We were lucky to buy a huge camping bundle from neighbours of my grandparents who bought everything (even a camping wardrobe) and tried camping once and hated it! They sold it to us for £150! It was the best thing we had ever done. We have loved every minute.
We haven't been that blessed with great weather. We had two long weekends when the weather was glorious and I mean utterly glorious but the other trips have involved lots of high winds and rain. You just have to make the most of it though and see it as a different aspect to your adventure. The kids don't care at all.
So far we have camped in Guernsey, Weymouth, Wareham and Cornwall. As much as I love visiting Cornwall, when you drive a long way and pitch your tent for it to rain in the middle of summer you really are thankful to have such beautiful sites so much closer to home.
We only arrived back today from our latest trip but hoped we could get another camping trip booked in for this coming weekend and really make the most of UK staycations but everywhere local seems to be booked up! Whilst researching local camp sites I had no idea there were so many stunning campsites around so now I am making a list. Coombemill is on my list for sure! Not that local but it sounds exactly what me and my family would love.
It's amazing just how much you can fall in love with living outside for days on end. For me, it's therapy. Its the same medicine as sitting on the beach and just listening and looking at the sea. It always takes me a few days to relax and switch off but when I do... it's perfect.
The hardest job you will have to do when you camp is wash up. But actually there's nothing else to do. We love sight seeing but we love being on a campsite where you can walk to beautiful beaches or country walks without having to get in the car. Stopping off in a pub afterwards is always lovely and then heading back to camp to sit around and chat is wonderful. Washing up isn't actually a chore - it's the hardest thing you will have to do when camping after putting the tent up but... and i'm not a fan of doing it! I love how we often go with friends and their children and come feeding time at the zoo we all muck in and cook together to feed everyone.
We invested in a new tent earlier this year for several reasons. We wanted something bigger for when it does rain and a tent where we could all sleep together. Our previous tent had separate bedrooms at either end of the tent which just felt odd. We also invested in a tent carpet (although on this recent trip we ended up with the wee bucket spilling all over it so now I'm left with a giant tent carpet and the delightful task of scrubbing it in the garden tomorrow!)
With each trip, we have learnt what we NEED and what we don't. This time around we have come away thinking about the following;
Toilet - we have a little toilet room on the side of the tent but it's not easy peeing into a bucket. It does make it feel like camping but surely there is something out there that can be packed small enough in the car but works great as a camping toilet. It's for in the middle of the night when you or the kids really need a wee and there is no way on this planet you are going to walk down to the toilet blocks when theres wind and rain and you're half asleep... NO WAY!
Duvets - I just can't get on with sleeping bags. Maybe i'm not buying the right ones but theres nothing more lovely then wrapping a duvet around you. Such a shame you have to fit them in the car and there's 5 of you. Maybe we need a bigger car actually...
Table - we had to get rid of our table today when packing up. Two of the seats had broken. It was the plastic ones that has the table with the four seats attached. Nobody really sat at it to be honest - just the kids when colouring in. Next time we said we would just take a foldable table and use our camping chairs around it. When camping in groups all the kids and the adults just want to sit together and chat.
Camping chairs - is there such thing as the perfect camping chair and you can still get it in the car? My goodness I have seen some amazing chairs but so expensive and so big! I'm not overly fussy with this but a little seat luxury would be a nice touch.
Solar charger for the phone or even better forget that - a camera! I only use my phone to take pics when i'm away but thinking about it I just need to invest in a good camera because I take so many photo's. I can then just leave my phone off.
Luggage! Oh this drives me mad when I spend ages packing all the clothes into one bag so we can fit other stuff in the car but then by the end of day 1 camping my kids have pulled out all the clothes trying to find their shorts and myself and hubby are left with creased clothes spread across the bedroom. It drives me utterly mad!
Torches - oh there has got to be some epic torches to there right? Our Go Outdoors lanterns were... dreadful. Still couldn't see a thing!
I would highly recommend the Osmington Mills and Trewan Hall sites for your family camping. Osmingtom has no entertainment, they sell wine and cider from their shop, oh and all the basics you would need like nice bread and meat and their showers are super clean. It's a hilly site but the view and surroundings are lovely. The Smugglers Inn pub is really lovely too and welcome dogs which is nice. This place makes the perfect stopping location after a long walk along the coast line. Trewan is special with its entertainment in their old Barn on site (the story teller is amazing), it's a family run business and they refuse to sell alcohol on site. They also have a swimming pool on site which they remove the roof when it's lovely weather. Their shower blocks were opened in 2013 and they aren't bad, they even have bathrooms so you can shut the door and have a nice hot bath which I love and it made washing the kids a little easier for me.
I would love to know where you like to camp and why! I'm compiling a family adventure camping list!