8 Campsites with Incredible Views

Campsites with incredible views

One of the many positive aspects of camping is the view to be savoured. This is particularly poignant right now after months of living with the same four walls, same garden fence and trudging round the same local landmarks. Just putting this list together had us positively drooling over the incredible vistas and definitely dreaming of escape! Whether you are looking for that escape right now or hoping to travel next year, delve into our picks for 8 campsites with simply incredible views:

1. Park Foot Holiday Park

Park Foot Campsite with incredible views
Park Foot Ullswater Lake View

Wow! Just wow!

The views from Park Foot Camping and Touring Park are simply breathtaking. Set on the banks of Ullswater, in the heart of the Lake District, this family-friendly site offers three large camping fields with different vistas from each. Whether you have a tent, caravan or motor home, you can enjoy the beautiful Cumbrian site with its superb facilities and tranquil surroundings. With activities available both on the park and in the nearby area, your family are sure to have a holiday to remember.

2. Beech Croft Farm

Beech Croft Farm
The rolling hills of Derbyshire at Beech Croft Farm

Set in the rolling hills of the Peak District, Beech Croft Farm is located between the picturesque towns of Buxton and Bakewell in Derbyshire. An ideal base to relax in the peaceful countryside or explore the stunning Peak District National Park. Touring caravans, motorhomes and family tents are all welcomed and excellent facilities are available including a modern toilet and shower block with underfloor heating, children’s play area, a small onsite shop and recently updated reception area. Three different camping areas mean a great choice of where to pitch your tent with fantastic views wherever you choose!

3. Lilliardsedge Holiday Park

Lilliardsedge
Views over the Scottish Borders at Lilliardsedge Park

When searching for campsites with incredible views, you can’t go far wrong with the family-run Lilliardsedge Holiday Park. Less than 50 miles from Edinburgh and set within 110 acres, this beautiful site encompasses open fields with free choice of where to pitch, two woodland walks, a stunning nine-hole, eighteen tee golf course and well-thought out indoor facilities including an extremely well-maintained amenity building, restaurant, bar and function room. You can choose between camping, touring or a luxurious lodge complete with hot tub and will revel in the spectacular views across the rolling countryside of the Scottish Borders.

4. Brocklands Farm

BBrocklands farm Glamping
Looking out from Lapwing at Brocklands Farm Glamping

Brocklands Farm overlooks Hampshire’s stunning Meon Valley within the heart of the South Downs National Park and provide the perfect spot for a memorable and relaxing glamping holiday. This peaceful, rural area makes it highly possible to glimpse local wildlife such as hares, lapwings or deer. You can experience truly luxurious glamping within two spacious safari tents, each sleeping six with a king bedroom, twin bedroom and double cabin bed. With every need catered for via a fully equipped kitchen, beautiful furnishings, a toasty wood burner and even solar-powered fairy lights, you can relax and enjoy the sunset from your outdoor sofa whilst toasting marshmallows on your fire pit – bliss!

5. Forest Glade Holiday Park

Forest Glade Holiday Park
Forest, clearings and blue skies at Forest Glade Holiday Park

Forest Glade Holiday Park is set in a forest clearing on the Blackdown Hills in Devon, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whether you are searching for camping, touring, holiday caravans or glamping pods, you will find all options in the spacious fields surrounded by 300 acres of pine forest.  This AA 4-pennant family-run park offers excellent modern facilities as well as a covered heated swimming pool, shop with off-licence and take away, children’s play areas, games room and tennis court. So, take the opportunity to relax, unwind, enjoy the many forest walks and drink in those views.

6. Ynyshir Farm

Ynyshir Farm

Ynyshir Farm (pronounced ‘un is here’) is for those seeking campsites with incredible views across the North Wales countryside.  Previously a working farm, this family-orientated 40-acre campsite has plenty of space for the kids to play and guests have the freedom to pitch up wherever they like.  You can expect well-maintained hot showers, a parent and child/baby room, toilets including disabled facilities, washing up areas as well as fire pits to hire to help you enjoy the sunset over the hills in this peaceful, tranquil site.

7. Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping

Ruberslaw - Campsites with incredible views
The Edwardian Gardens at Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping

Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping in the Scottish Borders is set in the heart of the beautiful Teviot Valley’s Special Landscape Area. Within an incredible 500 acres of unspoilt upland, you have a huge range of choices in accommodation from totally wild camping, to woodland camping and fully-serviced pitches all the way through to glamping in a luxurious, fully furnished safari tent. Your choice of view is also unrivalled whether you prefer rugged hill views, wild woodland, or the more genteel Edwardian walled gardens surrounded by beds full of colourful flowers and shrubs. Some examples include the “Minto View” where you can look over the Teviot Valley across to the Minto Hills which the sun sets quite dramatically behind; The “Castle View” where you can look over the Teviot Valley across to a local gem “Fatlips Castle”; and “Gledswing Lookout” where you can take in the view of quirky hills around ancient Cavers parish. Either way, you are guaranteed to truly get away from it all by taking in the stunning views, peaceful atmosphere and nature all around.

8. Brynawelon Touring and Camping

Brynawelon
Sea views at Brynawelon

Brynawelon Touring and Camping Park is a tranquil campsite set along the beautiful Cardigan Bay coast of West Wales. Here you can gaze upon the ocean and sandy beaches whilst the whole family enjoys the freedom and space around them. Whether you prefer caravans, motorhomes, campervans, trailer tents or tents, you can be assured of a variety of super pitches and excellent modern, heated facilities. There are many popular places to visit nearby including New Quay, Cardigan, Penbryn, Tresaith and Llangrannog. You can also indulge in plenty of activities available locally from the beach to cycling, walking, horse riding and exploring the beautiful welsh countryside.

As this is possibly the strangest and most unsettling time that any of us have lived in, it is important to keep looking for the positives. Just dreaming about some of these campsites with simply incredible views gives a little light relief in this time of uncertainty. Do remember to keep supporting these small businesses where possible: booking them for next year could enable them to keep going and make it through these difficult times.

 

Getting Prepared for COVID-19 Secure Camping

Beech Croft Farm

We now know that camping officially starts in England from 4th July – woo hoo! As we went to press, sites in Scotland can open to those with their own self-contained accommodation (i.e. own shower/toilet) from 3rd July and shared facilities from 15th July. Sites in Wales may open on 11th July for those with self-contained accommodation only and are awaiting further guidance about those with shared facilities. Sites in Northern Ireland are already open.

Visit Britain Good to go logo
Visit Britain – Covid-19 Secure Camping

You might have seen this badge (“We’re Good To Go”) popping up on various websites, Facebook Pages, etc. This means that according to Visit Britain, the campsite has successfully shown that they have met Government and industry guidelines, are thus Covid-19 secure for camping and can safely accommodate their guests. You can be sure that this means a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to update sanitation facilities, mark out pitches, train staff, set out new signs and notices, draw up new rules, etc. So we say congratulations to the many sites on Gone Camping Co that have achieved this including Red Shoot Camping Park in the New Forest, Forest Glade Holiday Park in Devon, Stanley Villa Farm in Lancashire, Beech Croft Farm in Derbyshire to name but a few.

Covid-19 secure camping at Red Shoot Camping Park
Covid-19 secure camping at Red Shoot Camping Park

So, what will Covid-19 secure camping look like?

1. Booking

All bookings will need to be made in advance this year – there will not be the opportunity of “Oo, this looks nice, let’s try here!” as you drive by, so be organised and book in advance. This is for several reasons: to minimise contact, to allow for electronic payments, to ensure guests are fully aware of rules and conditions before arriving and most importantly for campsites to ensure the number of people on site are limited accordingly. This is actually a good thing as it will mean larger pitches and more space this season. As you might expect, prices may have to increase as sites will have less guests and a shorter season.

Covid-19 Secure camping at Beech Croft Farm
Socially distanced pitches at Beech Croft Farm in the Derbyshire Dales

Now, we are great advocates for camping with other family groups as it really can be great fun. However, this year, campsites will not be able to accept such bookings. Beech Croft Farm in Derbyshire has reiterated the government guidelines in their Covid-19 update in that they “cannot accept bookings for more than 2 units together if you are from different households.” This will be standard across the industry for the time being, so it is a case of more time with your family I’m afraid!

2. Checking in and out

All guests have a responsibility to stay away and isolate as per the government regulations if they develop symptoms of Covid-19 in the run up to their holiday. Disappointing though this would be, we all have a collective responsibility to guard against the spread of the disease as of course, the quicker it can be controlled, the quicker life can return to some sort of normality.

A warm welcome and safe conditions at Cotswolds Camping

Cotswold Camping, Oxfordshire are also keen to make sure everyone is safe and have installed a fever detection system to check temperatures thus ensuring all guests are protected from Covid-19.

Checking in and out will also be contactless and outdoors. Alex advises that at Stanley Villa Farm in Lancashire, whilst guests will be greeted on arrival, social distancing will be maintained, and the keys would be left in the door of the camping pod. Similarly, check out would be contactless and guests would be asked to simply leave their pod key in the door.

Covid-19 secure camping at Stanley Villa Farm
Camping Pods at Stanley Villa Farm

3. Distancing

Most campsites have limited pitches available to ensure they can maintain social distancing and rotate facilities as appropriate. Holden Farm in Hampshire, will ensure that only 10 families/households will be onsite at any one time in their wonderfully spacious camping field. This has the benefit of plenty of space to fly a kite, play a game of cricket or just enjoy the fresh air. They will also provide each pitch with a complimentary firepit – perfect for lazy summer evenings.

For Covid-19 secure camping, expect to see more signs than usual, indicating spaces for possible queues or a one-way system where there is likely to be a bottleneck. Signs will also provide reminders for hand washing, use of hand sanitisers and maintaining distances – you may well feel you’ve seen it all before, but as we all know, we have to continue to “stay alert.”

4. Sanitisation

You can expect cleaning of facilities to be more frequent and thorough this year. You may well be greeted by someone in full PPE as you approach the facilities and you may also need to be patient to allow them to complete the thorough deep cleans required.

Holden Farm have the excellent modern camping facilities on-site that you would expect: clean flushing loos, hot showers and good washing up facilities. The small numbers onsite will work to your advantage, thus avoiding the need for queues. Cleaning and maintenance have been increased further to the Covid-19 secure standard. They have also installed perspex dividers between wash basins so you feel safe when brushing your teeth. You will need to bring all of your own toiletries and expect to be given loo roll on arrival as it won’t be kept in cubicles. Furthermore, there are hand sanitisers dotted around the site so everyone can keep germ-free and safe.

Holden Farm
Plenty of space at Holden Farm!

Fallow Fields Camping, Kent are enforcing a 24 hour period between bookings of furnished bell tents, as scientific evidence suggests the virus does not remain on surfaces after 24 hours. They will carry out their customary deep clean between bookings as normal, and use disinfectant on all hard surfaces. Additionally, all furnished bell tents will have an anti-bacterial fogger used – this kills 99.99% of germs and stays active on surfaces for up to 30 days.

5. Sharing Facilities

There are some sites that have invested heavily into their showers and toilets to ensure minimal sharing. For example, Fallow Fields Camping have added additional mobile showers and toilets to the campsite to help with social distancing. They have also employed a local, professional cleaning company to carry out 2 deep cleans per day alongside regular wipe downs of touch-points throughout the day.

Stanley Villa Farm in Lancashire have also added more shower units but will work these on a time slot basis, with cleans between each use.

Some have even gone so far as to allocated specific areas for guests so there would be no sharing. At Longberry Farm in Kent, the reduced capacity on site this season means that guests will have their own allocated kitchen/dining area and washing facilities that will not be shared with other guests. The hot tub option will also be private – how very lovely!

Longberry Farm
Pristinely clean bell tents at Longberry Farm

You may well need to pack more items than you normally do. If the site you go to usually has tea towels, crockery, washing up brushes, etc. it is highly likely that they won’t be able to do so this year, so check with them beforehand and as Mr Grylls would say “be prepared!”

6. Activities on site

Some playparks might be open but you will need to supervise children more closely this year rather than let them go “feral” and insist they use the abundant hand sanitisers before and after use.

But generally, you may well have to become more self-sufficient in terms of entertainment this year. Wonderful additions to your stay such as the “Kids’ Retreat Tent” or “Kids’ Cinema” at Fallow Fields Camping,  simply cannot be available at this time. So pack the bikes, tennis set, kite, football, hula hoop, Connect 4, Uno, etc and prepare to use your imagination to keep all entertained…sort of like you have done for the whole of lockdown really (sorry!)

A beautiful evening at Fallow Fields Camping

At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, it is extremely important that we adhere to the campsites’ rules and accept the changes to our “normal” holiday. These really are “unprecedented times” (had to say it) and the whole situation does not just affect us personally, but everyone around the country. If we want camping to return to normal, then it is vitally important to support the industry this year so that there are still campsites in business next year.

The alternative does not bear thinking about!

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!

Re-opening Campsites – A Possibility in 2020?

2019 at Chestnut Meadow

There is a buzz going around that July 4th might be the official start of camping with the long-awaited re-opening of campsites – I know, the excitement is too much! After weeks of lockdown and confinement to our own homes, many of us are champing at the bit to look at a different piece of scenery – somewhere other than the garden fence would be nice! But we are also sensible people and know that we cannot put ourselves or anyone else at risk by being reckless at this still early stage in the pandemic.

So, is camping safe? And how can re-opening campsites ensure safety of their guests?

Camping mealtime
Missing this!

Well, many camping, glamping and caravan sites have started to gear up for a 4th July re-opening and have thought long and hard about the measures necessary. Luckily camping, in all its guises, lends itself quite nicely to natural social distancing, but there are some issues such as shared bathroom and washing facilities, close proximity to other campers, etc. that need careful thought.

Many re-opening campsites will require advanced booking as they need to limit numbers and thus help with social distancing and sharing of facilities. There are some camping sites that have plenty of space for ease of distancing between tents such as the spacious fields of Willowbrook Farm. This ethical working farm in beautiful Oxfordshire have also installed extra hand sanitising points and are looking forward to showing off their farm in all its glory once more.

Sheep at Willowbrook Farm
The flock at Willowbrook Farm

There are some glamping sites that offer ease of social distancing by the fact that there are few accommodation options that are very much self-contained such as the 2 huge safari tents at Brocklands Farm in Hampshire. These are 100 metres apart and completely independent with fastidious cleaning taking place in between guests. In addition, they guarantee a refund on any bookings that cannot be taken as a direct results of government restrictions.

Tinkers Bells have an exclusive use family glamping site at Field Head Farm in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside. That means your family can have the whole site to yourselves! Well, that certainly solves any social distancing issues! And family size is not a problem as the three luxurious bell tents can cater for up to 12 people. In addition, you would have your own hot power showers, toilet and powder room; kitchen, bbq and firepit area; a huge hideaway tent for you to snuggle up and relax in and plenty of scenic outdoor space.

Several campsites have closed some or all of their facilities meaning that campers need to bring their own. There are plenty of cost-effective solutions on the market such as these from World of Camping: portable toilet and solar shower.

Whilst some campsites have closed their toilet and washing facilities, Harry’s Field in Hampshire have actually increased theirs to help maintain social distancing.

Tehidy Holiday Park in Cornwall has invested in an activated oxygen fogger for sanitizing their accommodation – this effective and natural product kills 99.99% of pathogens present in under 30 seconds!

Some holiday makers may well want to hold back from booking until there is more certainty as they don’t want to risk losing out financially. It is worth checking out with your preferred campsite what their policy is as the vast majority of sites are keen to look after customers.

Some sites such as Fakenham Fairways in Norfolk are allowing provisional bookings to help with flexibility and peace of mind in case of a change to government guidance following an increase in cases. Similarly, Hook Farm in Dorset is taking bookings arriving from the 4th July but will happily change your booking to another date within 12 months of your arrival date. Chestnut Meadow in East Sussex offer refunds for Covid-related issues and have developed a new tool in their website booking system so you can move your booking if necessary, giving you total flexibility.

2019 at Chestnut Meadow
2020 camping might look different to last year at Chestnut Meadow!

Other sites such as Holden Farm in Hampshire and Lanyon Holiday Park in Cornwall guarantee that whilst there is uncertainty, you can move your booking to another date in 2020 or 2021. Also, plenty of sites such as Ruberslaw Wild Wood Camping in the Scottish borders, are looking to the future and offering online bookings made for 2021 at 2020 prices – worth taking advantage of and helps to secure the businesses’ futures.

Camping at Ruberslaw

It is really important to support this industry in 2020. Many campsites including Forest Glade in Devon and Petruth Paddocks in Somerset have invested heavily over the winter season to improve facilities but have already missed half of their peak season and thus income will be massively down. Re-opening campsites need to put measures in place to ensure our safety that will inevitably incur more costs. This, along with a reduction on number of guests expected mean that the second half of the season will not put them close to recouping lost income. The vast majority of these lovely sites are family-run small businesses, not huge corporations and if we want to go camping in the years to come, we need to make sure there is an industry to come back to.

If in doubt, postpone, don’t cancel.

Support British Tourism This Year

Holiday in the UK

Holidays are on hold in the UK while the country is in lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, so it’s safe to say that tourism is one of the most affected sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s expected that small and medium businesses (which represent around 80% of the British tourism industry) will be facing huge challenges. We spoke to the team at White House on Wye Glamping who advised on the many things we can do to help out these businesses:

As someone who runs a small glamping site in Herefordshire, I can assure you that we’re definitely feeling the effects. April is usually one of our busiest months with the Easter holidays bringing in families looking to get to the outdoors. Instead, our tipis sat empty, apart from the few nights we spent in them on our ‘staycation’!

Relaxing at night - British Tourism
Relaxing at night by the Tipi

Although the lockdown is stopping you from going on holiday at the moment, there are many alternatives to help projects and businesses to keep afloat during these unprecedented times. I encourage you to do what you can to do to support the British economy this year. The Spanish beaches will still be there next year, so let’s make 2020 the year where we discover the adventure and beauty that is on our very own doorstep.

During the lockdown:

  • If you have a holiday booked, don’t cancel yet. Check your cancellation policies, and if this allows you to hold your booking, don’t cancel it. This will support the business and they will give you an alternative in the case the trip has to be postponed.
  • If your work hasn’t been affected, you can spend the money you were spending on commuting, going out, gym memberships on supporting small businesses instead. Many companies are offering vouchers to use when the pandemic is over, and tourism is up and running again. This will give business cash flow for this year and you will get your holidays for next year already paid with the “quarantine savings”- Let’s get something good from the quarantine! You can also use these vouchers for birthdays, anniversaries and gifts to your loved ones.
  • Book in advance! If you have something planned for 2021, it’s the time to plan in advance! Whether it is a hen party for your best friend who is getting married in 2021 or your parents’ 30th anniversary. You will get very good deals for booking in advance while supporting the sector.

At White House Glamping, we are allowing our guests to reschedule their trip for free, as we would love to see them when restrictions have been lifted, whether it is in May, July or September. We are also creating very personalised vouchers that our guests have been using for Mother’s Day, birthdays and anniversaries. It’s a perfect way to give an online gift (as you won’t be able to make a cake for your mum this birthday) for something to look forward to in the near future.

Outdoor living with home comforts
Outdoor living with home comforts

After the lockdown:

When social distancing is reduced, it’s time for you to discover your country! We know that many people will be avoiding travel, particularly international travel, but camping and glamping offer a much safer trip away from crowds.

Maybe this year won’t be the best time for festivals, massive parties or crowded beaches, so why not find an alternative to all of this? It’s time to reach out to your neighbours and discover Britain’s countryside.

In 2019, tourists from the UK spent £48 billion abroad in different countries like Spain, France, Italy and the USA. So if in 2020 and 2021, we all change our trips abroad from Mallorca or Tuscany to the nation’s beautiful spots like Herefordshire, Cotswolds, Dorset, Cornwall or Lake District the economy of the British Tourism industry will be very thankful.

Beautiful British countryside
Beautiful British countryside

Glamping is a fantastic idea. Avoiding masses, breathing fresh air and in contact with nature but without sacrificing your day to day small luxuries. After all, after being stuck inside for months we can surely all do with a large dose of fresh air. Here at White House Glamping, we are looking forward to seeing you all!

Hopefully, we will still be able to take a fantastic camping or glamping holiday later this year. To discover more gems in the beautiful British countryside and to help support small businesses, check out our directory.

 

Camping Nightmares

Camping nightmares - windy conditions

We are nothing, if not resilient. Seriously, we had a nightmare trip in 2019 that would have turned less nutty committed campers into gibbering wrecks. From storm wreckage to flat beds to wet beds – we experienced all the camping nightmares possible for an average family. We started off with misplaced optimism about exploring the stunning county of Cornwall, taking in a couple of family visits and having a generally wonderful break. First stop South Winds Campsite in the surfing capital of Polzeath:

1. Flat bed

Had an absolutely amazing first day and went to bed full of fresh air, happiness and “isn’t my family great-ness” whilst snuggling into our lovely cosy bed.

Woke up at 2am. Pumped bed back up and crossed fingers.

Woke up at 4am. Wasn’t full of happiness. Pumped bed back up again.

Woke up at 6am. All happiness had leeched from my body along with the ability to move without creaking or groaning.

We spent an hour or so with our repair kit, finding the leak and confidently repairing it ready for the next night. Spent another lovely day and went to bed totally ready for restful and recuperative sleep.

Repeated pattern of previous night.

Bought new bed.

Camping sunset

2. Wet bed

Our dear daughter was 3, but had been going through the night with no “accidents” for 6 months. So, for whatever reason, we decided not to follow our own advice and did not pack any nappies. You can probably guess what’s coming.

Night 3, after 3 full-on days of sea, sand, kites, running, making friends and bucketloads of fresh air, our children were sound asleep in their shared double. So sound asleep in fact that neither had noticed the circle of wetness they were both lying in.

As any parent knows, waking up sleeping children is absolutely the LAST thing anyone wants to do so Daddy and I started a whispering argument about how to deal with this. “Leave them” was Daddy’s wise advice following the path of least effort. I was not so sure and eventually we decided to try our best to sort this without waking them. So, mission impossible began. This involved careful placement of towels on our bed, moving children to our bed and changing them with minimal movement/sound, changing their bed and more placement of towels, moving everyone back.

Well, obviously they woke up.

We bought nappies the next day.

 

3. “Sleeping” Through the Storm

We heard there was a storm coming. “We’re not scared!” exclaimed Daddy in true Bear Hunt style, after all we’d survived plenty of adverse weather in our trusty tent and knew all about double pegging, storm pegs, etc.

Turns out this was a bit optimistic.

It was rather windy when we went to bed, but we settled down, confident in getting a good night’s sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later and it was clear that this was not your average storm. The noise was, frankly, terrifying particularly given that it was the middle of the night. “Are you awake?” I whispered and knew it must be bad when partially deaf husband replied, “Totally!” We poked our heads into the living area and saw the tent bowing in so leapt out to investigate. There followed a flurry of activity – re-shaping, re-pegging, moving the Landy to shield the tent, pacing up and down with our hands on our hips, shaking our heads and finally going back in.

The kids were fast asleep all through this and continue that way until morning. I mean, how?

I did not go back to sleep. Just lay there waiting to be blown to Ireland.

Mummy is tired
Flattering photograph of Mummy feeling tired

4. What’s happened to our tent?

We were due to move to the next campsite the next morning so packed up feeling rather subdued and a little concerned about the rather odd shape of the front of the tent. But with true optimism, set off further down into Cornwall to explore areas we had never been to before, confident our camping nightmares were finished. The picturesque village of Mousehole beckoned with camping at an out-of-season football club, Mousehole Camping.

So, we started the process of pitching our tent again. Although the storm had passed, the wind was still buffeting us and presenting all sorts of challenges. I was definitely on crank factor 10 following almost no sleep but made the decision to not lose it if at all possible. Daddy had also made this decision and was trying not to shout at the hyped-up children who were running round and losing things in the wind. “Losing it” was starting to win however and in the end, bribery was employed to get them to stand (still please) on tent corners to try and get the job actually done. This was having some effect and we started the muscle-sapping process of pumping up the tent.

It became apparent that all was not well.

The back of the tent/sleeping area was fine but as we got closer to the front end that had taken the full impact of the wind, the shape of the air beams was distinctly bowed as though the wind was still pushing on them. We went around straightening, adjusting the air pressure, umming and ahhing to little effect. I heard a couple of cracks during this time and thought that it was the cricket game that was taking place in the next field. But then heard a couple more cracks in quick succession and turned my attention sharply to the air beam where the sound was actually coming from. I saw a bulge at the corner of the beam and heard a few more cracks which turned out to be the stitching popping and saw that the bulge was a rapidly expanding air beam as it pushed its way out of the popping protective casing.

The inevitable happened.

Bang!

Airbeam down. Now what?

As luck would have it, the lovely proprietor of the campsite offered us the use of a vacant bell tent for the rest of our stay and our holiday was saved!

Camping nightmares - burst airbeam
Pop!

5. Lost items

With a son who is perfectly capable of losing items in his own bedroom, losing things is inevitable.

It felt a little unfortunate that the thing he lost was the only coat he brought with him. Taken off whilst in the middle of an energetic game with new friends and discarded somewhere on the field never to be found again. Probably swept out to sea just as the storm came in.

We conceded that he really couldn’t do without a coat given the mad weather and of course, we just love spending money on more things from our constantly haemorrhaging bank accounts.

It was also a sad time for Daddy as he imitated his son and left his beloved hat of 30 years at some never to be found again place.

At various points, I also lost my patience and sanity.

Camping nightmares - lost items

6. Poo-gate (x2)

Here is a case in point.

First night in lovely bell tent and am woken up in the morning by beloved son who has an urgent need for the toilet so off we set over the 500 yards across grass, tarmac, around the pitch to the loo block.

“Oo, I need a poo Mummy.”

“Let’s go a bit faster then.”

“I really need to go, Mummy!”

“Not far now darling!”

And then the words, every parent dreads:

“It’s coming out, Mummy!”

I mean…what can you do? I thought brazen it out and keep going so half dragging him along, that’s what I did.

By the time we got to the loo block, things were not good.

It was literally all over his lower half including squelching inside his trainers. He was obviously upset so I was simultaneously trying to comfort him whilst not touching him or giving in to the rapidly rising tide of vomit. I pretty much had to hose him off, bin the PJ bottoms and disinfect his trainers. Also had to hot foot it back the way we came to assess the erm, damage left behind. A few doggy poo bags and squirts with a water bottle later and no one was any the wiser. I swerved every time I went past that bit though for the rest of the stay.

The next fun time for Mummy came the very next morning. I woke up before the others and took myself off to get washed. On my return, I saw dear daughter stood outside. As I got closer, it seemed her pyjama bottoms were round her ankles so I sped up with that familiar sinking feeling. As I got closer, it became apparent that I was too late and that she’d “deposited” immediately outside the entrance to the tent.

“Poo, Mummy.”

“No sh*t,” was what Mummy wanted to say.

Daddy stayed sound asleep through both incidents.

Despite our camping nightmares, we are desperately disappointed not to be camping in the next few weeks/months as Covid-19 rampages around this beautiful country. Please stay safe and stay at home for now. But don’t forget to support our wonderful camping industry as soon as you are able to so that we can all enjoy it for years to come. Check out some fab campsites on our directory and perhaps give them a follow or a like to keep them in mind for the future.

Fitting tent into bag

Taking Your Dog Camping

For some people, taking your dog camping with you is the most natural thing in the world – after all, they are part of the family, so it makes perfect sense. Others might break out into a cold sweat at the idea of coping with another “person’s” needs on top of everyone else’s.

Well, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you will all have a great time and there are lots of wonderful camp and glamping sites out there that will cater to Fido’s every need.

Will My Doggy Cope? (And Will I?!)

A lot of people think of dogs as hard work. And let’s face it, some can be! A lot depends on breed, age, living arrangements at home, etc and behaviour can therefore be variable.

We have always been fans of terriers (or terrorists, depending on which way you look at them!) and have found them to be great characters, very personable and almost human in some cases. Also, being petite is handy for fitting in around the small mountain that you need to take with you and manoeuvring around in the more “cosy” dimensions of your living quarters.

Taking your dog camping
Taking in the views

Having said that, we have friends with much bigger dogs and they all cope well and enjoy the company of each other. This is an important factor to consider when taking you dog camping with you – Does your dog socialise with other dogs regularly? If they don’t, going away and mixing with strange dogs will be stressful for you and them so try to integrate opportunities for this at home before embarking on a trip with them.

Most dogs do really enjoy going camping because they are with their best buddies (you) and of course, spending lots of time outside.

Taking your Dog Camping at Haw Wood Farm
Dog Walking Field at Haw Wood Farm

Campsite

It sounds obvious, but make sure your destination is dog friendly when booking. Some sites don’t allow dogs, or they do but have a gigantic list of rules suggesting that they are not that keen on them and will keep you under close surveillance for the duration of your “relaxing” holiday!

So, check out what is available at your campsite: A big designated dog walking area, doggy wash points or even doggy showers are all good signs that the campsite understand the needs of dogs and their parents.

Most campsites, whatever their take on dogs, will require that dogs are tied up whilst on site. This is an obvious health and safety precaution because of feral children on the loose, other animals on site, etc. So do make sure you take an extra long lead or perhaps even set up a zipline, so they do not feel over-restricted.

Taking your dog camping to Red Shoot Camping Park
Relaxing at Red Shoot Camping Park

Entertainment

When taking your dog camping, do make regular use of the “dog walk” areas and take the opportunity to explore the area around you with your faithful friend. Involve your children as well – many won’t need asking as they love to play with their best pal, but take toys and balls and play fetch for as long as you can manage. Of course, the more purposeful exercise you do with them, the quieter and happier they are likely to be at camp (this applies to children as well as dogs!)

Taking your dog Camping
Fun with friends

You may have some family days out planned away from the campsite. Always check that where you are going is dog friendly be it the beach, nature walks or particular family entertainment spots such as theme parks, castles, museums, etc.  For some of these it is highly likely that dogs would not be permitted so prior to your trip, it would be worth checking if your campsite is able to help or if they know of local, reputable “dog-sitting” services to save someone missing out on the trip.

I know it sounds obvious, but don’t leave dogs in the car for day trips such as this – they can cope for short periods, but longer ones make them miserable and, in the summer, the temperature quickly rises inside cars.

Taking your dog camping - Doggy friendly beach essential
Doggy friendly beach essential!

Packing

Dogs are simpler to pack for than children as they need far less clothes (lapdogs an exception), but this will still need some thought to ensure your trip is stress-free.

It is worth having a designated doggy bag with their stuff in so it’s easy to find and after all, they are a family member. The obvious inclusions are bed, lead, toys, food and bowl. Make sure you also take a bottle and bowl when you are mobile, so they have regular access to water when you are out and about. A good stash of old towels is useful after walks, beach trips, submerging in swamps, etc as you want to keep your tent as clean as possible. You might consider having a designated “wet area” in the tent if you all come in from the rain so that you can keep sleeping/living quarters clean and dry.

Oh, and poo bags. In every pocket. Of everything you own.

Taking your dog camping to Herding Hill Farm
Taking in the views at Herding Hill Farm, Northumberland

Selection of Lovely Camp and Glamping Sites that welcome dogs:

Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

Herding Hill Farm, Northumberland

Point Farm, Pembrokeshire

Deepdale Backpackers and Camping, Norfolk

Haw Wood Farm, Suffolk

Greenway Touring and Glamping Park, Shropshire

Petruth Paddocks, Somerset

Stowford Meadows, Devon

Forest Glade Holiday Park, Devon

Red Shoot Camping Park, Hampshire

8 Essential Camping Items To Take on Your Trip

It is not that easy to reduce the list to just 8 essential camping items. But raising children is expensive enough and the idea with camping is to make it a cheaper alternative than holidays in hotels and/or abroad.

So, if you are just starting out, then before you panic buy loads of equipment, do check your campsite. Campsites have come a long way in the last few years and many have lots of facilities that help drastically reduce your packing requirements. For example, there may be a picnic table right beside your pitch, showering AND bath facilities, hair dryers, cooking facilities, fire pits, washing up facilities, a food van, to mention just a few.

Another good tip is to go with another family or two. Check what they have and discuss whether you could share some equipment.

Then, tempting as it may be to buy EVERYTHING that you think you might need, rein yourself in and get only what you NEED to start with with the essential camping items. You can then build up with each trip as your experience increases.

1. Tent

Well that’s pretty obvious!

But where to start?

Finding the right family tent can feel like an overwhelming task as there is so much choice out there and it will be your biggest outlay. Just remember that the children will be just as happy in a small tent as a marquee. It’s us adults that tend to need more space, higher spec, etc. so if you start small, do not fear.

If you are new to camping, you don’t necessarily need to go out and buy one straight away. There are many campsites that provide tents for hire (often already erected) so you can assess whether you actually like camping before rushing out to buy the world. It will also help to “test-camp” a tent to find what works for you size-wise and do ask the campsite owner about taking it down/putting it up – some are much easier than others! Take advice from friends, look in shops, camping exhibitions, etc. and perhaps see if you can borrow one from friends (or go camping with them!)

For those that prefer to pump up their tent, then you can’t go far wrong with an award winning design such as those by Zempire – winner of “tent of the year” and “best luxury tent” with Camping Magazine this year.

If you would rather stick with poles, then have a look at the huge range on offer with World of Camping. This independent retailer stocks all sizes and types of tents from reputable brands such as Outdoor Revolution, Vango, Outwell, Robens and Easy Camp.

2. Bedding

A camping holiday runs a little smoother if everyone is sleeping well and comfortably! The fresh air during the day is guaranteed to help zonk everyone out at night anyway but you don’t want to wake up feeling cold and uncomfortable on a bed that deflated in the night.

So, think about whether you prefer an air mattress, campbed, sleeping mat and bring some sort of repair kit for anything that involves air. Then get a high tog sleeping bag, because even when it is hot during the day, the temperature can really drop at night when you’re in a tent. If you can fit them in, bring duvets as well – it can be nice to have some home comforts!

A great alternative that is comfortable and very easy to pack/carry is a Bundle Bed. As a revolutionary take on the old roll-out bed, a Bundle Bed is a self-inflating mattress, snuggly Jersey cotton sheets, moisture-wicking pillow and warm 15-tog duvet, all rolled together in a waterproof outer layer (perfect to save bedding from little sandy toes running around the tent!).

A Bundle Bed can be slung in the boot of a car, on a plane, or at the back of a cupboard ready for when you need it. Just unclip, unroll, unzip, and sleep! A British-designed brand, Bundle Beds set-out to bring a little simple luxury to camping, and to make visiting friends, organising kids’ sleepovers, or throwing some things in the car for an adventure, just that bit easier!

Bundle beds are offering £40 off a bed exclusively to Gone Camping Co subscribers until the end of April 2019. Sign up for our newsletter to get your discount code: http://gonecampingco.com/newsletter/

3. Somewhere to Sit

When camping, you are permitted to do that most magical of things…sit down. You can even stay sitting for a while just taking in views, reading a book or gazing into a campfire. Because you are on “camping time,” there is no need to rush around and keep to a succession of appointments. So make sure you have somewhere comfortable to park your rear.

World of Camping has a vast range of different chairs for all needs – little people, big people, upright, laid back, etc. or you could go for a touch of luxury with the moon base at Zempire.

4. Camp Kitchen

Before you buy a fully equipped camp kitchen, do check with your campsite what they will allow (i.e. re. firepits) or what they have available for you to use. Some campsites provide catering so you might not need to take anything at all!

There are many options from portable gas stoves (don’t forget the actual gas though – we’ve managed that!), disposable BBQs, portable BBQs or a fully converted trailer kitchen for those that want to go all out!

Remember the basic safety rule of NEVER taking your stove/BBQ into your tent, even after the flames have died down, because of the very real risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, invest in an awning  or simply secure a tarp over the cooking area if you want to protect it from the weather.

5. Lighting

One of the things that is very easy to forget despite being an essential camping item, is a decent light.

You may want a couple in your tent that work as ceiling lights, particularly if you have young children that are wary of the dark, a portable lantern to park on your table outside at night and then to bring inside the tent later and of course, a torch for those night time loo visits.

6. Suitable Clothing and Footwear

You will inevitably pack more than you need clothes-wise so try to think about the activities you will be doing and pack accordingly.  Are you planning to go to the beach? Go on bike rides? Walking/hiking? Or just staying around your campsite? You are, generally, unlikely to get out of jeans/shorts so leave the posh clothes at home.  Even if it is blazing hot sunshine when you set off, always pack a decent coat as the temperature drops at night and who knows what could happen with our temperamental weather!

With that in mind, pack extra nightclothes – onesies, woolly PJs, thick socks just to make extra sure of being warm enough at night.  Being too warm is easy to sort out, being too cold less so!

You end up wearing less than you think footwear-wise as well, and shoes can take up a lot of room so it’s worth giving this some thought. You definitely need some sort of outdoor trainer or boot to protect against wet grass outside of your tent. It’s worth having some sort of indoor shoe/slippers as well to keep the inside of your tent clean and dry.

Crocs are beloved by kids, especially, and they often don’t wear anything else throughout the holiday! They are wipe-clean, practical for the beach, pool, inside and out and particularly light weight when it comes to packing. FootArt is one of the largest specialist croc retailers in the UK and are well worth a look.

7. Transport

Now, packing for camping is a bit of an art form.

We started off with one child and managed to pack it all into a bog-standard car. After child no.2, we progressed to a Landrover. Now our tent has “grown” as have our accessories and its time to look at further options. A degree in engineering seems a little excessive so we’re looking at roof boxes and trailers instead.

Venter trailers are great for camping as they are lightweight, not so big that they’re difficult to manoeuvre and you won’t need a trailer licence to tow them.

8. Wine

Most essential camping item. Some might argue that this should have been number 1.

 

The list could go on. 

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10 Reasons To Take Your Family Camping This Year

Family camp at Petruth Paddocks

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

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: Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park, Devon

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: Fontmills Farm, East Sussex

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.

Campsite that hires firepits: Whitlingham Broad Campsite, Norfolk

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 campsite: Red Shoot Camping Park, Hampshire

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!

Campsite that is a great base for exploring: Deeside, Aberdeen

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 camp site: Herding Hill Farm, Northumberland

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: The Lost Brickyard, Norfolk

Six Things We Have Learnt Whilst Camping This Year

 

  1. After buying a new tent, test it out at home first.

This is something we know very well. But for some reason, we didn’t bother after our first air beam purchase earlier this year. Cue 2 looooong hours of tension as we crawled our way to full erection! Not advisable at any time, but definitely not with two small and increasingly grumpy children!

  1. Check the weather forecast.

We have had a simply amazing summer this time and in July, it felt that the sunshine would never end. So, when we came to the end of our planned holiday in Somerset, we thought heck, we’ve got some clean clothes left, we might never experience another summer like this again…let’s carry on for a couple more days! So down to Devon we went and the skies turned from the bluest of blues to the darkest of greys.

Great.

Two full days of rain plus a night storm of epic proportions later and we squelched our way home.

  1. Prepare your tent before a storm rather than during.

This is greatly assisted if you have done point 2 beforehand.

So, we woke up in the middle of the night to what can only be described as the stormiest storm in Stormland on national storm day. Our tent was stable but there was no denying the severe wind buffeting it and I did what anyone would do…kicked the husband out of bed to deal with it. Much double pegging later and we eventually felt able to sleep again…although this was trickier as we had two extra small people in the bed.

  1. Help the helpless.

As we arrived at the camp still full of holiday cheer and totally unaware of the storm to come, we came across a family of a lovely dad, uncle and three children all looking hopefully at some poles and canvas. It became apparent that this was their first ever camping trip with borrowed equipment and they had not completed point 1 or 2. They had been in the same position for 2 hours. So, with our travelling buddies we helped them to erect their somewhat complicated tent and they were really happy and grateful. We had that wonderful glow that comes with being useful.

Then came the storm.

Come the morning, their tent half caved in and they hadn’t slept a wink. They decided not to stay for the second night. I would imagine they will never camp again.

Perhaps we should have just left them to it and they could have found a B&B?

  1. Timing is everything.

When packing away your tent, ensure it is thoroughly dry beforehand.

When it came to packing ours away, the rain never blooming stopped. The tent was sopping and weighed the same as approximately 5 elephants, hubby and I dripped all over the Landy and it’s safe to say that we had no more spare clothes left.

The rain didn’t stop at home all week either, so tent had to be aired in a farm shed and I needed a holiday by the time we had sorted everything out.

  1. Camping with friends is the way forward.

We had two trips with different sets of friends this year and it was brilliant! The children always have people to play with, someone else always has something that you forgot to pack, there are more eyes to watch little people and most importantly, lovely people to share wine with at the end of the day!

Despite all these trials, will we be going camping again next year?

Can’t wait!