The Silver Birds: Camping Grandmas and the Great Outdoors

I was watching a documentary the other day about vagrancy. Not the most obvious link for an article about camping, you might think. But this documentary was all about communities of people who call themselves “silver birds” – older folk choosing to hit the open road in the US, selling up houses and living in RVs as they enjoy a freewheeling ride through their twilight years.

The life of the permanent camper isn’t for everyone – but plenty of us seem to enjoy the flap of canvas, or the open-air comforts of a caravan. From glamping it up in a fully plumbed in yurt to cooking your breakfast sausages on a stick, the great British public has been embracing the outdoors with gusto.

Glamping – basically camping without the hardships – came into its own a few years ago. Originally started as a trend amongst festival goers, it’s appealing to a whole new age group thanks to its combination of fine living and outdoorsy goodness. Cath Kidston designed tents; real Egyptian cotton bed linen – you name it, the glamping lifestyle has it.

Try Full Circle for a country holiday with a difference: fully decorated yurts including hardwood floors, soft furnishings, electricity and decking. The company bases its yurts in the Lake District countryside near the grounds of Rydal Hall, giving access both to “proper” countryside and ornate, well kept private gardens.

You don’t have to be a yurt or a big posh tent to qualify as a glamping holiday. Mobile homes and retro campervans both have the capacity to attain glamping status. It’s all about what’s inside. Think champagne rather than cava; quail’s eggs instead of a fry-up. You could have a traditional English breakfast on a glamping holiday, too, but it would be entirely organic and served on the finest crockery…

Cornish Secrets offers a range of alternative camping holidays: Airstream trailers; vintage camper vans; and even beach huts. All are kitted out to a high degree of luxury and have the makings of a perfect glamping style holiday.

Alternative B and Bs are a good way to enjoy a holiday with a difference too. Fancy staying in a castle? Try Augill Castle for a cross between modern comfort and awe inspiring location – crossed swords and shields still adorn the walls and rafters while the soft furnishings are thrown together in an Ali Baba’s Cave of styles and colours.

If you want to go the whole hog, Scotland’s the place to do it. Renting a Scottish castle is an unbeatably grand way to spend a week; unbeatable, that is, unless you have the cash handy to rent an island. Admittedly the latter is in the Seychelles, not Scotland or anywhere else in the UK: but the prospect is so mouth-wateringly different it had to be included!

The point is, there’s plenty of stuff you can do without following the same old beaten path. Generic hotels, cramped bed and breakfast or the boredom of a “normal” getaway can all be avoided. So join the silver birds, who think differently about the holidays in their second youth: and see where you end up next time you go away.

If you want more unusual travel advice, you can Ask Granny at the online site for grandparents and let us know if you have any tips on great camping sites you have visited.

juliet

Askgranny... All you need to know about dating, discounts, fitness, freebies, games, gifts, grandchildren, health, indoor and outdoor activities, internet safety, travel for the over 50s, over 60s, parents and grandparents. Why not Ask Granny Guru a question? Juliet Hambro on Google+