With the current COVID guidelines in place, this summer is looking like the perfect time to fully embrace holidays in the UK. If done well, a camping holiday can make amazing memories. Most children love the novelty of sleeping under canvas, waking up to find themselves in the great outdoors. Camping trips are a brilliant way for families to spend time together, away from the stresses of everyday life. But being able to pack everything needed to live away from home, even if it’s just for a couple of nights, takes some planning.
Here are some things to bear in mind to ensure an enjoyable time is had by all.
This isn’t extensive but some of the main essentials are listed here:
For us, meal planning depends entirely on what the site has to offer. If there is a pub or cafe close by, we tend to bypass cooking in the tent and eat there. If that’s not an option and someone needs to be chef for the trip, we go for easy, crowd pleasing meals; curry, jacket potatoes, chilli, pasta. We’ve cooked on disposable BBQ’s, George Foreman Grills and Teppanyaki Grills, we’ve even brought the Actifry Air Fryer along on trips. If there’s a supermarket close to the site, after pitching up, we nip there to stock up. Alternatively, you can arrange an online shop to be delivered to your pitch on some sites. Whatever the arrangements for meals, make sure there are plenty of snacks and plenty of drinks. Keeping everyone’s “hangry” at bay pretty much guarantees a reduction in tantrums.
Adjusting to sleeping outside can take a few nights to get used to, not ideal if you’re only away for a weekend. Camping in Summer usually means late nights and early starts. When the sun rises, tents tend to get very bright and very warm. Blackout bedrooms are becoming increasingly popular with modern tents so, if you’re buying a new one or upgrading your old, this is something to consider.
No matter how warm it is during the day, temperatures drop at night. We pack as many blankets as we can so, if temperatures fall dramatically, we can layer up. For me, bed socks are a must. I find as long as my feet are toasty, the rest of me is warm.
• Do a test run, especially if you’ve never pitched your tent before.
• Pack clothes for all weathers.
• Try and keep warm & dry.
• It’s OK if the children become a bit feral.
• Relax and embrace the lack of routine.
Our Favourite Camp Sites
When booking a site, there are a few things I look for – electric hook up, toilets and *something* to occupy the children are high up on the list. On site food options are an added bonus. The below sites are within a few hours drive from Newcastle and they all get a thumbs up from us.
Beamish Holiday Park, Co. Durham
Previously called Bobby Shafto Caravan Park, this is a bit of a marmite site – some love it, some hate it. We’ve always enjoyed our stays here although, being located on the top of a hill, it can get a bit windy! With an on-site shop, bar, play park and recently built toilet and shower block, it’s got everything we want from a site.
Boe Rigg, Charlton
Remote, wild, spacious and scenic are all terms rightly fitting The Boe Rigg, in Northumberland’s National Park a few miles from the market town of Bellingham. Includes an on-site toilet/shower block, bar and restaurant. The food served here is outstanding.
Country View Campsite, Darlington
Excellent site for families with an onsite pub, toilet and shower facilities.
Fallowfield Dene, Hexham
In its secure rural setting, this site is located in secluded, mature woodland with all the facilities you would expect of a modern caravan and camping site.
Kielder Campsite, Kielder
A rustic, independent site situated in a remote and quiet part of Northumberland. Dark sky friendly with no mobile signal and lots of space to relax.
The crème de la crème of campsites. Indoor and outdoor pools, bowling alley, cafe, bars, shop, laundrette – literally everything! It’s not called “Cumbria’s premier holiday centre” for nothing.
Thorpe Farm, Barnard Castle
Located on the border of North Yorkshire, Thorpe Farm is home to a holiday park with camping & caravan facilities, The Courtyard Restaurant and a farm shop. Perfect stop for a memorable family day out or short break.
Waren Caravan & Camping Park, Bamburgh
A park set within an exceptional natural environment with superb facilities which means that you have everything you need for a completely self-sufficient break in an idyllic location.
What are your top tips for taking children camping? What are your essential items? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below.