Adventure can be a dirty business… And as our adventuring continues so does the mountains of washing. Our little explorers (Daniel & Darley, aged five & four) certainly look like proper explorers at the end of each day with plenty of “adventure” all over their clothes! Thankfully all the C&CC sites have washing machines, so a few dozen washing tokens later we were clean and ready to explore all over again!
First stop was a quick overnight in a great site nestled in beautiful countryside near Cheddar. Friendly familiar faces greeted us and we enjoyed a lovely evening staying outside chatting with our fellow campers and stargazing with the children.
Up early and just a short drive away we arrived at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park. The boys learned lots about a range of animals, with lots of activities and hands-on experiences – so it was a definite thumbs up from the boys. Staff were excellent too and very engaging. Also lots and lost of energetic outdoor and indoor play to be enjoyed from trampolines to drop slides.Sadly our explanation of why we can’t have an alpaca as a pet in the motorhome was not so willingly accepted by our smallest family member. The blow of this news was slightly softened as we did manage a cuddle with this gorgeous little fellow!
And saw these lovely little chaps too! Oink Oink!Then to complement our curly-tailed friends we made it back to camp just in time to see this beautiful pinkish hue.Onwards to our next campsite at Winchcombe. A lovely site with matching lovely staff whom we got on with so well. With the on-site lake there were, naturally, some friendly friends of a feathery kind to be made too. A great 10-acre field at the end of the site was a fantastic addition as Mr Colin dog could have a big game of fetch, while the playground opposite our motorhome provided great entertainment for the boys in the afternoon.
So we said goodbye to our the picturesque Winchcombe site and travelled on to our next stop – Kingsbury Water Park. That afternoon the sunshine even put in an appearance allowing us to spread ourselves outside, our Green Decore outdoor rug makes the perfect flooring appreciated by everyone including Mr Colin Dog.
Not one to miss an opportunity I had a load of washing dry within a couple of hours thanks to the loan of a portable rotary washing line from the helpful staff there. Even though they were incredibly busy with more than 80 new arrivals that day alone they still managed a big smile with a huge dose of helpfulness!The following day we dropped in to the Camping & Caravanning Club HQ where Editor Simon with Roy and Sheila, two of the staff on its excellent magazine, had kindly offered to show Daniel and Darley how a magazine is put together. So the boys got to selecting photos, thinking up a headline and caption – and even got their very own page printed out to take home, an exclusive story that just beat the deadline on our visit to the Club’s Coventry mission control there!We even managed to get their very lovely photographer Matt to take a quick (and rare) picture of us all together outside the offices. One for the album. (And the blog!)After lunch it was on to the English Heritage Kenilworth Castle – fantastic castle remains, beautiful gardens and tea rooms, and also much needed running around fun was had by all, including Daddy!
The next day we explored outside the campsite with a walk/run/bike ride around the lakes surrounding the campsite. And of course there were more ducks to feed. Darley insisted one of these was the very same duck we had seen earlier in the week in the Cotswolds, and who knows maybe he was right?We wandered back to the campsite taking in all the creatures big and small on the way, a couple of ladybirds flew in and joined us for a while and we also had some close-up aerial encounters on a larger scale as this gaggle of geese flew right over our heads.That afternoon the attraction of the busy playground proved too much for the little people – and afterwards, once they had quickly completed the Maths quiz they thought they could simply slither away unnoticed and get back to the playground! Good thinking, well worth a try…We had an exciting excursion the following day to the National Space Centre in nearby Leicester.
With both boys now showing a keen interest in the bigger world outside our world this was the perfect place to show them a lot more about that mind-blowing huge space we call space! So many interactive learning tools for kids and adults this was astonishing to all of us.
Scale model of the International Space Station, driving the Mars robotic explorer (13 times!), hunting for meteorites along with plenty of fun dressing up made for a really memorable day for us all.The fantastic show in the Patrick Moore Planetarium was a real treat. Daniel came away feeling extra special (as any child should) having just learned he was actually made of stardust!So we all boarded our awesome “Swiftship”* commenced countdown and headed off on our next mission. (* Ground control to Major Tom, it’s called on Earth a Swift Escape 696 motorhome!)Later that evening we arrived at our destination and base for the next few days: Theobalds Park. A great site close to London, yet with a great feeling of space.
A really well laid out site with an amazing 700-year-old living oak tree watching over the site with its grand presence.
A whole new meaning was brought to the words “boys, set the table please” as our two little helpers rush to grab their batboy table and chairs – the weather was ideal for outside eating. Enough time to walk Mr Colin dog through the woods there before we all hit our comfy Duvalay mattresses.
Time to wave goodbye to the old oak tree and friendly staff at Theobalds Park and head south to a natural charming cosy campsite called Bella Vista that’s high on a ridge to chill in the Chiltern Hills. It’s one of our favourites of all, not least because of the really friendly owners Simon & Lisa. We parked up the motorhome, but before we put our feet up it was time to get our tent up!
Simon & Lisa’s sheep and alpacas in the neighbouring field looked over as Debs explained that even though the rest of us are boys it’s imperative to read the instructions first whenever needing to put something together. (Men folk: whether it be flatpack furniture or tents, this stage is vital and should be overlooked at your peril!)
But with a fantastic team effort we soon had this gorgeous Robens Klondike tent sussed and up in no time.It gives us a brilliant sleeping space as well as a great playing space for the children, and we think it looks so handsome too. Our boys especially love the little windows round the edge and both boys says it remind them of a space ship. Which was ideal for what was to come that night…
Our boys ran to get their beloved Outwell Batboy mats and sleeping bags, then excitedly set up their beds for the night in the “Magic Tent”. Just before it was time for bed the universe smiled on us and a huge complete rainbow arched high over the campsite, the best we’ve ever seen and admired by the whole campsite for a full 15 minutes.Even the alpacas faced it to gaze at its wonder.(With so many priceless experiences, we always knew this is where our pot of gold was hidden, below.)So as day turned to night we all snuggled up with hot chocolate in our magical bell tent and as if we weren’t spoiled enough that day the Perseid meteor showers graced the sky for the most spectacular display we’ve ever witnessed. Our cosy tent’s the ideal place to watch such a stunningly unforgettable event. Next morning we head to St Albans to show the boys the ruins of Verulamium, once the third largest city of Roman Britain. Some fantastic parts still remain, as well as many artefacts and finds that have been discovered.To end an awesome week filled with rainbows and stars and wonders of the universe here on our Planet Earth campsite, we were totally delighted that “tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker… and Dr Yes at Virgin” Richard Branson decided to share our story.
Within 24 hours it been read and shared extensively around the world and the many words of encouragement that have followed certainly do their job of encouraging us to set up our campsites for more to share from what we’ve learned and seen – and to boldly continue to go…
The universe is out there – get to see as much of it as you can!