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are drive ins possible

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Post by robbymax Tue Jul 05, 2022 12:01 pm

hi i started camping 50 years ago and we never had to book in advance now according to storys regarding sites being full we have to book, we like to go to a site mon to fri and avoid weekends and we allways find a pitch on whatever site we choose, and i an beginning to think we can go anywhere and just roll up. booking in advance and paying up front makes it difficult to move on early if you dont like where you are  and just roll up somewere new letts get back to the way it was, when all the new campers get fed up and go back to flying we will be back to normal we hope.
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Post by Roopert Tue Jul 05, 2022 12:08 pm

You can try, but I can assure you, from my experience in Scotland in May this year, that if you do, you will sometimes arrive at campsites where there really are no places left, and you will be turned away.
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Post by Tinwheeler Tue Jul 05, 2022 12:41 pm

The situation escalated due to the pandemic and staycations but reached the stage several years ago when booking became necessary most of the time, depending on location and season and type of stop. 

I’m afraid the way things were 50 years ago, and I remember them too, are very much a thing of the past. Caravanning/Motorhoming has become a victim of its own success.
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Post by bikeralw Tue Jul 05, 2022 1:07 pm

I'd be happy just turning up, so long as it's outside the school holidays, plus a week either side. This is why we avoid touring the last few weeks of July and the whole of August. Remember Scotland has different summer holiday dates.
If the worst comes to the worst and somewhere is full, you have all facilities on board, and there are apps that list thousands of park-ups for the night places. Sites aren't always necessary. 
By the way, we toured May to June, never pre booked anything, and had no problems whatsoever just turning up, but that was France...
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Post by Paulmold Tue Jul 05, 2022 1:32 pm

Throughout this year we have often extended a prebooked trip by simply phoning in the morning to see if a CL/CS have a vacancy.  Only once have we found a site full when phoning but there's always another close by and we got in there instead. Like Al , I wouldn't try and turn up unbooked during school holidays.

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Post by rogerblack Tue Jul 05, 2022 2:23 pm

Yes, drive ins are perfectly possible - if you go to the Continent armed with an ACSI discount card, outside of July/August peak.  

We've been making 3-5 week visits to France once or sometimes twice a year for over twenty years and have never pre-booked. In all that time we have only twice failed - once they truly were full due to a festival and the other time the site had closed early at the end of the season.  We never have to confirm the length of our intended stay when we arrive, which gives us a good chance to evaluate the site and location without commitment When we decide to move on, we pay for the nights stayed then repeat the process at the next site. We do always have a second back up in mind just in case but as said only needed this twice.

Once on site, you can pitch whichever way you please to maximise sun/shade/wind shelter etc, there's none of this parking in a specific direction to a peg nonsense - you occupy your pitch as it suits you.

The often substantial discounts pay for the card within the first few nights and the sites have great facilities - many with indoor and/or outdoor/covered heated pools etc or you can choose more basic sites at even lower prices if you wish.

We now only use CL/CS sites in the UK and that's normally when travelling between Berkshire and Fife or the nights before our ferry trips to France. The regimented UK club site attitude with its prebooking requirement is my bête noire, being completely against the spirit of motorhoming.
Sorry, rant over!   up!

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Post by IanH Tue Jul 05, 2022 4:48 pm

Never book in Europe always have a Plan B for each planned stop.
Don't use UK sites we do use pub stops never had any issues with them In the case of pub stops we have a Plan b and a Plan c in case they don't look as nice as in the pics!
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Post by Peter Brown Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:41 pm

Referring to the OP, there are relatively very few pitching locations in the UK and if you want to be certain of one to overnight during a long journey then pre-booking is essential.  This is not new, in 2005 I got a late ferry from France with a plan to stop over in a layby in England before proceeding to Southend in the morning, before I found a layby lorry free I was nearly at Southend.

Too many pubs have jumped on the camper bandwagon in the last couple of years, pub stops were always illegal but neighbours and planners are now getting many shut down.

French campsites in June had plenty of availability, just turn up and stay as long as you like.  Aires with a fee were a little more occupied but free aires stuffed full and 100% over capacity by mid afternoon.

Turned up at Watten last Saturday - the aire (free) used to be licensed for three vans but always five or six.  Its now been expanded and is licensed for ten.  We arrived at 1240 and squeezed in as the thirteenth.  During the afternoon many vans arrived and then passed on.  Circa 1700 a van arrived and literally forced itself into a space with a few cm clearance much to the chagrin of its neighbours.  That made fourteen and a very unpleasant end to the afternoon.
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Post by IanH Wed Jul 06, 2022 8:51 pm

I use the excellent MOONFRUIT pages (now sadly disappearing) to select my pubstops, always follow his rules and phone ahead for permission
Always eat in the pub.
I expect nothing more than a pleasant and comparatively safe place to spend the night, consequently have been to some super places we'd never otherwise have seen or visited.
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Post by Suppersready Wed Jul 06, 2022 9:45 pm

IanH wrote:I use the excellent MOONFRUIT pages (now sadly disappearing) to select my pubstops

I too have struggled to access Moonfruit …. Until this access via Facebook

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Apologies if you are already aware …

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Post by Paulmold Wed Jul 06, 2022 9:58 pm

I imagine the moonfruit site has been superceded by search4sites, hundreds of pubs listed along with proper sites, wildspots, day parking etc etc.

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Post by Suppersready Wed Jul 06, 2022 11:43 pm

Moonfruit is in some ways better to use as it lists each type of stopover on a separate interactive map. 
I agree SFS is probably much more widely used.

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Post by Shedy Sat Jul 16, 2022 8:25 am

We have just returned from 3 weeks in France. Any sites we used were very busy, especially at weekends. We never needed to book, there were always a couple of spaces left.
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Post by v8oholic Sat Jul 16, 2022 8:57 am

It was fine in Germany and Switzerland and a bit of France from late April to end of June. 50 odd campsites I stayed at without a single booking, and only twice was my first choice full. I wouldn’t try that in July and August though.
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