5 Wonderful Welsh Glamping Sites

Holidaying in the absolutely beautiful country that is Wales is finally possible again. On July 13th, the welsh government permitted the opening of holiday sites with “self-contained accommodation.” This means that customers must have their own toilet/showering facilities rather than sharing them with other families. Whilst this might present a problem to some sites, for many welsh glamping sites, it did not. Many already had self-contained pitches where you have exclusive use of toilet/shower facilities and for others, they have adjusted to make sure that they have.

Glamping is the slightly more luxurious relation of camping. You don’t have to lug your whole life in your car/trailer/roofbox but can travel a little lighter. You also have the bonus of not having to set up your whole site on arrival – it is all ready for you to enjoy whilst still reaping the benefits of outdoor living. There are so many options available, it is impossible to list them all but you may come across bell tents, yurts, shepherd’s huts, geodomes, tipis, cabins, pods to name but a few.

We have selected 5 simply wonderful welsh glamping sites that have gone out of their way to ensure they are Covid-19 secure as well as having accommodation and views to make lockdown feel like a lifetime ago.

1. Wye Glamping

If stunning views are what you need after staring at your garden fence for the last few months, then you will truly appreciate what Wye Glamping has to offer. From the mountain views and idyllic babbling brook to the luxurious interior of a locally built yurt, a beautifully handcrafted cabin or spacious bell tent. The team at Wye Glamping pride themselves on their attention to every detail on their eco-friendly, small, family run site. Suitable for families and couples alike, the well-equipped, peaceful and luxurious glamping site will help you enjoy a memorable break in comfort and style.

Please check here for Wye Glamping’s Covid-19 update.

Wye Glamping
Luxurious and cosy interior

2. Beavers Retreat Glamping

If you are feeling a pull towards the Pembrokeshire Coast National park, then the wonderful family-run site of Beavers Retreat will help provide that getaway. Here, you can choose from family-sized beautifully furnished bell tents or cosy Geodomes with wood-fired hot tubs, each unit having self-contained kitchen and bathroom facilities. This eco-friendly site takes nothing from the grid as the water on site is taken from a natural spring, and the high-pressure showers are gravity fed. With views of the stunning welsh countryside, a peaceful location and close proximity to nearby beaches and coastal path, this is truly the perfect place to get away from it all.

Please check here for Beavers Retreat Glamping’s Covid-19 update. 

Beavers Retreat
Cosy geodome at Beavers Retreat

3. Pembrokeshire Barn Farm

Perhaps you would like to experience a cosy shepherd’s hut this year? Well, near to the beautiful beaches at Saundersfoot and Tenby, within the rolling, green countryside of Pembrokeshire, lies the little gem that is Pembrokeshire Barn Farm. This family-friendly, luxury glamping retreat offers cosy, well-designed and equipped shepherd’s huts for you to relax and replenish within. Set on a 15-acre smallholding currently kept as hay meadows with a wealth of wildlife, it’s the ideal place for families and friends to escape to for a holiday to remember.

Please check here for Pembrokeshire Barn Farm’s Covid-19 update. 

Pembrokeshire Barn Farm
The view out of Apple Tree Hut

4. White House on Wye Glamping

Maybe a luxurious tipi within a cider apple orchard would be the holiday of choice this year? White House Farm sits deep in the heart of the beautiful Wye Valley and is perfect for families to explore the nature around them including the secret pebble beach of the River Wye that flows for over a mile through the farm. The small award-winning family-friendly glamping site was featured by The Sunday Times as one of the UK’s top glamping sites. This comes as no surprise given their extreme pride in their well-decorated, fully equipped and cosy tipis, surrounding area and ultra-clean facilities.

Please check here for Whitehouse on Wye Glamping’s Covid-19 update.

White House on Wye Glamping
Tipis nestled in a cider apple orchard

5. Hare’s Form

Fancy a break ALONE, AWAY FROM THE KIDS?

This fantasy could be yours with Hush Hush Glamping at Hare’s Form overlooking the stunning Radnor Valley. Set within 90 acres of family farmland, you can stay in their cosy wooden pod for two sharing with no other humans, only the friendly alpaca, sheep, red kites, the odd hare and the occasional deer nearby. You will find true peace and quiet here and be able to spend quality time with each other away from distractions.

Contact Hare’s Form for their Covid-19 update.

Hare's Form Glamping
Unbelievable views at Hare’s Form Glamping

If any of these gorgeous welsh glamping sites appeal, not only will you be having a wonderful holiday to remember but you will be supporting a family-run small business to survive in the most difficult year they have experienced! #supportsmallbusinesses

Why go Camping in 2020?

Park Foot

Well, 2020 has been fun so far hasn’t it?

Hmm, that might be stretching it somewhat! What with Australia burning, endless Brexit, a global pandemic and mass civil unrest to mention just a few of the fun times we have faced this year, you feel like ripping the year up and starting again at 2021! However, here we are, managing as best as we can with more than half of the year left to limp through. So, whilst Covid-19 is still raging, why on earth would we want to go camping in 2020?

Well, the fact remains that camping or glamping are simply the best types of holiday full stop (not at all biased). Many people are so committed that they have even camped during lockdown! No, not by breaking any rules but by the beauty that is…

1. Camping at home

Who else can remember the excitement of camping in your garden as a child? Well, camping at home became a thing this year and looks set to continue through the summer. Whether camping indoors, in gardens, on balconies and even on a trampoline – camping can happen anywhere with whatever equipment you have. Kids find it magical and it’s a real chance for family bonding and fun. You might even break a world record! Our family took part in the Scouts’ #CampAtHome record on 30th April and we couldn’t get the kids out of their shoddy blanket tent for another week!

For those that are desperate to get away from it all when camping in 2020 but simply cannot or do not want to whilst the threat of Covid-19 remains, why not try glamping at home? Tinkers Bells usually provide their gorgeous bell tents for use at weddings, festivals and other large social gatherings, so obviously, their business took a huge hit in the last few months. But have they come up with the perfect solution? After their initial shock, they took stock and diversified sublimely to now provide garden glamping whether you want the ultimate staycation, celebrate a birthday, anniversary or just have a change from your own Groundhog Day. You will be provided with a simply fabulous 7ft bell tent fully erected and furnished to your request in the safe confines of your own garden. Ali and Darren are wonderfully friendly to deal with and you can expect professional, meticulous standards.

Camping in 2020 - Garden Glamping
Garden Glamping with Tinker’s Bells

2. This Beautiful Country

For those that do wish to venture further for camping in 2020, without the pressure to go abroad, it is the perfect opportunity to explore this beautiful country. From the rolling hills of Devon at Langstone Manor Park to the stunning lakes of Cumbria at Park Foot Holiday Park , we are incredibly fortunate to have such diverse landscapes and fabulous campsites to view them in comfort. It might also be a chance to discover new parts of the coastline that you would not normally visit such as the sand expanses of Suffolk whilst staying at Haw Wood Farm. Or you might to choose to venture inland and meander through the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds whilst relaxing at Cotswolds Camping.

Camping in 2020 - Haw Wood Farm
Camping in Suffolk at Haw Wood Farm

It goes without saying that camping in 2020 and any exploring needs to be done particularly responsibly at this time – talk to your campsite owners about different places to go where crowding should not be an issue and report any evidence of the recent mob madness of leaving litter everywhere!

3. Change of Scenery

Most of us are proud of but thoroughly bored of our herbaceous borders, new fence, seats made out of pallets, fairy gardens, mud kitchens and other lockdown classics and simply need to see something/somewhere else. A fantastic site to explore the dramatic Jurassic Coast is The Dorset Hideaway who have come up with a comprehensive Coronavirus policy to ensure the safety of their guests whether camping, caravanning or in one of their fabulous glamping options.Camping in 2020 - Dorset Hideaway

Feeding the ducks at The Dorset Hideaway

Perhaps you are feeling adventurous about the type of accommodation you seek and decide to go for something really different like a Hobbit Hole in Hertfordshire, courtesy of Guilden Gate Glamping.

Hobbit Hole at Guilden Gate
The Hobbit hole at The Guilden Gate Glamping

4. Budget Friendly

David at Yurtcamp Devon, believes that camping or glamping could be the perfect holiday to turn to this year as many will be very wary of travelling overseas, and will be looking for a more budget friendly option to get away. Let’s face it, you immediately do away with expensive air fares and the costlier hotels, not to mention car hire, etc. And although prices may have to rise a little this year to take account of the additional changes campsites have to make, you still get incredible value for money. For example, you can camp in Cornwall at the picturesque Lower Penderleath Campsite for as little as £9.50/night/adult or in Somerset at Withy Water from just £10/tent (adult only).

Camping in 2020 - Lower Penderleath
Cornish camping at Lower Penderleath

5. Less People

There is no doubt that our holidays will look different this year and that campsites will have to limit numbers in order to ensure greater spacing. This is likely to mean that you will need to book in advance rather than turning up and hoping so you will need to be organised this year! The greater space will help to maintain social distancing and thus increase your peace of mind. It could also mean that camping in 2020 might be perfect for those who struggle with places that get too “peopley”.  The spacious site at Hale Farm, East Sussex has no set pitches, thus allowing plenty of space between tents and benefits from a separate glamping area. Similarly, Longacres Camping is set in 30 acres of peaceful Surrey countryside and offers different areas and fields to suit different tastes, ensuring campers can spread out with ease.

Camping in 2020 - Hale Farm
The huge fields at Hale Farm

6. Self-Contained Accommodation

You will be safe within your own family bubble whether in a tent, caravan or glamping option such as bell tent or yurt. Plus, the beauty of camp and glamping sites is that most have their own grounds and facilities. This means campers don’t have to worry about crowding local beauty spots, finding a car parking space and figuring out where to buy food. For example, at Yurtcamp Devon, there are 40 acres of beautiful woodland ready for exploration. You can easily return to your yurt for an open fire cooked feast, or a meal prepared inside your yurt given that you have full cooking facilities as well a cosy log burner. In addition, their onsite Woodland Café will be open for take out at least.

Yurtcamp Devon
Cafe at Yurtcamp Devon

For those with caravans or motorhomes, you might decide to opt for the wilderness of the Yorkshire Dales and venture to Thornton Hall Country Park. Here, Chris and Emma have diversified their onsite Farm Park into a Farm Safari Drive Thru to keep all their guests safe but still provide a change of routine. They also have quad biking available, ensuring each session is everyone from the same household with all helmets and gloves disinfected after use.

7. Mental and Physical Health

The good news about camping is that you will be in the fresh air, which we know lowers the risk of transmission of coronavirus, hence why some schools have adopted outdoor classrooms and why socially distanced small meet ups are now permitted as long as they are outdoors.

For those that need a touch of luxury to assist their mental health, The simply amazing range of glamping accommodation at Longberry Farm in the Garden of England, Kent is guaranteed to help you unwind and forget about your problems.

Ian from Big Hat Bushcamp, Devon is a firm advocate of the health benefits of nature particularly in this digital age. His business is another that has been hit by the Covid-19 outbreak and has pivoted to offer single-household bushcraft sessions. These provide excellent problem-solving challenges and allow families to develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills as well as learning survival techniques in the fresh air. And do not fear, as they are run by the friendliest of folk, keen to help you understand and be happy.

After weeks spent at the beck and call of electronic devices, a bit of “cold turkey” wouldn’t go amiss. It would certainly help people’s battered mental health.

Big Hat Bush Camp
Camp fire cooking at Big Hat Bush Camp

With all this on offer, camping in 2020 might not be so bad after all!

6 Cosy Glamping Experiences

Well, although spring is supposed to be coming, it still feels decidedly cold and gloomy out there! With this in mind, perhaps you’re not yet ready for all-out camping just yet and still want that feeling of cosiness with a few home comforts? If so, why not try the luxury of glamping? We have found 6 gorgeously cosy glamping sites, where you can get your fix of outdoor living whilst relaxing in comfort by a log burner or even in a hot tub before retiring to a comfortable, fully prepared bed (and even have a hot water bottle!)

1. Beavers Retreat

Situated in the beautiful Welsh countryside in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National park, all your worries will drift away at this truly luxurious glamping site where every detail is tended to with the customary care of Beaver’s Retreat.

All family-sized, you can choose from beautifully furnished bell tents or the cosy Geodomes with wood-fired hot tubs! Both options come equipped with a comfortable double bed with crisp cotton bedding for a good night’s sleep as well as sofa beds, tables and chairs. The floors are carpeted adding to the homeliness and each unit has a private sheltered kitchen, full cooking facilities, cutlery, crockery and a fire pit to warm up around. The luxury Geodomes have the added bonus of an indoor wood burning stove so you are guaranteed to stay warm and cosy.

2. Marthrown of Mabie

Within the spectacular Scottish countryside of Dumfries and Galloway, you will find the hidden forest gem that is Marthrown of Mabie. All furnished with wood-burning stoves for a truly cosy glamping experience, you can choose from luxuriously furnished yurts, a Native American style tipi or even a Celtic Iron Age Roundhouse! There is a covered BBQ cooking area, usable in all weather conditions and complete with tables and chairs and electricity for lighting and music. And if you get chilly, why not try the authentic Finnish sauna or a wood-fired hot tub whilst gazing at the stunning dark skies?

3. Yurtcamp Devon

Set in forty acres of beautiful Devon woodland, you can choose from twenty-two contemporary yurts of different sizes and locations from secluded to “village” style at Yurtcamp Devon. All the yurts are fully equipped and luxuriously furnished for cooking, sleeping and relaxing in. Each has access to an outdoor fire pit, for campfires and barbecues and you can be sure of staying warm and cosy next to the log burner, even when it is cold outside.

4. Kiss Wood Cabins

On a family farm in Cheshire, surrounded by breathtaking countryside in the Peak District National Park, you will find luxurious and cosy glamping accommodation at Kiss Wood Cabins suitable for all seasons. Each pods is furnished with a comfortable double bed, sofa bed, en suite bathroom, kitchenette, T.V. and heating so there is no chance of getting cold! Outside, you can cook up a feast on the BBQ provided or simply enjoy the beautiful views from the hot tub with a glass of prosecco in hand!

5. Stanley Villa Farm Camping

Situated in the lush countryside of Lancashire, Stanley Villa Farm Camping offers a total of 24 cosy camping pods. These are all well-insulated with wool and come with 2 good quality single beds and mattresses for a comfortable night’s sleep. The beds can be pushed together to make a double and a further airbed can fit in for the kids. Each pod comes with its own firepit for nights around the campfire and you can hire free hot water bottles for that extra cosy feel. Take advantage of their March Madness Offer for any bookings made before 31st March 2020 for discounts well worth taking.

6. Wye Glamping

Wye Glamping, Powys is set in a simply stunning part of Wales offering a true retreat with mountain views and nature all around. A small family run site with only 5 pitches including a locally built yurt, a beautifully handcrafted cabin and 3 spacious bell tents, every detail is catered for so that all you need to bring are your clothes and food. Each come with a fully made-up king-sized bed, futons and a wood burning stove for cosy evenings in. Outside, there is the firepit and plenty of rugs, cushions, blankets to wrap up in and watch the sun go down over the spectacular views.

6 cosy glamping experiences:

Beaver’s Retreat, Pembrokeshire

Marthrown of Mabie, Dumfires and Galloway

Yurtcamp Devon, Devon

Kiss Wood Cabins, Cheshire

Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

Wye Glamping, Powys

How to Prepare Your Caravan For Towing

We all love our home comforts, so going on a caravanning holiday is a great option for many people who prefer to cater for themselves but still want the freedom of exploring what the UK and Europe has to offer. From beautiful seaside towns to warm beaches and green pastures, you can get that little bit closer to nature by travelling in a caravan.

But, before you set off on your next trip away, you may need to prepare your caravan for towing. The experts from SG Haulage have kindly provided some top tips that will ensure your trailer is safe for the journey ahead:

1. Pack it correctly

Packing your caravan in the right way will minimise a lot of problems that could otherwise occur while towing. Always start by referring to your car’s handbook so you know exactly what the maximum towing capacity is before you begin packing. It’s also a good idea to make the nose heavier than the back of the trailer as this will avoid tipping, and only pack the necessities. Unless you’re travelling to the middle of nowhere, extra water can be accessed at your campsite, and groceries can be purchased at your destination.

Items should be packed in the following way:

Heavy items – larger items such as bikes, barbeques and TV’s should be weighed before loading, and always keep the heaviest items as low as possible to prevent unnecessary pressure.

Medium items – next, you should load medium sized items, these can be spread out more than heavier items but should still be stored in the middle and bottom of the trailer.

Light items – small amounts of clothing and lighter items can be kept in the overhead storage.

2. Plan your route

As you would with any other type of trip, plan your route well in advance as some areas are not suitable for caravans, and you may not be able to access certain routes. This is particularly important in this era of the Satnav which can lead you through tricky, narrow roads that are difficult to navigate, so querying this beforehand will allow you enough time to come up with an alternative route.

3. Extra tips

● Be careful when driving – allow extra room around you, more time for manoeuvres and stick to towing speeds.

● Purchase mirror attachments so you have full visibility.

● Use the lightest version of everything you need – e.g. reusable plastic plates and cutlery.

There is nothing quite like the freedom of meandering around our beautiful countryside. And as long as you prepare your caravan for your trip, you can truly relax and enjoy.

If you need more help with your caravan, SG Haulage offers domestic and commercial haulage services across Lincoln. Whether you need your caravan moved across the country or you require international road haulage, go to the UK’s leading haulage company.

And where could you go with your caravan? Well, here is a selection of campsites with excellent facilities specifically for caravans to help your holiday go without a hitch (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!)

Scottish borders: Lilliardsedge Park

North East England: Thornton Hall Country Park

North West England: Park Foot Holiday Park

Wales: Brynawelon Touring and Camping Park

East Anglia: Fakenham Fairways

South West England: Langstone Manor Park

South East England: Chestnut Meadow

Camping in Spring – Campsites with Baby Animals

The Easter holidays are upon us and new life is sprouting everywhere from the abundance of blossom in the trees and hedges to the lambs kicking up their heels in the spring grass.

It is a perfect time to get the children interested in the nature and animals that surround them. Time to go hunting for tadpoles in the brook, to watch the ducklings attempt their first swim on the pond, to grow carrots in the garden. It is also a great time to see baby animals in the wild and on farms.

If you are keen to get camping in spring, there are many campsites based on farms or that have pet areas where children can get involved in feeding lambs, stroking rabbits, giggling at pigs and learning about a variety of animals. This can provide a fantastic extra dimension to your holiday and help cement some magical memories.

For those that are heading further south over the Easter holidays, we have found 5 campsites with baby animals on site where the children can get involved and make new furry (or woolly) friends:

1. Fontmills Farm

Fontmills Farm Campsite in East Sussex is based on a 140-acre family farm so you will be surrounded by green space and fresh air.  Easter marks the peak lambing season for the family with their Blue Texel flock.  This means that lucky campers will get to see the tiniest of lambs over the Easter holidays and see them playing in the fields around the campsite (who needs TV?!)

The Davis family are ably assisted by Floss the border collie sheep dog (when she fancies it), the horses Jonesy and Harry, and the cats – Ethel and Ernie who enjoy the occasional chat with campers.

2. Stowford Farm Meadows

Stowford Farm Meadows in North Devon, is set amongst an incredible 500 acres of rolling countryside and mature woodland providing fabulous views and a safe environment for your perfect family camping holiday.  From there, you can explore the blossoming hedgerows and woodland to find chicks in nests, rabbits, hares and numerous wild animals.

You could also venture into Petorama, their indoor petting zoo where you can see and touch baby goats, piglets, rabbits, guinea pigs, degus, plus lots more.

3. Walton Court

Walton Court is a small working farm in the heart of the welsh countryside. As you enter the site, you will pass by their pond that has an abundance of wildlife: from the regular visiting mute swans, moorhens, wild ducks, a kingfisher, woodpeckers and herons to the frogspawn and tadpoles during spring.

Camping in spring time at Walton Court means that you will see their flock of sheep adjusting to their new little ones, with “lamb gangs” in full force.

4. Petruth Paddocks

Petruth Paddocks offers wild camping in wide open spaces where children are free to climb trees and hide in the hedges, fish for tadpoles in the rhynes (ditches) or take a ride on the back of the quad bike with Jules.

Their animal section includes pigs, goats and sheep and they offer animal tours every weekend during the summer where they encourage campers to come and say hello to the team.

5. The Farm Camp

The Farm Camp in Wiltshire offers something a little different where the family can become truly immersed in countryside living. Over Easter, they are in full swing with “lambing live” and have dedicated staff to offer experiences in farm craft and sheep herding amongst a raft of other activities.

A beautifully rural site, within fields and woodland, 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.

Many wait until summer for their holiday, but they could be missing out on some of the magical moments up for grabs by camping in spring. Having a look for campsites with animals could be a great way to get an early holiday in – just remember to take a few extra layers!

10 Reasons To Take Your Family Camping This Year

Family camp at Petruth Paddocks

Updated 23rd March 2021

Those that have taken their family camping before could no doubt think of at least 100 reasons to go again but others might not be so sure of the benefits: Is it worth ditching your usual home comforts? Won’t it be dirty? What if the weather’s rubbish? Won’t the kids be bored?

The thing is, family camping has come on a long way in the last few years. All of the above concerns are now easily dealt with at camp and glampsites that have excellent facilities ranging from washing, kitchen, entertainment, organised activities – really you can find whatever you want. But what is it about outdoors living that is so beneficial compared to just going to a hotel?

1. Fun

When you’re on the conveyor belt of life, you can forget what having fun as a family is all about. Well, camping provides the perfect chance to offload the weight of responsibility and get silly. From singing tunefully (or tunelessly, who cares?) round the fire to riding your 5 year old’s bike (and getting chased by him) or shamelessly beating young children at Uno, there are endless options. Campers are notoriously friendly people and kids will make friends as will you. Who knows when an impromptu game of rounders or football might break out? Or when the kites will come out?  You will find that the further into your holiday you get, the more you relax and regress until everyone appears to have the mental age of 9.

Campsite with lots of fun facilities: Stowford Farm Meadows, North Devon

2. Freedom

Freedom when camping comes in many guises:

For children, it is the freedom from the usual constraints of four walls – they can roam, run about, be by themselves or make ten new friends, discover wildlife, sing, dance, ride their bikes, basically whatever they want!

Freedom from routine. When on “camping time” you just do what you want when you want. There is no alarm to obey, no work to get to so just do whatever you feel like on that day. If you want to stay at camp, do it. If you want a day out, go. If you’re hungry, eat. Just don’t look at your watch, you don’t need that.

Freedom from electronic devices. These things are a blessing and a curse. I don’t doubt their usefulness in terms of researching, developing skills, etc. But is it just me that feels that whilst they are great for keeping connected generally, they also “disconnect” you from loved ones? Give a 3-year-old an iPad and you’ve lost them to Peppa Pig; give a 10-year-old an XBox and you’ve lost them to Fortnite; give a teenager a phone and you’ve just plain lost them. The good news is that camping allows you to find them again. You can have actual conversations with your teenager, play real games with your 10-year-old and make up stories with your 3-year-old. Your children are free to be children and you can make some wonderful memories as a family.

Campsite that values freedom: Petruth Paddocks, Somerset

Petruth Paddocks

3. Food and drink

Now, when taking your family camping it really doesn’t matter if you aspire to a gourmet banquet or a couple of sausages in a bap. I have a friend with a full-on converted trailer/kitchen who cooks up gigantic pots of loveliness for 20 guests and another who only takes pot noodles. It really is up to you. As far as the kids go, every meal is a picnic so you’re winning from the get-go. There’s just something so lovely about eating your meals outside. And the smells that come from a barbecue – bacon sizzling anyone? A lovely treat late at night is hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows around the fire. My main aim with this is to lull the kids into sleepiness so we can chuck them into bed and crack open the wine…works a treat!

Campsite with Farm shop and café: Haw Wood Farm, Suffolk

4. Weather

When the sun is shining, there is nothing better than camping! We had a glorious summer last year and wow, did we love our trips! The children had a feral old time, we did everything outside and everyone was happy.

Then the rain came.

Did it ruin it? Did it heck! There’s something about the rain falling on your tent whilst you’re safe and snug inside it that’s quite therapeutic. You just need to make sure you have some indoor entertainment such as books, playing cards, games, drawing and colouring pencils and away you go. Or you might have made sure you found a holiday park with lots of indoor facilities for when the weather turns. You could also take the opportunity to go on a day out somewhere or just embrace it – get your waterproofs on and get out there!

Campsite will all-weather facilities: Forest Glade Holiday Park, Devon

Family Camping at Forest Glade

5. Nature

For most people, the driving force behind wanting to camp out is to be closer to nature and the great outdoors. From drinking in amazing views to breathing in the fresh, clean air, there’s something about it that relaxes, replenishes and re-energises. Little pleasures such as walking through wet grass in bare feet, listening to birdsong, spotting a hare running for cover help to de-clutter crowded minds. Your children appreciate the freedom to roam and will no doubt find that most magical of things – the stick – and think of all sorts of uses for it: a sword, a fishing rod, a magic wand, beating their younger sibling…hmph! But they might also be entranced by a dragonfly, spot the trail of a deer or any number of creatures, particularly if you take them with you for an early morning dog walk.

Campsite for beautiful nature: Harry’s field, Hampshire

6. Campfire

A personal highlight is listening to and getting ‘lost’ in a good crackling fire. There’s a certain cosiness that comes with everyone sitting around a fire watching the sun go down. It encourages actual conversations where you remember that your partner is more than the person you order about and get cross with at home when you’re trying to keep to your manic schedule. It is a place to reminisce, to tell jokes and stories, to bond with friends and family and to make plans for your next adventure.

Glampsite with firepits: Longberry Farm, Kent

7. Family Time

With no work, school, clubs, appointments to get to, you will spend precious time together with your family. This might initially instil pure fear into you. However, do not panic! You will warm up to the idea as you gradually chill out over your holiday. You will not have to be a walking entertainment factory – the kids will doubtless run around happily and find their own fun. In fact, you will develop a self-satisfied glow as you watch them having a fabulous time, getting filthy (this is something you will just have to go with if you’re not used to it!) and racing back to you when they’re starving.

As with any holiday, it gives you a chance for days out together whether simply going to a beach, a bike ride, pony trekking or meandering around. At night, you can then snuggle up around the fire, discussing your wonderful day and remembering what a lovely bunch your family is when you aren’t nagging them to find their homework, their tie, or for the tenth time get dressed NOW!

Family friendly glamping site: Tinker’s Bells Family Glamping, Staffordshire

Tinker's Bells Family glamping

8. Exploring

We are very lucky to live in this beautiful country and you don’t have to drive far to explore a little piece of somewhere different. Whether you are looking for sea air, mountains, hills, valleys, vast fields, woodland, there is a campsite that will match it. Discovering new places is fun and refreshing and the change of scenery does us the world of good. When camping, you are always close to walks and bike rides for exploring the local area, making the most of the scenery. But you might also choose to jump in your car and go and find a castle, steam train, theme park or other such adventures.

You might choose to stay at your campsite and explore that thoroughly when walking your four-legged friend or letting the children guide you. They will be keen to investigate the stream, climb the trees, make a den and generally do their best to increase the burden on your washing machine…but heck! You don’t need to worry about that until you get back so just let them be feral and be glad that their immune systems are having such a boost as they wipe their muddy hands across their mouth!

Glamping site that is a great base for exploring the Pembrokeshire National Park: Beaver’s Retreat Glamping, South Wales

Beaver's Retreat Glamping

9. Peace and quiet

The peace and quiet that comes from outdoor living is totally different to that from behind double glazing. There is a serenity that allows you to relax right down – your mind empties of the usual worries and you can take the time to really appreciate your surroundings. From the beautiful scenery to the fresh, crisp air; it allows busy minds to just let go and rest. You become aware of unfamiliar sounds and start to look forward to them: owls hooting, birdsong, the breeze through the trees, the crackle of the fire, the satisfying sound of the zip. Even the sound of rain on the tent gives a certain smugness when you are cosy in your sleeping bag (and helps to lull you to sleep as well.)

Peaceful glamping site: Brocklands Farm Glamping, Hampshire

Brocklands Glamping

10. Simplicity

Outdoor living brings a certain amount of simplicity back to daily life. You ditch all the conveniences, routines, jobs and rushing around and strip it back to what is necessary: love, fun and food! Our family camping experiences tend to revolve around food (that might be everyday life too when I think about it…) and mealtimes are so much more social. You will talk more, you will have lots of comfortable silences, you will watch your kids happily without that usual dread that comes with confined spaces or crowds, you might even read! At night, you can watch the sun go down and then star gaze without the burden of light pollution. The usual hustle and bustle feels a million miles away.

Back to basics campsite: Brynawelon Touring and Camping Park, Ceredigion, Wales

Brynawelon

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

Camping in Somerset? Petruth Paddocks is hard to beat!

Family camp at Petruth Paddocks

If you’re looking for great camping in Somerset, then look no further than the lovely campsite at Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping right next to the Mendip Hills. We stayed there for 4 glorious nights last week along with another family and were struck by the friendly atmosphere, wide open spaces and sense of freedom for adults and children alike.

The owner, Jules, likes to take the approach of “free-range camping” so you are not restricted by a numbered pitch, but can choose where you would rather set up camp. There are two large fields to choose from, one of which is for those who wish to have a quieter camp. During our mid-week stay, despite being in the “non-quiet” field, there were no issues at night and our children (aged 2 and 5 year old) went to sleep peacefully and easily. Jules explained that during peak season at Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping, the weekends can get much busier hence the two different fields. He added that he loved the atmosphere during the busier times as you might have some people playing guitars, campfire singing, children having great fun in big gangs. So it would depend on your needs when and where you wanted to stay – whether you prefer a livelier atmosphere or just want some peace and quiet.

Jules encourages children to roam, make friends and enjoy themselves outdoors without the pull towards electronic devices. During our time there, we saw groups of children clambering over the old landrover parked up in the field, much shouting, laughing and chasing as well as ball games and bike riding.

At night time, Jules pops around the campsite offering firepits for those that want a cosy camp feel. We advise you take him up on this as it definitely makes for a lovely atmosphere and it was a stunning site seeing the gentle glows around camp. After he had done his deliveries, Jules offered the kids a ride round on the quad with him which went down a storm! At the weekend, he also takes any kids that are interested across the field to meet his resident menagerie including pigs, ponies and chickens.

At Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping, there are all the facilities you need for a comfortable camp: plenty of toilets and hot showers, separate sinks for washing up, facilities for charging electronic devices, a fridge and a freezer as well as a small shop to top up on necessities. Jules clearly pays attention to detail as he provides a comprehensive booklet on arrival outlining all you need to know about the campsite and the surrounding area. He also insists on careful separation of rubbish into the various types of recycling which we found refreshing as we can’t bear the big skips of mixed rubbish at most camps all going to landfill.

Whilst we were camping in Somerset, we found lots to do. Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping is on the outskirts of the lovely village of Cheddar, home of Britain’s favourite cheese and the magnificent Cheddar Gorge. There were lots of lovely places to eat including cafes, restaurants as well as the obligatory ice cream parlours and the chance for climbing, abseiling and exploring the caves of the Gorge.

We ventured further to the child-friendly Wookey Hole to see inside the incredible caves which have to be seen to appreciate their dimensions, stalactites and stalagmites – our children were quite happy and there was none of the whinging and whining that can accompany trips out. It is also essential that our holidays involve dinosaurs in some way and Wookey Hole delivered by way of huge robotic models and an “archaeological dig.”

On the way to Wookey Hole, we took advantage of local produce enhance by the particular “micro-climate” of Somerset and sampled some simply divine strawberries courtesy of Cliff Besley’s strawberries. They were streets ahead of the watery supermarket versions and we are not ashamed to say we scoffed the lot whilst the children were asleep in the landy (well, you snooze, you lose!)

We also sampled cider from local producers and would encourage you to look out for the little businesses as you are out and about – buying local makes such a difference for real people rather than lining the pockets of huge earners of big organisations! And after all, you can’t go to Somerset without sampling the cider!

We were lucky with the weather as it was consistently scorchio for the time we were there. We noticed this when we went paddling/body boarding in the sea at Berrow and Brean… really warm water, actually thought we were in the Med! At Berrow beach, the #2minutebeachclean was in place. This is a step up from pick up 3 pieces of litter each time you go to the beach but really encourages the children to look after their environment and raise awareness of the problem of littering. Our own little miss bossy boots LOVED this and took control of both the litter picker (or crocodile as it became known) and the bag so it took a little bit longer than we anticipated! It also triggered a really sweet conversation with our 5 year old son about litter and he told me how it would affect his beloved sharks and the fish that they eat. This project is gathering apace and you can find out more about it and also what beaches are covered on their website: https://www.beachclean.net/

So, if you decide to go camping in Somerset during the summer hols or if this has made you think about next year, do check out the lovely site at Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping – you won’t be disappointed!

Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival – Mums on Tour

So, what happened when several slightly over-excited and over-ripened mummies descended on the Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival content in the knowledge they had neither children nor menfolk to think about?

Well, we knew things were on the up as we skipped around the supermarket en route belting out a little “Freedom” by George Michael, complete with the odd garland pilfered from our toddlers’ dressing up boxes. A few raised eyebrows from onlookers didn’t even dampen our spirits as we piled as much beige food into our trollies as we thought our bodies could take, feeling mightily rebellious.

On arrival, the strict booze allowance and thorough searches we could see taking place caused a little consternation as one member of our party admitted she had sneaked an extra 4 whole cans into her tent. She is no hardened criminal and admitted to sweating profusely as our turn came. For some reason, the security guard clearly decided we were no threat…possibly the granny trolley, mint tea and full case of cleaning paraphernalia had something to do with it, and after a perfunctory search, we were waved through.

We were struck straight away by the excellent organisation of the site: Main events field being central with camp fields all around meaning walking about was kept to a minimum, well-manned gates meaning continual movement, walk ways roped off and adorned with lights, plenty of CLEAN showers and LOT of toilets (thank the lord!!!)

Whilst we’re on the subject…what were the toilets like? This was, I think, my biggest concern after hearing stories of poo mountains at other festivals and not being 20 anymore. Well, as mentioned, there were plenty at each campsite and in the main events field; and the morning after the first day, we saw the lorry come to empty them, so it would seem they emptied and cleaned them every day. They were certainly much cleaner than I expected and stayed that way throughout, never running out of loo roll.  Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival toilet cleaners – I salute and thank you!

Another major concern of mine was food. Always. We were not allowed to bring certain types of BBQs in, ruling ours out and although the Festival had “sausage” in the title, you can never be too sure. The food on offer was actually pretty bloomin’ amazing with a whole row of a variety of artisan stalls offering pasta, pizza, wraps, chicken, pulled pork, pasties, cakes, even strawberries and cream as well as every type of sausage you can think of! The only downside was the stall they put in the actual campsite with soggy bacon baps and general dimwittery on offer for breakfast leading us to eat an eclectic mix of bananas and crisps until the main field opened at noon.

The music on offer was pretty much all covers bands, which isn’t the coolest option, but as I am not cool, it didn’t particularly bother me. In fact “Take This” and Steps 2 had me foot stomping whilst the Oasis tribute were absolutely brilliant, totes taking me back to my student days! If we’re really being honest, by the time we’d had a few ciders (particularly the one with mango in – YUM!) anyone could have been on stage and we’d have been happy!

The cider system was another good example of well thought-out organisation by Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival. You went to a booth (again, plenty of them) to pay for a cup token and “apple tokens” which you then took to one of the enormous marquees to exchange for the cider of your choice. The queues moved fast and the choice was brilliant – could have fizzy or flat, dry, sweet, perries, flavoured with various other fruits, there really was something for every palate. There was also a prosecco and cocktails van and lager was also available.

Being the rock chicks we are, we decided we were quite done with the main events by about 9pm and to get back to our camp (adorned with lovely feminine touches like bunting and fairylights which we are not usually allowed I might add.) We took the opportunity whilst camp was quiet to have showers and a spot of mint tea (again, living festival lifestyle to its fullest.)

We were prepared for camp to liven up a little when everybody else made their way back from the main events…and this was certainly the case! In fact, one of our party decided to pop to the loo at around chuck out time and ran back shortly screaming “run for your lives!” Apparently, a sea of folk descended, many on the verge of vomiting, generally shouting, singing, swaying and…collapsing. The volume increased exponentially as they made their way back to camp and stayed that way for a good 5 hours. We valiantly tried to get to sleep around midnight, but most were kept up by the call for “Alan!” making its way round the field, shouting, chanting and singing.

We were not refreshed when we awoke as some tool on the site had managed to keep their 6 am alarm call, and then snoozed it repeatedly. Also, we were expecting it to be quiet in the morning after all the excesses of the previous night…ha ha ha!!! No, they were all up with the lark and ready to start again…oh to be young!!

So, what have we learned for next time at the Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival?

  • We will be staying in the “quiet” field.
  • We will take ear plugs anyway.
  • We will keep to the booze limit as we took approximately half of ours back with us.
  • All of us will invest in Trangia burners (look them up – cheap, basic and brill!)
  • An all-female camp is a happy place to be!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival, found it excellent value for money and are raring to go for next year!

Check out these campsites near to various festivals:

Somerset – Petruth Paddocks Free Range Camping,

Cornwall – Lower Penderleath Campsite

Devon – Forest Glade Holiday Park

Ceredigian – Canvas & Campfires

Pembrokeshire – Bôn Camping

Can’t fit it in your car? Try an easy-to-use trailer courtesy of Venter Trailers UK