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Experience vintage Airstream on the Isle of Wight

PUBLISHED: 11:33 17 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:10 20 February 2013

The Airstream was founded by Wally Byam in the 1920s. Vintage Vacations has 10 of them available for short stay holidays

The Airstream was founded by Wally Byam in the 1920s. Vintage Vacations has 10 of them available for short stay holidays

Ever wanted to try holidaying like they did in the 1950s? Well on the Isle of Wight <br/><br/>you can, as Kate Edwards experienced when she stayed in a vintage Airstream

The girls and I have just got back from camping. Or rather Glamping (glamorous camping) as the cool kids are calling it.
We stayed on the Isle of Wight, in the new des res of outdoor accommodation, a 1951 Airstream Spartanette, courtesy of Vintage Vacations, and now I feel (somewhat smugly) very on trend.
Everyones camping these days. People from all walks of life are packing up of a weekend, driving to a new location and having an adventure, be it in a tent, a trailer or a caravan. With this in mind, we embarked on an adventure to Vintage Vacations, a Hi-de-Hi style holiday experience on the Isle of Wight.

Step back in time
Owners Helen (a former stylist) and Frazer Cunningham have created their guilty pleasure on the Island, which includes various shacks, bungalows and even a converted church to hire for a week or just a couple of days. Everyone who visits here loves it, says Helen, who founded the company in 2004, its like stepping back in time, great for couples who want a different kind of mini-break or for families. Theres so much to do here and it doesnt matter if youre on a big or tight budget.


Farming fun
All of the pairs accommodation is uniquely decorated and lovingly restored to its former glory, kitted out with quilted multi-coloured blankets, retro games and other quirky touches.
We stayed on Great Stranden, a field next to a working farm, which houses six of the 10 trailers. Knowing that ferry food is definitely an acquired taste, Helen leaves scones, clotted cream and homemade jam for you on arrival. Theres even complimentary Babycham to drink as she runs through life on site and theres a guide listing things to see and do on the Island. Dont worry if you havent researched the area, she says, the guide caters for everyones tastes and if you fancy fresh eggs in the morning, walk across the field where the farmer will sell you some.
From the outside, the Airstream looks like a silver bullet, an impressive block of steel against an agricultural backdrop. Step inside and you enter a cosy and warm bubble, complete with low lighting, an old cuckoo clock and special nooks and crannies filled with vintage delights for you and your guests to discover.
The kitchen is simple (four ring gas hob, wipe clean surface) and tea and coffee is provided. The bedroom is snug, filled with cosy cushions and handmade quilts, theres even a dressing table with an elegant hand held mirror, a hairdryer and various lady-like trinkets.

Island delights
After a few hours exploring the trailer, singing along to the 1950s music provided and making friends with the neighbours, we ventured out to explore the Island; made up of very pretty, picturesque seaside towns, its fast becoming the trendy trippers best-kept secret. Vogue even named Ventnor, the place to be seen in 2009 you cant get a much better accolade than that.
A short drive from the site you can find lots of idyllic country pubs, including Newports oldest, The Castle Inn, which as well as having a mouth-watering menu, boasts its own skittle alley and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
We spent most of our Saturday eating and drinking at the renowned Garlic Farm in Newchurch, owned and run by garlic guru Colin Boswell.


Shop til you drop
Island shopping is as much fun as sightseeing. Fans of Liz Earle can visit her flagship store on Union Street in Ryde and although its much smaller than its counterpart in Chelsea, the range is just as extensive. As Liz is a native Islander you might even be lucky enough to spot her passing by. Also pay a visit to Joelle, on Cross Street, it is a boudoir of sensual and exotic gifts, perfect for someone special. Packing up was hard, particularly lugging the weekends worth of shower water across the
field to drain and as the ferry left the Island we were genuinely sad to leave.
Since we stayed the owners have moved site. In April, Vintage Vacations is now situated on Hazlegrove Farm, Ashey Road. Its even larger than their previous address with all 10 of their trailers accommodated for in the field.
A three-night stay in an airstream costs from 195. For more information, tel. 07802 758113 or visit www.vintagevacations.co.uk


A brief history of the Airstream
Wally Byam founded the Airstream in the 1920s. He built them in his LA backyard. After his reputation grew, Byam introduced the 1936 Airstream clipper. Designed to cut down on wind resistance and therefore save on fuel, demand for the model soared. Unfortunately for Byam, World War II caused an acute aluminium shortage, producing a lull for Airstream. However, when the war ended, the leisure industry boomed and Byam took full advantage of this. It goes to show people look after their trailers 70 per cent of models ever made are still around.


Did you know?
â—‹A new species of cat-like dinosaur, yet to be named, was discovered on the Isle of Wight in 1988.
â—‹Bonchurch is the Islands most preserved Victorian village, which attracted many writers and artists such as Charles Dickens and Karl Marx.
â—‹There are 21 tourists to every Island resident.


Not your cup of tea? Try these
Xoron Floatel
Xoron is an 11ft two-deck floating guesthouse overlooking picturesque Bembridge Harbour and the beach. The ex-motor gunboat from the Second World War has been lovingly converted to three en-suite rooms and a 90ft guest house with television and sea views.
Stay for 28 per person, tel. 01983 874596 www.xoronfloatel.co.uk

Bank End Farm

Sleep in a moonlight or stardust yurt, which is equipped with one double futon, two singles, a wood burning stove, floor cushions and colourful rugs. Each yurt has its own shower room/wc and comes with use of the shared kitchen and games room. Stay for three days from 195, tel. 01983 852649 www.bankendfarm.co.uk

Isle of Wight Camper Van Holidays
Hire a camper van and travel across the Isle of Wight, exploring hidden coves and beaches in style. Each camper is fully equipped for your break including linen, towels and
even a welcome hamper with cake!
Available to hire from 395 during peak season (June, July, August
and September, Monday to Friday or Friday to Monday).
Tel. 01983 852089 or 07855 431566 www.isleofwightcampers.co.uk

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