Pure rural bliss in a gypsy caravan – either on the road or on a campsite.
Low Wray Campsite Ambleside Cumbria LA22 0JA 07815439130
Have you ever dreamed of trundling along the lanes of the Lake District in your own gypsy caravan, stopping off at makeshift riverside campsites where you can paddle in cool waters before cooking up dinner on an open fire and then maybe staring up at the stars for a while before climbing into your cosy bunk for the Mother of All Sleeps?
Well, with more than a decade's experience making, restoring and travelling in traditional horse-drawn gypsy caravans, our friend Barny can make your dream come true. His Cumbria-based Wanderlusts outfit – run by him and and his musician partner Katus – can offer everything from full-on guided gypsy caravan holidays in the Lakes to wild camping by pack-pony, horsedrawn carriages for weddings and music for all sorts of events; and if that doesn't appeal they also have two two stationary bowtop gypsy caravans permanently situated at the National Trust's Low Wray campsite on the shores of Lake Windermere.
Their main offering is unique – the chance to be transported slowly and gently through beautiful countryside, visiting specially chosen campsites in wildflower meadows fringed by fast-running streams. It's a magical way to spend your holiday, great for couples and families alike: the caravans are wooden, well insulated affairs andvery cosy, covered with canvas and adorned with carved wooden panels that serve a dual purpose, both aesthetic and practical, because they reduce the weight of the wagons dramatically and thus make it easier for the horses. Inside there's a double bed (with bedding) and sleeping mats for children (for which you need to provide sleeping bags). There's a gas hob, all the kitchen utensils that you need, and a water container; towels are not provided. Light is provided by a wind-up torch, candles and some small 12v lights; hot water by heating water on the fire; and a compost or outside loo is never far away.
Yes, it's not for everyone, but a few days of living like this make it a a holiday that is hard to forget – and the kids love it. Not only that, they take you on lovely routes, following the quiet lanes of the Lyvennet Valley, between Penrith and Appleby-in-Westmorland, home of the Appleby Horse Fair – the biggest horse fair in the world. And if all that feels just like a bit too much effort, you can always enjoy the gypsy caravan experience without actually going anywhere – at Low Wray campsite, where their two permanently placed wagons, on of which is pet-friendly, are accompanied by a traditional “cottage tent” kitted out with comfy seating, a gas cooker and enough kitchenalia to satisfy even the most demanding gourmet cook – plus a wood-burning stove inside. Pure rural bliss, we reckon – whichever option you go for.
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Three-night caravan trips cost £600; 3–4 night stays at Low Wray are available from around £65 per night.
- Getting Away from it All
- Something Different
Caravans are available all year.