It’s Carry on Camping for Cash-strapped Brits

Canvas is increasingly the holiday shelter of choice for many Britons with tent sales and site bookings up before the season has even begun.

Bookings for the Easter bank holiday, next weekend, are 28% up on 2010 and 5% up on last year, reports the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Cycling and leisure retailer Halfords have seen sales of camping equipment soar by almost 50% in the run up to Easter, as the surge in popularity of outdoor holidays in the UK over the last three years shows no sign of slowing.

Halfords Camping Expert Paul Fensome said: “It’s clear camping is becoming more popular and the activity is now a regular part of many people’s holiday plans.

“Some customers are discovering the delights of camping for the first time while many more regular campers upgrade their equipment each year as improved products become available and campers are becoming more attached to their gadgets.

“Camping is for everyone, from those who want basic equipment to those who want modern tents which provide many of the comforts of home.”

Industry experts say the staycation trend and the popularity of nights under canvas have been boosted, not only by continuing economic uncertainty in Europe and austerity measures at home, but also by key events including the Queens Diamond Jubilee, the 2012 Cultural Festival which runs from 21 June 2012 – Midsummer’s Day – until 9 September 2012 – the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and of course the Olympic Games itself.

Travel websites are already advising tourists coming for the Games that they may have already left it too late to book hotels and should check out temporary campsites set up close to the Olympic Park. Windsor Great Park will also provide 1000 pitches for those attending events at Eton Dorney.

Some sites will offer basic camping pitches for as little as £10, rising to £200 per couple for luxury glamping accommodation.

Camping and Caravanning Club Director General, Robert Louden, said: “With so much going on in 2012, this is the perfect time to make the most of the UK and take a holiday – our booking numbers are extremely positive at this stage.”

The latest Tourism Survey reveals that from January to the end of November 2011 there were 16.8 million camping and caravanning trips in Britain contributing around £2.6 billion to the economy. Not only was the total number of trips up almost 5% on the previous year, but the amount spent on those holidays leapt by nearly 13% year on year.

Via EPR Network
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Britons prepare to see out the Big Chill

Britons have reacted to the big freeze which finally hit the UK, sending temperatures plummeting and covering large parts of the country in snow.

Car accessory retailer Halfords reports drivers stocking up on break down kits, de-icers, anti-freeze, scrapers and snow shovels.

Householders are also determined not to get caught out with a rush on bags of salt to ensure paths and driveways remain clear.

Weather forecasters have warned that the Arctic blast could last for the rest of the month, with sub-zero temperatures predicted for large swathes of the country.

The Met Office and the Highways Agency both issued Amber Alerts, the second highest rating for cold weather. They also warned of transport disruption as cold temperatures refreeze thawing snow, leading to black ice that makes roads extremely hazardous.

Halfords said sales of snow shovels were at their highest ever, while demand for de-icer sales was quadruple this time last year, de-icing salt was up 155 per cent, anti-freeze up 94 per cent, and purchases of ice scrapers increased by 75 per cent. Screenwash, a staple need for motorists in winter conditions, is also selling strongly.

Halfords winter products expert Mark Dolphin said: “Snow and Freezing weather is always very disruptive for motorists. There’s always a huge demand for all the products that help people stay on the road. It’s not just the de-icing products that are needed, a lot more batteries and wiper blades fail so our store colleagues are very busy replacing these for customers.”

A survey carried out by Halfords at the start of winter found more than four in ten (42 per cent) claimed to be better organised than last year, when the country was hit by the lowest temperatures for 15 years. Thousands of car owners have splashed out on winter tyres and taken advantage of garages offering “winter checks”.

Via EPR Network
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