How vintage caravans became cool

A new generation of caravanners look to the past for inspiration
A new generation of caravanners look to the past for inspiration

Monday, 19, Jul 2010 11:26

by Holly Tribe

A sub-culture of kitsch caravanning has been quietly making a name for itself in interior design circles over the last few years, with a new community of retro and vintage caravanners at the forefront of cool. A plethora of boutique shops are popping up all over the country which celebrate the patterns and styles that bedecked many a caravan in the 50's and 60's.

In amongst the ironic haircuts and too-cool swagger of London's trendy East End sits the aptly named 'Caravan' boutique in Shoreditch. The modish emporium is the brain-child of stylist Emily Chalmers, and is filled with merchandise influenced by the bohemian, caravanning scene. Swallows and butterflies festoon the interior, which is reminiscent of a bustling Parisian flea market.

Blogger extraordinaire - Happy Loves Rosie - has taken the trend one step further to completely renovate her 1952 Vintage Holivan using vintage pieces picked up at car boot and jumble sales. Her trademark bright and cheery designs are used to create an amusingly whimsical interior, decorated with old hand-stitched textiles and reconditioned furniture.

If you want to experience the shabby chic environs with a fun, environmentally sustainable holiday - book a couple nights at La Rosa in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Everything on the 20 acre campsite is reclaimed or recycled. Each of their vintage caravans is decorated with a different theme in mind to include vintage fabrics and kitsch decorations. The sites' owners call it a "fantasy land, full of nostalgia, romance and all things kitsch, camp and bohemian". The site can accommodate up to sixteen people.

Heading further afield, check out one of the many roulottes, or covered gypsy wagons, that have been emerging at independent sites across France. These luxury Romany-inspired mobile lodgings are often lovingly hand painted, decorated with luxurious furnishings and set up for self catered holidays. The quaint caravans can be spotted amid the landscaped gardens of private homes and inns, and are used as a quirky guesthouse alternative.

They come under the banner 'Habitation Légère de Loisir', or 'Light Leisure Dwellings' and as such require only a parking permit, making them a convenient way to add extra space for holidaymakers and avoiding the red tape of a permanent structure. Roulottes de Campagne list a selection of static roulottes for a Bohemian getaway in the French countryside.

Prefer to be on the move and a little closer to home? Do you own a vintage caravan and fancy meeting up with like-minded retro-vanners? Vintage at Goodwood will be held from the 13th to the 15th August, and will showcase music, merchandise, fashion, art and food from the last six decades.

There will be special levels of camping - with an area designated for vintage caravan enthusiasts. The organisers are seeking out an array of vintage 'vans which will become a part of the festival for appreciative spectators to swoon over.

You can read the Caravan Times interview with top celebrity interior designer Linda Barker here

Comments - What do you think?
  • "oh Caravan times, you've done it again! Top-tips to keep me in retro caravan heaven. Thanks!"

    TravelSmarty (Kaduna, London) Posted: 19/07/2010 14:40:19

  • "check out www.coolercamping.co.uk if you're looking to buy a vintage caravan"

    Sara (somerset) Posted: 19/03/2011 21:02:59

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