Staying on a European Campsite

Pitch descriptions
Most sites have been created in the existing natural landscape, so pitches are often not perfectly flat or even. Many pitches are bounded by shrubs or hedges. Some sites offer all-service pitches (often called grand confort or tout confort in France), each with its own electricity, water and drainage point. These may be no larger than standard pitches.

In site descriptions, our definition of an all-service pitch is that it has an electricity supply, a water supply and grey water drainage. Sometimes, this is shared between pitches. It usually does not include a hardstanding. Water and drainage may mean simply a tap and a drain on the pitch, however, in some cases a direct connection may be possible to the water supply and/or drainage. 

Pitch sizes
In France, pitches usually average from 80m2 to 100m2 and are often bordered by hedges or shrubs. Pitches outside France generally are smaller, often ranging from 60m2 to 80m2, although there can be exceptions. If you have a large unit, you may prefer to visit these countries in low season.

As these are not UK Club Sites, there is no 6m rule and units, especially in more popular areas, may be as little as one metre apart, particularly in high season. In Italy, Spain and Holland you sometimes have to park your car in a car park, not on your pitch. Pitches are generally booked for one unit, which is either a car accompanied by a tent, caravan or trailer tent, or a solo motorhome. If you’re bringing an awning, pup tent, second car or pet please tell us so we can inform you of any charges.

When booking, it’s really important to let us know your unit’s overall size, when fully pitched, including tent guy lines when fully extended and caravan tow bars. Maximum unit lengths and heights include anything on top or on the sides of the unit. It helps us to ensure you get the space you need and identifies any site restrictions. You may need to book a second pitch if your unit and equipment cannot fit on a 100m2 pitch.

Site facilities in low season

The majority of sites only operate their full facilities during the peak local holiday season, which doesn’t always match UK holiday dates. Shops, bars, take-aways, pools and other services on- and off-site may be closed outside these dates. The great news is that prices often reflect this and site owners have more time to spend with their campers. Please ask if particular facilities are important to you outside high season. It is also common in low season to close down washblocks, leaving only a few cubicles open (often unisex).

Easter, Whitsun, Ascension and other major public holidays often fall within otherwise low season dates so, in some areas, these short holidays count as extra high-season periods and sites may be very lively at these times.

Site facilties in high season

You can generally tell from a site’s pitch prices the period(s) that it considers its high season to fall within. French high season can be from about the middle of July to about 20 August. In other countries it’s usually from early July to mid-August. Sites and resorts are then usually fully booked and at their busiest, both in numbers of people and the level of activity and festivity. Expect the possibility of lively celebration's – both on site and locally – on national or local holidays at all times of the year.

Some things to note about camping in high season:

  • Many sites are not quiet until midnight (or after).
  • Queues at the wash blocks are to be expected.
  • Sites with activity programmes usually have one musical evening or more per week.

Arrival and departure times
Your pitch is reserved from 1500hrs on your day of arrival to 1200hrs on your day of departure. If you arrive early your pitch may not be available. Many site receptions are closed from 1200-1400hrs and longer still in low season. In some countries, such as Spain, Italy and Germany, lunch breaks can be longer – reception may not reopen until 1500hrs or 1600hrs.

If you arrive near reception closing time this may limit the time staff can give to welcoming you and also reduce the choice of pitches it may be possible to offer you.

Site booking fees
Most campsites charge booking fees and deposits. If you book through us, you’ll avoid the booking fee if you book a site, plus return ferry. If you do want site only, we charge a one off fee of £25 (summer site booking fee) or £75 (winter sun site booking fee) which is better value if booking more than one campsite at a time.

A £20 late booking fee applies if you book within 7 days of the due date of arrival on the site. This will apply whether booking in the UK or already abroad.

You will never be charged more than one such fee at any one time but the highest applicable fee will apply - to a maximum of £75. In addition, a £20 fee will apply to any booking made by anyone who is not a Camping and Caravanning Club member.

What are security deposits?
Many sites operate barrier systems to ensure good security, with refundable deposits for keys or cards to operate the barriers. These are typically equivalent to about £10, but can be more. They are payable on arrival and may be required in local cash or by a card swipe.

Barriers are typically closed from about 22:30-07:30hrs and at some sites during the lunch period (varying from site to site) to ensure peace, quiet and security for all.

Deposits may also be required for pool bracelets. Some sites operate a security bracelet system (which may double as a pool bracelet), usually in high season, to allow staff to identify bona fide campers.

Site facilities for disabled people
We have much more information on this – ranging from sanitation details to access to the bar – than is displayed in the brochure, so please do ask us if you need more advice on a particular site’s facilities. Ask to speak to someone who has visited the site to ensure it meets your requirements.

Single parents or solo campers
Depending on how each site charges for pitches, we may be able to get a better deal for single-parent families and solo campers – rest assured we’ll sort out the best price for you.

Barbecues on pitches
Where indicated, you may use a barbecue on your pitch, but it is best to assume that these must be on legs and well off the ground. If sites have restrictions the site entry will state this.

Campsite sanitation
For hygiene reasons many sites, especially in France, do not fit toilet seats. Some sites keep a few squat toilets for people who prefer them. Toilet paper is not always supplied, or may be on a central roll outside the cubicles. Soap and hand-drying facilities are often not provided, neither are sink plugs, so take a universal travel sink plug (available at good outdoors shops) with you.

We use “modern” and “older style” to give just a rough idea of the style and age of washblocks. Many blocks are unisex, especially in low season. It’s not uncommon for all sanitation except toilets to be closed from late evening until early morning. You can also expect washblock cleaning to take place at any time, including early in the morning or late in the evening (especially in high season).

Chemical toilet disposal
Nearly all the sites featured here do have CDPs, at or next to a washblock, often with a hose. A few sites don’t, but set aside a designated toilet cubicle instead. Ask us if this is important to you.

Activities and entertainment
A wide range of activities from face painting and treasure hunts for young children, to climbing and canoeing for older ones, to karaoke evenings and family discos for all. In France, these events are known as animation.

These range from a full diary of daily or weekly activities to just a few, or none. The staff will generally be chosen on the basis of their ability to work with people (especially children) and for their proficiency in the languages of the majority of their customers, so only some sites provide English-speaking entertainment teams.

Activities and entertainment are usually arranged in July and August only. Events are normally over by about midnight but on more lively sites they can continue until much later, especially in high season. There may also be similar off-site events going on near campsites in popular resorts, at peak times or at times of local festivals or feast days. Please ask if you need further details.

Swimming
For reasons of hygiene and filtration you have to wear traditional swimwear in some site pools. In a few cases swimming caps are required, too. Details of specific requirements appear on your confirmation invoice and may be subject to change by site management. It is not unusual for site pools and local beaches to allow topless bathing.

Swimming pools may not be open all year and opening dates can be determined by the weather. We indicate if a site has an outdoor, an indoor or a covered pool. Covered pools are those with a screen that can be retracted in times of warmer weather.

Can I connect to the internet?
Many sites now offer Wi-Fi access on site. This is usually chargeable and not always available throughout the site. It is usually obtainable near reception (within about 50 metres). Many sites also offer internet access via computer positions, available for an hourly charge.