Nineteen Seventies, static caravans started resembling vacation chalets, with firms like Bluebird and Silverline manufacturing fashions with pointed roofs, floral interiors and teak panelling. But by the Nineteen Eighties, when bundle holidays overseas had been inexpensive to the lots, British caravan holidays had been falling out of public favour, not seen as a very glamorous or aspirational. Caravan design continued to evolve, however the although my technology of travellers maybe grew up on caravan holidays, a British caravan vacation didn’t fairly maintain the attract of a Spanish music pageant, or every week in Tulum, or a metropolis break in Berlin.

But journey tastes change, and at this time younger travellers are far more related to nature, and extra aware of neighborhood impression, and we even have a way of journey and curiosity that makes us keen to remain in treehouses, shepherd’s huts and yurts. This yr, the cellular caravan market is booming and focusing on a youthful, extra design-oriented market. Barefoot Caravans are hand-built British caravans with a curvy classic aesthetic, whereas Dub Box caravans are available in retro hues like teal, mustard and chocolate brown. Rocket Caravans are smooth aluminium homages to the America Airstream. So in case your psychological moodboard for the phrase ‘caravan’ evokes beige fibreglass and nasty web curtains, this summer season is the time to hit refresh.

Bookings for Club Jupiter are actually open on Airbnb. Sleeps six, from £200 an evening (three-night minimal).

FIVE COOL CARAVAN CAMPSITES AROUND THE WORLD

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