What to consider when looking at campsites for sale
Date of Article
Nov 26 2021
Sector
Farms, Land & Estates

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Stephen Richards
MRICS
Associate Partner
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Stephen Richards heads up the Carter Jonas leisure team, with over 20 years’ experience in the valuation and sale of holiday cottages, lodge parks, campsites, caravan parks and glamping businesses.

I can provide advice on:

Looking for a campsite for sale in the UK?

Campsites don’t often exist as a standalone business but are more often part of a wider enterprise which would also include a touring park (for caravans and campervans).  

They’re the most seasonal of the various types of holiday accommodation businesses, with a lot of demand (and therefore work) in the summer months, and very little in the winter. This suits many people and is often what appeals to campsite owners.  

They are relatively cheap to set up too – especially if you go down the route of wild camping, which demands very little in the way of facilities. A more conventional campsite or glamping site will require a toilet and shower block at the very least. 

Compared to other leisure businesses, campsites will generally have a lot of guests on site at any one time, so think carefully about whether this is something you’d adapt well to – some really enjoy this aspect, but it’s not for everyone! 

See campsites for sale and other leisure business in the UK >>

What is the market for campsites for sale in the UK?

The key feature of the market for campsites is that it’s quite constrained – at any point there tends to be very few campsites for sale and demand is high, so they will generally sell well. That said, they are at the lower end of the price scale, costing less than lodge parks and much less than holiday cottages.  

Campsites can require a lot of energy, so they do tend to appeal more to younger buyers, and often to those looking for a wholesale lifestyle change.  

Small campsites are generally owned independently, but when they’re successful and expand (perhaps incorporating a touring park), they then become interesting to larger holiday operator companies as well.

What to consider when buying a campsite in the UK

There are certain key attributes that you want to look for when considering campsites for sale. 

Do the pitches have privacy and a reasonable amount of space? A flat site is also much better. Although a sloping site can offer good views, flat areas are essential for the pitches – and can be expensive to create.  

Is there a decent toilet and shower block? Cleanliness is key here, but also sufficient hot water and good showers. You need to ensure that the septic tank and/or sewers are large enough to cope not only with current demand but also potential future growth. Check whether the septic tank complies with current regulations. If you’re also hosting caravans and camper vans, you’ll also need a chemical toilet disposal point.  

Any permanent structures that need adding (such a new or extended shower block) will need planning permission. Aside from that, you just need a licence for the right number of pitches – although there are more relaxed rules for ‘pop-up’ campsites, run for a short period only.  

It’s not essential to have other facilities such as a bar or restaurant, but this can be an added attraction for guests. 

Are there any renewable energy facilities on site? Solar energy can be used to power the shower block for example. Are there electrical hook-ups for each pitch, and ample water points for the number of pitches? If not, consider the cost and time implications of putting these in, and check whether there is a sufficient power supply for the amount of demand there will be.

What makes a successful campsite for sale?

The most important aspect of a successful campsite is normally the people who run it, and how it is run – friendly staff and a clean and tidy campsite, with the grass always mown and hedges clipped.  

Additional facilities such a small shop or restaurant can improve the experience for the campers, and a good shower block is essential. Good reviews are essential for the continued success of any site!

If you’re thinking of buying, developing or expanding a campsite and would like advice – or if you currently have a site and are thinking of selling – get in touch with Stephen Richards, Head of Rural Leisure at Carter Jonas on 07968 216596 or stephen.richards@carterjonas.co.uk.  

See campsites for sale and other leisure business in the UK >>