Camping holidays in the UK
Camping holidays are a fantastic way for the whole family to spend quality and relatively cheap time together. In this article we will concentrate on camping with a tent (real camping)!
Camping provides an environment free from TV and most of the normal stress of life, it can offer families the opportunity to sit around and play games and talk away from the normal distractions of home. These reasons I believe are reason enough for all families to consider a camping holiday together. Add to this the cheapness of camping and the excitement for children of sleeping in a tent and you have a great holiday in the making.
Camping Whatever the Weather!
The British weather is, as we all know, extremely un-predictable. Camping in a tent can be great fun whatever the weather but a key to your enjoyment is keeping the inside of your tent and your bedding as dry as possible.
To keep yourselves dry at night (even a damp evening/morning can feel uncomfortable) I suggest sleeping on an inflatable/camp bed and try to keep your bed from touching the outer walls of the tent.
Remember that even on a warm Summer's day the temperatures at night can drop significantly so take warm clothing.
Campsite Facilities Vary Greatly
Campsites in the UK vary greatly in the facilities they offer; before booking a campsite consider the facilities you would require as a minimum to enjoy your holiday.
Some campsites are little more than a field with a toilet and a cold running tap. Other campsites offer swimming pools, shops, bars, restaurants and most importantly - hot showers.
With a young family I would suggest the minimum requirements would be for hot shower facilities and decent toilet facilities.
Suggested Further Reading
I would suggest buying a book on campsites in the uk as this could save you a lot of time and effort in deciding where is best to camp. This is a useful book to start out with:
What is in the Local Area?
An important thing to consider before you book is what you plan to do while you are on holiday.
If you wish to walk to explore the local area - is the campsite near to any points of interest?
Do you plan a peaceful time? If so, you may wish to pick a remote campsite with less facilities that may be a little quieter.
Choosing Your Pitch
I have stayed at some campsites that have very few entertainment facilities but allow you to select a pitch anywhere you wish on the site and provide lots of open space for ball games etc.
Many of the larger campsites that have swimming pools etc. have strictly marked pitch areas on the site and you will only be able to pitch in your allocated place.
Book Well Ahead
Bank holiday weekends and school holidays often see campsites full so book in advance if you are unsure of finding a campsite with free pitches.
Think About the Best Time to Arrive
Driving around looking for a campsite with a tired hungry family in the car is not fun! Also bear in mind it is not easy putting your tent up in the dark - this is really important if you have just bought the tent and not put it up before.
Why You Should Put Up Your Tent At Home First
I would highly recommend putting the tent up at home for the first time before you arrive at the campsite. This will ensure -
- . The tent is complete
- . You know how to put it up
Buying / Renting Your Tent
Tents come in all shapes and sizes and to fit all budgets. If you are not sure if camping is for you then either book a campsite where you can rent an already erected tent or borrow one from a friend.
If you are thinking of buying I would say buy the best you can afford and the one with the most space for you and your family. Frame tents are larger but are very heavy and are also bigger to transport, whilst dome style tents can offer large accommodation and are much smaller/lighter when packed away.
Essential Items to Take Camping
- . Tent
- . Tent pegs
- . Mallet
- . Bedding - sleeping bags
- . Kettle
- . Pan
- . Torch/Battery light
- . Matches
- . Camping gas
- . Bowl for washing up
- . Washing up liquid
- . Warm clothes for evening
- . Water container
- . Cool box/bag
- . Toilet roll
- . Towels
- . Sense of Humour!
Many campsites will provide a facility to rent ice packs to keep your cool box/bag cool, generally you will swap your warm ones for some frozen ones.
Packing Camping Gear
Camping equipment will take a lot of room in your car so this should be a consideration when purchasing your tent. A roof box or trailer are great for transporting your camping gear. Don't forget the bike rack and bikes if you enjoy family cycling.
If you pack your tent away wet then do not forget to put it up when you get home and allow it do dry out before storing it away.