Welcome to the fourth post in our series of reviews of campsite finder websites. This review features the website www.pitchup.com. For details of our review criteria and links to the other reviews in this series please visit our how to find a campsite blog post.
The design of http://www.pitchup.com is attractive and easy on the eye, although it is a little bit on the busy side.
Pitchup.com is your free guide to camping and caravanning in the UK and Ireland – judged Best UK Travel Information Site 2010. With 5,000 campsites and holiday parks, nifty searching and loads of offers, it has never been easier to find and book the perfect site – and rediscover the glee in camping and caravanning.
Finding a Campsite
There is currently a large database of 5,048 camping and caravan sites listed. Whilst it is possible to check availability and book some camping sites or holiday parks, it is worth noting that there are only 24 campsites nationwide that allow you to book a pitch for a tent via PitchUp.com.
The quick search allows you to type in a location, select the type of pitch, i.e. tent, caravan, motor homes or lodges, and check availability.
You can also select campsites using the map feature. The map is divided into regions and features drawings relevant to each region, adding a bit of fun to the website. There is also a list of counties underneath the map if you wish to find a camping site in a particular county.
The advance search allows further selection from the list of sites. There are plenty of options to choose from and the search works in such a way as to help whittle down the campsites to provide a suitable short list to choose from. Its easy to remove options and there is a search reset link if you want to start again.
One selection called Camping 2.0 enables you to choose holiday parks that have special tents, such as camping pods, bell tents, wigwams, yurts and tipis. They sound interesting but they’re surely not as good as proper camping tents!
Campsites with a basic listing have the address, telephone and co-ordinates for your GPS as well as a list of amenities, location map and review section. Campsites with paid for listings may also have a link to their website, photos, detailed description, availability and the ability to book through Pitch Up, depending upon the listings package.
Other Observations about PitchUp.com
Local pubs listed, courtesy of The Good Pub Guide, is a useful feature but the number of pubs in the database is limited. There are also links to local National Trust sites, other places of interest and cycle routes.
The little feedback tab on the left hand side gets in the way sometimes. In fact it can be quite annoying when you are trying to use the advance camping site search features.
After looking at a particular camping site trying to go back to your search results can be a bit tricky. In particular the breadcrumb links send you away from your search results since they are based on finding camping sites in a geographical area.
There are links to campsites which claim to offer wild camping, but wild camping does not strictly involve campsites. I suspect that the campsites offering wild camping do not actually offer wild camping at all.
There is some advertising but its not too intrusive.
Camping Site Reviews
The user reviews feature a set of standard ratings for which the user can assign values, e.g. location, value for money, cleanliness etc. for the campsite that they are reviewing. A summary of these for all the reviews for a particular campsite is shown, which gives a handy, quick way of assessing a campsite. However there are not many reviews and you probably get a better feel for whether a campsite is suitable from actually reading the reviews.
Green Campsite Credentials
PitchUp.com was set up by Dan Yates who also launched carbonwise, lastminute.com’s award-winning carbon offsetting programme, through which 15% of lastminute.com customers have offset 50,000 tonnes of CO2. Therefore it is no wonder that Green Tourism features on PitchUp.com.
The PitchUp.com’s advanced search allows campsite selection based upon whether recycling is available and whether they use renewable energy. You can also base your search upon whether the holiday park or campiste has a David Bellamy conservation award. The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The assessment criteria for the awards are based upon how well the campsite
- Manage their land as a haven for wildlife
- Reduce their use of energy, water and other resources
- Reduce, reuse and recycle the waste they produce
- Support their local communities
PitchUp.com Campsite Finder Review Summary
With an easy to look at design, huge database and detailed advanced search facilities PitchUp.com is definitely worth a visit when you’re looking for a campsite. However, if you are wishing to book a campsite through PitchUp.com it is worth noting that there are only bookable 24 campsites. Useful features include highlighting campsite green credentials and the local pub guide. Once there are a few more bookable campsites and user reviews it will be even better!
The next review in this series is www.ukcampsite.co.uk.
The next camping site finder in this series will be www.ukcampsite.co.uk