Just a reminder of how it can be: Pack all your troubles in your old kit bag and camp camp camp... our weekend in the New Forest:
A big old Oak tree to keep us cool in the baking heat, New Forest ponies roaming freely, clean toilets with consistent hot showers and lots of space; this is what we found at Hollands Park camp site in the New Forest, one of the excellent Camping in the Forest sites which has won awards for conservation efforts. The campsite is within walking distance of Brockenhurst, a village where you can buy all the essentials, including posh chocolates!
Camping is good for the soul, its about fresh air and freedom and fun. We started our children young and we are so glad we did. They may be a little feral at times but we find that isn't a problem generally - we quite like it!
Our camping experience this time round was made easy with the Vango Airbeam tent. No poles just a pump up beam; you literally secure the tent and you're ready to go. Quite a revelation in my world - it cut down enormously on the heated exchanges generally associated with pitching up!
Back to the forest - there's lots to do, exploring your surroundings; enjoy the plentiful wildlife; hunt bugs; take a bike trail; bird, flower and tree spot; walking; paddling - you know the sort. Should you wish to get out and about historic houses, theme parks, museums, gardens and parks are all available, some of which can be reached on the New Forest Bus Tour.
Thanks to Camping in the Forest joining up with New Forest Activities we were able to set the children off on a crazy variety of things to do - the kids were taught bushcraft techniques from the lovely and very knowledgeable team at Sunrise Bushcraft, we made chocolate bread on a campfire, pencils that did actually write and learned about various plants that we could eat if ever we faced a starving situation (always handy). After such a busy day the kids flopped early on and enjoying a beer and the view was a fitting end to a really lovely day.
We had some adrenaline inspired fun next morning; having met with the very friendly staff from New Forest Activities, who were all very friendly, knowledgeable and professional we found ourselves on the Beaulieu river in a Canadian Canoe, very stable thankfully; with two enthusiastic children aged 3 and 4 it needed to be! The kids loved it as did we - a completely different experience to our normal camping break and one to be repeated.
There are plenty of good pubs dotted around offering hearty pub fare or a more upmarket dining experience if you want to eat out - with kids we opted for the former. Supplies can be found in the local shops in friendly Brockenhurst - supermarkets are available in lovely Lymington.
Do be aware that the campsite is on quite a major New Forest Road.