Britain’s roads have been packed with caravans and motor homes in recent weeks as the nation embraces the staycation.
Seaside resorts and historic towns and sites have suddenly become fashionable again as the uncertainty over international travel continues.
Even the less than glamorous static holiday caravan – known more for their wobbly walls and dated interiors than luxury living – have had a make-over to capture the interest of trendy tourists.
Whinnie Williams, Anna Hart and Emma Jane Palin, all in their thirties and with successful careers in fashion, travel and interiors, wanted to invest in a bricks and mortar holiday rental they could rent out on Airbnb but didn’t have the funds to realise their dreams.
Instead, spurred on by the nostalgia of childhood holidays on caravan sites, they decided to club together – at the height of the pandemic – and buy a three-bedroom Willerby 2010 Bluebird static caravan, chipping in just £8,000 each.
Then added a further £4,000 each to give the property a completely new look and can now rent it out for an astonishing £200 a night.
As well as a new roof, they turned to Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion for inspiration with their bamboo bedroom, while a pink-hued bedroom includes faux cowhide and Wild West wallpaper.
Set on a campsite just outside the seaside town of Margate, the caravan has undergone a cool new look.
The soft furnishings in the living room area were replaced with authentic Seventies fabrics and the ceiling was lined with wood. Bamboo features heavily in one of the bedrooms even though it wasn’t easy to obtain during lockdown.
A bijou bathroom with trendy products makes up for the lack of a power shower and since the first guests bedded down once lockdown was lifted, the caravan, now re-named Club Jupiter, is in high demand.
Anna, from Belfast, says childhood camping holidays inspired the trio to try and make caravans cool again.
‘Growing up my family holidays were in soggy 1980s tents on Lough Erne, but my cousins had a fancy caravan, and that was my first real sense of ‘luxury travel’.
‘Camping has become glamping, and we’ve seen mid-priced hotels being named ’boutique hotels’, we’re just doing the same for the caravan.’
Anna admits she and her friends were dispirited that Margate was becoming overrun with Airbnb landlords trying to cash in on the town’s appeal as a weekend destination.
She says: ‘Essentially we’re three friends who really love each other’s tastes in design, and really believed in each other’s professional abilities.
‘When we began meeting for weekly coffee mornings early in the pandemic, to support and encourage each other through a tricky time, we didn’t intend to go into business together.
‘But when we hit on the idea of renovating a caravan and crunched the numbers, I knew it was the perfect low-risk, high-pleasure business venture with my mates.’
Already @clubjupiter has attracted a 10,000-strong following and the trio hope to put their styling into other caravan sites around the area.