Why go to Bristol again I hear you say when we have been there four times already? Explanation is fairly simple. The first time we did a Park and Ride for a day, and it wasn’t until we realised on the way back to the van on the bus that we had missed the best parts of Bristol. No such excuses for the second, third or fourth time, but it’s just about as good as a winter vacation in a campervan gets location wise!
The first week of 2018 we spent at York, Rowntree, Caravan Club site mainly because we had stayed at Baltic Wharf in 2017 and the year before in 2016 . However, after making an early booking at Edinburgh Caravan Club site, we decided that Bristol would be a much more local venue giving us the flexibility we needed if the weather took a turn for the worst.
Anyway, we were not disappointed. We chose to take in lots of free attractions right on our doorstep such as the M-Shed museum, and although the week long break started unseasonably mild (shorts and T-Shirt), the temperatures soon dropped to sub zero towards the end of our stay. That said, the Webasto night heater kept us warm so the stay was a great start to 2019!
Baltic Wharf Link is below for anybody that wants to stay at this location. You must me a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club site.
Nothing on this holiday had been arranged other than the first stop at Deepdale, which incidentally was done the the morning we left home. The second stop of our September holiday, sy. Sandringham Camping and Caravan Club, was booked on the fly also. We were comfortable with this as it’s late in the season, and the sites are not likey to be busy.
We arrived late morning, but couldn’t check in until 1pm. So parked in the car park and had a few hours cycling around to get out bearings. We knew that the Saturday was going to be by far the best day of the weekend, so we saw no reason to sit idle until we could access the campsite, and thought we would appreciate our accommodation more after a little exercise.
After approximately 3 hours we collected the van and were and entered the camp site. The grounds were really picturesque and we had lots of flexibility regarding pitch location. We didn’t realise until waking the site later that afternoon just how big it was, but ironically we feel for a location within a stone’s throw from the entrance with close access to toilets and shower block.
We awoke on Sunday to the forecasted rain which left us both feeling lethargic. We climbed out of bed well after 9am, and struggled to do anything but drink tea & coffee with the heater on for much off the morning. Breakfast became brunch and as we approached midday the rain turned to drizzle, and finally stopped. At this point we both knew it would be in our interest to take this opportunity to stretch our legs and get some fresh air before cabin fever kicks in. Initially we circled the perimeter of the campsite having a nosey at the variety of caravans, motor homes and tents. Not long after the sun appeared, so our walk extended to the forest behind the entrance, so all in all the day was a nice combination of chill and exercise ?
Our September holiday has been a minimum two weeks for as long as we have been camping (6-7 years). Certainly since we have owned the van it’s been at least two weeks, and last year it was three. This year has been a little disjointed for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was always going to be later due to a wedding we had been invited to. This meant from the off we were going to be going later than usual. On top of that, I was in the process of trying to get a car ready for sale, which distracted me from finishing my solar upgrade. Suffice to say, this delayed our even further, so we were going to be limited to approximately 10 days.
We erred towards Norfolk as it’s not somewhere we have explored extensively, and it was a lot closer than the more familiar jaunts of Devon & Cornwall. I had my reservations, but we didn’t commit until the night before we left home.
Our first stop was booked on the Wednesday morning of departure after reading a online review of the best campsites in Norfolk.
We left home under extremely windy conditions, heading for Burnham, Deepdale. The wedge shaped, flat sided Wolfgang was a real handful to keep in a straight line during the strong gusts of wind. But I was relaxed knowing that if Google maps navigation was correct, in 3 hours we would arrive at the campsite.
At reception they had already penciled in a pitch for us and were all ready to chaperone is to said location. As seasoned campers we questioned the flexibility of other pitches.After a few taps of the keyboard and numerous biro scrawlings on the campsite map we had choices. Ironically, we chose the pitch right next to the reception area because it had a cosy feel to it. The grass was green, and it was effectively walled on all sides with tents aplenty. The alternatives were on higher ground, and far more exposed to the elements.
Other than a few tweaks to set the van up, a trip to the local Nisa store to get some supplies, and a stretch our legs (a whole 1 minute walk !) , the day pretty much ended there. We could both relax knowing we would be able to get up and explore in the morning.
So breakfast and a cup of tea saw us leaving the van at 10am. There are numerous, small independent arts, crafts and coffee shops within a few hundred yards of our campsite. It’s nice, and offered a couple of hours perusal, but not enough to hold our attention any longer.
With the bikes on the back of the van we decided to explore the local surroundings a little further. We spent best part of a couple of hours cycling out of the village, onto the Brancaster Straith Quay. It was really great to see Mandy enjoy the ride as much as I did. It rained 50% of the ride, but she still was in high spirits when we got back to the van.
After the ride, the weather took a turn for the worse. We were largely confined to the van, but with Netflix Series 2 of Ozarks downloaded on tablet, what better excuse to chill with the curtains closed ?.
After a broken nights sleep due to exceptionally windy conditions, we decided to catch the early bus into Wells Next The Sea. I’m constantly amazed at just how beautiful our country is, and just when we think we’ve seen the best it has to offer, we find this!
For this evening we are chilling….
Tomorrow we head to Sandringham, so forests, villages and Staley homes will be the order of the day ?
Our tenth wedding anniversary fell mid week just after the Tatton Park VW show so we took a few days off to make for a relaxing get away. Due to tight budget constraints after our month long euro trip, we chose to try and keep the affair simple and inexpensive. Last year we visited Chester on our 9th anniversary, but this was in the form of a hotel room very central to the city and its walls. This was all very nice, but we didn’t have the campervan on the road in 2017 due to gearbox issues, so that ruled out any chance of camping.
This year we found a nice campsite only a few miles away from the city, with immediate access to a canal path for walking, cycling and paddle boarding. You never can never really tell from a website what a campsite is going to be like, and to be honest i was so focused on the VW event that i didn’t give a great deal of thought to the second part of our vacation until we left Knutsford. The weather had been warm and sunny for most of this summer, and it wasn’t showing any signs of changing to the point it may spoil our three night camp over. It literally took 30 minutes to get to Netherwood Touring Site, and after a short conversation with the campsite owner, we pulled up the driveway onto a well maintained field.
Our location did not have electric hookup as this wasn’t a requirement for us, but there were numerous hard standing pitches available with electric. The grounds were well established with plenty of mature trees which gave it a nice feel.
Over the course of our three day stay we did plenty of exploring locally on our push bikes, which included a day in the city. We also visited the local Cheshire Cat pub only 5 minutes walk along the canal path which served good food and drink.
Tatton Park location has a great feel to it, and its one of my favorite VW shows in the calenda. Beautiful surroundings make it a great location for an Atlantic / California VW line making us contributors to the whole spectacle. It’s always great to hook up with like minded campervan owners, especially when the weather is as good as it was for us this year. Roll on Tatton 2019!