Pitching up for life under canvas as lockdown ends

A flurry of holiday bookings following Boris Johnson's UK-wide lockdown announcement (Photo: pitchup.com)

A flurry of last-minute bookings were made as people began to look to future holidays following Boris Johnson’s announcement that the UK will once again be ordered to stay at home until December 2.

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Outdoor accommodation booking platform Pitchup.com saw a flurry of holidaymakers keen to fit in a last-minute break.

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Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said: “We’ve yet to see a spike for December bookings, most likely reflecting consumer concern that the planned four-week lockdown may yet be further extended.

"We expect in the same way consumers were clamouring to book before lockdown with 43 per cent of our sites open all year round, it’s likely once holidaymakers are clearer on restrictions we may well see a surge of bookings for after December 2 due to pent-up demand, as happened when the end of the first lockdown was announced.”

He added: “Bookings for 2021 remain very strong at 284 per cent up on the same period last year, as many are booking breaks to give themselves something to look forward to – a light at the end of the long winter tunnel.”

A word from the PM

The PM himself is known to be a fan of camping, spending part of his own summer holiday this year under canvas (albeit in the garden of a holiday cottage). In 2012 he shared tales from previous trips, saying: “I have camped everywhere from the drizzle of Salisbury Plain to the Serengeti to the beaches of California. I have bivouacked on cardboard outside the Gare du Nord in Paris.

"I have dossed down on my towel in Spain and I once accidentally pitched my tent late at night in the middle of a roundabout in downtown Canberra and woke to find my hands had been so badly bitten by bugs that they swelled like blown up washing-up gloves, and yet I would do it again tomorrow.”

BoJo’s personal affection for camping combined with the need to support rural economies around the country bodes well for Pitchup’s campaign to continue the relaxation of planning regulations that allow landowners to set up temporary pop-up campsites and generate much-needed income.

This exemption is currently due to expire on 31st December 2020 even though government advice supports a longer season at existing sites until December 2022.

Pitchup.com is championing the change in order to give campsites and landowners a valuable helping hand towards economic recovery after losses suffered this summer due to COVID-19 closures.

Since permitted development rights were extended from 28 to 56 days on June 25, 340 UK sites have listed on the platform for the first time and taken over 40,000 bookings, earning more than £2.3 million between them.

Economic benefits

In addition to the economic benefit for landowners, 2020 pop-ups saved the summer holidays for many, by providing increased capacity to meet customer demand almost overnight following the shutdown in international travel.

Their often back-to-basics offering away from built-up areas was a welcome choice for safety-conscious holidaymakers with over 100,000 guests holidaying on a pop up in July and August this year.

Successful pop-ups this summer ranged from Castle Howard and Belvoir Castle to Fakenham Racecourse and the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.

Spend time in a yurt courtesy of pitchup.com (Photo: pitchup.com)

How can I book?

From stately homeowners to county councils and rugby clubs, hundreds of landowners have used Pitchup.com to help them generate income from their assets with limited set-up costs and no need for additional marketing spend. For more visit www.pitchup.com/glamping/near-me website.