If you're thinking of planning a family camping trip this year, let this be your guide, with everything you need to know about where to go, what to bring and even what to cook.
For first time campers
You love the idea of the whole ‘back to nature’ thing, but you’d also like somewhere to plug in your phone charger, a playground for the kids and a cosy pub within easy walking distance. Is that really too much to ask?
Where to go
Head to Woodovis Park, a picturesque spot on the Devon-Cornwall border with a heated indoor pool, infrared therapy cabin, luxury caravans and glamping pods.
Or try Watertop Farm, a sheep farm near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. Ideal for families, it offers go-karting, pony trekking, a boating lake and assault course.
1. You don't need to pack the kitchen sink, but there are some must-haves. Stock up on antibacterial hand sanitiser, and flip-flops and extra loo roll are a must when visiting the shower block.
2. Pack an already prepared meal for your first night so you don’t have to cook from scratch.
3. Curl up with clothes in your sleeping bag so you have something warm to put on in the morning.
4. Pack extra blankets - the evenings can get chilly, even in the summer.
5. A roll of bin bags will come in handy for storing dirty campware.
Mars Bar bananas. Cut a banana lengthways through the skin and stuff with pieces of Mars Bar. Wrap with foil and cook on the BBQ for 10 minutes for the perfect gooey dessert.
Don't go without...
There are so many great dog-friendly campsites in the UK, so there's no reason not to take your furry friend along with you. Have a search on coolcamping.com to find the perfect campsite in your desired spot. Some even have special doggy exercise areas!
Where to go
The Lake District is a paradise for dogs and campers with picture-perfect villages, lush green dales and spectacular lakes. Eskdale Campsite in the hamlet of Boot is a great base for walking, with lots of footpaths running from the site. Large tent pitches included, and dogs stay for free!
In Frodsham, Cheshire, Lady Heyes Park boasts great facilities and even has a heated dog shower for mucky paws! Pack a lunch and explore the Delamere Forest with your pup.
l. Chances are, your dog has never slept in a tent before, so help them feel settled in their new environment by taking along their usual bed and favourite treats so they have something familiar to snuggle up in.
2. Check your dog’s vaccinations and flea treatments are up to date and make sure he’s microchipped and has an ID tag.
3. If the weather’s warm, make sure furry friends stay cool by resting in the shade and avoiding too much exercise in the midday sun. Always take plenty of water with you while you’re out and about.
4. Pack a long lead so you can tie your dog to a post near your tent and let him wander freely.
5. Attach pet safety lights to collars so you can keep an eye on them in the dark.
Dog treats by cutting a sweet potato into cubes and BBQing for 10-20 minutes until cooked through.
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For experienced campers
You’re at home in the great outdoors. Got a problem? There’s a knot for that. You like to pitch your well-used Ozark Trail tent off the beaten track and you’ll rough it if you must – but you're also a big fan of fancy camping gear, like a good camping kitchen, and an out-of-the-way site with good facilities is your ideal combo.
Where to go
Farrs Meadow in Wimborne, Dorset, offers compost loos, and hot showers made from upcycled horseboxes. Perched on a hill, it’s a short walk from a National Trust-owned pub, The Vine Inn.
Or enjoy historic sites, campfires on the beach and jaw-dropping sunsets at Port Ban Holiday Park near Kilberry on the unspoilt coast of West Scotland.
1. Lay cheap solar lights outside your tent to help you find your way back.
2. Knock sticks into the ground with a mallet and place dirty wellies upside down on them – rain might even clean them!
3. Add a bundle of sage to your campfire or firepit to help keep mosquitoes away.
4. For an adventure-craving family, there's a lot of exploring to be done in the UK. Explore the area around your campsite with the AllTrails app - it helps you find nearby hiking, cycling and running routes (you can filter for dog-friendly areas, too).
5. Listen out for different bird songs and see if you can spot the singer. For pictures and information about the birds you see, download the UK Birdwatching app.
French bread pizza. Slice a piece of French bread and spread soft cheese on the cut sides. Top with tomato purée, then fill with crumbled cheese and your favourite pizza toppings. Push the slices back into a loaf shape, double-wrap in foil, then cook for 5-8 minutes on both sides on an open fire.
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* Emergency Expenses Abroad cover not available on Accident Only Pet Insurance packages.