It’s with a certain sense of irony that the last van life event of 2023 was at the same location as my first van life event at the Stratford Upon Avon racecourse back in 2023.

Organisation and Parking.

Couldn’t have been easier. Rock up to the front gate with the friendly staff, scan the QR code, follow the track around and park up. I was lucky that once again Heather had kept a spare space for me and there’s no better moment of rocking up seeing your mates, grabbing a chair, settling down with a drink, or even better being offered a brew when you arrive. It’s those moments when you haven’t seen your van life mates for months that make that 4 hour drive disappear into the either.

Spaces were nicely marked out, plenty of space around us all and the ground nice and level for the most. I did spot some vans with the ramps and all that yet overall the ground seemed nice and level.

There were plenty of vans in the main attraction area pumping out tunes, live music but never so much to permeate into the sleeping areas and best of all I had no idea what time the music stopped. The quietness ended naturally for the event it felt unlike other events where the hammer went down at 10am (looking at you Warner group).

The Cost.

For 3 days of camping, plus talks, live music, showers and facilities was around £80 for 3 days. A price given the cost of living you really cant complain at. There are campsite which will charge more just to park on a bit of grass in Pembrokeshire that charge a lot more for a lot less.

What was on offer was a nice mix, the usual trade stands where you can buy a van starting from 20k, fancy a roof box for 2k or how about a total cool over priced solar panel or fridge for £200? You were covered but what I personally liked was the jumble sales. A change to get bits and bobs that you might need and I ended up taking a chance on a battery for my van just costing me £20. Will it work im not entirely sure but I’ll take a punt to support people who turn up.

The downside was the location of the jumble, being in the concourse of the racecourse with only one crossing point going over the raceway to the jumble area. This would of been better placed over with the tanks on the far side of the walking about and mooching area rather than a protracted walk to get there.

Back to costs
Beer and cider £5
Fish and chips £12.50
Pint of Pimms £10
Curry Goat £12
Coffee £3.50
1/4 Burger £7.50

Over the three days there was a definite pattern of food traders being dead during the day and then picking up early evening onwards. The cost of living has put pay to “cant be bothered to cook, let’s eat out”. Now it’s more people choosing to have a treat night than anything else.

Even during the last of the summer weather on Friday where it was baking, there was never a queue for the bar even when the late night acoustic bands were in effect. No fault of the event more a combination of the cost of living and the artificially inflated prices of holding an event at a racecourse.

The Traders Feedback

Like I’ve mentioned there was a nice little mix of those selling vans, expensive trailers and new heating equipment through to those handy bit’s and bobs for a few quid. People were mooching around yet to me it seemed more like something to do rather than spend money. That being said quirky bar b cues were oft seen being carted around the site and who could blame anyone with summer seemingly having an agreement with autumn to finish a few weeks early and let it take up the slack.

I always try and speak to traders how they have done. It’s more common for the majority to say we have covered costs, made fuel money and it’s great to see their enthusiasm still there for these events. Do bear in mind this being a smaller event the same was said from traders at the bigger van life events.

There has been some feedback on the disappointment of traders lacking on a Sunday. A valid point but have some sympathy for them, a severe weather warning was in place for Sunday and I would say the majority were there till 3pm.


Had Friday’s sunny balmy blitz continued onwards through the weekend I have no doubt this would have been heralded as a a punctuation for the end of the season. No doubt in my mind if the Indian summer had prevailed it would have been a completely different experience. That’s not to say it was bad at all.. More a case of what if.