Camping wasn’t something I necessarily thought about doing when we first had the boys. I’ve camped before, at festivals and with friends, but I was never sure we could do it with young children. That all changed when we took the plunge with our first camping trip two years ago I fell in love with it. Since then we’ve camped in France, Skipton and back to our favourite site in North Wales.
I absolutely understand why people are put off camping. Although it is an inexpensive way to holiday, when you first start out and have to get all the gear it’s a massive outlay. If you can borrow or buy second hand it makes that part a little easier. It also feels like you’re taking everything but the kitchen sink! It’s one of the reasons we have started camping for longer and I think next time we’ll do a full week as once you pack up, fill the car, unload and set up on site you really don’t want to do it all again in a day or two.
Also, there are a few things I’ve had to make my peace with when camping. We have three kids and therefore have to make a trip to the toilet block approximately 40 times a day. Inevitably one of them will always wake in the night having forgotten they aren’t in their own beds and we have to quickly scramble for zips to get to them before they wake up the whole campsite. It is hard work, and sometimes tiring, the kids stay up late and don’t often lie in. You do most of your own cooking and cleaning and it isn’t a holiday where you can sit back for hours and relax.
Yet even with all that it is something that I love and something I hope we’ll do for many years yet.
The campsite we visit in North Wales, Cefn Cae is one of the reasons we fell in love with camping. It was the first place we camped and it feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s actually quite close to some of the best North Wales attractions and is only a few minutes drive from Conwy. To get to it you end up winding through forests, heading up in the hills and driving along a bumpy track that makes it feel like a little country haven. It’s so quiet and peaceful that staying on site just makes you unwind and slow down.
We also spend time together as a family in a way we don’t do at home. Wifi is patchy, there is no television or music. It means we read books and play games, the boys have pens and notebooks but they’ll spend ages outside the tent playing imaginary games or kicking around a football. It’s close quarters and while that isn’t without it’s own frustrations it’s a lovely way to get that family time together.
I’ve also found that when we’re camping we go out and do more in the day; we see SO much because a family of five absolutely cannot spend the whole day in a tent. It’s given me a new found appreciation of the great outdoors and staying in such a beautiful spot is one of my favourite things about our camping trips. It’s right up in the hills with lots of country walks but we aren’t far from Conwy with it’s Castle or the many, many, beaches and bays – we can visit forests and lakes as well as little towns and villages. Although we visited a few big attractions this time I think the best memories come from the days when we just pottered around towns eating ice creams or walked up the hills to see the view. We trecked up the Little Orme in Llandudno to spot the seals and even though we only saw them out in the water it was my favourite moment from the whole holiday. We stayed up there for ages as it was so beautiful and a real peaceful spot.
If you’re wondering if camping is for you I can only say to try it, you may be pleasantly surprised. It isn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be and now we are hooked. We come home exhausted, with endless amounts of washing, mucky children, usually a bucket of shells and a very full car but I would never change it. The fun we have together is priceless.
I put together a little video of our holiday, I wasn’t sure I was going to film while we were away but I can’t resist capturing the boys on film so I can see them change as they grow up a little more each summer.