I had NEVER been camping before. I am more of a hotel/hot bath type of person. It may not be a 5-star hotel but any decent room with an en-suite will do. That’s a holiday for me.
The kids, however, have been wanting to go camping for ages. So, when I received an email from Camping in the Forest for a camping weekend at the Holmsley Campsite in the New Forest, I said yes. For the kids.
It was not the best time as we are currently house hunting and it’s a nightmare searching for houses but I figured that the fresh air and outdoors may help relieve the stress.
In the run up to camp, I was going crazy deciding what to take etc. Left to the kids, we’d be taking the entire house. I had a hundred questions – what happens if it rains, what are sleeping arrangements, are there any restaurants around…
You see, since we had never been camping – I had absolutely no camping equipment.
On Friday, the day we were due to leave for camp, there were thunderstorms and heavy rain forecast. I was sceptical about the trip and kept checking the weather. Thankfully, the thunderstorms cleared and there was forecast of rain only.
We decided to brave it and headed off with a packed car. From London, it took us about 1hour and 45 minutes to get to Holmsley. It was foggy and cloudy but as we drove through the New Forest to get there, we could feel the fresh air. The scenery was amazing.
When we reached camp, we were greeted by Abigail, who showed us to our tents. The tent looked quite small but could sleep 4 and it had a little space in the middle to sit down. We hadn’t taken any chairs but were given two and since the children were hungry we started on our dinner. I had packed a kind of picnic dinner and the children ate really well. We went exploring a bit and then headed off to bed.
The kids fell asleep quickly after fooling around with torches and even the heavy rain that beat on our tents, didn’t wake them. It was actually quite lovely to hear the rain.
The night passed peacefully and though we could hear other campers it was not disturbing.
The children were up early and raring to go. We had breakfast from the little on-site shop/takeaway
and then decided to head off to see the New Forest Ponies.
They are lovely. I love horses.
We were treated to a barbecue lunch
… and then the Camp Ranger rolled her truck in, to get the children into some activities. They enjoyed these and made some lovely models. What they enjoyed the most was the scavenger hunt.
We loved being outdoors. It was a lovely feeling. The New Forest is so vast, so scenic. It’s so different from where we live.
One of the reasons I wanted to camp was I wanted to show the children that they could do without their devices. I had taken their DS’ but they never asked for it. Jadyn rode a bicycle as did Hubs. Ethan and Aeryn ran around playing hide and seek and they generally had fun. We played ball and catch and it was good family time. There was less bickering and more getting on with each other. The jumped in puddles, looked for bugs, found twigs (Ethan loves doing this) and breathed in fresh air.
We were there with a few other bloggers, some of whom I already knew so we caught up and there were some new bloggers too. I think we need a blogger camp soon.
The Holmsley Campsite is well kept. The on-site store stocks everything you may need like milk, juice, bread etc. and toys and games too. The toilets are clean and well maintained and the showers have proper hot water. Though the campsite seemed quite full, there were no queues for the toilets as there are enough.
The site is gated and the gates close at 10.30pm and open at 7am, so it’s quite secure.
It is also near some lovely little towns and is quite near the beach too.
Would I camp again? I definitely would and though Hubs is a hotel person, I think with the right kind of tent and equipment, he would too. I loved the feeling of being free and getting closer to nature.
A big thank you to Camping in the Forest for giving us the opportunity to experience camping and connecting with the outdoors. Now, to starting looking for camping equipment for our next camping holiday.