Camping – The Wrong Impression
Camping has often been seen as a past-time for those more adventurous nature lovers; the ones that boast about getting back to basics, loving the fact that they need to queue for a lukewarm shower after a hearty day of hiking in the hills.
So, other than those few brave souls willing to brace themselves for a night under canvas no matter what the weather – why on earth would anyone want to give camping a go?
It’s true that for many years, if someone had mentioned a camping trip the likely image it would conjure up would have replicated a scene from ‘Carry On Camping’ – muddy fields, parties in the meadow next door and tents that had seen better days.
Camping In Modern Times
Today however, camping is far more fashionable and trendy.
Whether you are a family looking to escape from the bedlam that comes with the normal day-to-day grind or a group of friends looking to relax in peaceful settings, there is something guaranteed to lure even the most cynical out there.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some out there, and I will happily place myself into this category on occasion, that love nothing more than finding a campsite still relatively unknown by the masses where you can pitch up a tent, start a campfire and spend the evening trying to count stars whilst, almost always unsuccessfully, trying not to burn the marshmallows, but I understand that this is not for everyone.
Some people still want their creature comforts, a power supply and a signal that links them to the outside world.
Why I Love Camping
Personally, I have had a love affair with camping since I was a child; I love the freedom that people have. Children can play without the need for parents to feel that they are irritating others, BBQs can be lit and everyone can relax and enjoy their new surroundings, even if it is only for a day or two.
As soon as someone asks whether I am completely mad, after all I have a collection of not one but three tents, I do feel a need to defend not just us but all campers.
Whether you are a die-hard tent man or in need of a bit of comfort, I truly believe that there is a style of camping out there to suit all needs and wants.
What Others Have Experienced
Take for example, the one friend that long ago mentioned to me that she could never go camping purely because she would have no where to plug in her hair straighteners and didn’t like the idea of making a midnight dash to the bathroom with no more that a torch to guide her. It was at this point that I felt a need to introduce her to the magically world of glamping and all the luxuries that many sites have to offer.
Other friends have tried to ‘ruff it for a bit’, only to realise that actually their idea of camping and what camping is really like are two very different things. They really couldn’t grasp why we enjoyed this type of break so much, but after two weeks spent in France they understood that, not only could you enjoy the peaceful surroundings, an evening BBQ is not out of the question and neither is a trip to the onsite bar – something that they had never considered before.
Camping holidays have, in recent years, reinvented themselves with options now ranging from the aforementioned camping fields to large complexes full of facilities to make sure that no-one is bored. Once you add into this mix the now, very popular, glamping locations around the world, I feel that it is impossible for people not to find something, on some scale, that they would enjoy.
So, with so many choices out there where should you head?
Having spent years under canvas, both in the UK and mainland Europe, it’s fair to say that we could recommend a site or two to people. So whether you are looking for your next great adventure or just want a weekend location where you can lounge around and de-stress we have a suggestion for all of you.
Our Camping Recommendations
#1 Desert Camping in Morocco
Now remember, I did say that this is a list to incorporate all types of camper and this one is definitely for the more adventurous out there. Not only will you be guided into the desert by a member of a Bedouin tribe abroad camels, you will be able to star-gaze over a light-pollution free sky before climbing the dunes to watch the sun rise, whilst considering sand-skiing back down should you so desire.
However, I am not going to lie. This is camping at its most basic. You will arrive to heavy rugs thrown over frames and cotton dividers separating you from your camping companions next door, a lack of toilet facilities and most definitely no running water.
But, before you ask why on earth you should go – take note – this is an experience you will never forget. The Bedouin tribe are willing to show you a slice of their world, of how they live and how they survive without the need for any modern intervention.
Interested in knowing more? Read about our full experience here.
#2 Brick Kiln Farm, Suffolk, UK
This is the gem I would much prefer to keep to myself but feel, at the same time, that I need to share it with you.
Here you can either pitch up a tent, hire a bell tent or sleep a night in a gypsy caravan. Set in the extensive gardens of their own property this mother and daughter team go out of their way to make sure that everyone is happy.
Yes, you will still have to queue for that all important shower, but no detail has been left out here. Forget any of the essentials – don’t worry – whilst we were there they had a plentiful supply of shampoo, shower gel, cotton wool and even ear buds.
It was however, the fact that they had an honesty shop on site that completely swayed us to want to return. I think it says a great deal not only about the campsite but also about the people frequenting the campsite when the owners can live out goods for people to purchase without the need to lock things away before payment has been made. Fresh cakes, BBQ coals and the one must-have when camping – marshmallows – were all available to us.
This was a truly relaxing stay, with a pub just a wander away across open fields.
If you buy a tent this summer and want to try it out for the first time, my advice book a night or two here, you won’t be disappointed.
Want to find out more about Brick Kiln Farm – Read our full review here.
#3 Ambers Bell Tents, Norfolk, UK
After something a little bit different? Then this could be the location for you.
Amber offers you a choice of accommodation, both Bell Tents and a Shepherds Hut, in perhaps one of the most stunning locations we have ever visited. Set in the grounds of Mannington Hall in Norfolk, you can freely spend your days wandering around the grounds, taking afternoon tea and the coffee shop before going in search of the locate wildlife, of which there is plenty. From barn owls to sheep, this is a location that really does take you away from it all.
You will not be able to update your facebook page here or even take a call for that matter, but why would you want to. This is a place to visit for complete relaxation, which is perhaps why Amber has also built her very own sauna for her guests to freely use during their stay.
Not only that, you will have an actual bed to sleep in, a wood-burning stove just in case the night gets a little nippy and a chest full of cooking equipment should you feel the need to experience with an open fire or the communal pizza oven.
This is a great place for both families and friends to get together for a few nights to unwind and generally have fun.
Want to know more about glamping – then check out this article about Amber’s Bell Tents.
#4 Camping Ca Savio, Venice, Italy
Yes, you have read that right, a campsite near the world-famous floating city itself.
In fact, the Adriatic Coast is full to bursting with campsites, all lining beautiful long sandy beaches.
Camping Ca Savio is however, attempting to do something different to the others. It incorporates both glamping and camping which means that this site really does offer something for everyone.
Here you can pitch your own tent, rent a pre-erected one, rest up in a stylish mobile home or hire one of the many brand new sleak airstreams that stand out in prime locations just as you walk off of the beach.
Not only that, they have a restaurant, several bars, two large swimming pool areas and a multitude of activities to keep both children and adults assumed.
Perhaps the biggest draw of all though, could well be its location. From Camping Ca Savio, you are just half an hour away, by boat, from the canals of Venice. It is therefore, one of the few campsites you can visit whilst on a city break.
Now surely that is something different worth considering. Here you can enjoy the colourful nature of an extremely busy city whilst also relaxing on one of the best beach fronts in Italy.
Want to find out more about this Italian delight – read our full review here.
As you can see, whether you are a back-to-basics kind of person or a comfort-seeker there really is a campsite out there waiting for you.
Still Not Sure What Type of Campsite is Right for You?
My advice, make sure you do your research. Check out what others have said about the campsite; look at its facilities and what is nearby.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will be close to an idyllic country pub where you can pick up a tasty meal just because you are heading out into the sticks. Don’t think that because you are on a campsite it is automatically a quiet place to unwind. Campsites cater for different crowds and have become extremely diverse over the years.
If you are still confused about what type of camper you are then we suggest reading the new Ultimate Camping Guide by Halfords. Not only does it highlight some great spots to camp around the UK, it gives you tips on how to find the perfect tent, how to pitch your tent and then what to do once you are there.
We also suggest having a look at Halfords Online which is full of useful ideas that any camper would welcome.
If nothing else, this guide has a great checklist that even the most seasoned camper would be grateful of. Arriving at a campsite late at night only to find out that you have left the kettle behind is not ideal.
If used, this checklist is something that will avoid all embarrassment. I guarantee our friends, that once left their tent pegs at home, would have been extremely grateful for this.
Do you have any camping tips that you would like to share or campsite recommendations? We would love to hear from you.
Disclosure: We felt extremely honoured to be asked to work with Halfords, in promoting their new Camping Guide for 2016. As experienced campers we were asked to review the guide, giving honest feedback on whether this would be a useful resource to both new and experienced campers alike.