Caravan and camping tips for beginners including best UK spots, gear and advice

It might not be the summer 
holiday you planned – a staycation in rainy Britain rather than sunny Spain, and a tent instead of an air-conditioned hotel room.

But if you find yourself socially distanced camping for the first time, you don’t need to feel nervous as it can be an exciting adventure for the whole family.

Murray McPherson, founder of Embers Camping, which has five sites in the south of England, says: “It’s a different holiday compared to a hotel but it’s a really memorable experience and the chance to do something together.

‘’There’s lots of interaction for the whole family when putting up the tent – there’s nowhere to hide. It can bring the best out in everyone.



You don’t need to feel nervous as it can be an exciting adventure for the whole family

“At a hotel, you know everything is going to be set up for you, but this is different. It’s a bit unknown in terms of how it will work out. You’re out in the fresh air and the kids can be a bit feral – it’s really open.”

Murray points out that today’s camping equipment is high quality and user-friendly, with easy to erect tents and beds. And he says you shouldn’t feel you have to stay somewhere close to home so you can come back if it rains. “Just take wet weather gear and if it’s pouring, go somewhere on a day trip,” he advises.

“The key thing to take is chairs – otherwise you’ll end up sitting on the ground, which is uncomfortable.

“Make sure the kids are really active and busy with games, so by about 9pm they’re exhausted and go to bed while you relax with a drink.”

Pitch Perfect Places



The golden sands of Woolacombe

North Devon

Woolacombe Possibly the most stunning beach in the UK, this gem west of Ilfracombe is a hugely popular spot for campers. The beach boasts more 
than three miles of golden sand and attracts surfers as well as families.



The beautiful landscape of the Lakes

Lake District

Keswick The area around this ancient market town makes an ideal location to explore the South Lakes within the sprawling Lake District national park. Many sites also offer a view of Derwentwater, one of the best-known lakes in this area.



The historic Bakewell Bridge over the River Wye in Derbyshire

Peak District

Bakewell The Derbyshire Dales exude charm, and the stunning little town of Bakewell beside the 
River Wye is no exception. 
It’s a great base to explore the limestone valleys and high points such as the famous Kinder Scout.



Overlooking the beach at Freshwater Bay on the Isle Of Wight

Isle of Wight

From glamping to basic camping, this island has everything you need. If you want to be close to the bigger resorts, look out for lively sites near Shanklin and Ryde, but for a more peaceful setting head towards Freshwater or Gurnard.



Three Cliffs Bay on Gower

South Wales

The Gower It’s easy to see why the Gower Peninsula, which lies just along the coast from Swansea, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Perched on the cliffs above the sandy beaches, looking out from your tent flap affords breathtaking views.



The Great Outdoors awaits you!

Top Tent Tips

1. If you’re buying or borrowing a tent, add two extra places to the number using it. For instance, if there are four of you, get one that sleeps at least six. You’ll need the extra space to squeeze 
in your gear. Teenagers often like their own space – small pop up tents can be a good option.

2. Don’t forget fleeces and jackets for evenings sitting around the campfire.

3. Take frozen water and milk in plastic containers so they will slowly defrost.

4. Prepare food in advance so you don’t need to cook for the first night or two. Good options are veggie curry or pasta sauce that you can heat up to serve with pitta bread or packet noodles.

5. Take ear-plugs to avoid the dawn chorus and an eye mask to block the early sunrise.

6. Avoid pitching your tent under a tree, as your flysheet will be covered in sap or bird droppings the next morning.

7. There’s nothing worse than feeling chilly at night, so opt for a three or four-season sleeping bag. For extra warmth and comfort, take your duvet and pillow.

8. Pack a Thermos and fill it with boiling water the night before. When you wake up, you can make yourself a cuppa without waiting for the camp stove to heat the kettle.

9. Put your PJs on before it’s dark, and then put your clothes on over them. When you go to bed in a dark tent, you can just peel off your outer layer.

10. Take loads of nibbles – fresh air and early mornings make everyone hungry and no child has ever said “you’ve brought too many snacks”.



Make sure the kids are really active and busy with games, so by about 9pm they’re exhausted and go to bed while you relax with a drink!

Fun and Games

LIMBO You’ll need a big stick and someone to hold either end. Take it in turns to limbo underneath it. Anyone who fails is out – then have another round after lowering the stick.

BINGO Write down or draw various things you might see on a campsite – anything from a yurt to a bacon sandwich. You could have one for the whole family, or make different versions and turn it into a competition.

SPLAT THE PAT If you’re off for a stroll, throw stones at cow pats and see which one is the crustiest. Just make sure no one is standing nearby!

And don’t forget traditional games such as Frisbee, football, rounders and water guns, as well as playing cards or Top Trumps.



Don’t forget the burgers and hot dogs!

Don’t forget your essentials!

There are some obvious things you’ll need to take – clothing, food, cooking equipment, crockery, bedding and, of course, a tent. But there are plenty of other items that will make camping a little bit easier;

Insect repellent

Plastic bowl for washing up or storage

Crocs, flip flops or sliders for a wee in the night

Torch or headtorch

First aid kit

Bottle opener, corkscrew and tin opener

Phone power bank

Tea towels, pan scourer and washing up liquid

Dustpan and brush to keep the tent clean

S hooks for hanging things up in the tent

Bunting or fairy lights to distinguish your tent from others in the dark

Plastic bags tied to a guy rope for your rubbish



Campervan holidays are due to become even more popular

Take to the Road

If you like the idea of camping but aren’t quite ready to sacrifice all your creature comforts just yet, hiring a motorhome or campervan might be a convenient halfway house.

You can rent either from locations throughout the UK. Ideally, pick up the keys in the area you want to explore, leaving your car behind.

Often drivers are daunted by the size of a motorhome, but they don’t need to be, says Harvey Alexander, from the Caravan and Motoring Club.

“It’s no harder to drive a motorhome or a campervan than a car,” says Harvey. “With the larger motorhomes, you will need to get used to the size and rearward visibility, so you’ll need to use door mirrors a bit more.

“It might be wise at first to practise with low-speed manoeuvring and perhaps have a trial run to get used to it.

“Most motorists can drive most sizes of motorhome up to 7,500kg on a standard driving licence. However, a limit of 3,500kg applies to drivers over 70 and there are some other exemptions which are worth checking too.”

Once lockdown restrictions are relaxed, drivers can do a ‘taster’ experience of driving a motorhome before they hire one with the club.camc.com

source.



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