Winter touring destinations

YEAR-ROUND touring is becoming increasingly popular with serious caravanners and a growing number of caravan sites are staying open all year to cater for the growing demand

Roll up at a site midweek between October and March and you'll be able to take your pick of the prime pitches and enjoy a few days' peace and quiet away from it all on some of the best sites in Britain.

You'll also save yourself some money as many sites usually operate a low season tariff and the commercial sites often offer special off-peak rates - particularly for stays of three nights or more. Spend the difference on a meal out or a little treat!

City sites are increasingly getting booked up all year round by couples and families enjoying a low-season city break, and over the New Year period, when many of the sites which are open get very busy - so book early.

Believe it or not, it's also possible to go skiing in your caravan - without even crossing the Channel. There are a number of sites which stay open for the winter season in the Scottish Cairngorms and some even have their own ski lifts to get you to the top of the piste!

There are many places to go over the winter months but here's a few ideas to whet your appetite.

The Lake District

Autumn comes early to the Lakes and all the indications are pointing to a spectacular display as the region's rich deciduous woodlands turn a thousand shades of red, gold and auburn over the next month.

Enjoy a low level walk alongside one of the Lake District's beautiful lakes or admire the autumn colours cloaking the valleys from the summit of one of England's highest mountains before tucking into local produce and real ale in front of a roaring fire at a traditional Lakeland inn.

Stay at: Park Coppice Caravan Club Site, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8LA. 01539 441 555

Caravan Club - Park Coppice

Lincoln Christmas Market

As well as being a fantastic destination all year round, Lincoln is famous for its huge Christmas market. This annual festive extravaganza had to be cancelled last year due to the adverse weather conditions, but the organizers are determined this year's event will be better than ever.

This year's event is scheduled to take place on December 1 - 4 inclusive. Thousands of people travel to this spectacular event from all over the country, so book early and make use of public transport to get into town as parking is a nightmare! Visit lincoln-christmasmarket.co.uk for visitor information.

Stay at: Lakeside Caravan Park, Barlings Lane. Langworth, Lincoln LN3 5DF 01522 753 200

Lakeside Caravan Park

The Cairngorms

Snow in the UK is a fickle thing, but if we get a repeat of the last two winters, there's bound to be a scramble for accommodation in the principal ski resorts of Glenshee and Aviemore, high in the Cairngorms National Park.

Caravan pitches are in pretty short supply, with only a few sites in the area, and even fewer staying open year-round. There are however a handful which you could try - including the Caravan Club's excellent Invercauld site at Braemar (01339 741373), which was purpose-built for skiing caravanners.

Stay at: Glenmore Caravan and Camping Site, nr Aviemore, Inverness-shire PH22 1QU 01479 861271

Glenmore Caravan and Camping Site

London

Shop till you drop in the sales or see a show, enjoy a gourmet meal or soak up some culture, watch a Premiership football match or get a sneak preview of the Olympic village. The choices on offer with a winter city break to the Capital are infinite. There are a handful of campsites inside the M25 and plenty of sites with excellent transport links into London and just think of all the money you'll save on hotel rooms!

Travel off-peak and you can get into, out of and around the Capital on bus, train or tube for just a few Pounds and by paying a small supplement, you can even cruise up and down the Thames - which is a great way of seeing some of the biggest landmarks at a more leisurely pace.

Stay at: Abbey Wood Caravan Club Site Federation Road, Abbey Wood, London SE2 0LS. 020 8311 7708

Caravan Club - Abbey Wood

York

The history of York spans the millennia from pre-Roman times and it's a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway - largely because you can pitch up and explore the city on foot, by bus or even by bike without using the car again until its time to head for home.

The Minster consistently amazes and delights all who visit it, but to add an extra dimension to the experience, time your visit to coincide with Evensong at around 5pm. It's worth the extra admission to see the Crypt and the Central Tower - as long as you're fit enough to scale the 275 steps! And no trip to York would be complete without a trip to the National Railway Museum (0844 8153139), which, unlike most of York's attractions, is completely free.

Stay at: Rowntree Park Caravan Club Site, Terry Avenue, York, North Yorkshire YO23 1JQ 01904 658997

Caravan Club - Rowntree Park

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