Camping from 12th April 2021 – Should we go?

Finally, it is here! We can actually go camping from 12th April 2021 – huzzah! But wait – Where can we go? Will it really be back to “normal”? Is it safe? How many of us can go? Should we be packing extras?

The gradual opening up of the country raises lots of questions, particularly around holidays and, of course, camping. So, let us clear up a few points.

1. Where can we go?

Well, the 12th of April 2021 opening relates only to those in England. (More information here) In Wales, campsites opened for those living in Wales from 27th March. (More information here.)

Wye Glamping is one of the simply gorgeous welsh glamping sites opening for those lucky folks living in Wales!

For those in Scotland, the “stay local” message is in place until the provisional date of 26th April when camping can recommence. (More information here.) In Northern Ireland, the stay at home message is still in place and they will review the measures on 15th April. (More information here.)

This all means that for the time being, we cannot cross borders for holidays but must stay within our own country.

2. Will it really be back to “normal”?

Not as we know it. As already explained, we will be restricted to our own country and cannot cross the border to another just yet. At this stage, we will not be able to use shared facilities such as shower and toilet blocks. This means we need to be self-sufficient with our own facilities. Most sites will provide freshwater points and waste disposal facilities but check carefully before going. The gorgeously rural Haw Wood Farm in Suffolk will be open to all self-contained units from 12th April and they are so excited to be able to welcome guests at last.

Camping from 12th April - Haw Wood Farm

We will not be able to take off in large groups but need to stay with our household. This might make some of us joyful and others are probably sick of the idea of spending yet more time with our families after the last few months! There are a few sites about that can help take this pain away though. For example, the glorious backdrop of Brocklands Farm Glamping where you can bask in the delights of the South Downs National Park from the home comforts of a fully furnished safari tent – bliss!

Camping from 12th April - Brocklands Farm

3. Is it safe?

As you can imagine, camping, glamping and caravan sites around the country have put in huge preparations for a safe re-opening.  From contactless booking and check ins, restricted numbers to signs and hand sanitiser everywhere. As we know, camping, in all its guises, lends itself quite nicely to natural social distancing, particularly when you have the huge fields available in Petruth Paddocks, Somerset allowing plenty of space between pitches.

Camping from 12th April - Petruth Paddocks

Longberry Farm in Kent are only opening one of their beautiful bell tents at a time on their site and giving exclusive access to all facilities to the lucky family that books. So, social distancing really won’t be an issue there!

Camping from 12th April - Longberry Farm

4. How many of us can go?

Across all of the UK, the message is clear that campsites will not take any group bookings right now. It is families only, although “bubbles” can be accommodated. If you fear that this might compromise your holiday, why not look at a family glamping site such as Tinkers Bells, Staffordshire where you have the use of the whole site for your family? No-one else to worry about so no social distancing required – easy-peasy!

Camping from 12th April - Tinkers Bells

5. Should we be packing extras?

Yes! Self-sufficiency requires extras that we usually take for granted i.e. toilet, showering and wash facilities. If you don’t have these, pop over to World of Camping where they have plenty of cost-effective solutions such as portable toilets, solar showers and washing accessories.

Although sites will definitely have oodles of hand sanitiser available, it makes sense to pack plenty of your own. And don’t forget your masks!

6. What happens next?

To be honest, we just have to be patient. The next provisional date for opening up further is 17th May in England. And, of course, this depends on the data surrounding Covid-19 continuing in the right direction. As restrictions change across the UK, here at Gone Camping Co, we will keep you informed what that means as campers and glampers.

Langstone Manor Park are open for business from 12th April but are particularly looking forward to extending opening from the 17th May.

Camping from 12th April - Langstone Manor Park

If you are holding back from booking as you don’t want to risk losing out financially, it is worth checking out with your preferred campsite what their policy is as most are incredibly flexible during this uncertain time. After a torrid time over the last year, we can’t emphasise enough how important it is to support this industry in 2021. Many campsites have invested heavily to ensure they are “Covid-19 Safe” but at the same time have a hugely reduced income because of being unable to open and only then with a reduced number of guests.

People are feeling a range of emotions after a whole year of dealing with the pandemic. Some are champing at the bit to get out there, some are cautious about their and others’ health, some are confused about the rules and what they can do and others have grown entirely used to staying at home and don’t want to venture out at all! However the pandemic has affected you, we wish you all the best and encourage you to take the time to (responsibly) explore our beautiful country. Give camping a try, or if you are not quite ready to leave behind all of your home comforts, a bit of glamping. Either way, they are amongst the most natural ways to socially distance right now!

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!