Good stories, inspiration and much more from Isabella..
So a few months ago we should have been at Love 2 Stay for the Isabella weekend but as we all know that had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown. And with the prospect of travel restrictions remaining in place for some time yet, I have decided to turn my attention to planning some lovely trips for next year.
First of all I am thinking about our main holidays. We like to have at least two full holidays in our caravan and that includes two weeks in August - we’re still tied to school holidays so have to go in peak time. We have three or four favourite sites that we usually look at to begin with so that’s where I’ve decided to start. I can’t say that I’m going to list these in any particular order as I love them all for very different reasons, but by sharing with you, maybe you might consider them as a destination too, or maybe you’ve already been and love them as much as we do?
My first site I’m going to look at is Polmanter at St Ives in Cornwall. This is a 5 star site and we’ve been going there now for several years and have seen many improvements during that time. It’s always good to see a site investing it’s money back into the park. As well as the usual children’s play area, you’ll find an outdoor pool and an indoor soft play area here as well as a 9 hole mini pitch and put so there’s plenty to keep the children happy. But there’s also The Stable Bar for drinks and food so the adults are well catered for too. They often have bingo or other entertainment on, especially during peak weeks, but it’s not loud and it’s not an all singing all dancing style of park.
It’s a fairly easy walk down into St Ives along a quiet country lane or there’s a bus that operates from the site instead. Again, in peak season this is much more regular. We normally enjoy the walk down but usually get the bus or a taxi back up. Incidentally, they often have a negotiated discount with one of the local taxi companies so it’s a good idea to check with reception first.
You can get freshly
baked croissants each morning
There’s a well stocked shop on site and you can get freshly baked croissants each morning. There are three facilities blocks, all maintained to an exceptionally high standard and each containing family rooms - you’ll also find washing up rooms here too.
Our next option is Concierge Camping in Chichester. This is an amazing site and once you’ve been, you will almost certainly want to return again and again. Pitch sizes are enormous here, most of them are the size of two standard pitches and all of them are fully serviced. If you want a really special treat you can also book a pitch that has a safari day tent on it. This has kitchen cupboards, a log burning oven and stove, a full sized fridge freezer, butler style sink and a dishwasher! Yes, that’s right, no fighting over who does the washing up on these pitches!
There is only one facilities block but all of the shower cubicles are proper rooms with a shower and a sink. There’s a laundry room here and another added bonus… there’s an ice making room! You can go and help yourself to as much ice as you need as often as you want to. If you are staying on one of the safari pitches, fill a bag and keep it in the freezer so that you don’t have to make daily trips for ice to put in your G & T!
There is a small shop selling basics in the reception block but I would advise a trip to a local supermarket for your main shop. However, I highly recommend the locally sourced meats that they sell here. There is a small day bar here too but that does close at around 6pm. This site is definitely not one for people who just want to sit in a bar all night, but that’s a good thing as it has a really pleasant ambience. Great for relaxing. There is no play area, the owners - Lord and Lady Hodgkin - prefer to promote good old fashioned family play and encourage paddling in the stream that runs through the site. There is a bridge if you’d rather not get your feet wet as you do need to cross it to get to the dog walking area.
You can also walk to several village pubs from the site and on arrival, you are given a brochure and they will point out which pubs you can get to and the directions. They have also negotiated discounts with several of the pubs and restaurants so again, always useful to check before you go.
Another firm favourite of ours is Lincoln Farm Park set in the quintessentially pretty village of Standlake in Oxfordshire. This site has changed ownership since we first started going and the new owners are making several changes to the site. They have several visiting food vans - but not your typical burger van - all rather more upmarket and selling a wide range of foods from pizzas to crepes. Definitely worth a treat. There is also a lovely village pub just a few hundred yards from the site. Always a friendly welcome and top quality meals.
Two indoor pools, one also has a sauna,
steam room and spa pool.
But one of the best features of this site is not one but two indoor swimming pools! You can go into them during their public sessions but you can also hire them for private use. The larger of the two pools also has a sauna, steam room and spa pool. There’s also an indoor gym so no excuses for piling on those holiday pounds! It’s also worth noting that you access all of these from the reception area which also contains a well stocked shop.
There are a few walks from the site but our favourite has to be the Windrush trail. The trail has a series of mosaics along the way so you can occupy the children by getting them to look out for them - great at distracting an unwilling walker! At the end of the trail you can pay a visit to The Rose Revived - a lovely pub on the banks of the River Thames. A great place to recharge your batteries before the walk back. (But if you’ve done enough walking there is also a bus that stops right outside the pub!)
And finally there’s Tudor Park in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. This is another site that has no play area for children but there is plenty of space for them to play without being a nuisance to other campers. The first time you arrive at this site you might wonder whether you have made a bit of a mistake because you access it through a gate at the bottom of the car park belonging to the Tudor Arms pub! However, once through the gate, you are immediately in a truly beautiful setting.
The site is situated next to the Gloucester and Sharpness Shipping canal so you can do many walks along the tow path and you might even be treated to the beautiful sight of a tall ship passing by. Particularly if you happen to visit when Gloucester holds it’s tall ship festival! If you carry on down the lane instead you will reach Slimbridge Wetlands Centre which is another must visit place. Again there are several walks from this site but you will need to arrange to get your main shopping from a local supermarket - although the site does allow supermarket deliveries if you would prefer not to take the car! There is no shop on site but you can buy basics from The Black Shed which is just across the road from the pub. There’s also a cafe here where you can enjoy meals looking out over the canal. The food at The Tudor Arms is also really good and there’s a great selection of real ales.
So, now all we have to do is decide on when we can go and try to decide which of these amazing sites we are going to visit. Fortunately, two of them are close enough to home that we can make weekend or long weekend visits so maybe, just maybe, we might be able to fit them all in.
Camping life after Lockdown
Camping life after Lockdown