As summer fast approaches, so does camping season! Last summer I took to the road with my partner and decided to explore England a little more. Armed with a tent and knowing we could stop off at any super market for a disposable BBQ, we head out on the road to places less than 4 hours away. Stopping off in Chichester, West Wittering, Bognor Regis, Ross-on-Wye, Bath, Brecon Beacons and Swanage. As well as many other in between towns.
This post is going to be a little collective of these trips. Please note that this post completely excludes large camp sites with club houses in England. This post is talking about family run campsites!
Sometimes, hopping on a plane and paying hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros is just not an option for you and that is why I really recommend camping. It’s really nice to switch off and a cheap and cheerful way to go on holiday. I have been camping a lot both in my childhood and in general the past summer and the process is that you pay either per tent or ‘per head.’ I would say on average (non electrical pitch) that this is around £7. I have paid just £7 for the tent and £7 per head. Either way, it is super cheap!
Although you can just turn up, I strongly recommend booking in advance. It might not be obvious to us but certain camp sites do have peak seasons. I walked through one on a hike recently and the field was so packed every ones guide ropes were touching. We were based about 10 minutes down the road from this site and we had so many options on where to put our tent!
Of course, you do not actually have to stick to a camp site. I personally do because of the shower blocks and the little community that develops. Every one talks to each other, you can borrow things from your neighbour without even knowing their name and every one says good morning.
When I was younger, all the food that we couldn’t take home, we gave to the tents around us.
So here is some of the reasons why I think camping is a good idea..
⇢Freedom. You are not limited to one town like you would be if you are booking a hotel (even with advanced booking.) Most receptions for camp sites close around 7pm, they let you stay and then you pay in the morning or you contact the site warden. It depends on the site but each site has their own instructions.
⇢You can switch off from social media/life in general. Sometimes this might not actually be a choice. Most places do not have signal. Some campsites do have Wi-Fi though if you are bothered!
⇢It’s quiet. This is not guaranteed but most parents have taken their children to places with evening entertainment/club houses/arcades. I saw very few children while camping during the 6 weeks summer holiday.
⇢There really is something about sitting around a disposable BBQ/Fire with your loved ones talking way in to the night.
⇢You can actually see the stars. Depending how far in to the countryside you venture, you can really see all the stars. I saw so many shooting stars on these trips, even when coming back from the bathroom at 2am!
⇢Hiking & Views. Most of these family run campsites are on a hill, it is so nice to wake up and see a beautiful landscape as soon as you open your tent.
⇢It’s cheap. Self explanatory really.
So what do I take when I go camping?A check list below:
I originally bought a cheap £10 tent from a supermarket but I had a bad experience with that. It was raining really heavily in Wales and it turned out not to be properly waterproofed! I think I definitely picked up a bad one though because the couple opposite had exactly the same tent and had no problems. This was enough for me to spend a little more and get another “proper” camping tent for 2 people.
⇢ Tent (obviously!) I bought mine from Argos. Try and get one that has a little bit at the front that will cover your shoes if you can!
⇢ Foam mattress (that you can also pump air in to but I don’t!) I have had this in my family for ages, since camping when I was little. Still going strong! I’d definitely recommend purchasing an airbed though and a foot pump that you do not need electricity for.
⇢ Quilt/Duvet/Sleeping bag. I personally really hate the feeling of a sleeping bag, especially in the morning. Gross! So I take my quilt. This makes it a little bit more cosy and homey for me and less like I am outside and more that I have built a fort in my bedroom!
⇢ Cushions. I don’t take pillows! I feel they’re too soft for camping as you’re laying flat, so I pack two squishy cushions that I usually use for display on my bed.
⇢ Extra layers of clothes. Even if it’s 25°C during the day, it’ll probably get really chilly at night. I pack (and wear at night) x1 pair of leggings, x1 long pj bottoms, x2 long sleeve Pj tops, x1 Jumper & Thermal socks. This was in the summer and I wasn’t cold at all. It may be a bit much but I get cold so easily!
⇢ A music playlist – for the car journey!
⇢ Wash bag (including cheap flipflops) Contrary to popular belief, there is actually shower and toilet blocks that are kept in perfect cleanliness.
⇢ Torch! this one is super important. I have a wind up one so I do not need batteries but you are really not going to be able to see in the tent at night time or walking to the toilets.
Things I need to address with camping:
⇢ Bugs. I know a lot of people associate camping by being covered in bugs. This is not true! I rarely see any bugs when I go camping and I definitely do not see them in my tent!
⇢ There is no showers/toilets. As I have stated in this post a lot of times already. Unless you are camping in “the wild” (so to speak) then there will be facilities there for you (including a place to wash up!)
⇢ You need to have a lot of equipment to get the full experience. No. I always used to think this and always look at the tents next to us with their kettle, fold up BBQ, tea towels and proper cutlery. No, no, no. These are things you want, not what you need!
⇢ People will steal your bed if you leave your tent unattended in a camp site.. Nope! People are not interested in your stuff. They’re on holiday and unless you’re camping next to a complete obvious and dodgy rogue family, don’t worry about it!
I hope I have helped even just a little bit. I strongly recommend it. As we are in May now I’m starting to prep for this year. Even if it is for one night that you go with your partner, I think you should try. If Glamping is your thing, that’s fine too! but I hope I have convinced you a little bit to go this way.
P.S: Don’t let bugs stop you from doing this!
If you have been camping, where would you recommend? I’m heading out again this summer and need places to visit!