Camping in the UK is becoming increasingly popular and much of that is down to the popularity of luxury caravans or glamping tents. No longer do campers have to suffer flimsy tents that collapse in the night or parks with run-down facilities' blocks and showers that run cold... today's campers demand high quality accommodation on campsites that offer entertainment and activities that all the family can enjoy, while not skimping on the essentials. Enter the luxury Yukon model Airstream caravan, pitched at the brilliant Love2Stay Touring Park, Shrewsbury - all the ingredients for a perfect camping experience.
Let's start with the Airstream caravan...
The Airstream is a real looker; founded in the US in the Twenties, its distinctive, rounded, aluminium shape with visible rivets is incredibly cool. The aluminium-with-rivets theme is continued inside and blends well with the interior decor.
Apparently, they are very popular with celebrities but that aside, they are destined to be very popular with couples and families too as not only do they look cool, they have a heck of a lot to offer.
Swift Group is the official UK distributor of Airstreams with three new models including the flagship four-berth Colorado (£91,995 on the road) as well as the smaller Yukon (£84,995) and Missouri (£78,495).
The Yukon Airstream attracted a lot of attention and was an absolute delight to stay in. Gleaming in its position atop the Love2Stay touring park, we 'oohed' and 'ahhhed' our way round it...
The bedroom area to the rear of the van has a full-size bed and mattress with a large wraparound window, which lets in lots of light and makes it feel very spacious. There are LED lights set into the ceiling as well as individually-controlled bedside lamps, a book holder, and cushion used as a backrest/headboard that doubles up as a cushion for the lounge area to create a comfy seating area.
There's a full-length mirror and plenty of storage under the bed as well as above, so ample room for clothes/extra bedding etc and a wardrobe with hanging space means there's no need to live out of a suitcase.
The bedroom area has a carbon monoxide detector as well as a smoke alarm and the emergency exit is at the foot of the bed in case you have to make a hasty departure!
The flyscreen on the window keeps the bugs out as well as adding a degree of privacy and the roof window lets you wake up to see the sun or watch the stars, though of course there's a sliding blind if you'd rather have it blacked out.
This is a generous size and includes a separate shower cubicle with a built-in seat, handy if you're showering children in there or are a tad unsteady on your feet. The shower head is movable too, so no need to stand in one position for a shower! There's a wash-hand basin and a loo, a heated towel rail, shaver point, shaving mirror, vanity mirror, storage under the basin, ceiling lights and a window with flyscreen and blind. It's a real novelty to have such a well-planned bathroom in a caravan and the separate shower cubicle is a real plus - it's not just a wet room but a proper cubicle so no need to traipse across the park in your PJs to the shower block!
This has lots of clever storage ideas over and under the central kitchen sink and drainer with drawers for cutlery, crockery and pans and cupboards for storing foods and housing the bin. There's a 3-ring gas cooker with a toughened glass top so it can be used as a work surface, and the sink has a removable top so it too can be used as a work surface. There's an oven and grill and full-size fridge/freezer with storage above. The kitchen is a really good use of space and has been fitted so that there are very few areas for dirt or muck to collect. It features high-performance Corian worktops that are non-porous, so stains can't penetrate its surface. The floor is fitted with quality vinyl and is really easy to wipe/keep clean, too.
The seating area here features stitched leather upholstery with plenty of storage underneath. There's a small table which you can use for your meals then it can be pushed down (it's spring loaded so really easy to do) and clipped into place out of the way. The spare leather cushion in the bedroom area can now be requisitioned and simply slotted into place in the gap, to provide ample room to put your feet up and watch TV/relax.
There's a digital TV/DVD player that can also be used as PC monitor and there's an FM radio with Bluetooth so you can connect to it and play your own tunes.
Again, there are inset LED ceiling lights as well as wall lights for a softer illumination in the evenings or for reading. There's a set of small storage drawers, a ceiling window with a blind and a flyscreen and to the rear, another large wraparound window to ensure plenty of light floods in – and of course to give you panoramic views of wherever you are camped. The sliding blackout curtains ensure privacy too.
There are plenty of power sockets dotted around and the door opens flat and is held in place by a sturdy catch. There's a spring-loaded awning which is easy to operate (handy for sitting out under in the sun) an external point for a gas BBQ and an external shower.
You won't be cold in winter, though, as the Yukon has central heating, controlled by an easy-to-operate digital panel and there's another one that allows you to keep an eye on the fresh water, waste water, battery levels, etc, so no need for the shower to run out!
This is a real stunner of a caravan; it got a lot of admiring looks and one family were bold enough to ask to look round and were very impressed! The Yukon model is perfect for couples and can sleep up to three, the Colorado model can accommodate up to 4.
Love2Stay Touring Park
A gorgeous site in a lovely elevated position on the very edge of Shrewsbury, Love2Stay is spacious and eco-friendly with an emphasis on wellbeing. We were very warmly welcomed and the staff were friendly, knowledgeable and a delight to deal with.
Set in 21 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, this touring park has only been open for just over a year but already seems to have made its mark. The facilities on offer are of a very high quality and there really is something for everyone. With its eco-friendly attitude and opportunities for wellbeing, it's the sort of place where you can relax while doing activities, too. It has generous gravelled pitches, offering plenty of parking space with room to set up any additional little tents/awnings.
The site offers yoga, pilates and meditation classes and for the ultimate in relaxation, book a treatment in the spa. We were treated to a one-hour full body aromatherapy massage with the onsite masseur, which was very professionally done, totally relaxing and in keeping with the ethos of the wellbeing vibe of the park. I felt so relaxed I fell asleep! Follow up a massage with coffee and cake on the terrace next to the outdoor pool afterwards - heaven! There are a range of treatments and prices and the staff at reception can give you more information and book you in.
If you're a fan of hot tubs, there are three for general use (over 14s only), plus a sensory barefoot trail, woodland walk, trim trail, assault course, plenty of areas to play games, a dog exercise area, a cafe selling hot and cold food, a pizza oven where they make pizzas to order, a reception/concierge service, spa treatment rooms, a gym, a natural outdoor swimming pool, coffee shop with outside terrace, a lake offering kayaking, zorbing, assault course, electric car charging point. In brief...
120 pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes.
- Reception and cafe lead to the largest natural swimming pool in Europe that is in public use. Manufactured by Biotop, it has no chemicals but is filtered by an adjacent water garden Three hot tubs
- Pilates and yoga studio
- Love Coffee cafe with decking area
- Wooden play area
- Outdoors kitchen and fire pit
- Fishing pool
- Cycle track and wildlife area
- Army assault course
- Movies under the stars
This is a haven for kids and families with plenty to do, teenagers included, and the site is very well run and quiet - obviously no bored children here – and the 'no noise after 10pm' curfew seems to work and adds to the relaxed feeling. The range of paid-for activities extends from paddle boarding to zorbing to wood carving and T-Shirt tie dyeing so there is something to suit all age groups. Prices range from £4 for 45 mins of Mini Olympics, to £10 for 45 mins of clay modelling.
The outdoor natural swimming pool is a real bonus; it feels so good to swim in water that has no chemicals or is excessively salty and you can admire the beautiful water lilies, roped off so they don't encroach on the swimming area. It was very cold to begin with, even on a scorching day, but as soon as you warm up, it's a real joy. Afterwards, you can lie in the sun at the side of the pool on a recliner. Bliss.
A real novelty is the outdoor kitchen and fire pits where you can barbecue in a more social setting - perfect for families and larger groups.
The 'cinema under the stars' is a brilliant idea for families; housed in a large tent (just in case the weather is unkind) where you can eat popcorn and enjoy a movie with other guests.
The toilet/shower block is modern, spacious and spotlessly maintained with plenty of hot showers, loos, power sockets, a baby changing area and Dyson hairdryers. There are complimentary The White Company toiletries provided, too.
Additional facilities include a laundrette and washing-up block, a dog wash building (handy if you bring your four-legged friend) and automated cassette empty.
An additional treat, and a real hit with families, is the onsite pizza oven, where you can order a freshly-made stone-baked pizza to enjoy back at your pitch. We had a large one between two (more than enough!) and there are smaller portions for kids.
Shrewsbury town centre is about 2 miles away so you can walk into town if you are feeling energetic, it's a lovely old medieval town that sits inside a loop of the River Severn, and its Tudor centre is lined with half-timbered houses with an interesting history and architecture as well as the usual modern shops and markets. We enjoyed a fascinating private guided walking tour (it took about 2 hours) where we learned about the town's beginnings and various changes throughout history and saw things we would never have seen had we just walked round on our own. Our guide was very knowledegable and passionate about the town and had many old photos to back up his tour. Guided walking tours can be booked (from the park reception) or through the tourist information office in Shrewsbury and cost £7.50 adults, £2.50 children. Call the Visitor Information Centre on: 01743 258888.
Hire an Airstream at Love2stay starting at £85 per night for a four-berth model.
For those with caravans and motorhomes, prices are from £26 a night for a fully serviced pitch. The park is open all year.
Swift Group is the official UK distributor of Airstreams.
Prices start at £84,995 (on the road) for the Yukon Airstream.