CAMPING IN THE UK: BEGINNERS GUIDE
Many of you may already know this but for those that don’t, let me be blunt – I FARKING LOVE CAMPING!
It’s a recent obsession. Previously, my only camping experiences were limited to music festivals like V, Reading and Tribal Gathering (remember that one?) which basically meant dancing in a field (probably like a tool) then passing out.
However. The past three years (thanks to Mr Husband deciding that we didn’t need a kitchen extension but instead a VW T5 Camper van) we have had the bestest times on wanderlust family holidays, touring around France, Spain and yes, around the UK, too.
And it’s the latter location that this post will focus on.
Admittedly, we are fair weather campers – hence our travels to the continent – but there are some brilliant camp sites to explore in the UK and if you’re blessed with some Vitamin D, you’ll want to do it again and again.
Of course, the weather is never a guarantee, innit!?
And I know it’s a tough one to try and convince any camping-virgins out there that it really is the best frickin’ thing, so I thought this beginners guide just might help…
1 BRING FRIENDS!
Go en masse! Share this post with your mates because some may take convincing but I assure you, camping with friends and their families is wicked!
We’ve camped once in the UK as a family of four (Hastings way) and while it was lovely, if you’ve got kids, they’ll need entertaining and I always find it easier with more kids around, if that makes sense..?
2 YOU CAN FUDGE IT
OK. You don’t technically need to ‘camp’.
We’ve camped in the Cotswolds before and my bestie and her family stayed in a cottage (they had a baby-baby and needed 24hr kitchen access etc); another couple stayed at the B&B, one of my mates and her family went all out and pitched their tent (HEROES!) while we pitched next to them in our camper van.
All of the above accommodation was on one site (there are cute wooden glamping pods and static homes to hire, too) which means everyone’s a winner.
OK, so if you’re in the cottage or B&B, you’re not technically camping, but if it pours down with rain (which it did) you know you’ll have somewhere dry to escape.
3 A GOOD TENT
Do your research and don’t be scared to ask for advice and read reviews. Mr Husband loves geeking out on stuff like this (terrible stereotyping going on here) but it’s worth the time spent.
Usually, sales advisors in outdoor shops are really well trained and in our experience, they’ve always been really accommodating.
Most tents now are pop-up or inflatable, so a lot more easier than when you got your camping badge in Brownies or Cubs circa 1989.
4 GET COMFY CHAIRS
An absolute necessity plus a drinks holder is a must!
Test them out for comfort but also bear in mind the size that they will pack down to and make sure you can transport them. We usually go away with a couple of these foldaway chairs (pictured below) as our camper van already has two camping chairs cleverly stowed in the door of the boot (as well as a table, too!) *smug face
Just add big fleece blankets and cushions to make those chilly evenings around the fire as snug as you can.
You will need a good torch. Full stop.
Handheld is fine but just make sure it’s a decent one. We have little torches that we keep in the glove box too – great for the kids, for reading and they all usually come with straps.
You’ll soon discover that when it comes to camping, anything that can be hung is a really handy detail.
As well as head torches (so you’re hands-free) I’d also recommend some mood lighting too.
A string of solar power or battery-operated fairy lights hung between trees or across your tent or a couple of lantern lights just means that on a dry evening or once the campfire goes out, you’ll still have cute lighting – plus it looks really homely, too. In a commune kinda way, haha!
We usually bring a home-made pasta that can be easily warmed up or eaten cold for the first night. Setting up tents and stuff can take time, plus if things don’t go to plan, it just takes the edge off a hangry mob. Bring all your favourite snacks too but don’t forget, you’re in the great outdoors so bear in mind things like ants – bring ziplock bags to keep food safe. Plus, recycle all packaging – campsites are usually shit-hot with this – and do not litter. EVER!
You have to be prepared for every eventuality and by this, I don’t just means wellies and waterproofs, I mean shorts and vest tops too.
Don’t forget sun hats as well as a beanie (might be cold at night) but don’t over pack.
Depending on how long you are staying, even when we tour for a whole month we don’t take crap loads. We use the facilities to wash clothes and re-wear a lot of stuff.
Pack light and roll things rather than fold.
I’ll keep this one short. Bring wellies and flip flops – or go home! The latter may seem like wishful thinking but remember, you’ll be using communal showers!
9 COUNTRY PUB
No camping trip in the UK would be complete without a massive slap up meal at the best country pub in the village.
Twice now when we’ve all camped in the Cotswolds we’ve all taken a country walk down to The Bull Inn in Charlbury.
It’s so picturesque, brilliant for families and the food is everything you’d expect it to be and more.
Wherever you’re staying, do your research, ask locals and enquire at the campsite reception, too when you check in.
Camping in the great outdoors is of course a great opportunity to reconnect with nature and perhaps disconnect from the digital landscape…
However, I’ll be honest with you, we do bring our devices because a) we are not shitty parents and b) camping is not meant to be a punishment.
We always opt for hook-up (electricity access on our pitch) so no one will run out of juice.
Saying that, you’ll probably find that everyones screen time eventually gets reduced by some kind of magical-mother-nature-default.
It’s true. Give kids a field to run around, a park to play in and a safe enclosed place to go exploring and they will.
And once the kids are settled, everything else becomes a breeze, innit?!
Don’t believe me, then why not give it a go! Go on. I dare you!
I’d love to know how it all goes. I know a few of you have mentioned that you’ve been inspired to go camping since reading some of my posts. Any camping questions, just comment below. Happy to help.
Finally, thank you to Regatta who know we are family of four avid campers and kindly gifted us with so many essentials that we needed to restock up on, of which I’ve clearly marked with [gifted].
Thanks for reading and enjoy the Bank Holiday.