June 19, 2023

Camping Recap

This weekend we ticked off a family bucket list item - camping!

We booked a campsite about 90 minutes away, near the coast, for Friday and Saturday night.  We took Friday off work to pack and so we could arrive in good time, and made it to the campsite by 2:30pm.

There was a slight detour when we realized we had forgotten to pack Lilah's clothing bag and had to stop at Tesco to buy her some clothes for the weekend.  £25 later we had a 3 pack of shorts, a 3 pack of shirts, and a new swimsuit.  

The kids were very excited to set up tents.  They were very excited to eat dinner.  They were very excited by camping stoves and very excited by our friend's camper van.  

We don't own a family camping tent so we set up our 2.5 man tent and our 1.5 man tent. We made one small mistake by bringing a single airbed and a camping pad - I had assumed kids would be asleep by the time I went to bed and I could shuffle them both onto the camping pad.  Because they were both awake I ended up sleeping on the ground (ouch!) between the two beds (in the 2.5 man tent) which was not ideal for both sleep quantity and quality.  

Saturday morning I was very grumpy (I am not good on little sleep) so Andy took kids to the park and I slept until nearly 11 (on the air bed, which was pretty comfortable)

Saturday afternoon we went to an amazing Welsh beach.  Did you know Wales has amazing beaches?  Some Welsh beaches rival what I saw in Thailand and are better than beaches I grew up with in California... depending on weather of course.

Saturday night was BBQ, which the kids loved.  Then we tried having them sleep in separate tents, so Lilah joined Andy and Isaac was in my tent.  Lilah fell asleep almost immediately and Isaac slept when I got to bed - he told me I could sleep on the air bed because the air bed is big and I am also big.  Thanks buddy!

Everyone slept until 7am - YAY - and woke up very happy.  Kids played in the tent for a bit
Then ate some snack before heading off home
Although it was a great camping trip it definitely made me miss camping in the USA.  Camping in the UK is mostly private - farmers set up campsites on field.  This means there are often LOTS of other people around.   Here's a map of the site we stayed in (the dots are all different types of pitches)a:
There wasn't much separating us from our neighbors.  I always felt like national parks in the USA had secluded camping, where even on a campsite you still had some space that was yours.  Including a picnic table and a BBQ, usually.   Sometimes we have found great campsites here, and sometimes we have slept next to A**h***s who listen to Oasis until 3am.  this was fine before we had kids, this is less fine now.

Overall camping trip 1 was a success, with definite room for improvement.  The kids loved it, and everyone is very tired, but it was a great weekend.

When I got home I took all the photos and ordered a cheap and easy photo album for the kids - it took me all of 20 minutes to upload and I let Snapfish do the layout.  Hopefully that will arrive this week and the kids will enjoy it.

Have you ever been camping with kids?  What is your favourite campsite?


  1. Aside from the night of sleeping on the ground, this sounds lovely! Congrats! I had no idea that Wales had beautiful beaches, but clearly they do.

    I haven't been camping since I was a kid. I am just not a fan of any of the things that involve camping, and I sleep very poorly even in a hotel bed, so I think I will live vicariously through brave campers like yourself.

  2. As you know, I love camping! However, I have not really done much camping with little kids in years (we used to go with my cousins), but we have gone with my brother's niece and nephew who were teenagers and they always have a blast. When we were kids, we used to sleep in the backyard all summer long, so I think kids can and should love camping, but I am totally biased.

    What is a 2.5 man tent! Haha. Who is the 0.5? Does that mean two adults and one child? If you have a 1.5 man tent, does that mean you can fit three kids in there? Re your comments about Oasis, there are ALWAYS A-holes. The last time I camped in Yosemite we got our own space but they are really close together and we had one group arrive super late (like 10 pm)
    after most people including us were already in bed and tromp right through the middle of our campsite to theirs in the dark and then proceed to get drunk and giggle and shout for the rest of the night. Like, seriously? Who does that?

    1. I was telling my husband that I used to camp in the garden loads when I was a kid, but I think I was probably 7 or 8 maybe?

      I think it's actually a 2 and 3 man tent but backpacking style, which is why my husband called it 1.5 and 2.5... the 2 man tent doesn't have a porch and is good for actual backpacking but not as good for leisure camping with kids. I think the 3 man tent is an actual 3 man tent though... it seemed massive compared to our backpacking tent!

      Campers making noise after hours is my biggest camping pet peeve! I think we stayed at a very busy campsite just outside yosemite once but I can't remember too well. Once I stayed with a group in Bryce and my friend we were staying with was so noisy and I kept thinking "oh dear, now we are the noisy ones!". I think people playing music is my second most disliked campsite habit after being noisy at night - I didn't camp to hear someone else's music choices.

    2. Yes! My brother's girlfriend's family is the noisy one. Their idea of camping is to go somewhere away from home where they can sit around all day and drink, then cook over the fire and drink, then sit around after dinner and drink and shout and make bird noises and stuff. I went camping with them once, thought it was a one off, went again and they did the same thing and at that point I decided never again. They actually had the ranger come over and ask them to keep it down!! So embarrassing and not really very fun.

  3. Sometimes we have found great campsites here, and sometimes we have slept next to A**h***s who listen to Oasis until 3am! This is the most UK things of UK things to say! LOLOLOL. OASIS!!

  4. I love camping but haven't gone since college days. I would absolutely love to go with the kids. Just them and I because my husband openly told me "I love you honey but hell to the no on camping." I don't mind. I looked up some spots in federal parks and lands around New Jersey and everything is FULL. Lessons learned for next year for me - book early.

  5. I haven't been camping in a long time... it does sounds like you had a good time and I am sure the kids loved it though.