How Many Caravans In UK (And Other Interesting Stats)

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How Many Caravans In UK

So, how many caravans are their in the UK? Anyone interested in caravanning will know it’s a popular pastime. You’ll know this if during the week in the summer you check the weather and the forecast is good, you have a check around and you’ll soon realise that booking a caravan site for the weekend is annoyingly difficult. It’s a bit different in the winter, but even then planning ahead is important to get a space on a some sites.    So, how many caravans do you think there are in the UK? I’m not sure I’d guess as high as the actual number. 

It is estimated that in the UK there are some 550,000 touring caravans. 550,000! Half a million caravans! Wow I mean wow, where are they all?With that many caravans and caravan owners, the industry adds a healthy sum of money to the UK economy. Over £2 billion a year are spent on caravan holidays, so it’s a big contributor to the UK tourist industry.  In total it contributes more than £6 billion per year to the UK economy when you take into consideration sales of products and related services.

The statistic I like the most though, is the one about how many nights are spent in a caravan in a year. Now, this is brilliant, my mind is instantly turned to all those people sitting in their caravans drinking tea, or most likely wine, maybe gin, watching Britains Got Talent, or maybe BBQing their supper, with a glass of wine! (Me included) I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough for the number of nights spent in a caravan in one year ….   Over 51 million.  I love that.

All of these figures are much higher than I would have guessed. I’ve always been of the opinion caravanning was always a very niche market, one of which I’m proudly part of by the way. None of my friends in real life caravan, (plenty online obviously) we’re very much the odd one’s out. I know I’ve heard in the news about caravanning being cool, and popular with younger people. I’ve previously thought it was people who had retired and wanted to just tour around,  taking their time to enjoy the scenery and obviously cause as many traffic jams as was humanly possible. I joke, of course. We’ve been caravanning since early 40s. I mean my AGE not the DECADE! 

Compared to car sales, caravan number are small. However, here’s the number of caravan registrations in 2017

January February March April May June
1,620 3,800 1,490 1,800 1,830 1,780
July August September October November December
1,780 1,800 2,570 4,430 1,306 605

The large number in both February and October can probably be put down to the NEC Caravan shows, I assume, with the one in October having more sales. We’ve been to the NEC show and I’m amazed anyone buys from there as it get so busy, you can hardly move, but then again, people must get good deals, either that or the lure of the bright lights and shiny caravan are too much to resist. A vast majority of UK caravans are sold within the UK and over 130,000 people are employed, including part time staff by the industry.  

550,000 touring caravans 365,000 caravans on parks 225,000 motorhomes   That is over 1 million leisure vehicles.   England is the largest nation of caravan manufacturers, but are our caravans are better than those elsewhere? My personal opinion is that in some ways they are. I think parts of Europe are amazed at the amount of “luxury” us Brits want / need.   Our very first caravan was a German caravan made by Knaus and although very well made, it was a bit “sparse”. By that I mean basic. A basic cooker, no microwave (imagine) and basic upholstery. I think the UK are also like this with cars, I like alloy wheels and tinted windows, a nice stereo, whereas I think many parts of Europe settle for entry level models maybe.   I put our taste in caravans down to the weather (I know, what article on caravanning doesn’t contain a weather reference), we probably spend more time inside our caravans than outside when we holiday in the UK. Naturally if you go to the south of France, or Spain for example, you’ll want to be out in the Sun. Well, unless you’re me and you’ll be inside your caravan with your air conditioning turned on. Who else has air conditioning in their caravans? Well, we certainly have heating that’s for sure. We don’t generally have to suffer long summer nights, although if your holiday in the UK coincides with that heatwave weekend, you might suffer!   Top 10 caravanning nations. 2016

Country Caravans Population
Germany 890,000 82,000,000
France 845,000 65,000,000
Britain 550,000 65,000,000
Netherlands 462,000 17,000,000
Spain 330,000 46,000,000
Sweden 283,000 10,000,000
Denmark 137,000 5,700,000
Norway 115,000 5,000,000
Finland 67,000 5,400,000
Italy 63,000 59,000,000

I always thought that caravanning was a very British thing, but looking at these figures it most definitely isn’t. We holiday in France a lot in our caravan, now I understand why their roadside facilities are much better than those in the UK!


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