Trailer flash: How caravans got cool

·3 min read
Vintage seventies white caravan with flower curtains in front of an autumn tree
Go retro cool in your caravan (Getty)

Park your memories of damp bunks, soggy sandwiches and grubby beige interiors - caravans are now officially cool. 

Offering not just the freedom of the open road but the potential for a stylish makeover project, modern caravans are attracting a younger and more style-conscious demographic than ever before.

The pandemic has got us hooked on staycations, with almost a quarter of Brits and nearly half of young adults planning to holiday in the UK even after Covid 19 travel restrictions end according to a recent YouGov poll. And what better way to explore our beautiful countryside than in a trendy home on wheels? 

Read more: 8 things you need to know before your first camping trip

Journalist and podcaster Anna Hart, who has renovated her "Pontins meets Palm Springs" caravan, Club Jupiter, in a Margate holiday park alongside friends and fellow creatives Whinnie Williams and Emma Jane Palin, thinks we Brits are simply catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to caravan cool. 

"On my travels I've seen plenty of super-stylish holiday parks in Texas and California - such as Liz Lambert's El Cosmico in Marfa, and Hicksville in Joshua Tree," she told Yahoo. "But weirdly, in the UK, caravans are still pretty far from cool. So they're ripe for a revival!" 

A small caravan site in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, North Yorkshire, England.
Park up and enjoy the view. These caravans are gathered in the Yorkshire Dales. (Getty)

The trio have kitted out their three-bedroom static caravan, which will soon be open for bookings, in a kitsch mash-up of styles. 

"We've done our best to completely debunk the beige, bland, boring reputation that caravans have by going all-out with our design," she said. "It's a real mix of Americana, glamour and romance, with old-school British holiday nostalgia." 

Some of Club Jupiter's first guests will probably be taking their first ever caravan holiday, and they won't be alone. More than a third of the 2.5 million Brits who took a caravan holiday in the UK last summer were first-timers, according to research by Robinsons Caravans, and it seems more and more of us are getting the caravan bug. 

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Camplify, a motorhome community offering a range of funky caravans, has just recorded its biggest month of bookings ever and has witnessed a whopping 189% increase in bookings since the start of March.

"Caravan and Motorhome Club membership rose by fourteen per cent last year and already this year we have seen record breaking months for both membership and bookings," said Nick Lomas, Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club. 

"Caravans have always been very popular for inter-generational holidays and we are now seeing an increase in younger people taking an interest." 

The Life Edit
The Life Edit

While a new caravan might set you back, on average, around £16K, Lomas promises you can pick one up second hand for as little as £2500. And you can forget the traditional, off-white behemoth - niche companies such as Barefoot Caravans and Dub Box make beautifully designed vehicles that look as good on the outside as you choose to make them on the inside. 

Many holiday-makers prefer to rent, however, and plenty don't even require their mobile homes to move - a quick glance at boutique glamping sites such as Canopy And Stars suggests that artfully renovated caravans are the new shepherd's huts, or treehouses, when it comes to kooky but luxurious holiday accommodation. 

Hart, whose Club Jupiter caravan is also static, believes that caravan mania could help to inject some much needed life into traditional British holiday parks. 

"Ideally I'd love Club Jupiter to grow into a constellation of caravans at different caravan parks around the UK, in up-and-coming areas and resorts that deserve a bit more love from British travellers," she said. 

So what are you waiting for? Every woman, every man, join the caravan holiday boom. 

Read more: Our favourite camper vans of 2020