What is it Like to go on Holiday in a Vintage VW Camper?
(Our featured images above are kindly supplied by Nathan Green from SoonlyWeds.)
As lots of you were wondering what the VW Campervan experience is actually like. We thought we’d delve into the travel journals, which are kept in our campers’ gloveboxes and spill the beans. These have previously only been shared with people hiring our kombis, so for the first time ever we open up to the public excerpts from the secret diaries of Lola, Blondie, Ziggy & Oor Wullie.
After all, our previous customers are best placed to inform you what to expect when touring Scotland in a Vintage VW Camper.
At the same time we’ve identified ten points that many of our customers ask before they come or comment on after their trip.
How long does it take to drive the North Coast 500?
We recommend minimum 1 week to enjoy this in a T2 Volkswagen.
We’ll kick off with Lola’s most recent NC500 tour, earlier this month. And a summary of how our customers found the experience.
“Lola was cosy, comfortable, lovely to drive and extremely popular with fellow travellers. We couldn’t ask for a better holiday companion.”
Why does everyone wave & tell you their own VW story?
Because by getting behind the wheel, you have just joined an international VW club. You will be like a magnet wherever you go in your T2 and it’s Volkswagen law that you wave at any other VW Campervan you pass on the road.
“A lovely lady talked to us in the ferry queue- she has her own Lola on Colonsay!”
“We had admiring waves everywhere we went and Oor Wullie made lots of friends”
What’s the weather like in Scotland?
There’s a good chance you may experience 4 seasons in one day. We live in a country where it’s possible to get hurt by hailstones and sunburn in one day.
“Barra here we come! Bumpy ferry ride with no visibility but stunning sunshine when we arrived at Castlebay and found the beachfront campsite at Borve- highly recommended.”
Where should I go on a tour of Scotland?
Skye is by far the most popular destination for our guests but Scotland has plenty other exciting places to go as well. We offer as much or as little help as our guests want in planning itineraries and routes. To make up your bespoke itinerary we need some pointers on your interests, or where you’ve been before. We love beach and lochsides and will always try to direct you to locations that are amongst the most stunning in the world.
“We spent the day on the west of Harris, enjoying fabulous beaches”
“We could see the sea while sitting inside Ziggy enjoying a warm soup and good book.”
“At Arisaig we found white beaches and turquoise water.”
Where should I camp & can I camp anywhere?
Scotland has a vast selection of varied campsites and our list of recommended campsites grows daily. You can camp anywhere in Scotland (except the east side of Loch Lomond between March and October) but you must follow the Outdoor Access Code and be responsible.
“We travelled up north to Durness, where we spent the night wild camping on the shores of Balnakeil Beach”
“…before taking Lola east to the haven of Lickisto Blackhouse Campsite- an idyllic spot”
What is it like inside a VW Camper?
The driving experience is more challenging, modern cars drive you, you drive a T2. There usually isn’t as much storage space as in a larger motorhome, so everything packs away very neatly. Such as our hidden tabletops, tripods for al fresco dining table and the well for your indoor table.
“We’ve really enjoyed the fun of camping with Lola, meeting lots of other campers, testing our tidying skills, working out how to organise ourselves, taking our time on single track roads and learning to drive properly again!”
Can we cook inside the campervan?
All of our campers have gas cookers, sinks and fridges or coolboxes.
“We used the BBQ you supplied most nights and cooked meatballs & spaghetti inside one night. The campervan cookbook you gave us was inspiring.”
Is there an ipod connection?
Our stereos all have ipod/phone connections (cable supplied) and all gloveboxes have at least one CD in them.
“Driving along the country roads in Blondie, listening to Blondie was perfect, we wish she was ours.”
“I dreamt a long time about driving up the steepest road in GB. Driving Ziggy up the pass to Applecross while listening to David Bowie was a dream come true”
We include optional extras but beware of the awning, unless you are staying in the same campsite for at least 2 nights.
“The Awning! It took us 3 hours to put up!!! Lots of “debating” went on 1st about how to do it. LOL. We got there! 1 hour to get down and packed away. Worth doing if you’re not moving around for all the extra space, it’s massive!”
Can I hire a VW Camper for my Wedding?
Although Meg, our splitscreen microbus is chauffeur driven for weddings, our bay window campervans are perfect for self drive weddings & honeymoon. It’s also worth noting that if you use Meg for your Wedding, you can have 20% of a self-drive bay holiday anytime up to your first Wedding Anniversary, as a wee gift from us. As we offer campervan gift vouchers you can even put them on your Wedding Gift List.
“We whizzed Ziggy off to Dunoon to hand in our marriage certificate and then went round Loch Fyne”
If you have ever wondered anything we haven’t covered in this post, about the Vintage VW Campers experience, then please email your questions to [email protected]
If you’ve heard enough and you’re ready to choose your campervan then start your journey here.
Why do Vintage VW Campers have such an enduring appeal?
Buckle up and get ready for the ride, speed is not of the essence: making memories, adventure, chilling out and freedom, that’s what it’s all about.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s these ready-made holiday homes on wheels met the leisure needs of three generations. Family holidays could consist of granny, parents and children all bunked up together inside a campervan.
Those who were the youngest generation in the 60s and 70s campervanning heydays are now the grandparents or at least the parents choosing their family holiday destinations. There’s no doubt these people look back fondly on their long and sunny family holidays and want to recreate them.
There are also those who always envied their pals in campervans, while they roughed it under canvass in a tent and have nursed a desire to go on a campervan holiday ever since.
These VW Type 2’s, both the older T1 Split Screen, available from 1950 and the T2 Bay Window, which took over in 1967 are incredibly cute and stylish to many people.
“They are just so well designed and I think they have such friendly ‘faces’.” One member of the Lothians’ Volkswagen Club confided.
So the interpretation of the front of campervans appearing to have eyes and a nose (represented by the headlights and spare wheel) is what strikes a chord with some people. Undoubtedly the essential practice of giving a name to your campervan helps make them one of the family too.
It could be this which causes people as young as five years old to fall in love with VW Campers as well. A few Vintage VW Campers guests booked because of a child’s obsession with the vehicles. Their parents often didn’t know where the love had come from.
The flexibility and practicality of, like a tortoise, having your home with you as you travel is also part of the appeal. Like the view? Park up and stick the kettle on for a brew, no reason not to linger. Wherever you park up can be your home for the night and that is one reason why this mode of transport is so good for travelling in Scotland.
Wild camping is allowed in most of Scotland, provided that campers follow the ‘Outdoor Access Code.’ Besides that Scotland has hundreds of really good campsites so there’s no reason not to experience the best of both worlds: in a camper with both electric hook-up (for campsites) and leisure battery (for wild camping.)
The idea of chasing the sun in a campervan is also of particular resonance in Scotland, a country famous for sometimes giving us ‘four seasons in one day’. Don’t like the weather in one spot? No hassle of packing up a tent wet and pitching again at another location, just follow the weather forecast to a sunnier area, park up, pop the roof up and stick that kettle on again.
As most of Scotland’s relatively small population lives in the central belt, that leaves a lot of wild land to be explored. It also means a big responsibility to all who enjoy Scotland’s wild places; we are all responsible for the future of plants, animals and biodiversity. Enjoying the countryside with the ‘leave no trace’ challenge at the forefront of our activities is imperative for sustainable tourism. Thus allowing generations to come, the same pleasure we can have now.
Whether you get your outdoor kicks from surfing, hillwalking, climbing, golfing, beach-combing, star-gazing, aurora chasing or even just from chilling next to nature you could do far worse than enjoy it from the retro charm of a Vintage VW Camper.
Why do it Now?
Car manufacture was very different in the 60’s and ‘70’s unlike today’s built- in- obsolescence vehicles, cars back then were built to last. VW T2 production halted in Germany in 1979 but VW Brazil ended their production of the T2c in 2013. Therefore you can now only ever buy a T2 second hand and this is a minefield for the uninitiated. Vintage VW Campers tried (by hiring in Cornwall) before they bought and still made plenty school boy errors. So learn as much as possible about them first and hire one to check you actually like driving them. It is a work-out for your shoulders, with no power steering and a braking system very different from those in modern cars. You also need to take an expert with you, if you are in the market for a second hand vehicle, to minimise those errors.
So the enduring appeal just seems to grow and grow and the VW hire companies in Scotland and elsewhere allow everyone to experience the joy of campervan living.
The Tourism Thought Leaders Say:
VisitScotland have identified that our domestic tourists continue to embrace ‘staycations’ and both domestic and international travellers are lapping up ‘glamping’ a more comfortable version of camping which can relate to campervans, tipis, pods, gypsy caravans and more.
‘Modstalgia’ is another trend which is here to stay, whereby people choose to have a nostalgic holiday with more modern comfort than they did in the past. So it could be going to the seaside they went to when younger and staying in a plush hotel instead of a B+B, or it could be choosing to upgrade from a tent to a campervan. Vintage VW Campers offer vintage style with modern comfort, allowing a great modstalgic holiday in Scotland throughout the year.
Chris Greenwood, Senior Tourism Insight Manager for VisitScotland leads the team who came up with the portmanteau and he says: “…nostalgia is an emotional association to the past, so almost recreating or remembering past times and the emotional feelings those generate. Whereas modern nostalgia is more connected to these emotions, having a more modern experience but based around those feelings you had in the past or maybe even passing them onto the next generation.”
So What are you Waiting for?
Travelling in a Vintage VW Camper is unlike no other experience; in that everywhere you go people smile and wave at you. By getting behind the wheel of a T2, either hired or your own, you become part of a club. A very happy smiley club that likes to wave at each other. So why don’t you buckle up and start making memories you will want to hold onto forever?
As we reflect on what feels like a very quick year at Vintage VW Campers HQ, we are delighted by looking back over our guests’ photos and sharing them with you. Hope they delight you too!
We actually could do with your help please in choosing an overall winner from the top twenty featured here. Not only will you be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher to put towards your own Vintage VW Campers adventure, simply by voting for the winner; you will also be helping our winning guest get a fabulous goodie bag.
Lola at possibly the best picnic bench in the world by Andrew Webster
Lola in Glencoe3 by Jonny Danks
Oor Wullie with Ava by Alison Peden
Ziggy in sunshine by Gareth Walker
Thanks for looking, now please cast your vote on Facebook or email the title of your favourite to [email protected] If you vote for the winning photo, you will be put in a draw to win £50 voucher towards a trip with us, what a great way to start 2016!