It's the little things.
This year has certainly been one for the record books. While many of us have probably enjoyed more time at home with family and perhaps using this year as a little reset button, I am sure you are with me when it comes to a bit of a head scratching moment of how can we enjoy a getaway this year.
Although there are the travel corridor countries, there were two lingering questions running through our minds.
Do we risk going overseas with the possibility of a 14 day quarantine being put in place whilst away.
Is it really the sensible thing to do right now as we would be traveling for pleasure not as an essential trip?
So with this in mind we looked at what we can enjoy on our own soil. After all, there is so much to enjoy in the United Kingdom that gets overlooked when you have Europe just a stone’s throw away.
We hired a car for 4 days, packed some camping gear and off we went.
Quite surprisingly once we started researching we realised that there are hundreds of camping grounds around the United Kingdom. Space is a bit tight at the moment with the COVID distancing rules and campsites are only allowing about half of the usual amount of guests. Due to this, I would advise at looking a few weeks in advance to book yourself a place especially if you are camping during peak season.
If you have a tent, you can choose from electric grass pitch or non-electric grass pitch. The cost normally includes two people (for a small tent) and one car per tent. If you choose a space for a bigger tent, an increased number of people are generally expected and included in the costs.
What we were surprised about were the variety of amenities in camping grounds. Some grounds included complete luxury with a pool, sauna and onsite bar while others offered the opposite extreme of drop toilets, no electricity and purely open fields. Prices obviously reflect your necessities but who knew camping grounds had come this far. Obviously I hadn't been camping for some time.
Our priorities were showers, toilets and washing up spaces on a non-electric pitch.
What to pack
Do not let not having a car put you off camping. We comfortably carried all of the below to a car rental, so it is doable.
· Tent (inclusive with hammer and pegs)
· Sleeping bags
· Pillow (a blow up pillow saves space and is surprisingly comfortable)
· Blow up mattress and pump
· Portable light
· Cutlery, plates, cups/mugs and bowls, spatula
· Camping cooking pots/pan/kettle (you can purchase a kit from any camping shop for £20-25)
· Picnic blanket
· Portable gas stove + gas canister
· Flip flops (useful for showers)
· Sunscreen and bug spray
· Cooler bag
· Cleaning products; washing up liquid, sponges and towel
· Bin bags
· Personal cosmetics
· Personal clothing
The stigma of camping
I feel that there can be an unfortunate stigma behind camping being an UN-luxurious holiday. Part of me is completely fine with this thought process as it means more camp sites for me. Although, it does sadden me knowing people are not experiencing the nature and refreshing feeling that camping can give to your soul. If anything, I think camping makes you richer and more fulfilled.
Four days camping made me feel that I was on holiday every minute of the day. I enjoyed every second of the independence required to create your home, cook your own meals and keep yourself warm with a fire. Of course you could cheat the process by driving off and getting food but honestly, give it a go.
I had forgotten how enjoyable making breakfast and coffee on a portable camp gas stove every morning was and being able to sit outside enjoying the peace, quiet and fresh air. Camping reminds you how much you can enjoy the little things in life.
Tips and Costs
· For the general amenities you can get a pitch for £15-22 during peak times and £10-18 during off peak times, per couple.
· The electric pitches tend to be a few £ extra per night compared to non-electric.
· Having more than one car will generally include an extra fee per night on top of your pitch costs.
· Dogs are generally welcome but some sites may charge you extra per night.
Where we stayed
We spent two nights at Hurst View Camping. The showers were fabulous and very clean all the time. There was also a handy small shop on site in case you ran out of the essentials. Taps could also be found in the fields which were signed as drinking water and to top it off it was within the New Forest (South) and only a 15 minute drive to the nearest beach.
The second two nights we stayed at Giants Head Caravan & Camping Park. This campsite was much smaller but located quite high in the hills. The fog that came over the campsite at night was pretty cool and super eerie as it happened in seconds. The facilities at this site were once again amazing and the showers were better than a lot of hotels I have stayed at. The only issue with this property is the entrance is set on a main road and it can be a bit tricky to see from a distance. We found slowing down to approach the entrance quite dangerous as a lot of drivers traveling behind were not very forgiving to have to slow down for you. If you have a caravan or a big camper van, be cautious.
The spectacular New Forest National Park.
Share with us your camping experiences or leave your favorite campsites in England below. We would love to check out more next year!