The grass roots of Canvas Holidays

The swinging sixties – a decade of mini skirts, flower power and Beatlemania – and the dawn of Canvas Holidays.

In the 1960’s Britain became a truly affluent society – vacuum cleaners and washing machines were in most homes, and cars and fridges became the norm. And for the first time – foreign family holidays became common place.

One of these new ‘explorers’ of foreign shores was Jim Cuthbert and his family. Like many in the 1960’s, the most affordable way for the Cuthbert family to explore Europe was by camping. It was on one of these holidays that Jim Cuthbert found sound inspiration. Whilst waiting on the cross Channel ferry in Ostend he observed many other families crammed into cars filled to the brim with camping equipment and other holiday essentials – and thought how helpful it would be if all this could be provided at the campsite.

With this inspiration and a great love for the essence of the camping holiday, Jim Cuthbert set out to make camping abroad easier. And so Canvas Holidays was born in the spring of 1965 and transformed the world of continental camping as we know it. A total of 25 of the best quality tents that money could buy were erected in Northern France, equipped with camping essentials plus cookers and gas. Holidays were sold at 10-17 guineas a week for six people and in the first brochure holidaymakers were promised that on arrival everything would be “ready for the first cup of tea”.

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Drink your way round Europe

Drink your way round Europe

With the festive season well and truly in swing, to get you in the party mood we’ve put together this guide to Europe’s national drinks.

It’s not just for Christmas though! During the summer, European cities take on a festive atmosphere and the social aspect of drinking can be a great way to get to know the local culture. Why not toast your way through Europe next summer?

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Camping with twins – part three

So the holiday. Well you know what – we had fun! I’m not going to write a day by day account of what we did on our holidays, but I thought I’d share the Harper’s holiday highlights!

1) Swimming
As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s hard for us to find time to take the boys swimming. So our Canvas holiday was the first time they’d been! The pool at Berny Rivière was lovely – the toddler pool has a retractable roof, so can be used in all weather and the water was warm. Although we didn’t use them, there are plenty of changing cubicles, so you don’t have to drag dripping wet toddlers around the campsite.

The boys loved the pool (one slightly more than the other, as you can tell from the picture!) and we’ve resolved to make sure we take them regularly in the future.

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Camping with twins – part two: the journey

If you read my previous post, you’ll know I was not exactly looking forward to the journey to France. Five hours in the car from Fife to Hull, an overnight ferry crossing, then a three hour drive from Zeebrugge to Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière. With two seven month olds.

While it wasn’t a breeze, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be! Honestly.

We allowed plenty of time for the drive – it’s a five hour journey, but we knew we needed to allow a couple of hours more to give the boys time out of their car seats. I planned ahead and found somewhere we could stop and let them have a wriggle about which wasn’t miles off route.

We also timed our journey so we would be able to get straight on to the ferry when we arrived in Hull as it would be their tea time and I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in a queue with two screaming babies! We were in luck – sort of –  most of the screaming happened in the final bit of the drive when they decided enough was enough!

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Camping with twins – part one

“You’re going camping?”
“To France”
“With twins”
“Are you MAD?”

Something I’ve heard a lot over the last few weeks. And potentially yes, I am mad. However, as I’ve spent many years as part of the Canvas Holidays marketing team, it seems only appropriate for our first family holiday to be a Canvas one. So while husband Dave got excited about which campsite we should go to, I started to worry about the practical things. Just how many vests do two seven month olds need for 10 days? (Technically 40, but lets not go there!) Can you buy our brand of formula in France? (Yes, but we’re taking our own just in case). Is it OK to ask my parents along to help? (YES, YES, YES). How many nappies will we need (I’m really not going there. Let’s just say a LOT!)

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A cheese lover’s guide to France

One of the greatest pleasures of a holiday in France is tucking into the delicious cuisine. It doesn’t get much better than French cheese!

It’s believed there are 365 varieties produced across the country, so whether you like yours mild or truly stinky, there’s a cheese out there for everyone. For a deliciously simple lunch, grab a baguette, open a bottle of wine and dive in!

With so many cheeses to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start. So we’ve picked some of our favourites from regions which also have a Canvas campsite. Most campsites have food markets in surrounding towns or villages; so sampling the local delicacies is easy.

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Spotlight on the Vendée

The Vendée is one of the most popular destinations for camping holidays in France. Every year, visitors from all over the world are drawn here for the remarkable sunshine record and magnificent beaches.

The many miles of safe sandy beach and long sunny days, combined with lively resorts, fishing ports, delicious food and excellent water sports give the Vendée its universal appeal. However, what many visitors don’t expect is the beautiful countryside found inland. The scenic marshes, plains and wooded hills are steeped in legend and history.

For some, a holiday is all about relaxing and taking it easy, while for others activities are a must – the Vendée has all bases covered! The beach and water sports are the main draw, however walking and cycling are well catered for too. Canvas Holidays offers a choice of seven campsites in the Vendée, all perfectly located to discover the region and neighbouring areas.

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Spotlight on the Loire Valley

Known as the garden of France, the Loire Valley is a lush green land of undulating countryside, where rich vineyards are interspersed with charming towns and magnificent châteaux.

There are over 300 châteaux in the region. Some of the best include Château de Villandry with its superb Renaissance gardens, romantic Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord, the largest and most extravagant of them all.

But there is more to the Loire Valley than châteaux. Explore the lively cities of Tours and Orleans, and the delightful towns of Saumur, Amboise and Blois. The climate is perfect for outdoor activities too. Walk or cycle through beautiful gardens or take to the water for a jaunt down the river. And of course, no visit would be complete without sampling the excellent local wines.

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