We only really ‘got’ camping last summer after a wonderful trip to Camp Bestival with the whole family. It surprised me how much we managed to enjoy the experience as Jonny and I had once had a very ill fated camping experience in our early twenties where I got lost in the woods in the middle of the night looking for the toilet and we ended up having to sleep in the car due to being so cold and a neighbour snoring like a trojan. Afterwards I vowed I was never doing it again!
We DID have a ‘glamping’ trip with Florence when she was tiny but that’s a whole different ball game and entirely up my street. A hotel like hut with a television and heating was brilliant fun and felt much more to my style. I shuddered at the thought of being in an actual tent again and thought other people who did it were bonkers! Nope, the ‘all mod cons hut’ was as close as I thought I’d ever get to sleeping under the stars willingly again but then… The lure of the family festival beckoned and I thought we should give it one last whirl!
We actually LOVED it! We thought, EVEN when it rained, that it was utterly brilliant fun and a far cry from that first experience of feeling like we were in the never ending story of the Blair Witch Project, hunted by rumbles from other tents and frazzled without sleep. Perhaps it has something to do with being so used to a lack of sleep these days but with a family we decided it was just the most brilliant fun! The children loved it and spent three days going feral with their pals while we just leisurely let the atmosphere of everyone in the camp site wash over us. Sure we were at a festival which is a little different but my reckoning is that if you can survive THAT sort of camping you can survive any.
We’re hoping to go back to Camp B this year as there is so much to do for everyone from tiny tots through to teens and then even the Mamas and Papas too! I want to see Underworld and Alison Moyet and the children are looking forward to everything from the Den to the theatre (The Scarecrow’s Wedding is highest on the agenda) and all the just being there in between. It is the most free feeling being at Camp B and of course everything you need is right on your doorstep. It’s going to be ace this year I just know it so I do hope we manage to make it there!
But we don’t want our camping days to start and end with a festival this year! We want to experience a proper camp site with the children and do more than just the one trip. It’s such an inexpensive way of holidaying with the family and because you take your accommodation with you and don’t have to book a room, just a pitch, it means you can do it at the drop of a hat. If the weather suddenly looks good for a weekend we want to pack up the car and be off on a whim. We tried to do this last year but somehow never managed to find anywhere that was either right or not completely full. I found, for some reason, that trying to find out information about family friendly sites on line was nigh on impossible?
There are a few websites that I found more helpful than others but on the whole it was like searching for a needle in a haystack trying to find somewhere suitable and in the end we just never got around to going anywhere. The information on sites just gave bare minimums, most camp sites I found didn’t have their own websites and the information I could collate was all over the place. I wondered back then why there wasn’t some sort of comprehensive site that just gave you all the info you needed? You know, everything from what facilities there are to what might suit your needs, availability, prices… Just a little of everything but seriously, there WAS nada!
I say was because guess what I’ve found?! The website www.campingintheforest.co.uk! I was clearly looking in all the wrong places last year because here is the one stop I needed for all my camping queries! The site has So much information about SO many camping sites… It is EXACTLY what I was after! You can search for specific sites or with certain criteria, be it from the facilities important to you or location and what’s even better is that they have a new app which will find you the perfect sites just for you! You answer a series of questions (they clearly know the questions to ask as absolute experts) and the results give you ideas for the best sites for you.
I answered that I wanted to stay close to home (I like the idea of on the hoof trips), we wanted lots of activities as well as down time for the grown ups and also that facilities are HIGH on my agenda. There were 8 questions in the Find Your Ideal Campsite app within the site and up it came with three absolutely perfect sounding ones. I love the sound of Bracelands Campsite in the Forest Of Dean and at £12.50 a night for two adults you can’t get better than that on price! What’s even better about the site is that you can then book once you’ve found the information you need and don’t need to go elsewhere on-line in order to do so. Brilliant!
I can’t wait to get camping this year both at the festival AND just in the forest (well, with a lot of knowing there;s a toilet, shower and other facilities on hand of course)! Am so please I’ve found this site as it takes the ‘stab in the dark’ approach to camping completely away!
Let’s go camping!