We are a city family - and we love everything that comes with that, we can hop on buses and trains anytime we like to visit fantastic museums, art galleries and great playgrounds or markets... but we also want to give our children a taste of the country life. For us, going camping is a great way to give our city kids a sense of the 'country' (whatever that is!) so, for a few days at least, they can run a little wild, explore and discover things for themselves.
Last weekend we headed down to East Sussex, to Wapsbourne Farm (lovingly nick-named Wowo) and pitched our bell-tent (am still in love with this tent) for a couple of days of free-range living.
We'd never been to Wowo before - it's a popular site and for most weekends you have to book in advance (taking a punt on the weather)... I can see why though, it was a perfect site for us; really family friendly, close to London so we didn't have to trek miles, small enough for the children to be able to explore it themselves and most importantly for us they allow campfires. There were streams and woods full of wild garlic and bluebells, lots of rope swings hung from tall trees, ducks and chickens roaming around and so many well thought out little details from the comunal freezers to laminated maps and directions that could be borrowed from the well stocked shop.... they even had the papers on Sunday.
... and luckily for us the weather was great (although VERY cold at night, next time we camp this early in the year I'm going to be investing in some serious sleeping bag kit).
Here are some pics from our weekend...
Camp days start early... but honestly there is something so good about being up early when the sun is out and you have a steaming cup of tea in your hand...
We went with our friends and their children - this was our set up. Wowo have pre made fire pits all ready with benches. We backed onto a little stream with woodland behind it, perfect for our adventurous small people.
And we were right next to this great swing, which was just one of many to be found around the site.
The girls were thrilled when their new friends showed them this swing... I only found out about it as I asked Coco why she'd changed into her jeans (an almost unheard of occurance for this skirt/dress obsessed girl) and she told me it was so she could have them rolled up in case she got wet on the swing! I'm so glad I followed her up to see her try this swing all on her own...
Henry on another swing that the girls found when they were off exploring on their bikes.
A make-shift bridge over the stream where we were camped lead to woodland carpeted in wild garlic - which the girls proceeded to collect...
... and then they made a little flower stall...
and did a roaring trade for a while... before we had to tell them not to pick the wild flowers; although we did get them to harvest some wild garlic leaves for our tortilla.
The site is a walk away from Sheffield Park, a huge National Trust property which we visited for tea... but mainly we just hung around the campsite, relaxing, having yet another cup of tea/glass of wine and cooking on the campfire.
Not that you even have to do your own cooking (well... you kind of do really - but this free soup was delicious).
Henry getting adventurous... just before getting his first experience of stinging nettles.
Early mornings and late nights... with a lot of fresh air and adventure in between.
When I told Henry we were going food shopping today he said "ok, but then can we go camping after".
And if I haven't raved about it all enough, I think the proof of how much we loved this site is that when we got back last night we went straight online and booked for another weekend there later in the summer... I'm hoping that we are going to get a lot of use from our bell tent this year.