The Camping and Caravanning Club

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The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby Vantage » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:38 am

Is it worth it? £37 a year seems very steep for something I might only use once a year and the so called savings as a member would surely be lost in the membership fees. On the plus side it would let me set up camp on little out of the way sites where only 'proper' campers would be.......in theory.
Wild camping I guess would overcome such problems but despite having camped in the past, my upcoming little tour is the first time in my life that I'll be away from home on my own and self sufficient. This trip for me, is as epic as raising the titanic without the added bonus (no matter how unlikely) of being caught and being told to bugger off and/or fined :?
Any members here?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby MLJ » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:52 am

It is not economic to join the C&CC if only camping as a 'backpacker'. As a non-member backpacker arriving by cycle, you will be just as welcome and are unlikely to be turned away even if the site is full. The non-member backpacking rate is less than £2 more than for member backpackers.
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby phil parker » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:22 am

This is something I mused over for a couple of years and came to the same conclusion. I like the C&CC sites because you have a standardisation of quality, a fair price and you can always get on as a cycle- camper. However, you would have to spend 20 nights to break even.

I have since joined because I purchased an old VW T2 last year, which I hope to use for weekends for a bit of diversity taking my bike with me, but had I not bought that I would carry on using the C&CC sites as a non-member.
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby Psamathe » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:45 am

I may be wrong but I thought I had seen somewhere that some sites will only allow members to stay there. This is based on something I seem to remember reading on the internet somewhere - I'm not a member and have never been turned away (or even every stayed at any such sites).

So ignore the above unless somebody with knowledge can confirm it.

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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby phil parker » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:13 am

There are club sites and certified sites. Certified sites are members only (I'm not too sure what would happen if you turn up as a backpacker), club sites often welcome non-members, but because of their heritage, will never turn away a backpacker, which includes a cycle-camper.

Certified sites are mostly small privately run sites that may not be suitable for back packers i.e. Their facilities may only suit a self-contained caravan or motor home and they may not even have toilets and showers, just a chemical disposal point. However, it is the club sites you want to be staying at!
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby Vantage » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:29 am

Ah yes, certified sites. The first of the two sites I'm staying at is indeed certified. Veeeeeeeeeery small (5 caravans and tents max) but really good reviews about the site and it's owners and having spoke to them about my concerns as a non member a few days ago, the very nice chap told me it wouldn't be an issue and even reserved me a space :) Telling him I'm a newbie at this might've helped :)
The main reason for asking this question came about when I downloaded their iPhone app expecting to find loads of campsites all over the UK only to discover that I needed to type in my member number to see anything more that 2-3 sites in any one area. Useless. Other apps aren't a great deal better tbh.
Best get on with slapping a bit of blackboard paint on the tent next year then!
Thanks chaps :)
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby phil parker » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:53 am

I always find it a good idea to speak to the owners first, when planing a trip, even though it makes extra work. I normally plan long legs a didn't want to encounter a problem or the prospect of looking for another site after I have arrived; it has happened to me more than once. However, I've also saved many problems by phoning first, even with a C&CC site in Jedburgh where the washing machine had broken and I could plan my washing before/after and a campsite that had been closed down in Barnstaple because of complaints of abuse!

Good luck with the trip!
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby simonhill » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:31 pm

Basically there are two sorts of C&CC sites. Their big all facility sites and the 5 unit small private sites(certified sites). I often use these small sites in my camper van. They are often a tap and a dump point for a chemical toilet. Prices are cheap often around a fiver.

As said above not so good for tent campers due to lack of facilities. Some do have basic toilets and maybe a shower but these cost more. Many charge per pitch so not so good value for solo campers (you pay the same as mega tent with 2 adults and a brood of kiddies).

The best thing about the C&CC was their 'Big Book', which listed all their sites. This made it worth joining for
a year to get a copy of it. I have used loads of these certificatedsites and never had a problem about not being a member, despite C&CC signs at the entrance saying members only. As they are members only, no discount for members!

Over the last few years, however, the big book has become a lot smaller due to many of these small sites closing and also fairly strict (draconian) C&CC rules on things like placing taps,etc, which led to the sites being dropped by the club. I think that the Caravan Club now have lots more of these hideaway sites, but for vans only.

If you are going to stay on the big sites a lot then it is worth joining, you also get the Big Book, which is a useful campsite guide for the future. Of course it also depends if the club sites are on your route.
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby MLJ » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:01 pm

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/ is a good source of suitable sites: on my phone I type in the place name plus 'camp site' to the search engine, as this website does not yet have a mobile version. You can then try the direct website for more info.
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby Vantage » Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:51 pm

Used that very same site to find the two campsites I'm using on my trip.
Basically plotted my route on as many little back roads as I could find, looked for campsites along the way, checked as many reviews on those sites as I could find and altered the route to suit.
Not sure if there's any other way to do it really.
If there's one thing I love about the tinterweb, it's the ability to check a road out with googles street view.
Hoping my trip will be blessed with nice weather :)
Thanks for all the help and suggestions :)
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby Slow Loris » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:32 pm

I also used that website for my first solo camping trip. IIRC the two sites I stayed at were both C&CC certified but nobody turned me away for not being a member, and I don't believe I would at any other site – I was seen as a bit of a novelty with my bike and tiny tent. I did find the second site better suited to caravans - £14, no discount for a backpacker, very hard ground that bent all my pegs, and no showers :? . I've since joined the Backpackers Club and used their directory to find some lovely secluded sites for around a fiver – the best one was free :P .

Vantage wrote: my upcoming little tour is the first time in my life that I'll be away from home on my own and self sufficient. This trip for me, is as epic as raising the titanic


I felt that way, too. It was a huge headache to plan and none of my family could understand why I wanted to do it! For my second venture I gave up - rang the first campsite to make sure they weren't closed, made a list of possible sites along the way, booked a b&b in the middle as a break, and left the rest to chance. It's my best trip so far :D .
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby jimcrosskell » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:50 am

Of course one other benefit of mambership of the C&CC is the International Camping Carnet. Something the CTC gave up on years ago to much distress to many members and caused some, including me, to not renew their membership.
Backwinds forever......
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:20 pm

Have cancelled my membership this year after about 5 years

3 reasons

1) I don't want the monthly magazine which they can't stop sending me even if I ask them to stop.

2) Even with the backpacker rates which you CAN'T book online (PITA) the savings are minimal unless you use it for about a month worth of says a year.

but the biggest reason is....

3) As a backpacker you get treated like a 4th class citizen unlike the grey haired retiree's who turn up in £80k motor homes. There are no facilities for us bike tourers even something as basic as a picnic table is too much let alone somewhere to lock our bikes to.
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby stephenjubb » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:50 pm

LondonBikeCommuter wrote:Have cancelled my membership this year after about 5 years

3) As a backpacker you get treated like a 4th class citizen unlike the grey haired retiree's who turn up in £80k motor homes. There are no facilities for us bike tourers even something as basic as a picnic table is too much let alone somewhere to lock our bikes to.


Interesting. I've always found the sites fine and have been generally treated well. The only time I have found them stroppy is when I don't vacate by 12 but then I can understand that as if htey are busy they need me on their way.

They are strict on rules, but I like that, they keep noise down, and make sure ball games are only played in correct areas.

By no means are all the staff brilliant some are better than others, but on the whole found them good.

I'd love to hear more from your perspective on what you mean treated like a 4th class citizen.

I once was greeted cheerfully and they asked if I wanted to camp. The managers face dropped when I told I had camped the night before at 11pm! Some of them are religious about rules.
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Re: The Camping and Caravanning Club

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:25 pm

stephenjubb wrote:I'd love to hear more from your perspective on what you mean treated like a 4th class citizen.


Its not really about friendliness or or otherwise it's more about the complete lack of facilities for cyclo-tourists/backpackers.

Firstly, you can't book the cycle rate via the website only via the phone which means your limited to the telephone booking system opening hours.

Once you turn up there's no dedicated cycle camping area. I'd like there to be somewhere close to my tent to safely lock up my bike. So often I've had to use a rusty old fence or small tree or even at times over the other side of the campsite.

Having spent the day in the saddle it would be nice to have somewhere to sit other than the ground especially in winter. Is it too much to ask for a picnic table?

As cyclo-tents have to fit into panniers most are little bigger than a bivy bag so having a place to go that's under cover not particularly inside just undercover would be good for things like cooking/eating.

It seems to me that a bean counter at the C&CC thought that cyclist/backpackers were a good market to target but has refused to spend a penny on even the most basic concession to making there trip enjoyable.
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