Rockin Vans Christmas Gift Guide

Rockin Vans Christmas Gift Guide

With two weeks remaining until Christmas, the panic buying has begun. But panic not! Here at Rockin Vans we’ve made it easy for you and taken the difficulty out of selecting that special something for the campervan enthusiast in your life. So without further ado, here is our superbly devised list of gift suggestions to avoid being the cause of false appreciation this 25th.

North Face Nuptse Slippers

Don’t be fooled by the fact that they look like luxury sleeping bags for hamsters, these durable slip-ons keep your feet cosy while providing enough support for those late night campsite stumblings. Plus they’re made from recycled post-consumer plastic, so the planet wins too!

Remote Control Campervan

This iconic model comes complete with stickers for customization, but personally we think you should just leave your hamsters to it. You’ve bought them a sleeping bag and a camper and forced them to fend for themselves in the great outdoors, the least you could do is let them express themselves. Alternatively, you could keep it traditional and spend Christmas Day ‘unintentionally’ ankle bashing your relatives while you fine-tune your steering.

Hip Flask

We all have THAT friend. You know the one I mean. The one that loves to party but that a bottle of booze just seems too impersonal for. What better way to facilitate their tendencies than allowing them to bring the party wherever they go with this 6oz VW Hip Flask. Some may call you an enabler, but the fact it can be engraved with your own special message means at least you’ll be a sentimental one.

Kids 6V VW Campervan

Once you’ve mastered the art of the camper it’s time to instill your wealth of knowledge to future generations. What better place to start than with their own Volkswagen Campervan! This battery operated speed demon allows your future enthusiasts to cruise at leisure while the snazzy pink hue makes for a distinct APB should anyone make a break for freedom. Not just for kids, it doubles as a mobility scooter so granny’s happy too.

Campervan Literature

It’s always nice to have some inspiration for things to do and places to visit when out and about in your camper but unfortunately that pesky 4G isn’t always the most reliable while roaming in Scotland. For this reason every camper should have at least one ‘camper coffee table book’ to act as a Bears Grylls –esque manual for campervan survival. Even if you only ever use them as placemats, we’ve picked four of our favourites for you to pick from depending on how well the front cover matches your colour scheme.

One Man & His Campervan – Martin Dorey

My Cool Campervan – Jane Field-Lewis & Chris Haddon

Around the Coast in a Campervan – Jon Gunter

Mountains, Lochs & Lonely Spots – Steve Roach

The Rolling Home – Stokedeversince

Pocket Outdoor Blanket

As we all know, in the world of camping, compact is key. The only thing that tops tiny is versatility. The pocket blanket not only protects you from the elements, it also functions as a picnic blanket as well as a super trendy ghost costume should you stumble upon an unexpected Halloween bash. Eye holes not included.

Windproof Lighter

Whether it’s sparking up your victory cigar after conquering an epic days adventure or simply trying to light the campfire to sit about and tell some late night ghost stories (costume optional), the wind is never your friend. The Xihar windproof lighter removes any fear of failure with their ingenious invention. (Although you might miss the team bonding huddles and the feeling of eventual success that so often come with a packet of Swans.)

Campervan Speakers

No Rockin Van would be complete without some mood music to set the scene, so we’ve picked this portable VW wireless speaker that works with any bluetooth device. With a range of up to 30 feet, you could alternatively hide it near the campfire and make those ghost stories a lot more convincing with some added sound effects.

Portable Coffee Grinder

In a world that’s become accustomed to functioning primarily on caffeine and energy drinks, this portable coffee grinder is the perfect gift for campers who love their early morning coffee fix. With a built-in bean grinder and filter, this mug is a must have. And for the luxury it will Costa you next to nothing…… see what we did there?

Rockin Vans Gift Voucher

Of course no self respecting gift list would be complete without a bit of shameless, self indulgent plugging. So for the camper who now has everything, what better way to put their abundance of gifts to good use than testing them on a trip in one of our campervans. Vouchers for any denomination are available and our winter deals start at £209 for 4 nights and £369 for 7 nights.

So all that’s left to say is we hope this has given you some inspiration and happy shopping!

Merry Christmas from Everyone at Rockin Vans!

Camping near Stonehenge and Salisbury.

Blessed with good weather more often than not, Cornwall is a great place to get involved in some of the many outdoor persuits available. From stunning coastal walks to picturesque cycle trails and and golf courses, there are plenty of opportunities to get a tan without ever leaving England.

Drive through the Cornish country side stopping into some of the many quaint sea side towns for a pastie along the way. Driving through Cornwall will show you first hand what it is about this beautful place that has inspired generations of writers from DH Lawrence and Charles Causley to Sir John Betjeman and Daphne du Maurier.

Applecross, Scotland

Applecross, Scotland

If it’s true peace and tranquility you’re after, you won’t go far wrong with Applecross – a peninsula in Western Ross, in the north west of Scotland.

It’s a small village famous for its scenic drive on one of the highest roads in Britain, some 2053 feet above sea level. The village is also well-known for having one of the oldest place names in the UK, at over 1300 years old.

But despite its rich history, there’s plenty going on in Applecross these days to merit a stop-off during a Rockinvans holiday.

The village can be driven into one of two ways – either via a winding coast road from Shielding, to the north on Loch Torridon, or the Bealach na Ba, which is the super-high route.

Things to do

The Applecross Walled Garden, by Applecross House, is a sympathetically restored green space in the village which dates from 1675 and was originally built to serve the ‘big house’ with fruit and vegetables. It once employed a team of gardeners to maximise on its produce, but fell into disrepair following the second world war.

A restoration project began in 2011 and nowadays the team works to bring the on-site Potting Shed café and restaurant the best of what the garden yields for visitors to enjoy. The eateries offer all kinds of locally sourced produce, from Applecross salmon and lobsters to venison from the estate. Breakfast is served from 8.30am to 12pm, and dinner from 6pm to 8.30pm.

As a peninsula, Applecross naturally offers much in the way of water activities. Sea kayaking, walking, climbing and mountaineering are all popular in the general vicinity and multi-day activites are also offered by local company Mountain and Sea Guides – ideal for those who plan to enjoy Applecross for longer than just a brief encounter. The firm can also design days around a group personal preferences or cater its offering to specific budget requirements.

Exploring the area by foot is highly recommended, and what better way to do it than with a beautiful beach trek? The white coral beaches of Ard Ban are a worthy way to spend the day, and there’s even the chance to discover how the white sands are formed during informative trips held at a secret location on the beach. Check Visit Scotland’s website for more information. The bay at Sand is another popular choice with those who like to paddle in the shallows of a day, and Applecross Bay, one of the biggest inlets in the Highlands, provides stunning aspects of the Isle of Skye in the distance.

For foodies, the Applecross Smokehouse is a must-visit. Gourmet trout, salmon, cheeses, pates and mussels are hot and cold smoked in an original hot smoker and sold through the smokehouse as well as online. Not just brilliant at smoking, the smokehouse also offers locally caught langoustines, squat lobsters, crabs and prawns for seafood lovers.

7-day Camper Van History Tour of Scotland

7-day Camper Van History Tour of Scotland

7-day history guide to Scotland

If you’re coming to Scotland on holiday, chances are at least one trip on your itinerary is history-related.

We’re a nation of fierce patriots, and our heritage is a huge part of that. But it’s not just about Braveheart-style bloodshed. Scotland has some of the most fascinating ruins, castles and museums dedicated to our past – from cotton milling, to distilling, to the story of our place in the history of shipbuilding. There’s truly something for everyone.

Our 7-day history guide will take you to places you never knew existed and help you discover the secrets of Scotland’s previous life. All you need to do is drive.

Day 1 – Glasgow 

Glasgow more than holds its own in the history stakes. Begin your day at St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in the east end, a place that has previously been described as the only one of its kind in the world. A permanent exhibition, it hosts archives and relics of religious paraphernalia and was once home to Salvador Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross painting until the Kelvingrove Museum (also worth checking out) in the west end acquired it in 2006.

Close to St. Mungo’s is the Glasgow Necropolis – a beautifully preserved Victorian cemetery perched high on a hill with some of the most stunning views of the city. Here it is possible to view some of the most ornate tombs and gravestones in Scotland, including examples designed by Alexander Thomson, one of the country’s pre-eminent architects. Take sandwiches, sit at the John Knox statue at the peak of the hill and observe Glasgow as the Victorians would have. That night, head to Craigendmuir Park caravan site in the east of the city.

Day 2 – Edinburgh 

On a history-packed day in Edinburgh, arrive late. No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a super-spooky ghost tour and there are plenty on offer. City of the Dead Tours have frequently been tipped as the scariest, so it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment, as other thrill-seekers will be sure to book their places early. The tour itself will allow you to explore Scotland’s capital from underground level, culminating in a glimpse at the Underground City which served as additional slum housing for Edinburgh’s poor hundreds of years ago. Firmly spooked, take yourself off for a fitful night’s sleep at the Edinburgh Caravan Club Site, which has wonderful views of the Firth of Forth.

The next morning, wake bright and early to hit the road. Your destination is Rosslyn Chapel – a 15th century, medieval place of worship that appeared in the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Marvel at the pillars and carvings inside. The chapel’s stained glass windows and organ in particular are things of beauty.

Day 3 – Borders 

The Scottish Borders are where it’s at when it comes to castle. The region is home to no fewer than 31 castles and towers, some privately occupied, and some open to the public. One of the finest is Floors Castle – the largest inhabited castle in Scotland, around an hour’s drive from Edinburgh. It was originally built in 1711, and has, like many historic buildings, been modified and extended over the years. It now houses a fine collection of art, porcelain, and tapestries, and boasts some of the most commanding views over the Borders’ scenic countryside the area has to offer. Alternatively, try Thirlestane Castle, in Lauder. One of the seven ‘Great Houses of Scotland’, it started life as a large stone keep before being transformed into a building of architectural and historical merit. It also played host to Bonnie Prince Charlie who visited in 1745, and it’s still possible to view the room in which he stayed.

It’s worth checking visiting times for all castles in Scotland before visiting, as most operate on reduced hours or are even shut over the winter months. There are a few caravan parks near Lauder for bedding down in – try Thirlestane Castle Caravan Park  or Lauder Camping and Caravanning site.

 Day 4 – Ayrshire

Make to coastal Ayrshire for an exploration into Scotland’s shipbuilding history. The Scottish Maritime Musuem has sites in Irvine, North Ayrshire, and also Dumbarton, further north.  In the Irvine museum there’s the chance to visit the Linthouse engine shop – known as Scotland’s Cathedral of Engineering – and learn about our country’s contribution to the world’s shipbuilding trade. Replica models and historic objects also offer an insight into a bygone era.

Of course, no trip to Ayrshire would be complete without checking out Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, the heart of Burns’ country. Here, you can nose around Burns’ Cottage, where our national Bard was born, as well as take a turn around the gardens and monument created in his honour. There’s even the option to get hitched at the venue for the true Burns’ obsessives.

A trip to Millport is another fine way to spend an afternoon in the area. The island of Cumbrae, where the town is found, is home to the UK’s smallest cathedral. Originally built to serve as a college for the Scottish Episcocal Church, the Cathedral of the Isles can be reached from a ferry that leaves from Largs.

A little further up the coast on your return to the mainland, Wemyss Bay Holiday Park is an ideal spot to take yourselves and your Rockin Van for the night.

Day 5 – Argyll & The Isles 

Argyll and the Isles are home to some of the oldest monolithic relics and ruins in Scotland – and the region has the colourful history to match. Kilmartin Glen in Kilmartin, Argyll, is the site of one of the UK’s highest concentrations of Bronze Age and Neolithic remains. The glen features many standing stones thought to date back to 5000 years, as well as a henge monument, a linear cemetery comprising five burial cairns, and the remains of a fortress. Happily, the site is open year-round – ideal for those planning a Rockin Van trip in the colder months.

If a day spent on Rothesay appeals, there’s plenty to do on the island for history buffs. Kick off with a trip to the Ascog Fernery – a sunken, Victorian garden featuring what’s thought to be the UK’s oldest exotic fern at a spritely 1000 years old. Additionally, there’s a rose garden, gravel garden and wild meadow set in three acres of grounds, and the site is also home to former stables, now ruined, which continues the feeling of archaic grandeur.

There are scores of well thought-of caravan sites in Argyll, but the Argyll Caravan Park on the Duke of Argyll Estate, in Inveraray, is one of the most picturesque.

Day 6 – Highlands

It’s not just the breath-taking scenery that makes the Scottish Highlands one of the country’s most-visited areas. The region is ripe with ancient burial sites, ancient battlefields and buildings of historic interest, not least Eilean Donar Castle – possibly our country’s most distinctive and recognisable landmark. This 13th century castle is located on a tiny coastal island and has appeared in a host of films, ranging from James Bond to Highlander. Guided tours are part of the experience, and a visitor centre provides information on the island’s history through the ages.

Want to delve into the back history of how islanders lived in Scotland? Try the Skye Museum of Island Life in Trotternish. Originally devised to save a town of thatched cottages, each residence now stands as a testament to the conditions 19th century crofters weathered. There’s a weaver’s cottage, old smithy, and an array of crofting equipment and displays.

While on Skye it’s worth heading into Skyeskyns, in Waternish. This traditionally tannery opens its doors to visitors curious to know the methods of making leather, as well as the processes applied to sheepskins to get them ready to hit the shop shelves. There is also the chance to purchase hides and sheepskins.

Staffin Campsite, beneath the Trotternish Ridge, is a rugged setting for your night’s sleep on Skye.

Day 7 – Perthshire 

Start early and take a leisurely drive over to Perthshire on your last day – it’s a five-hour drive but the views en route are well worth the trek. Perthshire is full of literary connections, from Dalguise House, near Dunkeld, where children’s author Beatrix Potter spent her summers, to the waterfalls that inspired Robert Burns’ poetry. There’s also a Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Gardens ideal for little ones in Dunkeld, while the Library of Innerpeffrey (the oldest lending library in Scotland) has more than 5,000 books, most published before 1800, plus rare copies.

Glenturret, in Crieff, is also home to another Scotland first – this time, a distillery. There are tours available for fans of the dram to learn how each whisky matures for three decades before being bottled and sold. Of course, a sample of the distillery’s Famous Grouse is also in order for all but the designated driver.

Finally, Stanley Mills is a group of historic cotton mills that sit on a bend in the River Tay. Founded to process cotton at the height of the Industrial Revolution, the mills now function as visitor attractions with interactive displays and games designed to allow guests to experience what working life was like.

Scone Camping and Caravan Park, just north of Perth, is a good spot to make a base from. It is also close to Scone Palace itself, home of the Stone of Destiny.