Camping is something that has been on my bucket list. I think it is so important for the boys to experience nature at its finest. Camping was a brilliant experience and I will defiantly go again. Last year we stayed in a caravan which was fun so I said I need to experience sleeping in a tent, cottage and lodge. I really did not want to do glamping but I wanted basics like shower, toilets and electric. Trying to find a campsite was hard work because I did not want it to be too far. I wanted an electric hook up. I wanted a campfire and a BBQ, most campfires don’t allow campfires and BBQs. Plus I wanted there to be local activities that I could do with the boys. Originally I was looking for a campsite with pre erected tents, I found a few but it didn’t have all the other things that I wanted.
I then changed my mind when Tesco had a camping sale and a friend and I went half on a 6 man tent which was half price. We slowly began buying our camping equipment while it was on sale. As it was my first time camping with the boys I wanted to have everything, I wanted them to be comfortable and I didn’t want to leave anything behind. So being the organised person that I am I made a list which was a whole page long with 3 different columns with the things I needed to bring.
So this was the inside of my room of the tent. I brought a air mattress, loads of fleecy blankets, pillows, duvet and fairy lights to make it look pretty at night. Because I had an air mattress it can get cold at night but the way to avoid that is by insulating the mattress. Underneath the mattress I put a blanket plus on top I put another blanket. That way you keep the air inside the mattress warm.
The first campsite we stayed at was Haw Wood Farm Caravan and Camping Site in Suffolk. I must say it blew my expectations away. For the first time camping it was amazing I would recommend this place. It was family run and they were lovely and helpful. The bathrooms were like a hotel, so clean and modern. One of my biggest worries was how I would shower with the children and get dressed. What I loved about this campsite was there was family changing rooms. Similar to a disabled toilet so it was a room that you could go in with you and your family. There was a toilet, a wet room and wash basin so we could all shower and get dressed. Even the normal showers were good because there was a space outside the shower which was still in the cubical which had a bench so you could leave your clothes and get changed there.
So at this campsite you are allowed campfires and BBQs but they can not be on the grass, so they provided us with a fire pit for the campfire and bricks for disposable BBQs. The boys were still able to melt marshmallows and make s’mores. We had BBQ for dinner and brought fruit, croissant and pancakes for breakfast. The plan was to actually have a pub breakfast but our days were so busy we didn’t get a chance to.
So on the first day we went crabbing at Walberswick, it was so fun. We caught 5 crabs between us. I felt like that was a great achievement but other people around us was catching 25+ crabs. We brought the crabbing lines and bait and the boys enjoyed themselves. After crabbing we went to the beach, there is a few things to to explore in Walberswick.
Dinner time, summer is all about BBQ and we really enjoyed our BBQs. Disposable, quick, easy and simple. I don’t think I’m brave enough to try out campfire food yet. After dinner we would get ready for bed and spend nights round the campfire making s’mores.
The next day we went to Fritton Lake which was about a 40 min drive from the campsite. It was a lovely place with so much to do. Donkey rides, woodlands walk, go carting, adventure playground and a large lake which had plenty of water activities.
Kantakanuing was an experience. We were told not to pass the triangle but the wind kept blowing us back, each time we managed to turn the boat to go straight the wind would just blow us back, we had to call for help in the end. Ahaziah enjoyed it, Micaiah fell asleep as he does on boat rides.
Ahaziah enjoyed the donkey ride. Micaiah didn’t go because sometimes he will enjoy things, and other times he will cry so he sat that one out. We went on a woodland walk through the forest. It was so peaceful and relaxing we saw some beautiful lodges along the way. That is the next thing on my bucket list.
Overall Haw wood farm campsite was a brilliant campsite especially for a first time camper. We felt comfortable and the facilities were clean. The staff were helpful and there was plenty to do in the local area.
We were lucky enough to go camping twice during the summer. The second campsite that we stayed at was Park Farm caravan and camping site in Surrey. It was a hot and beautiful couple of days so we planned to enjoy the local beaches. We put up the tent, went to the supermarket, went to Hastings beach and had a BBQ for dinner. When we got back we brought logs and set up our campfire for the night.
This campsite allowed campfires and BBQs directly on the ground. On the first day we did not know how to make the fire. I watched videos on youtube before and got the jist of it but this seemed much harder than the campfire we had in the fire pit. If you have never started a fire before this is the best way to do it. One log in the middle to hold it together, newspaper around it to start the fire and kindling to trap the heat and start burning the wood. You need a fair amount of air and heat to keep the fire burning, you then slowly add the logs. You can’t add too much logs at once as it will put out the fire.
Campfires can burn for about 3 hours provided you slowly add logs and kindling. Having a campfire on the ground was the highlight of the whole camping experience. It was so nice to sit close to it and keep warm. We told ghost stories and played truth or dear in the night.
On the website they advertised that there was plenty thing to do locally but this was not true. Luckily we was blessed with good weather so we was able to spend all day on the beach. We visited Bodiam Castle which was expensive and the children wasn’t not even interested in so we didn’t bother going inside.
The washing facilities in Park Farm camping site were not good. The showers were cold, there was no convenient place to change. It was a big campsite so it was very busy. There is a little food truck onsite which sells breakfast, lunch, dinner and basics for camping that you may have left at home.
Overall Park Farm camping was not the best and I would not return but I did love to campfire.
Camping 2016, what a wonderful and new experience. We slept under the stars, learnt news skills and stepped out of our comfort zone. Im glad the boys were able to experience nature at heart and go back to basics with this opportunity. I can’t wait to find another campsite to go to next year.