Suffolk staycation: ‘You don’t need to go abroad to holiday’

SOURCE: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-57947334

Due to the pandemic, going abroad is not as straightforward as it once was, so many are clamouring for a seasonal getaway closer to home. With camping and caravan sites proving more popular than ever, the BBC has been to one in Suffolk to find out how people are enjoying their “staycation”.

Beach View Holiday Park, just to the south of the nuclear power stations at Sizewell, offers space for static and mobile caravans and campervans, and its clifftop position overlooks the sea, sand and shingle.

Robert Campbell and his family were hoping to visit his wife’s relatives in Morocco this summer, but instead ended up at Sizewell, near the town of Leiston.

“We knew it [north Africa] wouldn’t be possible, so we booked up here,” the 35-year-old says.

Mr Campbell, who lives in Crawley, West Sussex, says it makes more sense to stay in the UK due to the pandemic, and the fact his wife Hanane is expecting their third child.

The family has a caravan which makes it “nice and easy to come down”.

“We feel very fortunate and lucky to have the caravan and be able to make the most out of it,” Mr Campbell says.

“Last year we couldn’t get away anywhere – everywhere was all booked up.”

The field engineer says the family are looking forward to taking a trip into the town, visiting zoos and spending time at the beach.

Friends Helen Costello and Sally Dovernor enjoy holidaying together with their five children.

“You don’t need to go abroad – we always say that,” Ms Costello says.

“We’ve been to Cornwall a few times but we knew it would be really busy with the pandemic so we had a look online and thought it looked nice here.”

The pair booked this two-week holiday back in January as they expected UK breaks to be popular this summer.

“Normally we would just leisurely choose where to go, but this year we had to be on it to get a spot,” Ms Costello says.

“I’ve even heard some places are fully booked for next summer.”

Ms Dovernor says she bought a caravan after the first lockdown as her family wants “the freedom to get away”.

“I knew I’d feel safer with my own accommodation,” the 42-year-old says.

The friends from Yorkshire say it is a “relief” to get away from home.

“It’s almost like when you get here, it’s like nothing’s happened – it feels normal,” Ms Dovernor says.

“Everyone is relaxed because we are out in the open.”

Site manager Kristian Thorp says the touring park at the family-run site is booked up for the school holidays and most of the rentals are fully booked until November.

“Demand is so high we could have filled the site several times over,” he says.

The RAC estimates that some 11.5 million people in England and Wales jumped in their cars and headed somewhere within Britain at the end of last week.

Many are choosing to holiday in Britain due to complications caused by coronavirus.

Although foreign travel is allowed, people must follow different rules about testing and quarantine according to the traffic light status of their destination country.

Mr Thorp says the Clubhouse Cafe Bar at Beach View has been “busier than ever”.

“It’s great to see the park so busy again; it’s so clear that so many people were in need of a holiday after the last lockdown,” he says.

Leah Owczarkowski and her family had trips booked to the south of France and Disneyland Paris, but both were cancelled due to coronavirus.

“This has been just as good as any of those foreign holidays,” the 44-year-old says.

“It’s been absolutely lovely and so nice to be appreciating what Britain has to offer.

“So many people don’t realise what they have on their doorstep.”

Mrs Owczarkowski, an NHS occupational therapist, and her husband Neil, an RAF pilot, have both worked throughout the pandemic.

“It’s been lovely to get out and have a bit of freedom and not have the stresses and strains of work,” she says.

The couple say their two children “love being by the sea”.

“It’s the simple pleasures and being back to basics – it’s been absolutely lovely,” she says.

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