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Need help for large family first time campers.

(12 Posts)
suddenlysix Tue 12-Apr-16 12:27:25

After a couple of very expensive foreign holidays the DH and I have decided to go camping this year. (I'm still paying off our fortnight in Turkey last August!) DH has been camping a few times as a child but I've never been. I had previously flat out refused to ever go but my children have nagged and my credit card statements are depressing so I've agreed - but with a few stipulations. Absolute must is being allowed to have an open fire. I love a fire and don't see the point of the camping experience without being able to do that. Secondly is electric hook up. I thought this was kind of standard but searching online I've found a few nice campsites that don't have it. We live in Essex and we're looking to go to the South West, Dorset or Somerset. I love Devon and Cornwall but its quite a long drive, especially with 6 children (I have 3 and my 3 step children moved in with us a couple of years ago). Their ages are 14, 13, 13, 11, 11 and 3. The other problem is that with 8 of us we have a very large tent - kindly bought by the inlaws a few years ago. I think its about 8x8m!

If anyone has any recommendations of sites that fit all those requirements I'd be so grateful. I've searched online all morning and I just can't find anything that fits. I think its harder to book campsites as they're often not internet based. I'm thinking I may be missing out on some amazing little farm somewhere.

Oh I should add that we'd like to be on or near the beach but I'd still consider somewhere away from the coast if it was in a nice wooded area rather than just a big open field.


Blu Wed 13-Apr-16 06:57:09

There is a difference in style, generally, between sites that allow fires, and those that have EHU, so there will be a limited number that have both. Campfire sites are usually wilder in nature, with pitches further apart, or more usually you can just pitch where you like. But I am like you: a fire is a must. It is an activity in it's own right, the best way to sit out at night, keeping warm and sociable.

The UKCampsite site has a search filter for fires and then allows you to search by region or map. also has a fires search filter.

Your tent is indeed huge and will cause issues on some more 'regimented' sites, though some have a choice of pitch size. If you were starting from scratch I would suggest putting the teens in their own small tents (in twos, if it works out) because they like this, it gives you more flexibility etc. But see how you get on.

profpoopsnagle Wed 13-Apr-16 21:45:17

I can echo what Blu said in that it can be hard to find campsites which do both- you may have to choose which matters more to you. What do you want EHU for? If it is just charging phones' a light etc then you could investigate into solar panels.

I have been to 2 which do, but they are not in the areas you want.
The Hideaway in Yorkshire. This allows fires and about half the pitches have EHU. The facilities bock is brill. It is not in a wooded area per se, but they have tents around the outside and a big bit in the middle for people to play games. There's a lot to see in Yorkshire, but it would be a trek to the coast as it's near Easingwold.

There's also FForest Fields near Builth Wells in Wales. Lovely walks from the site, it has a lake which you can swim/canoe and plenty of space. Again, no where near a beach and great facilities too- you might even manage without EHU here as they have many fridge/freezers for campers to use, and little safe boxes where you can charge your phone.

If you do want the coast, you could try Eweleaze or connected sites (near Weymouth), but they don't have EHU. They are a pitch anywhere camp, but Eweleaze is quite slop-py so you might find it hard to find a sized area which is level enough.

OneflewovertheOstrich Wed 13-Apr-16 21:47:23


Longthorns farm.

EHU and open fires. Even have a communal fire pit to toast marshmallows .

LoAds to do on the doorstep too.

OneflewovertheOstrich Wed 13-Apr-16 21:49:40

suddenlysix Thu 14-Apr-16 07:53:15

Thanks so much for your replies!

I had a feeling that finding somewhere with EHU and fires allowed together might be difficult. Strangely - considering that its me who has never been camping - its actually my husband who says the electric is essential. He says that we'll need lights and he wants to bring a tv. I'm not sure that taking a tv camping is the best idea and would much rather my children had a few days off! They spend enough time on their xboxs, phones and youtube. I will freely admit I spend a lot of time on my phone (when I'm not running around after 5 chronically messy teens and a 3 year old) but I think I can last a couple of days without Instagram and Candy Crush! I'd rather take some books with us and sit around the fire. Then again, if we're relying on battery powered lanterns to read in the evening I'm not sure how long they'll last.

I did actually find Eweleaze and it looks so beautiful! The beach is amazing. I'm going to check out those suggestions now, including the ones in other areas so thanks again for your help.

suddenlysix Thu 14-Apr-16 21:09:42

Longthorns Farm all booked! Thanks so much for the help ladies.


hillbilly Fri 15-Apr-16 12:40:50

I know you have already booked Longthorns but for future reference the following places may suit although not exactly in the area specified.

Wowo in East Sussex is lovely although personally I prefer it out of season as it can get pretty packed. No EHU but fires encouraged. They have charging lockers for phones (for which I think they charge £5 deposit and possibly a small daily fee).

In West Sussex is Stubcroft Farm allow fires and have some EHU. Near to West Wittering beaches.

Again wrong area (but they have EHU and fires), Town Farm in Bucks is lovely, Not a very big site, in a beautiful area with lots of walks in the area.

OneflewovertheOstrich Fri 15-Apr-16 17:49:56

You won't be disappointed with Longthorns.
You can wake up to the sound of monkeys howling which is very surreal.
There is the tank museum and monkey world and loads of other things to do nearby end the coast is very close.

When are you going we may be there at the same time ? smile

suddenlysix Fri 15-Apr-16 18:30:49

Thanks hillbilly, I'll bear them in mind. If this holiday goes well the DH wants us to start going for long weekends a few times a year to make the most of all the equipment the in laws have bought.

Oneflew, we're going the 2nd week of August. Hoping we've maximised our chances of getting some good weather!


OneflewovertheOstrich Fri 15-Apr-16 20:09:02

we may be there for a weekend when you are !

suddenlysix Fri 15-Apr-16 22:16:04

grin Well just look for the mad woman surrounded by a plague of children!

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