A look back at the past 18 years! We are very proud to have been among the very first businesses offering Glamping holidays in the UK… before Glamping was even a word!
Our first Airstream
We bought our first 1965 Tradewind Airstream over from America early 2004. Having a holiday home on the Isle of Wight it made sense for us to keep it on the island. The original idea was to use it ourselves and maybe rent it out for the occasional holiday and photo shoot. However, once we had our hands on our trailer we really caught the bug and had a ‘what if …’ vision for a whole field of Airstream caravans.
Our first newsagent advertisement
Our first local newsagent advertisement caught the eye of a travel editor from The Guardian newspaper, who came to stay and gave us a great review bringing in our first spate of bookings. Word spread during 2005 and we were thrilled to find that so many others loved the idea of a stay in a vintage caravan.
Airstreams increase to five
Our fleet of vintage American caravans increases to five …. All imported direct from the Sates –we certainly had a steep learning curve on shipping and importing goods!Press interest was keen. A public note of thanks here to the Dave, James and Oliver Peters who helped us so much in the early days with refurbishing and maintaining our Airstreams.
The term Glamping was coined …… we hated it at first but caved in eventually! The family move to the Isle of Wight full time The search for a permanent site becomes urgent. We had outgrown Phil’s Field -our first lovely home near Newport. After many hours research, driving to and fro over the island and endlessly scouring agents listings a site was found that ticked the planning boxes –reader, we bought that land! The arduous planning process begins.
Our fleet has increased to 8 vans –some sited on our original site and the others popping up here and there as we receive offers from different landowners …… Guerrilla caravanning indeed.Press interest was phenomenal as were bookings.Disaster strikes. On going to committee due to many objections our planning application is refused. A further appeal on that decision was dismissed.
A chance meeting
We were not going to give up! We now had ten Aluminium vintage caravans without a permanent home. Some were STILL at Phil’s field others were lurking in a potato shed ‘back of the Wight’ … making appearances at retro holiday parks and even Glastonbury Festival. A chance meeting with a farmer led us to siting vans for a while at Hazelgrove Farm. We asked for a farm tour ….. and there it was –a gorgeous big field that (sounds familiar) ticked all the planning boxes.
Planning permission granted
Yes!–planning permission granted for the site at Hazelgrove (mainly due to a forward thinking Parish Council) and we were lucky enough to receive a DEFRA grant from which helped us create the infrastructure (power, water, waste management) to create a permanent site for Vintage Vacations.This was the year that we proudly won our first award –Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce business award for tourism and Leisure –that was a great night!
Doris the miniature caravan
So … we had planning permission for ten caravans ….. but how could we resist the cute-as-a-button miniature caravan that we named ‘Doris’! Well, we didn’t …… but then persons unknown dobbed us in to the authorities … so guess what, we applied for and received the go ahead to have FIFTEEN vans so thank you mystery dobber-inner!
We now have our fleet complete –thirteen American beauties as well as a couple of British vintage classics (people kept offering us them and we couldn’t say no!)
The golden age of glamping?
The golden age of glamping? It certainly became very popular with more and more options springing up … meaning more competition for us. We added a bell tent and partnered with Isle of Wight Holidays for the occasional pop up, keepingour offer fresh and press-worthy.
Weddings! We hosted three that year –they were all amazing. We won the Red Funnel ‘My Isle of Wight’ award for the best place to go Glamping.
Yes we won that award again!We hosted pop up dining events, yoga retreats and many types of group gatherings.
Many happy glampers stayed in our vans …… we start to think ‘what is next’ for us?
Our next venture Tiny Homes Holidays is born!
Tiny Homes Holidays
Tiny Homes Holidays is taking centre stage in our hearts so the decision was made to move on.
Visit this site here.
Despite what was going on in the world Vintage Vacations has a successful if short summer season.
Quit while we are ahead is our mantra …. We still love the vans and the glamping lifestyle and business is vibrant ….. but we are now very firmly on the track to new adventures and opportunities with Tiny Homes Holidays. Vintage Vacations will close on 20th September –just after the 2021 Isle of Wight festivalWe have our extensive collection of wonderful Airstreams and other American vintage caravans up for sale. A big thank you to all who made it possible, all our friends and family for their support (especially our daughter Faber who had to grow up with the craziness) –and most of all to our fabulous guests –you made it worthwhile. It has been eighteen shiny summers -the adventure of our lives! Frazer & Helen Cunningham