Lydia Polzer | |
Cool Camping book
Coffee table camp sites

Camping and caravanning in the UK has never been more popular, or more fashionable which is not the same thing. Here are four books that cover every kind of camping from cool to not so cool (click on the titles to buy the books):

Cool Camping: England

Cade’s Camping, Touring and Motor Caravan Site Guide 2006

Alan Rogers Britain and Ireland: Quality Camping and Caravanning Parks 2006

Camping and Caravanning Club Big Sites Book (recommended but not available online) Reviews follow on the next page.

Cool Camping England has been a bit of a hit, but its one of those annoying books where the information is great, yet the near 20 price tag exposes the whole thing as a well executed marketing exercise. The 230-odd pages are largely composed of moody photographs and although the information is first class and up to date it could have been condensed to a handy 50 pages and less trees would have died for it. Apart from the fact that the publishers are no doubt planning Cool Camping Wales and Scotland, there are just 44 English sites in the book, which works out at getting on for 50 pence per listing, if you buy it in a bookshop, though less if you buy it on Amazon.(and we get a kickback from each one sold via this site

Having said that, I can’t be the only caravanner who wants camp sites where I can be close to nature rather than close to my neighbor’s body audio. The sites are very well chosen. And a handy map at the front gives the approximate locations.

However the map could have been more detailed, since I would not be able to find how close I was to the sites without reference to another map. This absence of good quality maps is a feature common to most of the campsite guides, and maybe has something to do with copyright issues or with publishers saving money.,

The Alan Rogers book does have slightly more detailed maps, and hundreds of listings, but these are not the sort of camp sites I would particularly want to visit they are rated on facilities like showers, kitchen blocks, and power sources to plug your van to the mains none of which I particularly want.

The same is true of Cade’s camping touring and motor caravan site which is probably the best value for money because the 6.99 book (less if you buy it online) contains 15 of discount vouchers.

Both Cade’s and Alan Rogers contain numerous ads from camp sites which is great for the publishers but leads one to question the integrity of the editorial content.

All in all, my favourite is the Camping And Caravanning Club’s Big sites book which comes free with a membership but can also be bought for around 15, when available.

It has the best maps, and contains a mixture of the Clubs own on-grid camp sites and the back-to-nature ones. On the whole the Club’s own sites are less attractive to the off-grid camper than its Certificated sites. But there are over a thousand Certificated sites listed and only 100 of the Clubs own.

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

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