Friday 12th June 2020

When will UK campsites open and what will post-lockdown camping look like?

Whilst Ordnance Survey have changed their message and logo from Get Outside Inside to Get Outside Stay Safe there is now growing optimism within the outdoor leisure industry that, as things stand, campsites in England could be given the green light to re-open in early July subject to certain conditions. The situation is not as clear in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where leisure businesses are currently closed until the end of September… although this could be brought forward if re-opening proves to be successful in England.

We’ve been talking with a couple of our local Peak District campsites and they feel confident that a safe, phased reopening with social distancing is achievable.

To open safely, campsites will of course have to carry out risk assessments and introduce protocols to maintain the welfare of both campsite staff and visitors. Specific guidance is currently being drawn up with the help of outdoor leisure trade organisations and there are plans for campsites and other holiday accommodation providers to be acknowledged with a ‘COVID Safe’ kite mark to confirm that the destination is meeting guidelines.

We’ve been thinking about what post-lockdown camping would probably look like

Unless campsites have teams to deep clean regularly, it’s probable that most will keep toilet and shower blocks closed. Other communal areas like children’s playgrounds and swimming pools are likely to be off limits. Potentially campsite clubhouses/bars could offer a takeaway service allowing outdoor seating if available. Receptions and small campsite shops would probably operate on a one customer at a time social distancing basis.

A lack of facilities will not have too much effect on open, wild camping type campsites with basic facilities but will obviously have more impact on larger family campsites along with some camper’s expectations.

To give you some idea of what will be available in the UK, the Camping & Caravanning Club have said they intend to open 36% of their campsites without shower and toilet facilities saying, “these campsites are better suited to campers who can bring their own toilet and washing facilities”. They do currently plan to open 39% of their campsites with facilities by increasing cleaning regimes but also state “We’ll only open facility blocks if we’re allowed to do so by the government”. 26% of C&C club sites will remain closed.

The campsites we have talked to plan to limit initial bookings to autonomous self-contained units like campervans, motor homes and caravans. It makes sense that a phased reopening would start with reduced pitch capacity to make sure things are running smoothly.

Although all major 2020 UK music festivals have been cancelled along with most spring/summer VW camper events, some later VW festivals seem to be holding out to see whether they get the green light from the government. Busfest, one of the later VW festivals in the calendar (11-13th Sept 2020) have said “If things continue in this positive manner over the next few weeks, we may be one of the only festivals lucky enough to go ahead this year, which humbles us and makes us feel very honoured.” BusFest organisers will make a final decision at the end of July.

If, like us you are raring to fire up your Dub and hit the road this summer make sure you can meet any ‘self-contained camping unit’ criteria that some campsites may insist on and consider booking asap. Obviously, make sure you check the campsite/VW event Covid-19 booking policy/T&C’s to confirm they accept deferrals/cancellations due to travel restrictions being re-imposed, the need to self-isolate etc… just in case.

With the current uncertainty of air travel, extended check-ins, quarantine etc… most people who would normally jet off abroad are sure to be thinking about a staycation which will inevitably lead to a scramble for the limited campsite pitches that will be available. In all probability, any holiday plans will have to accompanied with a confirmed booking as the government will not want the population heading out into countryside on the off chance of finding a camping pitch.

We believe getting back into the wild and connecting with nature has never been more relevant to the country’s need for health and wellbeing. We hope that you all manage to find a little respite and escape to the wild this summer!

Take care and stay safe - The Funky Leisure Team