Camping trips in the UK are growing in popularity, either for a short weekend break or for a longer period in the Summer holidays.  Air fares and holidays abroad are notoriously expensive in the peak school-holiday times. This factor, coupled with the downturn of the £ as foreign currency has encouraged many to look closer to home for this year’s family getaway.

We are blessed locally by access to beautiful countryside, a lovely coastline and an abundance of historic towns and attractions, which we can take for-granted at times. We are also lucky enough to have lots of great campsites right on our doorstep, where you can choose to head for a family break or for  a weekend jaunt with an extended group of friends and family.  The beauty of this kind of group get-together is informal, outdoor fun for all, where the kids can play games in the fresh air and run around to their heart’s content, and adults can relax around an evening campfire, full and content from a hearty BBQ feast!

If you like to be in touch with nature, but are less keen on the intricacies of pitching a tent or braving a sleeping bag on the floor, then maybe glamping is the answer. This could well be the ideal combination of quirky luxury combined with easy access to the great outdoors. Back to nature, without being ‘back to basics.’

Many campsites are dog-friendly, so there’s no need to leave your family pooch at home, and walking your dog can be a fun way of exploring the local countryside. If you haven’t got a canine companion, then there are still lots of ways to enjoy the natural environment, such as geocaching, wildlife-spotting or cycling.

Tents these days come in all types of size and style (and apparently, some are even comparatively easy to put up!) and there is a huge range of camping equipment that you can elect to take with you, depending on the nature of your trip and how self-sufficient you intend to be…

My brother and his children recently enjoyed a weekend away with friends and their children at Broadhembury Caravan and Camping Park at Kingsnorth, near Ashford, Kent. The site is very child-friendly and boasts many facilities to help both children and adults alike, to really enjoy their time their together.

Facilities that make this site a great choice for families with children, include:

 

  •        Warm, spacious toilets and showers (with under-floor heating), plus a luxury family bathroom available for families with children under 6.
  •        A Campers Kitchen, which has a fridge, chest freezer, microwave ovens and sinks. An added bonus is the Herb Garden, where you can help yourself to some extra flavour for your BBQ marinades, or even a sprig of mint for your glass of Pimms!
  •        A children’s outdoor play area with swings and climbing frames. There’s also a smaller-scale playground devoted to Under-7’s.
  •        A Games Room, including table football, pool, table tennis and skittle alley.
  •        A Sports Field  with 5 a side football goals and plenty of space to run around.
  •        A Summer Outdoor Cafe, where you can buy homemade meals, as well as vintage afternoon teas. You can also order takeaways too.

The glamping tents look very cosy and stylish – you can even sleep in total comfort on real beds and mattresses on solid wood floors. Tents are also equipped with electricity for heating and lighting for the luxury of additional home comforts. For the outdoors, there’s your own covered charcoal BBQ, a picnic table and swingball. Great for families who enjoy the freedom of camping, without feeling like it’s all a little bit too much like hard work!

Other options that are even closer to home, and are both well-reviewed on Trip Advisor, include both Park Farm Campsite in Bodiam, as well as Chestnut Meadow Camping and Caravan Park, on the outskirts of Bexhill.

The former is particularly well-situated for some brilliant family activities, such as a leisurely punt along the River Rother, a visit to the fairytale Bodiam Castle or an exhilarating step-back-in-time on the Kent and East Sussex steam railway.

Whilst you aren’t guaranteed great weather on a UK camping staycation, you are pretty much guaranteed a low-cost, fun-filled break, to get you closer to nature – and hopefully – your companions. It’s undoubtedly fun and liberating to break out of the cocoon of an indoor-lifestyle, and a few nights under canvas can be hard to beat.

Camping has moved on – choose your site and mode of accommodation carefully – and it could just be the most memorable family holiday you’ve ever had.

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