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Help us celebrate 50 years of Canvas Holidays by sharing your holiday memories

In case you hadn’t noticed we’re turning 50. We’d love to involve you in our celebrations, so are asking you to be part of our new online archive of Canvas memories. Do you remember Canvas camping without electricity or using cool boxes instead of fridges? Whatever tales you have to tell, we’d love to hear them. Your story can be as long or short as you like and you can even share pictures and videos from your Canvas adventures.

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50 years of camping memories

1980-1990 ten years of family holidays

Every summer the five of us would pile into the family Volvo and leave Edinburgh in early July as soon as the schools br
oke up. The format was always the same, one week in one site and another week in another. Dad would take extra time off so we could drive there. There were strict rules about the driving. We had to only drive for 4 hours in the morning and 3 in the any, lunch was an hour picnic with a patisserie, swimming at 4.00pm every day on the road, I can recall swimming in the Loire, much to the amusement of the locals at Pouilly. We would stay at small hotels usually in France, on the way and never used the autoroute to save toll money. .

The tents were brilliant, insect proof and they even had a fridge, I can still remember the smell of them vividly, canvas, sun, breadcrumbs, sun tan cream.

Before cheap flights it was very expensive to fly and a family if five or more ruled out most package holidays.
Thanks to Canvas Holidays my sisters and I had a rich childhood of amazing holidays, without Canvas we would not have had those holidays because they would have been out of our budget..

We had our favourite sites, Camping Peralyde at the gorges du tarn was a favourite but we visited the auvergne, Austria, the Italian Lakes, Tuscany, Provence, Paris, Florence, Veniceand many other cities were visited.

Looking back now I see my late father must have scrimped and saved to make sure that we could go. A strict budget was stuck to but we as kids were never made aware of this.

Travelling was brilliant fun but hot. The basic Volvo 240 Estate had no Airton of course and as the three of us got bigger we crammed into the back seat. No iPad in those days, I can recall when we got our first car stereo, we played games, a favourite was to see if you could colour in a map of all the French departments by the number plates you saw. The old French plates had a numerical code, the last 2 numbers indicated where the car was from

As we now boo our first Canvas Holiday with our kids (9 and 6) i look back on how things have changed. We will fly rather than drive, Living in Northumberland makes it a bit too far with the time off we would need. We are in an air conned cabin in Catalonia. No tent, no baking hot nights. But the adventure is still there.

August booked, can't wait.
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  • 50 years of camping memories

Written by Dickie

from Hexham

on 23/04/16

1980s 
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50 years of camping memories

Happy holidays with canvas and the family

We found our perfect holiday provider in Canvas and one year when visiting I'le de Re I was standing in the camp shop on
ly to be asked if I was Chris Evans by this guy, I didn't immediately recognise him but then the light went on it was TIm an old uni friend that I hadn't seen for 17 years. He had recognised my laugh! I looked at his son and asked him if he had married Judith who was his girlfriend whilst in halls of residence. Fortunately the answer was yes. Since then we have spent many wonderful holidays at Camping Interlude with Tim and his family and time with them in the UK.
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  • 50 years of camping memories

Written by Evofamily

from Stanwick northants

on 31/10/15

1990sFrance 
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50 years of camping memories

A good old fashion holiday

We went to de L'antique in south Brittany for a week in August . The weather was not great but that did not stop the kid
s from having a fantastic time. The party consisted of 6 adults and 6 children. Two 2 year olds , two 4 year old and two 8 year olds. They played in the puddles in raincoats and bare feet and had the freedom like the children used to have!
There is a nice pool and a fantastic soft play area for all ages and this was open all day due to the rain for only 4 euros per child for the whole day. There is also a large play area with a full size boat.
The beach is a short walk through a wood and the beach is superb long and sandy .

The accommodation is clean and well equipped.
I would thoroughly recommend this to any family with children under 11.
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  • 50 years of camping memories

Written by Chesterbird

from Lymington Hampshire

on 06/09/15

2000sFrance 
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50 years of camping memories

It all started with a little Wren tent in Argeles

We were one of the early adopters of Canvas Holidays in the days that the Cuthbertson’s only employed couriers from Stir
ling University.

We first came across the company at Argeles sur Mer in 1973 when we were doing it ourselves in a little Wren tent trying to put it up in the headlights of our Hillman Imp when suddenly we had helpers from the blue and orange tents around us that was where we came across the concept of arriving with tents already set up.

We then took our daughter who was nearly 2 on our first Canvas Holiday in 1977 we remember this as she fell over on a step at a restaurant and broke her front baby tooth and the courier took us to the dentist to translate for us.

We next went in 1979 with both daughters, not sure where but I have photographs and videos of all the sites we went on for the next 14 years, Rocqbreune in the south , Argeles just away from the coast, Royan St George, Lake Como by car train to Milan; and then on the car train twice to Avignon and so it went on.

I remember being at one site where there was a big fuss because a travel writer from The Times and his tent was given lots of goodies, which he kindly shared with all of us in his group of tents.

It was in Rocqbreune near Grasse I think, where we met an Iranian family whose mother had just left Iran for the first time and had found herself in a Canvas Holiday tent in France on the way to the UK. She insisted on feeding the whole of our group of tents to an Iranian supper which to this day stands out as one the great holiday experiences

We also recommended Canvas Holidays to my brother who started taking his family with you.

The last holiday we had was in the Dordogne and by this time we had started using mobile homes, no more traipsing to the toilet block, and they had a fridge so we didn’t have to buy ice blocks for the tents to keep everything cold.

My youngest daughter who first went on a Canvas Holiday in 1979 when she was just one has booked her and her family of a one year old to Italy with Canvas Holidays, so the cycle goes on.

We are going to the Loire and Burgundy this year, this time with no children so we can enjoy eating and sampling the local wine without having to worry about the little darlings!
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  • 50 years of camping memories

Written by TheGreatSnorer

from Norfolk,

on 10/03/15

1970sFrance 
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Campsite to Courier to Canvas HQ

Campsite to Courier to Canvas HQ

My camping adventures began in the early 90's where I visited many different sites across the programme, with my mum and
dad and my 2 brothers and occasionally my older sister, I remember visiting sites in Brittany, Vendee, Dordogne, Biarritz and many more!
I used to get so excited about staying in a tent and going to Hoopi club! I remember doing a fashion show at Hoopi club and also completing a holiday scrap book! I used to love going back to school and telling everyone about my camping adventures.
I loved my time holidaying with Canvas so much that I decided to apply for a overseas job with Canvas in 2006, I started off on the Montage team in Northern France, it was hard work but great fun, putting up tents, making sure all the correct inventory was in the accommodation and ensuring all accommodation was clean, although it was hard work it was very rewarding and a great way to see different sites in the area and meet new people, I then went on to be a Courier on a site in Normandy,St Aubin and then became the Children's courier on site, I loved being a children's courier so much and it brought back so many memories from when I was a child, The children and I would walk around the campsite singing songs and we would meet the other couriers from my team along the way, we would stop and have a quick chat with them, the children were always intrigued to see what the couriers were doing, We would then head back to the Hoopi tent to play games, arts and crafts and face painting! I used to love planning the sessions for the week ahead and thinking of different things we could do, from Nature Trails to Superhero's Day! It was all great fun, before the end of the season I went on to the Demontage team which again was hard work but good fun going back to all the sites and meeting other couriers and finding out how their season went.
I loved my season and working for Canvas, so, I returned the following year and went to the Cote d'Azur,Domaine des Naiades as a children's courier before heading to the Vendee, Acapulco for high season, it was such a great experience and I loved every minute!
Whilst working in the Vendee I met my husband to be, he was the Senior courier on site for Canvas, one slight problem we had was that I lived in Cornwall and he lived in Scotland…. Couldn’t be any further apart… but after completing our season with Canvas and the decision for him to live in Cornwall, we decided after 5 years to move to Bonnie Scotland…. and now I work in Canvas Holidays Head office in the overseas operations team, I thoroughly enjoy working in the Head office and I love being able to speak and meet the couriers throughout the season, It brings back memories of my time as a courier.
My partner and I now have a little girl who no doubt will want to be a canvas Holidays Courier in years to come ?
Every day is an Adventure!
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Lois85 loves:

Camping Acapulco

St. Jean Plage, Vendée, FranceCamping Acapulco

Near to sandy beaches, with plenty to keep the whole family amused.

Read more about Camping Acapulco
  • Me outside the Canvas Tent
  • Me in the Canvas Hammock
  • Fashion Show at Hoopi Club

Written by Lois85

staff

from Dunfermline, Dunfermline, Fife, UK

on 19/12/14

1990sFrance 
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50 years of camping memories

Valras Plage 1979

Our first family holiday onto the continent was to Camping Domaine de la Yole, Valras Plage. I was only 10 years old, bu
t have many memories - the bright orange and blue tent which withheld the most incredible electric storm one night; the campbeds for us kids, but a PROPER double bed for my parents; the sandy path to the beach where there were topless bathers (unheard of in Britain at that time); the shows put on by the animateurs; the pommes-frites (very different from the chips back home!); visiting the Canal du Midi in Beziers....
I have very fond memories of that holiday - 35 years ago!! I have since holidayed with Canvas with my own family at Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont - a very different experience in a luxurious mobile home!
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  • 50 years of camping memories

Written by Sar68

from Crossgates, Cowdenbeath, Fife KY4, UK

on 25/11/14

1970sFrance 
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"When I grow up I'm going to be a courier."

Having experienced my first Canvas Holiday back in the very early 80s, my childhood is littered with amazing memories of
long hot summers travelling across France with my family... The bread van at Val de Cantobre, the lighthouse in La Palmyre and learning to windsurf with the Canvas watersports courier are three particular highlights.

One thing I do also vividly remember is the Canvas couriers. They seemed the coolest people in the world, who always took the time to talk to me, my sister and our friends - even though a group of young teenagers disturbing them whilst cleaning was probably very annoying! It was because of that, rather than wanting to be a footballer or a spaceman, I always said to my family that when "I grow up I'm going to be a courier".

Most people don't get to achieve their childhood dreams, but in 2004 I finally took the leap and worked the first of my five seasons with Canvas, back where I learned to windsurf, at Lac de Chalain. It was an incredible experience; simple things like pulling the remorque, hosting customer parties and cycling in front of families showing them to their pitch, bought back endless memories and fully entrenched my love of not only camping, but Canvas too. What struck me was how rewarding it was to know that you are a small part in the memories these families would be reminiscing about over the Christmas dinner table for years to come... "Do you remember when we went to Chalain? What was that tall English courier called again...?"

Thanks to Canvas, I was fortunate enough to work my way around France, get together with someone very important to me and with her become the first Canvas team in Sardinia.

Even when I haven't been working a season, I've found it nigh on impossible to go a summer without a taste of life under Canvas and had to spend my 30th at the spiritual home of all real couriers, Berny Riviere, with the obligatory meal at Chez Mich to celebrate!

I look forward to many more memories with Canvas over the next 50 years!
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SeanF81 loves:

Domaine de Chalain

Lac de Chalain, Jura, FranceDomaine de Chalain

A large and lively site with a beautiful lakeside setting.

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  • Team Canvas, Domaine de Chalain 2004

Written by SeanF81

from London, UK

on 25/11/14

2000sFrance 
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Memories of Wassenaar

Memories of Wassenaar

I could feel the waves licking at the sides of the ferry, tossing it back and forth as I did everything that I could not
to go running for a bathroom.

Eventually, I stumbled and swayed my way back to our cabin. My gran and mum welcomed me; I envied them, comfy in their make-shift bunk beds and clearly having gotten the worst of the seasickness over and done with, my mum even managing to pop a few sweets in her mouth as she offered me a seasickness tablet. My brother however, had his back pressed against the bathroom wall breathing heavily and I definitely felt as if I would join him soon. I made my way over to my bunk, lifting the ladders up onto the edge of it, and getting my dad to support them and me, I managed to blunder up them and onto my bed. I fumbled in my pocket for my phone and scrolled through the photos I’d taken over the past few days.

The first one that I came across was a cobbled street lined with shops and from the high windows of the terraced houses, strings were suspended and hanging from said strings were umbrellas all of different colours – from bright, vibrant red’s to deep purples.

After settling into the mobile home at Camping Duinrell, we’d made for the nearby town, Wassenaar, beside the campsite. The streets were paved in an orange cobblestone that reflected the sun that was glowing above us. As I looked up towards the sun, my eyes drifted downwards again, strained by the sun as we turned the corner of the cobbled street which housed a pet shop and onto the main street where colours flooded into my line of sight. The street was paved in the same way as the others, but they were lined on both sides with gorgeous terraced houses, either white, or made of grey stone, and hanging from the highest windows on either side, were what looked like washing lines, and suspended from them were umbrellas, first blue’s, then green’s, red’s, purple’s, pink’s and oranges. Looking behind me the steeple of the church I’d seen on the way towered above the rainbow the umbrellas had made. They looked as if they were floating in mid-air, held up by invisible crowds of people.

We dithered in the town for hours, devouring ice cream from a sweet little shop in the square, and visited the shops whose windows had just been too inviting to ignore. We came across one that I simply couldn’t have walked past had I tried. The windows were filled with ceramics and pottery, little dogs and houses and windmills and from the window, in the back of the shop, I could see row upon row of jars of sweets, and with that I was pulled into the shop by an invisible hand.

My family and I were greeted by an elderly looking man, probably in his mid-sixties and his smile seemed to fit in perfectly with the shop itself as if he were part of it, the little animals and ceramic houses and foxes, were so intricately painted with details I couldn’t see before, I found myself captivated by the blue brushstrokes on the white backgrounds, painting scenes and feelings that couldn’t be expressed with words.

Despite this, I was quickly pulled away from the shelves and over to the opposite side of the shop where there were more shelves, but these were lined with row upon row of sweets, most of which I’d never seen before. I looked over to my brother, and I could swear he was drooling, his eyes lit up and he was instantly looking towards a particular jar full of small hard candies that were shaped, and later that day he swore tasted, like buttered waffles.

As the sun started setting over the steeple of the church my legs felt like led, I couldn’t help but dread the walk back to the campsite.
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Rachel14 loves:

Camping Duinrell

Wassenaar, HollandCamping Duinrell

Ideally located close to the coast and many historic Dutch towns and cities.

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Written by Rachel14

from Scotland

on 18/11/14

2010sHolland 
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50 years of camping memories

The Start of a career

I remember fondly going with Canvas Holidays in the 80s and 90s to wherever took my parents fancy that year. More often
than not it was Italy to the now unused campsite in Punta Ala but occasionally we went to France and I remember visiting the Vendee and Argeles. It was on holiday in in Italy 1988 where I completed my first Hoopi holiday diary. Being 5 years old, and having the time of my life with Hoopi courier Mark, I decided that when I was old enough I wanted to work for Canvas (my mother still has that diary). Over the next 15 years and many Canvas holidays my dream didn't change, this was reiterated when at 16 i wrote in my leaving school goals that i wanted to work for Canvas and live in france. 4 years later after completing Travel and Tourism studies, I was on the bus at Dover heading to training on Berny for my first season which was spent on Domaine De Chalain! What a fantastic season! that was me hooked! 10 Canvas seasons completed, working on sites in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, I have now finalised my dream by working full time for Canvas Holidays in warehousing and logistics living in France.
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DanW loves:

Domaine de Chalain

Lac de Chalain, Jura, FranceDomaine de Chalain

A large and lively site with a beautiful lakeside setting.

Read more about Domaine de Chalain
  • 50 years of camping memories

Written by DanW

staff

from Nantes, France

on 17/11/14

2000sFrance 
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Canvas past and present

Canvas past and present

Our family first went on a Canvas Holiday in July 1994. We had only been going on camping holidays in France since 1991.
After holidaying a couple of times with another company (now extinct), and thoroughly enjoying staying in a tent, we decided to try the company based in Dunfermline. Having travelled overnight from Scotland, we arrived early, got onto the campsite, Camping le Colombier in Normandy (a.k.a. Pont l’Évêque), by mid-afternoon, and spent the next few hours catching up on missed sleep. We spent 11 nights at le Colombier and two nights at Camping les Courtilles du Lido (a.k.a. Fontainebleu). Older daughter, being a teenager, was too cool to visit castles and museums, preferring instead to spent all day reading books in the hammock provided by Canvas (although she was a bit miffed when she found out that one of the places we’d visited, called Giverny, was to see Monet’s house and garden). The other two, son aged eight and younger daughter aged 12, enjoyed all the jaunts – to Arromanches, Caen Mémorial, Château d’Harcourt and so on.
We stopped over at ‘Fontainebleu’ so we could visit Paris a couple of times, and visit Parc Astérix en route to Calais. We drove into Paris on change-over day – no driving scares me anymore – to visit the Eiffel Tower, and by train the next day to visit the Louvre (double-decker train on the way back, much to son’s joy). Parc Astérix was great fun, very French but much better than the other large theme park near Paris. Thanks to hot sunshine, we were almost dry by the time we got back to the car…
While on le Colombier the Canvas Courier, a young lad who had been there since April, mentioned that Canvas Holidays was happy to employ ‘mature couples’. We thought that this would be worth thinking about when we retired. Jump forward 10½ years and, at a loose end, I was reminded of this (Wife wanted me out from under her feet). I applied to be a Campsite Courier in late March 2005.
While I was waiting for my interview, I noticed Canvas office workers going out and coming back with a spring in the step. Looks like a good place to work, I thought, and wondered how one would go about getting a job in the office.
I got the Courier job, and joined the montage team at St-Valéry-sur-Somme in mid-April. I was Courier at Guînes near Calais until early August, then on Camping Port’Land in Normandy until the end of the season. Six weeks of hard work on demontage later I was home again, getting up early and cleaning the house because it was what I had become accustomed to doing on a daily basis.
Working as a Campsite Courier for six months was quite an experience. Even after six weeks at Guînes I was thrilled to be working in France. Meeting campsite owners, fellow Canvas Couriers, Couriers with other companies, and customers from various countries meant that I was never bored. Demontage was hard work but good fun – taking down tents and shutting down sites in the area (from Guînes to Dol de Bretagne) along with several other Canvas staff.
Because working as a Courier was so addictive I re-applied for the 2006 season and ended up on Camping le Marze (a.k.a. Grosseto, on the Tuscan coast) after spending a couple of weeks on montage in Tuscany then a few weeks on the campsite outside Rome (Camping i Pini), arriving at le Marze in mid-May. Towards the end of a hot summer, I applied for a winter job at Canvas Head Office. My interview was conducted over the ‘phone, with me standing on the side of the SS1 north of Montalto di Castro shielded from the roar of constant passing traffic by only the demontage van. I was called later that day to be told I’d got one of the jobs. I started in the Marketing Department in Dunfermline after the end of ‘demo’ and, while there, somehow managed to get a permanent job in Site Operations. Courier no more but I still work at Canvas Head Office, and enjoy a Canvas holiday every summer…
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  • Camping le Colombier 1994

Written by JimR

staff

from Falkirk

on 07/11/14

1990sFrance 
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Une baguette et du lait frais

Une baguette et du lait frais

I’ll admit it: I am a Canvas lifer!

My camping days began in 1979 when, following a recommendation by a family
friend, my parents booked our first Canvas holiday at a campsite in Morgat, Brittany. Being only three at the time, I have no recollection of that one, but a decade of family camping adventures then ensued. I remember so clearly my joy at rolling out my brown and orange sleeping bag at each new campsite and then heading off to explore the surroundings with my younger brother. We were tasked with getting the bread and milk from the campsite shop each day and we diligently memorised the required phrases in French. I developed a love of camembert, soupe de poisson, huge French meringues and Carambars. Amongst my fondest memories are the time we found a 100 franc note on the beach and we were allowed to spend it on a blow up boat; canoeing down the river Tarn with the Canvas watersports couriers; my Dad trying to teach us to sail on a bleak lake in the Auvergne; and the discovery of pan bagnats! There were always friendly and cheerful couriers onsite and over the years, as I perfected the art of sweeping tents with those witches brooms, I started to think I might enjoy a go at that!

Fast forward to the mid 90s and as a student with long summer holidays and A level French, I figured it would be the perfect time to apply to spend the summer working for Canvas. I duly got the job and was posted to…Saarburg, Germany! Not to worry, I would get by linguistically and I was camping, which was all that really mattered! I arrived onsite to three weeks of incessant rain and a leaking courier tent, but it was brilliant. Once the rain dried up I acquired the best tan of my life and I loved the job so much I just had to come back for more...and more…and more! Working as a courier and then an Area Manager was both testing and rewarding. Some of my fellow couriers are now friends for life and I have fond memories of many customers too. I learnt skills I could never have dreamed of and discovered yet more of Europe. When else would I have learnt how to liberate a van stuck in heavy mud, change a shower tray, or perfect a recipe for potato and carrot curry using only ingredients that customers had donated? Still, all good things must come to an end as they say and after five seasons I knew I really ought to be getting a ‘proper job’.

So here I am in 2014, thoroughly loving my proper job in the Operations department at Canvas! I still miss living in a tent in a field, but Edinburgh isn’t a bad substitute and lucky old me can now go on a Canvas holiday every year! Last year I went back to Saarburg, armed with my bike. I cycled miles along the ‘radwegs’ and sampled the wares of many a cake shop. I got a decent tan too! The best bit though, was simply waking up in a tent. The smell of the canvas and the sound of a campsite waking up for the day are unbeatable. Where next? I fancy Interlaken. Let’s see if it matches up to my memory of taking down tents in bikinis, whilst fresh snow nestled on the Eiger!
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ImogenL loves:

Camping Landal Warsberg

Saarburg, GermanyCamping Landal Warsberg

A spacious site with indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna and solarium.

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  • Albenga, Italy circa 1983
  • Happy courier days - La Foret, Vendee 1997
  • Does it get more relaxing than this? Bourg d'Oisans 2007

Written by ImogenL

staff

from Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK

on 04/11/14

1980sGermany 
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Camping in Cambrils

Camping in Cambrils

Joining Canvas holidays at the beginning of 2014, I decided to take a trip to Cambrils Park with my girlfriend at the en
d of August that year.
I was curious to fully experience what Canvas had to offer, and how it compared to the information back in the office.

My first Canvas holiday lived up to the hype – Cambrils Park was great. It had everything you could have asked for in a holiday. 10 minute walk to the beach, 30 minute walk from the lively town of Salou and 45 minutes from the seaside town of Cambrils.

The campsite was great too. The Aloha Bungalow we stayed in was very well kept and the evening entertainment was always a great laugh.

We visited Salou almost every night while relaxing at the beach or Campsite during the day. We also had a chance to visit Barcelona for a day, which is a great city to explore.

We can’t wait for our next Canvas Holiday, and hope it will be as good as the last!
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MatthewS loves:

Cambrils Park

Cambrils, Catalunya, SpainCambrils Park

A first-class site with excellent facilities and pool complex.

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Written by MatthewS

staff

from Fife, UK

on 30/10/14

2010sSpain 
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