There are several fantastic static caravan and lodge parks along the canals of the UK. Parks may be residential, for year round use as a principal residence, or they may be holiday parks, which might be used for a second home, for leisure, or as a holiday letting investment. If you are from the US you may know this type of park as a mobile home park.
The type of caravan park, whether for holiday or residential use, is determined by the park’s current planning permission, and their ongoing licence from the local authority.
Do your research
I am not a lawyer and this information is provided for general guidance only. There is a good page on the Government website if you would like to know more about licencing, the legislative framework, and owners’ rights.
In the UK there is rarely any stigma attached to these homes, although you'll find that parks vary greatly in size, reputation, presentation, and facilities. You'll find everything from basic static caravans on small, simple parks, to luxurious high class developments with large, high quality units - these are usually called lodges.
There is nothing to prevent you from buying a static caravan in the UK if you live abroad. Many parks have dedicated maintenance services so your home from home will be cared for until you next come to stay.
A holiday caravan can usually remain on a pitch for 15 to 30 years from new, but the period may be considerably longer for lodges. Holiday caravan owners are not protected by Mobile Homes legislation.
Residential Parks may be privately owned or local authority owned. It is important to ensure that the site is a ‘protected site’ for which residential use is allowed all year round. Occupiers on protected sites are are covered by Mobile Homes legislation. Residential park homes are not freehold or leasehold. As with holiday vans, you will buy the unit outright, and sign a site agreement for the use of the land. Residential units are generally built to a higher specification than holiday homes and should last for around 70 years if well maintained. Site agreements are also longer for residential lodges, normally about 70 to 100 years. You will pay an ongoing pitch fee, a service charge, and your utility bills. Many of these parks are exclusive to retired people.
Get to know your park
It is well worth getting to know a few parks well before settling on your favourite. Consider whether you want a park which is mainly used for holiday lets, or is mainly owner occupied, whether you want a family park, or one occupied mainly by retirees. These can feel very different. Don’t rely on the advertising materials alone. There is no substitute for visiting in person, ideally several times in different seasons, and talking to some residents. In some parks you may even be able to rent a holiday caravan before making your decision. You should also pay special attention to flood risk, road noise, and any other potential nuisances.
Finding Units for Sale
Caravans and lodges are most commonly sold through the park offices (especially when new), but at some parks they may also be advertised privately by the owners. There are a few websites dedicated to trade and private sales, such as CaravansForSale. Holiday units are rarely sold by estate agents, but pre-loved residential homes are more likely to be sold through estate agents and can be found on Rightmove. The best way to find them on Rightmove is to search by the park's postcode. If you require finance this will be raised via a specialist loan, not a mortgage.
Canalsite Park List
Please note that if you are serious about finding a van or lodge, you should give the site manager a ring to find out what is available. It is wise not to rely on the ‘for sale’ pages on the park websites – in my experience they may not be up to date. They may also be aware of units which might be coming up soon.
Austcliffe Park Homes
Austcliffe Park Homes site is beside the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal in Cookley, near Kidderminster, postcode DY10 3UR. It is a holiday park, open for 11 months of the year (closed in February). Age is restricted to over 50s. Telephone 01562 851277.
Beeston Marina Mobile Home Park
Beeston Marina Mobile Home Park is on the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, postcode NG9 1NA. This is a Residential Park which is open all year. Telephone 01159 223168.
Glasson Marina Holiday Park
Glasson Marina Holiday Park is at Glasson Dock, on the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal, postcode LA2 0BP. This is a holiday park which is open all year round but must be vacant for 28 days per year. There are no age restrictions. Telephone 01524 751787.
Hanbury Wharf Park
Hanbury Wharf is on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal in Droitwich, Worcestershire, postcode WR9 7FB. This is a Residential Park restricted to the over 55s. There is no website. Telephone 07802 619678.
Harleyford Estate is on the Thames near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, postcode SL7 2DX. This is a Residential Park. Telephone 01628 475976.
Hope Mill Park
Hope Mill Park is on the Thames and Severn Canal near Brimscombe, Gloucestershire, postcode GL5 2SQ. This is a Residential Park which is open all year. Age is restricted to over 50s. Telephone 07970 100649.
Kingfisher Holiday Park
Kingfisher Holiday Park is on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley Junction, Staffordshire, postcode: DE13 7DN. This is a Holiday Park. Telephone 01283 790407.
Lady Lane Mobile Home Park
Lady Lane Mobile Home Park is on the Coventry Canal near Longford, Coventry, Warwickshire, postcode CV6 6BD. This is a residential park which is open all year. Telephone 07774 628713. There is no website.
Lodgefield Park is on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal in Baswich on the outskirts of Stafford, Staffordshire, postcode ST17 0YE. This is a residential park for the over 55s. Telephone 01785 256798.
Mercia Marina Holiday Lodges
Mercia Marina Holiday Lodges are at Mercia Marina on the Trent and Mersey Canal near Willington, Derbyshire, postcode DE65 6DW. This is a Holiday Park. Occupancy is six months maximum per year and the park is closed from 14th January to 14th February. Dogs and other pets are welcome, but they must be well behaved and quiet. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times when outside the lodge. Telephone 01283 703332.
Mill Farm Park
Mill Farm Park is on the Ashby Canal in Bulkington, Whitestone, Warwickshire, postcode CV12 9SE. This is a Residential Park restricted to age 50 plus. It extends to about 8 acres with 108 Park Homes. It is a long linear park bordered by the Ashby Canal on one side and open fields on the other. This Park allows cats but not dogs. It is part of the Tingdene Estates group.
Oakland Holiday Park
Oakland Holiday Park is on the Shropshire Union Canal near Brewood, Staffordshire, postcode ST19 9LX. This is a holiday park, which is closed in January and February, and you must have a permanent address elsewhere. There are no age restrictions. Well behaved dogs are allowed but they must be kept on a lead at all times and exercised off the park. The park is small and intimate, and its location on the Shroppie within 20-30 minutes' walk of Brewood is excellent, with loads of fabulous things to see and do in the local area. The wonderful canalside pitches don't come up that often, so I was absolutely over the moon when I managed to buy one. I only sold because I bought my own canalside house.Telephone 01902 851302.
Proctors Park is on the River Soar near Barrow On Soar, Leicestershire, postcode LE12 8QF. The natural river and a canalised stretch of the river curve around two sides of the park. Unfortunately the A6 runs along a third side, but this is not where the statics are pitched. This is a holiday park with a mix of statics, tourers and camping, as well as boat moorings and fishing. The park is open all year round. Telephone 01509 412434.
Promenade Park is on the Manchester Ship Canal in Moore, near to Moore Nature Reserve, Cheshire, postcode WA4 6FX. This is a Residential Park and is restricted to the over 50s. No pets are allowed on the site. Unfortunately they don't have a website. Telephone 01925 740758.
Riverside Park Winsford
Riverside Park is on the River Weaver (a canalised river) near Winsford, Cheshire, postcode CW7 2PN. This is a Residential Park for the over 50s, and is open all year. Telephone 0800 772 0011.
Shaw Hall Holiday Park
Shaw Hall Holiday Park is on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near Ormskirk, Lancashire, postcode L40 8HJ. It is a holiday park which is open all year round but your property must be vacant for 28 days per year. There are no age restrictions. Telephone 01704 840298.
Smithy Leisure Park
Smithy Leisure Park is on the Lancaster Canal in Garstang, Lancashire, postcode PR3 1AA. This is a Holiday Park which is open all year round. It is part of the UK Leisure Parks group and it adjoins Wharf Cottage, (see below). Telephone 01995 606200.
Sunnyside Caravan Park
Sunnyside Caravan Park is on the Lancaster Canal in Bilsborrow, Lancashire, postcode PR3 0SE. This is a mixed residential and holiday park suitable for a 'mature clientele'. The holiday park is closed in January and February. Telephone 01995 640590.
Waterside Park is on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, postcode S64 9AL. It is a residential park for the over 50’s. Telephone 01709 579120.
Welford Chase is on the River Avon at Welford on Avon, Warwickshire, postcode CV37 8PN. This is a residential park for the over 50s, part of the Avon Estates group. Telephone: 01789 581007
Wharf Cottage Leisure Park is on the Lancaster Canal in Garstang, Lancashire, postcode PR3 1AA. This is a holiday park, and it is open all year round. It is part of the UK Leisure Parks group, and it adjoins Smithy Leisure Park, see above. Telephone: 01995 606200.