6 of the Best Campsites to Keep the Kids Entertained

“I’m bored!” is what you will NEVER hear at these campsites, handpicked for their range of facilities designed to keep the whole family happy. So, take a look at what we consider to be six of the best campsites to keep the kids entertained:

1. Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park

Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park in Devon has fantastic facilities to keep everyone out of trouble including heated swimming pools, kids’ club, crazy golf, children’s play park, bouncy castle, arcades and UV Disco bowling, licensed clubhouse and food bar with great nightly children’s and adults’ entertainments.

In addition to all this, they are the closest holiday park to the UK’s Number 1 beach – Woolacombe, and you can easily access it via their dedicated footpath through National Trust countryside within 10-20 minutes (thus avoiding parking charges). A wide range of accommodation options include touring caravans, motorhomes, static caravans and chalets as well as plenty of space for camping.

2. The Farm Camp

The Farm Camp in Wiltshire offers something a little different where the family can become truly immersed in countryside living. They have dedicated staff to offer experiences in farm craft and sheep herding as well as archery and well-being activities. You can go wild swimming nearby and be entertained by live music. You could learn more about their organic vineyard or simply hire a bike or boat and go exploring. This is prime memory-making time for the whole family as you relax into the beautifully furnished bell tents with wood burning stoves to keep you cosy.

3. Smytham Holiday Park

At Smytham Holiday Park, take a relaxing swim in the heated outdoor swimming pool or play table-top games in the purpose-built games room. There is a volleyball/badminton court on the lawn for you to enjoy along with a large open space in the valley which can be used for games such as football or cricket. For the younger ones there is a large play area complete with swings, slides and climbing frames!

Smytham Holiday Park has direct access onto the world-famous Tarka Trail – an old railway line converted into a foot/cycle path where there are stops along the way to refresh yourself with a drink and a bite to eat in the beautiful Devon countryside. There is a selection of holiday accommodation to choose from: from traditional camping and caravanning pitches to timber lodges, camping pods, and holiday homes.

4. Campsie Glen

Campsie Glen in Stirlingshire boasts a fabulous set of facilities for family entertainment including a heated swimming pool, indoor hot tub and small children’s pool. The stunning Scottish scenery forms the backdrop to an adventurous children’s outdoor play area and putting green and when the weather turns, they can retreat into the indoor games room. The whole family can enjoy seasonal weekend entertainment in the lounge bar and there are a wide range of accommodation options from glamping pods through static and touring caravans and of course, beautiful camping pitches.

5. Forest Glade Holiday Park


Forest Glade Holiday Park in Devon is proud to boast a fantastic range of facilities to keep the kids active and entertained. These include a free covered heated swimming pool, children’s play areas, a games room, tennis court and forest walks. In fact, the park is surrounded by 300 acres of forest so there could be no end to the adventures to be had!

Accommodation options include touring caravans, motorhomes and glamping pods as well as plenty of space for camping. All are well-provided for with free hot showers, family and parent and baby rooms, washing up facilities, a laundry room and a campers’ kitchen.  There is even a shop with off-licence and take away so everyone in the family will be happy.

6. Quantock Orchard Caravan Park

Quantock Orchard Caravan Park is perfectly situated in an “area of outstanding beauty” in Somerset. There, the children have access to an exciting adventure playground which has slides, a climbing frame, seesaw and swings as well as a safe environment within the park to play to their heart’s content. Adults might prefer to use the well-equipped gym but everyone on the family can enjoy the swimming pool in this five pennant park. There is also bike hire available to explore the Quantock Hills where you might spot the native ponies, red deer and a host of other wildlife.

Accommodation options include touring caravans, motorhomes, static caravans as well as well-appointed pitches for camping.

Packing your Caravan away for Winter

When it’s the end of the season and time for packing away your caravan for winter, you might wonder what you should actually do to keep it in good condition until next year. Well, here are a few tips from our good friend, Kate, who admits to OCD when it come to her beloved “Green Windows!” (check out Green Windows’ story here: An Affordable Caravan? We Found One!)

Awning

The same as for  Packing your tent away for winter, we always make sure our awning is clean and dry before we put it away for winter to prevent any mould or mildew taking hold. We hang it out and look for any marks or tears – cleaning the marks with an appropriate awning cleaner and patching up the holes. When we are happy it’s completely dry then we fold it away putting it back in its bag. Replace any guy lines or poles that are on their way out and put some new tent pegs in also. There is nothing worse than getting it out next spring and finding half your bits and pieces don’t work, are broken or missing!

Kitchen

Everyone gives their caravan a good clean after every use, but it needs the winter special spruce before you tuck it up. I clean every nook and cranny in mine. I am obsessed about damp and mould. To beat this, you need to be really thorough:

  1. Remove ALL the food from the kitchen cupboards except for tins. I remove all the sugar, coffee, tea, salt, pepper, sauces, the lot!
  2. Give the cupboards a good hoover and wipe out.
  3. When dry, put in a few loose tea bags. These will soak up any moisture and stop mould appearing.
  4. Make sure your oven and grill are clean and empty out your toaster. We don’t want any crumbs left about that little friends might come looking for.
  5. Clean your fridge by giving it a good wipe out with bicarbonate of soda.
  6. When dry, put loose tea bags in it and leave the door open so it can ventilate.

 

The secret weapon against mould?

Bathroom

When you clean your toilet, empty and flush your waste tank.  I make my husband do this several times (I know, I spoil him). However our waste tank is never too bad as our toilet is a no-poo zone. We also don’t put toilet paper in it.  We always leave our tank in the open position over winter.

I also empty the bathroom of shampoo, shower gel and soap. The spare toilet roll also comes home because no-one wants a damp crinkled toilet roll next season!

Living area

I take all my bedding home and towels, even if it’s clean. I want everything washed, aired and packed away in the loft until next season.

It’s a personal choice but I like to leave my curtains open – I don’t leave anything in it to pinch and I take everything home apart from the plates and cutlery. I also leave my blinds open, just because they are roller blinds and she is an old van. I worry that if they a pulled down for months they might not roll back up in spring.

I lift up the cushions and stand them on their sides. Because I am obsessed!

Last few jobs before you shut the door:

  • Hoover the floor
  • Clean it by hand with warm water and floor cleaner.
  • Use a towel until it is bone dry (no mould zone please)

General maintenance

The water system – now this is not my job. But I know it always takes him ages to sort out (I think my OCD might be rubbing off…well, I can hope!) He drains the whole system and leaves all the taps on including the shower head. Remove any filters, as you don’t want any water being held in your unit. Freezing in your pipes would be a disaster darling!

Leave all your vents open and unblocked. You want your van to be able to breathe over winter. Make sure that your windows are shut properly and that any perished rub seals have been replaced. Also check the seal on your roof vents. No dripping in here please.

Our boot doesn’t leak but it could when I’m not there. So, we place a great big piece of plastic sheet over the boot contents so it doesn’t get wet.

Storage

Where are you keeping your caravan over winter?

Obviously, it needs to be somewhere secure, clean and dry. We make sure we park it on level ground and put its legs down. We choke the wheels and leave the hand brake off. If you can visit your van over winter to check it and make sure it knows it is still wanted, great. I can’t unfortunately but the people who keep it in storage for me let me know if there are any problems and know to give her a little pat now and then.

As you may have guessed, there can be no shortcuts to packing away your caravan for the winter.

Remember: clean looked after well cared for caravan = great holidays 2019!

I love my “Green Windows,” and have no intention of replacing her. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming and I love checking out camping/caravan shows to see what innovations have come onto the market and what accessories I could add to her. For a list of these check out Camping and Caravan Shows Spring 2019.

Camping and Caravan Shows – Spring 2019

The main camping season may be over (except for you crazy extreme campers!) and thoughts have turned to log fires and cosying up next to them. But in a few weeks’ time, when you start to get that ‘itch’, that need to reconnect to your tent, caravan or motorhome, fear not! There are many opportunities in early 2019 for a darn good nosey into new products and innovations available at camping and caravan shows up and down the country. These are great opportunities to have a good look at products you have heard about, to test things out, find a good deal, stock up on items or just ogle at what’s out there. Whatever your motivation, camping and caravan shows certainly get you thinking about the summer ahead and help to shorten the loooooong winter season!

January 2019

17th-20th: Manchester Caravan & Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester

18th-20th: Belfast Caravan & Motorhome Show, Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast

20th-21st: Adventure Travel Show, Olympia, London

25th-27th: Holiday World Show, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin

25th-29th: The Motorhome Show, Westpoint, Exeter

31st Jan-3rd Feb: Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, Olympia, London

 

February 2019

7th-10th: Scottish Caravan and Outdoor Show, Glasgow SECC

16th-17th: DubFreeze, Bingley Hall, Stafford

19th-24th: Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, NEC Birmingham

 

March 2019

17th-18th: UK Spring Motorhome & Caravan Show, Newark Show Ground

22nd-24th: The Yorkshire Motorhome and Accessory Show, Great Yorkshire Showground

 

April 2019

18th-22nd: Camperfest, Chester

26th-28th: The National Motorhome and Campervan Show, East of England Showground, Peterborough

An Affordable Caravan? We Found One!

By Kate, mum of two boys (one of which answers to Scooby) and caravan fan.

I have noticed these days, that people have a tendency to put barriers up that stop them from having a go at things.  When it comes to caravans for example, people think that they will be too expensive, that they are not affordable. It doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to think in a different way.

When I was a little girl, my mum and dad saved up and bought the family a second-hand affordable caravan. I loved it. It was like living in a dolls’ house when we went on holiday. It was old but had been loved and looked after and everything had its own special place where it was kept and it was comfortable. We had years of fun in it, travelling all over the United Kingdom with it. What a sight we must have been:  three kids in the back of an estate bursting at the seams with stuff, a caravan piled with more stuff and a roof rack on the car with a boat on top of it. Not to mention the bikes, scooters and barbecue. We often went to stay down in Cornwall or Devon and enjoyed so many camp sites and made hundreds of new friends.

So when I had my own child the memories of those great holidays flooded back into my mind. A lady I worked with always talked about her holidays in the caravan at the weekend and school holidays and the great adventures she had with her family and friends in her caravan. I always liked to hear about it but never thought I would ever own a caravan as my husband liked to camp in a tent. He said it reminded him of his scouting days. Also, I simply didn’t think a caravan was affordable.

Then one day Barbara at work said she was selling her caravan which they called Green Windows for £1000 and did I know anybody that was interested. Well, this made what I thought was impossible, possible so I did what any good wife would do…started scheming! I hatched a plan with her and managed to convince my husband to visit Barbara and her husband, who by the way had a caravan for sale.

One week later I was the proud owner of Green Windows. I bought her new towels, cushions and bedding. Knives, forks, spoons, plates… the lot and she was ready to go. Barbara had taken really good care of her and she was old but immaculate. “Plenty of life in the old girl yet,” Barbara’s husband had said when we paid for her. And he was right.

We have had Green Windows six years now and have endless amount of fabulous holidays in her. My husband loves going away in her, I love the comfort of her and my son feels like I did when I was small – it’s just like living in a doll’s house.  If it’s raining or blowing a gale it doesn’t matter because you’re snug and cosy inside playing board games, drinking wine, relaxing. Enjoying your holiday!

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When the weather is great you get all the stuff out: wind break, deck chairs, body boards, crab nets, buckets and spades, kitchen sink and you go off down the beach.  All your clothes are in cupboards or wardrobes so no searching through bags trying to find things.  You can flick a switch and a light comes on. You can make a cup of tea easily and sit and enjoy it while it’s still hot. You can have a barbecue but if the weather turns half way through cooking you can finish cooking it all inside… in a relaxed manner while drinking your wine! When you go to sleep you have a bed to sleep on which is small but comfortable and warm and there’s no danger of getting wet in the middle of the night. You have a toilet in the caravan so in the middle of the night you don’t have to find your shoes, put your coat on, find a torch, take your loo roll and stumble down the field to the toilet. However we do have one very important rule in Green Windows, we are a no Poo zone. All poos must be done in the campsite toilet, Green window’s toilet only accepts wees!

At the moment, she is stored at Anglesey and we have enjoyed many holidays in her there (including this half-term week.) We have stayed at many fabulous sites and enjoyed the wonderful beaches. We intend to have plenty more of that this year and if it rains it doesn’t matter. Because we won’t be damp, cold or soggy. We will be cosy, warm and dry in our luxurious and affordable Green Windows. Cheers!

If you want to try before committing to buying, you can hire from Camplify. Check out their huge range of affordable options from teeny to gigantic, all over the country!

Nice comfy bed to go with it? Bundle Beds are so snuggly! And make it even more cosy with a Jofli Bear to cuddle and share your journey with.

Great sites that welcome caravans: Petruth Paddocks Free Range CampingRiverside Caravan & Camping ParkRiddings Wood Caravan and Camping Park,  Bay View Farmers CampsiteForest Glade Holiday ParkLee Meadow CampingWarcombe Farm Campsite

WHY SETTLE FOR AN ORDINARY CAMPING HOLIDAY? AT RIVER DART COUNTRY PARK, YOU DON’T HAVE TO…

Family-friendly campsites shouldn’t be locations that just offer a pitch in a field with a tired, single children’s play area. Everyone knows that family holidays should be fun. Not just for the children, but for the adults too. It’s an opportunity for the whole gang to spend time together and most importantly, have fun together!

 

At River Dart Country Park in Ashburton, Devon, this ethos has been the key to families returning, time and time again. Located within Dartmoor National Park, the site boasts over 90 acres of stunning parkland and playgrounds with something for everyone.

The sheer amount of outdoor activities available to visitors is incredible. There’s no chance of anyone getting bored or fed up anytime soon! Kids can make a splash in the Pirate Ship Lake, competitive kids (and big kids) can take on the assault course, slides, there’s also the Play Fort, Agility Trail, Climbing Pods and Pump Track, plus loads of other activities. Surprisingly, all of this is included in the pitch price.

 

They also have Dare Devil Activities that run during certain times of the year and are available at extra cost. These activities are more adrenaline-fuelled experiences and include a Mega Zip Wire, Water Zorbs, High Ropes Course, Canoeing, Kayaking and Indoor Bouldering.

It goes without saying that after all the fun and excitement, refuelling is essential. A perfect opportunity for the adults in the party to sit and enjoy a cold drink, or some locally sourced food at the onsite café bar. So, there are certainly moments of calm to be had here, if that is more to your taste. And the park’s location is undeniably made for moments like this, with the tree-lined River Dart running through the site it really is beautiful.

The fact of the matter is, there is so much to enjoy and in a stunning location too. The park caters for all family members, toddlers, children, adults, those looking for activities to do, those looking to put their feet up, those wanting to relax and those looking to explore. Camping holidays should be what we want to make of them, give us the options and let us decide how we spend our time. River Dart Country Park gives the visitor those choices and much more, that’s what makes it so uniquely special.

Find out more here: River Dart Country Park

Signs of Spring at Forest Glade Holiday Park

There’s something so exciting about that first camping or caravanning trip of the season. Getting everything out of storage and replacing bits that might have become too worn (giving you the excuse for a bit of retail therapy). Spring cleaning the tent or van. Stocking up on essentials. It’s a time of hope and anticipation for the season ahead. What adventures will we have this year? Here’s how things are shaping up at Forest Glade.

 

 

Forest Glade had a few days of being bathed in warm sunshine during the recent short-lived heat wave. Those who were lucky enough to be on the park during those few days, many of whom were on their first holiday of the year, were treated to a real burst of spring joy. 

 

 

On our wander around the park one morning, it didn’t take long to spot the signs that nature had definitely “sprung”. With their nodding trumpets, the daffodils are the most obvious heralds of spring. They grow in clumps all around the park. There’s a carpet of pale yellow primroses near the wildlife pond and the new vibrant green buds on our willow tunnel will soon grow into a dense covering perfect for the kids to play hide and seek. 

 

The wildlife is also awakening. The morning bird song is triumphant, even if it does start rather early! There are currently a pair of tree creepers in the Christmas Tree Field, showing their courtship dance up and down the tree trunks. Our resident Aylesbury ducks were also having a fabulous time waddling around the paths.

 

You have to be quick to photograph them, but we even saw lizards scuttling about in the woods during the warm weather!  It has to be mentioned that if you’re planning a stroll in the woods, plastic clogs are not recommended footwear even on  dry day – there are still some boggy bits!

 

Lots of our visitors were out making the most of the sun: sitting outside their vans having breakfast; walking the dog; or topping up the bird feeder.

With a start to the season like that, we’re filled with enthusiasm for the rest of the year! Do come and visit us at Forest Glade Holiday Park where you will be made most welcome.