Last year was one of the most popular years for camping holidays in the UK. Indeed coolcamping.com hit a new all-time high for bookings in 2020, with a springtime of slumber followed by an all-time summer boom.
With international travel restrictions taking hold for most of the year, last summer and autumn saw more people than ever pitching up across the UK in place of their usual holiday abroad.
As uncertainty remains as to how 2021 will look for international travel, expectations are that UK camping holidays will remain a popular choice for Brits.
In our newly released UK Camping Trends Report 2021 we predict what trends we can expect to see from UK camping in 2021, based on a thorough analysis of bookings, enquiries and on-site behaviour from our thousands of camping customers.
We assess where people will want to be camping, the types of accommodation choices campers will be opting for and highlight the trends to keep an eye out for it you want to book the best pitch this year.
We analysed page views to our destinations pages on coolcamping.com to assess exactly which locations are set to be the most popular for campers in 2021.
Coming out in the stop spot is the Lake District National Park, which accounted for 16.32% of all page views over the past year. This is followed by the New Forest with 9.55% and Cornwall with 9.29%.
Devon, Norfolk, Dorset and the Peak District are all popular choices too.
Gone are the days when camping purely meant setting up your old tent on a grass pitch – now options range from treehouses to yurts and glamping pods.
We analysed all of our bookings over the last year to identify the most popular unit types, which we anticipate to remain top choices in 2021.
Unsurprisingly, with many tens of thousands across the UK, it was the traditional grass camping pitch which came out on top, beating any of the more exclusive accommodation options substantially.
The standard grass pitch accounted for 62.82% of all bookings in 2020 as traditional summer camping boomed, while the second most popular option was a grass pitch with electricity which made up a further 9.01% of bookings.
On the quirkier side it was bell tents which came in third place, accounting for 5.09% of bookings, with pods taking in 4.72% of bookings.
While these results reflect the enduring popularity of traditional under-canvas camping, with so many pitches available it’s also a reflection of wider availability across the UK. So we also analysed our search data to reveal, later in this report, not just where people booked the most this summer but also which accommodation became fully booked the earliest and was in the overall highest demand (see 2021 trends you need to book now).
While grass pitches clearly remain a popular choice for UK campers, we know that glamping has been a strong trend for many years now and so we wanted to take a closer look at glamping specifically and the most important amenities that glampers are looking for.
By analysing page views to our glamping holidays, we have identified the key elements that Brits want from a glamping holiday.
The most popular glamping choice is accommodation that includes a hot tub, highlighting that glampers do want that extra luxury from their trip. A whopping 46.56% of visits to glamping pages on our site was to properties that included a hot tub.
With camping holidays having replaced many people’s international holidays these extra luxury touches are more important than ever and we expect this to remain true in 2021 as travellers again choose glamping over a holiday abroad.
Glampers were also searching for more unique accommodation choices with pods, treehouses and yurts being the most popular options. Additionally, almost 5% of glampers searched specifically for ‘dog-friendly’ glamping holidays, which was found to be one of the most popular glamping options.
While the pandemic led to a rise in UK camping holidays last year, and staycations on the whole, we expect that level of demand to remain high into the summer of 2021.
This means holidays can book up fast and Brits planning staycations this summer need to be plan ahead to book the most in-demand locations.
We analysed the most popular camping trends on our site and, by measuring page views against overall availability, we have highlighted which camping holidays people need to book earliest for 2021.
Coming out as the top trend campers need to book now if they want to secure a spot for summer is treehouse accommodation.
Staying in a treehouse property is a unique and luxury option which makes you feel in the heart of nature, and the demand for this incredible option far outweighs the availability.
Based on our analysis we anticipate there are around 1,624 customers interested to every one treehouse available.
Other top trends that need to be booked now include pods, with around 355 customers to every pod available, and tipis with around 186 customers interested to every one pod.
Reflecting back on 2020 allows us to pull out key trends and plan for what we expect in 2021. Analysing the customers who travelled with us in 2020 this is what we found:
We know that camping isn’t just for people, it’s also a holiday loved by dogs – and we know dog-friendly camping options are a popular choice with our customers.
With a rising number of people having got a dog in 2020, we anticipate seeing a surge of dog-friendly camping holidays in 2021 and these are the most popular dog-friendly sites where we expect them to stay.
This analysis is based on the most popular dog-friendly campsites booked with us over the last year.
Coming out in the top spot is Baystone Bank Farm Campsite in Cumbria. The site accounted for 9% of our dog-friendly bookings and it makes for a pup’s paradise situated on the south west of the Lake District with a charming feeling of a farm from time gone by.
Celtic Camping and Bunkhouses in Pembrokeshire is another of our most popular dog-friendly campsites, located on an expanse of National Trust land with views of the coast and access to a sheltered swimming cove.
This past year has been a challenging time for the world and for travel, but it has also been an interesting time for camping as the industry adapted to changing circumstances to continue to provide the camping experience in a difficult year.
In 2021 we anticipate seeing more adaptations and developments as the world continues to manage and hopefully recover from the pandemic.
In 2021 we anticipate a rise in pop-up campsites – temporary sites which only run through a set duration. In 2020 we saw the number of pop-up sites more than double vs 2019, and we expect a strong rise again in 2021.
With health and safety remaining at the forefront, we anticipate all – even the smallest and most traditional campsites – to manage bookings online, meaning a reduction in walk-in bookings.
We also expect to see a further rise in ‘en-pitch’ toilets, where each pitch has its own private toilet. We have already seen a substantial increase in the number of campsites offering this for 2021 and we expect to see more follow suit.
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