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Reluctant Camper, please reassure me.

(33 Posts)
NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 08:35:27

I have never camped before but dp being made redundant means that the beach/hotel abroad will have to be cancelled.

We still want to get away so are going to embrace camping and hopefully do two or three long weekends during the summer.

So what do you do whilst camping? How do you keep the kids entertained?
Where do you go?

Dc are 9, 6, 6 and 2.

SavoyCabbage Sun 09-Feb-14 08:44:39

We take bikes and the dc ride them and pootle about in streams and go for 'adventure walks'. They are never bored if that's what you are worried about.

Everything takes longer so that's something to do. Collecting wood, washing up, getting water- they love it all.

I'm a reluctant camper too. I do it because the dc love it.

Take footballs, cricket bats etc, there are always other children to play with. Nature stuff, just pottering around. We take colouring books, books, card games for down time. Also trips out, beaches, walks etc.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 09:52:43

Those sound like some good ideas, I am most worried about taking a 2yo I think.

where would you recommend going?

We like the Isle of Wight as there is masses to do and going on a ferry makes it feel more holiday-like. The ferries are expensive though.

colleysmill Sun 09-Feb-14 10:33:01

I wouldn't worry too much about your 2 yr old. Ds has camped with us since he was little although in a motor home/campervan and he has always loved it and often doesn't want to come home.

To start with we picked sites with plenty of facilities - lots of the haven, park resorts type sites for example have camping areas which are much more reasonable than static caravans but you can still have access to the pool, club etc before we tried sites which are just fields.

We went to the isle of Wight last year and the site did a deal which included ferry and it worked out much cheaper - out of season we paid about 115 quid including ferry for 7 nights. August for the Olympics at haven cost 100 per person for 7 nights.

It's amazing what fun they can have with ball and frisbee and board games if it's raining.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 15:00:20

I think that sounds a good idea colley to ease us in gently, yet somewhere quite holiday parkish.

After spending the morning looking at tents and googling campsites I feel quite optimistic now. I am picturing the kids pond dipping and bike riding with ds in a little trailer thing on the back.

Thumbcat Sun 09-Feb-14 17:39:43

This place is great for camping with children. It's always a cheap holiday for me as there's enough to do that we don't have to factor in money for days out.

Yes, we live near Wellington Country Park, have never camped there ourselves but everyone says it's very good.

colleysmill Sun 09-Feb-14 18:25:20

That looks lovely thumbcat!

Op if you search through camping there are some good threads on what you need to get started, I would also recommend asking around friends and family. We "inherited" a lot of stuff to start with and then have gradually replaced or discarded with experience.

My personal top tip is travel as light as possible. Aslong as you have a good coat and solid shoes you will be fine. In the early days I took far too many shoes and only wore one the entire time!

Blu Sun 09-Feb-14 18:41:08

It all depends on what kind of camper you are.

there are lots of sites where you more or less camp where you like, in woods or on fields, and the kids run wild in the woods, you can have a campfire et. Places like this would include Forgewood, Welsummer or Blackberry Wood all in Kent or E Sussex. Usually well positioned for days out at National Trust places or not too fat from the sea, they have 'facillities' and Forgewood actually has a restaurant.

Or you can try the more holiday-park ones - Wellington Country Park, or on the N Norfolk coast, Kelling Heath. Kelling has a pool, miles of heatland and woodland, v close to the coast, has a takeaway and restaurant facility. Obviously these places are more expensive.

Or there are sites with children's farms and petting zoos on site, like Palace farm.

Or more traditional 'organised' sites maybe like Norman's Bay, with it's own shingle beach outside Eastbourne, or Waxham sands on the dunes in Norfolk.

Do you want a clubhouse and bar and evening entertainment?

Look at a few sites like CoolCamping, or search Campsite UK by map and then other filters like 'beach' or 'campfire'.

Whether a campfire is allowed is often a kind of the touchstone of the sort of site it is.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 18:42:30

Wow Thumbcat that place looks fantastic. I am definitely coming round to this camping business.

That's another good tip Colley I think waterproof waking boots and or a pair of trainers is the way to go? Comfort all the way.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 18:46:10

Cross posted there Blu I think I want all of those holidays! Its cheap enough that we could do four nights in a holiday park place and the odd weekend in a hidden forest adventure type place too.

I am thinking that if we have a good forecast we could book somewhere and head off that weekend. Am I deluded, will everywhere be booked yonks in advance?

School holidays and bank holidays a lot do get booked up, especially the ones with lots of facilities (Wellington does, we have tried). The smaller, quieter ones tend not to so much.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 18:56:48

I think we will book wwllington/somewhere. Similar for a four night break in advance and we know we have that to look forward to and then if we get a bit of nice weather head somewhere closer to home for odd weekends.

Are the smaller, basic ones usually cheaper? The ones where its just you and some trees and a small stream.

Blu Sun 09-Feb-14 19:44:05

Footwear: either walking boots or trainers, and a pair of crocs or flip flops. For getting on and off quickly as you go in and out of the tent, and for using in the showers. Unless it is dry as anything, kids can live in welllies, or traners and crocs or flip flops.

Camipng is fab. You just have to treat it all as fun. Do BBQ cooking or fn cooking and don't try and emulate home, enjoy sitting in your chair and relaxing with a book and glass of wine, watching the sun go down.

Actually the Forgewood / Blackberry Woods type sites are not especially cheap. They are trendy these days. Some charge by tent, some by person. We went to one last summer, a fields and woods one (no cafe on site) that just charged £10 per day per tent and then a fiver for a massive bundle of wood for your fire of you wanted it. Merrylands nr Eastbourne. Most work out more expensive than that.

Thumbcat Sun 09-Feb-14 19:46:44

Basic sites can be cheaper, but I'm often surprised by how much some of them can cost when they're just a field and a shower block. You have to really search for the good value ones.

If you let us know what sort of areas you'd be looking at for weekends we might be able to recommend some sites.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 19:55:12

Thanks, your such a helpful, friendly bunch. I hope we get a campsite full of people this nice.

For weekend trips we would be looking in the north west and wales but would consider as far as the lake district or even the east coast is only two or three hours drive away.

Blu Sun 09-Feb-14 20:20:55

Look at all the threads down this board, there was one recently about favourite sites an I'm sure that had lots of Welsh recommendations.

Camping is friendly. I used to camp on my own with pre-school DS and someone would always come over and help me fold my tent.

NachoAddict Sun 09-Feb-14 20:32:39

I am going to pour over all the threads now the washing will still be there tomorrow

YellowDinosaur Sun 09-Feb-14 21:25:40

I can recommend some fab fairly basic campsites in Northumberland / Tyne and Wear off that's not too far away...

Good luck. The kids will love it!

Thumbcat Mon 10-Feb-14 11:02:27

I haven't been to either of these, but they're on my to do list -

hillbilly Mon 10-Feb-14 13:28:28

I would second all the woodland sites that Blu recommended. They are not the cheapest, however they are fantastic for the whole family. We rarely leave the site if just camping for the weekend. You will find other campers to be very helpful - last year I arrived with the kids earlier than DH at Forgewood and decided to put the tent up in the rain. Never having done it solo before I had to enlist the help of our neighbours who were more than happy to help.

Another great site is Abbotstone Wood - pretty basic but lovely and quiet. We spend one of the days lazing around on the river here.

One thing if you want nice, quiet fellow campers, possibly avoid sites close to pubs. We took the DCs on their first camping trip to a site that was a field adjoining a country pub, pitched up, played in the river etc, had a lovely pub lunch, played till dark, went to bed. Then a huge party of drunk people rolled out of the pub and into the tents across the field from us, bye bye peace and quiet.

mybabywakesupsinging Mon 10-Feb-14 22:18:43

We love Norfolk coast (round Cromer...), or Romney farm for Camber sands, RHD railway, Port lymphne for a big day out...wicksteed park is quite nice for a weekend (go to the lovely Stanwick ?sp lakes nearby as well, massive play area, costs almost nothing).
My lot will play indefinitely on a beach - we take nets, spades, buckets, balls and bats, cricket set...but mainly they make their own games.
If you are doing a beach holiday in the UK get them shortie wetsuits - they are about £13 on-line and are incredibly warm - and stay warm when wet - we've done a lot of very contented grey days by / in the sea. In fact the kids now prefer it when it isn't sunny as they don't have to do the suntan cream thing.
hope you have a great time

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