In my previous life as General Manager for Northern California for a national RV rental company, I was continually amazed at how much of our summer business came from foreign visitors, mostly from Germany, France, and England. So much so that local residents could barely find an available period that wasn’t already booked. Yet, after being in the business for many years and then fulltiming myself, I ran into (not literally) very few Americans that rented an RV to tour foreign countries. That may be because we Americans think that we are in the best country in the world for RVing. We are certainly in the most developed country for support of RVing.
But, if you’re like me, almost all of your RV trips have been on US soil, with a small amount divided between close neighbors Canada and Mexico. I was not even aware of the existence of a rental RV market or even campgrounds in other countries. But, on a recent trip to the UK I was surprised to see so many RVs and campgrounds, and even though I did not rent an RV while I was there, I added it to my bucket list the next time I went abroad.
The English countryside and the number of historical sites to visit are just extraordinary. Campgrounds were scenic, most on lush green grass, and with more space between pitches (what they call campsites) than you find in the US. So far I haven’t yet made another trip to the UK, however…
…I discovered a book written by Caroline Mills that is both delightful, informative, and inspiring. In Cool Caravanning (the updated 2017 second edition of her original 2010 book was published on April 10th) author Mills handpicked 51 unique places to camp around Merry Old England. The book is chock-a-block with beautiful full-color photos of not only the wonderful scenery and historic sites of rural England, but also of the campgrounds (of which the author says “what they all have are fantastic locations without ugly uniform rows of ‘vans, unless there’s a good reason.”)
The book is well organized, dividing Britain into four geographical areas and for each of the 51 places to camp she writes a narrative of what to see, where to go, what to do, points of interest, pubs and restaurants, including campground contact information (including links) along with its facilities and directions. It is the perfect guide book for the RV renter visiting for the first time as well as those on subsequent visits.
In her section, Top Tips for Touring, Mills answers many of the questions that you might have and an index will find all the camping areas alphabetically. Even if you do not have any immediate plans for an RV trip to the UK, the book is a wonderful one to curl up with in your camp chair and dream.
You will find Cool Caravanning on Amazon.