Booking campsites in advance

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 10 Jul 2007.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    being new to this game please forgive th edeluge of questions but here is another.

    Booking up campsites in advance ensure availability, however it's restrictive in so much as I am unsure how far I can go on any one day. I may have more or less energy in my legs, be more or less motivated, find something intersting to visit and get delayed etc etc..

    Calling up the night before to a site ahead seems to be an answer...but then what if they are all full this august?

    I'd like to be able to book but not pay until I arrive but most sites are not into that.

    I know there is no perfect answer, but i was just wondering what you chaps do?
  2. SamNichols

    SamNichols New Member

    Colne, Lancs
    For the past ten years, my family and I have been touring around Europe in our camper van throughout the summers. We mix and match, sometimes we book, other times we don't. In the case of cycle touring, you'll be carrying a small enough tent than most, except the very busiest ones should be okay for just turning up at the door (unless there is really not enough spac, the owner can normally help to find a pitch somewhere). Invaluable is a copy of the Alan Rogers guides, which rate the campsites, and have a very diverse range - you can plan around theat. Personally, I would say don't worry too much about booking, unless there's somewhere you know you want to stop. If you feel that you must book, then choose a realistic daily average, design your route and look for sites from the rogers guides.
  3. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    Where are you thinking of touring BTFB?
  4. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    If you're thinking about France, then relax. You will never be turned away from a site if you arrive by bike, however full it is. (Well, I have once - from the city site at Beaune where the guardian asked, as it was only lunch time, would we mind riding down the road to his brother's site that was less busy).

    But if the site is chock-a-block in July or August, you might have to camp wherever there is room. I have been sited on the grass in the middle of a mini roundabout by the entrance gate as that was the only flat spot left. But once the gates were locked at ten oclock, it was as quiet as anywhere else.
  5. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ..well I am off around Suffolk and Norfolk this August...I posted the same question on a camping forum and they all said to book...but mostly they were the huge tent brigade with wall to wall carpets and sat tv installed etc.

    I contacted a few sites for availability and a couple didnt even bother to reply, and the others said to book and wanted money asap.

    Next year it's going to be France or Holland I think...this small trip is just a 'taster' for years to come.

    I have spent a few days scouring th enet for camp site info and marking th esites on my old map. I kept a list of those marked sites with phone numbers...the theory being that i could make a call at about 3-4pm to the nearest site and head off there.

    Brock.. I have jus tnoticed your avetar...thats funny :?:
  6. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    I've learned to avoid bank holidays and school holidays, these certainly make it trickier (and noisier). The august bank holiday being the absolute worst. Other than that though, my strategy is to grab one of the campsite list pamphlets from the nearest Tourist Information, marry that up with the sites shown on the OS map and choose one to head for the next day. I tend to give them a ring in the afternoon if it looks like we aren't going to make it till after 5pm and to check availability.

    I decided not to book anything for our two week tour last month and I'd completely prepared myself (although the other half didn't like the idea) to do a bit of stealth camping if things didn't work out with camp sites, but it was never necessary. Managed to find 9 campsites with plenty of room (I suppose the weather helped there) and arrive at all of them before sundown.

    The camp site reception office is often a really good source of info for other local sites. They were extremely helpful in the main, and one even photocopied pages from a big book of campsites for me, gratis.

    Glad you like the avatar BTFB, that's the problem with a ploughman's lunch :?: burp.
    Looking forward to hearing how you get on.
  7. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    Even booking can be fraught.

    We met friends in the New Forest, and booked.

    Arrived at the campsite to find that the booking office is in Newcastle (or somewhere equally "north") and not linked to the local Tourist Information, or the campsite.

    Campsite was now full and had over a hundred cars turned up with "bookings and reservations" that could not be fulfilled. THe whole site was double booked.

    Cue big arguments and swearing as there is nowhere within miles to cater for these types of numbers.

    We just got back on bikes, cycled down road to a farm that did "Fishing" and explained the situation. They allowed us to camp overnight and make use of the facilities they had.

    My personal experience i that sympathy is with cyclists, and if the worst comes to the worst.... Fake a problem that means you cannot proceed further!
  8. Consider joining the Camping and Caravanning club. This is pricey, but you get a book with details of pretty much every camp site in the country. Looked at like that, it's an expensive book, but...

    It also contains details of "Certified Sites". You don't have to be mad to use these, but... you do have to be a member. They're only allowed to have five members staying at a time, so they're often small and quiet (although some have local authority licences as well and are bigger). CSs are rarely full, and are plentiful in many areas of the country. Some don't have any facilities apart from a tap and a septic tank, and this might be a problem, or it might not depending on the setting, the owner's views on hygiene and yours on toilet arrangements. They're often not publicised in any way apart form in the C&CC's book.

    And this post, obviously.

    Our stragegy has been to tear out the pages that cover our proposed route, and decide each day on two or three sites as that night's destination. We phone our favourite. If it's full, expensive or snotty, we call number two and so on.

    If all else fails, you can always resort to a B&B or YH. Or camp wild. Or talk to farmers. Or publicans: if they have a garden, they'll often let you use it if you ask nicely and spend lots of money on food/beer.
  9. psmiffy

    psmiffy -

    I never book as I normally have not got a clue where I am going to be of an evening - I have cycle camped in most of the countries in western europe and apart from one exception they will always find a place for un velo avec petite tent -

    The exception is the UK - more than my jobsworth
  10. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ..well I just got refused at a campsite in Canewdon Essex yesterday. I cycled about 35km there against a headwind...then the woman told me they were not taking any more protests fell on deaf ears. Strange because the field had loads of space and only a few tents...clearly she was some kind of anti cyclist jobsworth. Bloody ridiculous...but like you say this is the was a cesspit anyway;):rolleyes:
  11. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Hmph!!! Don't think that applies to the whole of France! When I was working in the tourist office in La Rochelle, we had loads of people coming in that had been turned away from the local campsites because they were full!
  12. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Limoges or York
    Yeah, that's La Rochelle - a bit of a honey pot, if not a bottleneck.. Don't go there! Or at least not in the holiday season.. Same applies to the Med coastline, whereas a little further inland and there's no problem. (IMO the seaside campsites are pants anyway).
  13. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ...well getting campsites in Norfolk for the bank holiday weekend is proving pretty impossible...they are all full up....well the coastal ones anyway...I'm going to have to change the route dramatically...or head down to the beaches and wild camp in the dunes or something.;)
  14. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member

    have you had a decent look at Caravan and Camping Club with their Licensed 5-unit sites?

    I do remember that when we family caravanned we avoided bank Holiday weekends like the plague - camp sites were full and roads were no pleasure.

    I've been reading you posts for some time and I'm beginning to think about a few days away with my bike and tent.
  15. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Well, yes you are right, I should have planned around the bank holiday...but I'm going anyway and will put it down to learning for next time. I am hoping that the inland sites will be less busy....and if I cant get in anywhere on the coast I'll wild camp in the sand dunes for a day or so. I am booke dinto one site for three nights though...burnham deepdale, so at least I'll have a base to strike out from.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice