That feeling, you know the one when you’ve finally re-packed all of the crap that you packed just in case back into the car, you’ve strapped the kids in, done one last sweep of the campsite to make sure you’ve not left anyone or anything behind, and you ask the question “Well what did you think of that then?”
And the answer is a resounding “That was the BEST weekend EVER!”
I’ve got to admit I was a little surprised, (and I did wonder why I’d bothered to blow 2 months salary on an all inclusive week in the sun not two months earlier). But then everything had just been as perfect as it possibly could be for a weekend camping.
We’d booked the weekend months in advance – attempting to coordinate the diaries of 7 old school friends (along with the schedules of their other halves and kids) is nothing less than a logistical nightmare. Date marked in indelible ink on all of our calendars, we then had to decide on a location. We picked The Withies Campsite in Much Wenlock, Shopshire, for no reason other than the fact it was pretty much an equal drive for all the parties going. The choice of site could not have been more perfect if we had spent hours trawling reviews to pick it.
The site is just perfect for families/ groups looking for a relaxing, laid back camping trip. The facilities are fairly basic, but absolutely spotless and well looked after. (Mini-me with her high standards, was less than impressed when she saw the toilets were portaloos, but a cucumber scented wet wipe to hold over her nose and the promise of an extra mashmallow at the campfire if she would just go for a bloody wee soon sorted things out).
There is a meadow behind the camping field which is owned by the site, the kids (and their grown-ups) are welcome to play in it as they wish – think hide and seek in waist deep grass, scavenging for sticks, hunting for butterflies and spotting the prettiest little meadow flowers. Between us all we’d also managed to pack enough toys and equipment to stage pretty much every event from the modern day Olympics. If that isn’t enough to keep everyone amused, there’s also a little sandpit (which you can see from wherever you are pitched so the little ones can play safely whilst you do Important Camping Tasks – like sweeping the tent and preparing nutritious snacks*). On one of the days we were there the owners even set up a paddling pool for the kids.
*Drink wine from an enamel mug whilst discussing tactics for keeping the little horrors in bed past sunrise – which we discovered at this time of year is about 4.45am *sob*
If you do fancy a little stretch of the legs, Much Wenlock is a short stroll along a countryside footpath. A little bumpy, downhill there so remember the uphill back! The kids (ranging in age from 2 to 9) managed it without too much problem. It was just about manageable with a buggy. Once again the promise of extra campfire marshmallows was enough of a bribe to get most of them back up the hill! The town of Much Wenlock looks like something out of a period drama, just Google it (other search engines are available) my descriptive abilities won’t do it justice. We found a pub with a beer garden big enough to fit 17 of us, and with a reasonably priced kids menu. If any of the kids do fall asleep at the table because they were up at the crack of dawn/declare that they couldn’t possibly walk another step, then it’s close enough for the more athletic of the grown-ups to jog back to the site and grab the car to ferry the little legs home.
The campsite allows BBQs and campfires, and sell bags of kindling/logs so that’s one less thing that you have to shoehorn into the car. Both nights we were there we had a lovely laid back fire for all the families to congregate around. Much fun was had using the twigs that we’d foraged, and Monkey-boy had gleefully whittled into skewers with an actual real sharp penknife, to roast the highly anticipated Marshmallows.
The only downsides to the weekend were the late nights/early mornings for the kids – there’s no escaping daylight when you’re under canvas, and the short but violent boxing match that occurred in the back of the car on the way there (my strategic packing of a pillow and sleeping bag version of the Berlin Wall between the kids in the back of the car failed at that point)
What The Kids Thought.
In the words of Monkey-boy (9) the trip was “Epic – we could play Frisbee and badminton because there was loads of space by the tent. There was a nice walk and we saw a skeleton rib cage on the path. We had a BBQ and campfire…..
Mini-me (5) is off somewhere in the garden doing something
messy beautifully creative with glue, feathers and glitter so is far to busy to comment right now!
We would most definitely go back to this site again, and would highly recommend it to families with kids of all ages. If you have all the camping kit, then the only real cost is the site which at £36 for the four of us for 3 days away was pretty reasonable.