Practical Caravan Magazine
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How to Choose a Caravan Club CL
As well as Certificated Location (CL) owners, we are active caravanners and make a point of using CLs, partly to support the network, but mainly because of child road-safety: we have a young son and it stands to reason that CLs with only 5 caravans will have a lot less traffic than large commercial sites. Our own caravanning has shown us the tremendous variety amongst CLs and we offer this page as advice based on our experiences.
We don't just sit in our caravan: the UK has much to offer and and see caravanning as a way of educating our son. As parents we know that if our son has lots of things to do and goes to bed 'tired and happy', he (and we) will have a good night's sleep. We are National Trust members and like to get good value for our annual membership fee. As part of our research:
We avoid CLs with obvious hazards. In many cases these are stated in the Caravan Club Sites Directory, such as 'unfenced water' or 'working farm', but experience has taught us to do a bit more research using online maps and aerial photographs. These help us to:
The CL search on the Caravan Club website has a tick-box for 'Dogs Allowed'.
We are used to a quiet life in the country and like the same when we go on holiday. In the Caravan Club Sites Directory, some sites will claim to be quiet: this is a good start, but experience has taught us that other people's idea of 'quiet' is different from our own. The CL that comes to mind is the so-called 'quiet' CL adjacent to a London commuter railway line and in the flight-path of a major London airport!
Having experienced the luxury of electric hook-ups, we would rather travel a bit further than use a CL without hook-ups. As well as convenience, it means that we are not troubled by noise from electricity generators. A quick way of narrowing-down sites with hook-ups is the CL listings on the Caravan Club website.
We don't like being crammed into tiny CLs. Sizes are shown in the Caravan Club Sites Directory, and our preference is for CLs of at least three-quarters of an acre.
Not essential, but a nice bonus. In the Caravan Club Sites Directory, some sites claim 'views': this is a good start, but experience has taught us that this can be the view of an estate agent - good in one direction, but close to a line of electricity pylons in the other direction. Online maps and aerial photographs can help.
CL owners do not have to be caravanners or members of the Caravan Club, but if they are keen enough to join, they may be experienced caravanners, and the CL should be ‘above average’. A way to tell is to look at the CL entry on the Caravan Club website - displaying a photograph of the CL is a benefit of membership.
A few hints on how to read the Caravan Club Sites Directory: