I hate being cooped up indoors at the weekend – even more so when the sun comes out and the temperatures soar. So, when the option to go camping was laid on the table, the answer was obvious! Yes please!
Go Outdoors invited me to join their pop-up campsite, ‘GOcation’, where this weekend they were offering visitors a free one nights stay in the depths of Kent. Compared to holidaying abroad, it felt like just a hop, skip and jump from London – what an easy way to get a break from the big smoke!
Aside from for festivals or events I’ve not camped in the true ‘camping weekend’ way for years so was looking forward to seeing what was in store from my al fresco ‘staycation’!
There were some awesome-looking tents of all shapes and sizes. Jo and I got directed to a group of teepees and found one with our name on it. Having been told there’s be pre-pitched tents with camping gear included, I’d been expecting a roll matt and flat camping pillow inside, so was delighted with the sturdy camping bed, fluffy pillow and sleeping bag that had been laid out for us. It was too hot to stay under canvas much longer than to dump our bags, so we set off in search of things to do.
The activities on offer were a walk, a bike ride or ‘bushcraft’ – classic camping options right there! Obviously Jo and I wanted to do all three, but spotting that no one else had gone to the bikes, we raced over to get sized up, popped our luminous helmets on and set off, bumping along the track.
The route was fantastic! It was only 5 miles, but we went down small roads, through fields, past ponds and vineyards. I’ve not been on a mountain bike for years, so kept expecting my wheels to skid out from under me as they would under these conditions on a road bike; but the chunky tyres held me in place and I felt like a kid again, racing over the dirt and making little jumps out of lumps and bumps!
But do you know what happens when you spend too much time running around in the countryside on a hot and sunny day?
You get parched and you get peckish.
We headed back to the campsite to see what we could find; and were in luck. From van #01 we picked out our fave tipples…
And from van #02…cheese toasties!!
As the evening cooled, we were treated to an acoustic set around the campfire.
Cheese, campfire, ‘choones. What more could you want?!
Oh, of course, the finishing touch: marshmalloooooows!
There were skewers but the fire was too hot to get close with them, so I found a long stick and prodded mine right into the thick of the flames. It may looked burnt but it was PERFECT – crisp on the outside, melty in the middle. Even if nothing else about camping inspires you, this surely tips you over?!
Despite the darkness falling, the night was clear and warm, and the string-lights, campfire and flares up the path kept everything brightly lit. When we finally headed to our teepee we had that smokey-eye tiredness you only get after an evening around a campfire. And, on my campbed I had one of the best night sleep I’ve had camping so I think I might have to make a purchase..!
Thank you so much to Go Outdoors for hosting me and re-igniting all kinds of youthful memories!