1. Why Join a Caravan Club?
They say time flies and next month we’ll have been members of The Caravan and Motorhome Club for 25 years! Later on we also joined the other big club in the UK, The Camping and Caravanning Club. For us, both have served very well and we’ve loved the whole aspect of what’s on offer. But, why join a caravan club in the first place? And what benefit do they bring to the caravan and motorhome community?
2. What are the UK’s main club’s?
Here in the UK, we have two big clubs:
The Caravan and Motorhome Club (formerly known as The Caravan Club) and The Camping and Caravanning Club.
3. The Caravan and Motorhome Club
It’s hard to imagine that The Caravan and Motorhome Club began back in 1907, then called The Caravan Club. It’s now the largest of its kind in Europe with over 3000 locations available to it’s community of caravanners, motorhomers and campers alike.
4. Our Step into Touring
Back in 1997 we were only 26 years old! As members of The Caravan and Motorhome Club we were really young, most being older people nearing retirement age. Or so it seemed to us twenty somethings with babies on board.
Our outfit was a touring caravan and this was the perfect way to introduce our young family to the wonderful world of travel.
Although we’d bought our first caravan back in 1989, it wasn’t until we’d had our 2nd baby that we really got going again into touring. Then, our caravan travels were still UK based. After a few disappointing campsite stays at privately owned campsites, we decided to try The Caravan Club sites instead.
5. The Big Appeal For Us – Why Join a Caravan Club?
As soon as we started using The Caravan Club, we noticed the one big appeal for us – the sites had the same standards. So, not only did we know that pitches would be spacious and toilet blocks nearing identical in appearance, but facilities in general were well maintained, clean, tidy and low key.
For us, this was and still is exactly what we want from a caravan site. Then, there’s the advantage of having a whole network of campsites under one banner, making choosing and booking easy. Finally, the wide range of locations bring a vast choice on where to spend those nights away.
6. The Camping and Caravanning Club
Several years later we also joined the Camping and Caravanning Club and that’s because joining both just gives that extra flexibility.
The Camping and Caravanning Club has its roots dating back to 1901 and has its club moto of being “The friendly club”.
It now has a network of 100 club owned campsites and access to over 1200 member only sites. With sites located across the UK. They also have a European travel service partnership with Allcamps, to offer campsites and travels abroad.
7. How Much Does it Cost To Join?
At the time of writing the annual membership cost starts at £45 for The Camping and Caravanning Club and £56 for The Caravan and Motorhome Club.
8. Do Members get Site fee Discount?
Yes – up to 30% off site fees at the Camping and Caravanning Club. And £13 per night less than non-member fees at the Caravan and Motorhome Club.
So, for example, after about 5 nights on a Caravan and Motorhome Club site the annual membership fee pays for itself.
9. What are 5-van CL and CS Sites?
Both clubs have a scheme where private locations have a small site providing up to 5 pitches.
A CL is the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Certificated Locations scheme. The CS is the Camping and Caravanning Club’s Certificated Site providing similar.
These can be located anywhere, typically on a farm or large piece of land at a property. Between both clubs, there are thousands of these locations around the country.
10. Where are caravan sites located?
Both clubs offer an excellent choice of caravan sites across the UK and each has something different to offer. The big advantage of joining either club is having those additional locations to choose from.
We find it especially good when it comes to finding a campsite within walking distance to a town. Also, there’s some really good sites on both networks close to cities with public transport close by.
On top of this, sites are situated in some really picturesque places and can be anywhere from coastal to country.
11. Other Benefits Of Joining a Caravan Club
- There’s discounts available on partner retail stores, visitor attractions and a whole lot more.
- Access to a European travel service providing a wide selection of campsites in various locations across Europe.
- Discounted Ferry and Eurotunnel rates for travel abroad.
- The opportunity to join Rally groups and use temporary rally sites.
- Enrol on courses such as towing.
- Be part of the caravan, motorhome and camping community and information provided through club magazines, member forums and expert advice areas.
- Quotes for dedicated insurance and breakdown.
- Having dedicated club gatherings, such as an annual meet, often at incredible locations such in the grounds of stately homes.
- Some sites offer seasonal storage.
Finally, once again for us, the main benefit is having the discounted access to the club sites. We like the continuity of spacious pitches in a low-key setting with very clean facilities.
12. Are there any disadvantages to joining a Caravan Club?
To be honest, I can’t really think of any. Unless of course you pay the joining fee and never use it.
The clubs do what they say on the tin. For those wanting entertainment, restaurants or a swimming pool, then a club site probably isn’t for you. Although there are a few sites that do have some of these.
13. What about Rules?
There are rules to the way you pitch up, the fire break rule for example – so there’s a set distance between certain points of contact between pitches.
Also, arrival times can be strict, any arrivals before the set time can be turned around. This is usually 1pm with the Caravan and Motorhome Club.
Other rules such as keeping dogs on leads on the pitch, no fires not using an electric lead splitter and keeping everything within the confines of the pitch.
For example if there’s an awning or similar, a pup up tent, dog enclosure, vehicle or extra vehicle, then it may all not fit on the pitch and also, there’s then the fire break to adhere to aswell.
Usually there’s no arrivals after 8pm, so if you’re finishing work and heading off, you may not be allowed on the pitch.
Both clubs list their rules clearly, so it may be worth reading before joining.
14. How much are pitch fees?
When we joined the Caravan Club in 1997, we paid £12 per night. Now we find we average about £32 per night, so there’s been a big increase over the years.
However, each site is different.
Example Price – Arrival 1st May 2023 for 1 night – 2 adults, Hardstanding pitch no awning at Malvern.
Camping and Caravanning Club – Blackmoor site. Member Rate – £31.40 or Non member – £39.95
Caravan and Motorhome Club – Malvern Hills Club Site – Member Rate – £33.30 or Non member £44.10
Thanks For reading “Why Join a Caravan Club?”
For us, we still enjoy being members of both the clubs. I’d go as far as to say, those early days of club membership brought not only fabulous memories but also a journey of discovery.
Yes, taking us across the UK far and wide under the comfort of the site networks allowed us to grow. Not just as a family but gaining caravan and motorhome knowledge, experiences and confidence every step of the way.
To us, the site network is like a comfy pair of slippers – there to make us feel secure, with comfort and familiarity in relaxing surroundings!
We hope you have many happy years of touring ahead. If you do take the plunge and join one of the big clubs, then here’s wishing you a very pleasant stay!