The Canvas Holidays Story

The Canvas Holidays Story


Canvas Holidays welcomes thousands of customers every year to Europe’s finest campsites but did you know Canvas Holidays was one of the first travel companies to offer package camping holidays? Our story began in 1964 thanks to a family who wanted to make European camping easy and accessible for everyone.

It all began with an idea…

Every year Jim and Margaret Cuthbert bundled their three kids into the car, loaded it up with camping equipment and drove on to the ferry to set sail for a camping holiday to France.

After packing away their equipment at the end of another holiday, one Cuthbert said to the other ‘What if we were to leave this here for others to use?’ and so the idea for Canvas Holidays was born. 

A year later in 1965, 25 tents were erected across two campsites in Northern France and the first Canvas Holidays customers arrived on site assured that on arrival everything would be ‘ready for that first cup of tea.’

…and grew into a way of life

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Canvas way of holidaying caught on, with hundreds of families enjoying European camping on a regular basis – many experiencing holidays abroad for the first time with Canvas.

During this time Canvas spread throughout Europe, offering holidays in many more regions in France, as well as Italy and Spain. The accommodation became more sophisticated too, with electricity replacing gas lamps, fully sprung beds replacing air beds and fridges replacing cool boxes and ice boxes. 

In 1985, Canvas Holidays introduced its first mobile homes, and children’s’ clubs swiftly followed.

Camping for the 21st century

Today Canvas now offers holidays on a wide variety of campsites all over Europe. We’ve also expanded our accommodation range – the familiar blue and orange tents remain, but joining them are a wide range of two and three bedroom mobile homes, lodges and safari tents.

So much has changed?

Campsites have changed the most over the last 50 years. Today a swimming pool is a necessity, and facilities include everything from spas to golf courses. You have more travel options these days too – fly or take the ferry – the choice is yours.

But the passion remains…

Just like in the 1960s, our team are passionate about Canvas Holidays. Many of us take a holiday each year, meaning we really know the campsites. Quality is important – just as it was to the Cuthbert’s – your accommodation will always be ready for that first cup of tea!