Recently I could not get a pitch for any of my usual local campsites. Both Chertsey and Wyatts Covert were full and being March, others close to me like Walton on Thames had not yet opened. Since the changes to the London Low Emission Zone in January 2012 I was also unable to consider campsites like Crystal Palace. A brief search on the internet revealed another possible option, Alderstead Heath Caravan Club site. It’s just inside the M25 but outside the low emission zone. A quick call to them revealed that they had availability and so I made a reservation and headed over there.
Alderstead Heath Caravan Club Site – First Impressions
Access to the campsite was somewhat tough because of a very narrow country lane. Apparently they advise you to access from the other direction. You might want to ask them for directions when you make a booking. Once at reception I was asked to go and look for a pitch I liked and return with the pitch number. This is a different way of pitch allocation to what I’m used to at club sites. Most tell you what pitches they have available. You then look at a map of the site and pick one. I decided to plump for a pitch near one of the shower blocks and returned to the reception to make my payment. At this time I received some really good news, the campsite operated a midweek discount. There was a 50% reduction on the pitch fee! Since I am usually on my own the pitch fee represents the greatest part of my costs. It was beginning to look like Alderstead Heath might become my new regular campsite!
Alderstead Heath Caravan Club Site – The Facilities and Local Area
After my initial positive reaction to the campsite I encountered what could have been a large problem. I could not get a decent signal on my 3 mobile broadband Mifi! I briefly walked around the campsite with the Mifi to see if the signal was better elsewhere. It did seem that a stronger signal could be achieved further away from the reception. After going back to reception to change pitch they confirmed that other visitors had reported issues with mobile broadband signals. Regulars to the site apparently request a pitch in the area that I was now being relocated to. If you are someone who does not need internet access or if you use the campsite wifi this will not be an issue for you.
Once I could access the internet I was able to enjoy the campsite and its facilities. The grounds are well landscaped and it feels very rural. It has a total of 150 pitches, many of which are hardstanding. Their website states that they can accept vehicles up to 10.4 metres in length. I certainly saw some very long fifth wheel trailers during my visit. Like other Caravan Club sites you will find a good heated shower and toilet block, washing up sinks, laundry and chemical disposal points. Lighting on the site was also good should you arrive back late at night.
Some who choose the campsite would do so because of its close proximity to London. The bus that stops outside the campsite does so only every 2 hours from Monday to Friday. It goes to places like Merstham, Redhill, Caterham and Oxted. None of these places are in travelcard zones 1-6, so you would be looking at an expensive train to London! A better solution for London is to request a taxi from the campsite to take you to Coulsdon South train station. At the time of writing a taxi would cost you £7.00. If you are travelling as a family this £7.00 is really no expense at all. Once at Coulsdon South there are regular quick trains to London Bridge. Best of all Coulsdon South is in Travelcard Zone 6 so buying a zone 1-6 travelcard will be all you need for exploring London.
The campsite has a number of footpaths on the doorstep with North Downs scenery awaiting you. Dog owners will love the walking opportunities from this site. One drawback is that being quite remote you don’t have a little local shop to buy supplies. There is a decent sized Tesco in Caterham which is listed as 3 miles away. If you are walking across fields on footpaths it should take you no longer than 45 minutes. In good weather I don’t mind the walk but to be honest it’s the sort of campsite where it’s better to stock up on supplies before you arrive.
Overall I really enjoyed my short stay at Alderstead Heath Caravan Club Site. I hope to visit it again soon, especially if their midweek discount continues!
NOTE! – I HAVE VISITED ALDERSTEAD HEATH CARAVAN CLUB SITE AGAIN MORE RECENTLY AND HAD A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE WHICH HAS RESULTED IN ME CANCELLING MY MEMBERSHIP TO THE CARAVAN CLUB. TO READ MORE VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINK