If you want to leave nothing to chance, or you simply don’t fancy waking up to the sound of rain pattering on your tent (personally, I think it’s a beautiful noise), there are a couple of really good value alternatives to camping inside the old tent. And if you give them a try, your world is about to get much bigger, and much more interesting.
These options will give you a brilliant weekend holiday, and cost you no more than the price of a night out in town! Let’s assume the night out in town involves a few beers, a pizza and a taxi home (no tip).
This is simply camping with a bit of luxury thrown in. From campsites with pre-assembled tents, to wooden tents with heating and fridges, glamping is the type of camping experience that will convince the camping sceptic that it’s worth a try, and worth trying again and again. Check out www.wigwamholidays.com for a comprehensive list of sites where you can rent wooden tents, teepees and yurts. Wigwams start around £15 a night. The price for a family of three is around £30 a night and you’ll generally have access to toilets, a drying room and a kitchen at most sites.
I’ve stayed in some flea-bitten bed and breakfast accommodation that would make a youth hostel seem like a palace. Youth hostels are quite often set in THE most awe-inspiring places, and there’s a reason for that, if you think about it.
These days you can book family rooms from about £70. The price, compared to a B&B is, truly amazing (a good old dad and an adventurous five-year old will stay for less than £30 in total), and you get the run of the hostel, the use of well stocked kitchens, clean accommodation and bathrooms, access to a living room/games room, and chances are you’ll be right in the heart of “Outdoor central”, with the best outdoor pursuits right on your doorstep. Annual membership is £8. YES EIGHT POUNDS! Join now before they realise that that’s just ridiculous! www.syha.org.uk
Your third option is to do a bit of indoors/outdoors.
- Wild camp night one.
- Stay in a hotel (or youth hostel) on night two
- Repeat as required
Spend your first day camping somewhere cool, like near a beach, or loch-side. After a night under canvas, pack up early in the morning and stick everything in the car boot.
Spend the morning exploring, and then check into a hotel at lunch time. Now you can get cleaned up, have a nap on the bed, or watch a bit of telly. In the afternoon you can get back into the outdoors, knowing you have hot showers and matresses to look forward to.
Here’s what I’m planning for a few days, here or there, in the autumn…
- £80 to stay a night in this AMAZING lighthouse www.lighthousehotel.co.uk.
- Just £15 pn to camp in www.sandsofluceholidaypark.co.uk
- £57 in total for a dad and his boy to stay TWO NIGHTS at this fabulous hostel in Newton Stewart.
So, what are you doing next weekend?
- Camping guide for dads part 1 – guy ropes! (rennyrambles.wordpress.com)
- Let’s Go Glamping! (casasugar.com)
- The Art of Camping, By Matthew de Abaitua (independent.co.uk)