Family Camping Trip

It has been planned forever, and last weekend it actually happened – our first camping trip since Miss D arrived!

A group of 11 adults and 8 children, all camping together in beautiful Dorset. We stayed at Norden Farm, which is a great balance of simple camping (No entertainment or swimming pools here), with good facilities (hot free showers and decent toilets!).

I’ll be honest, I was more than apprehensive about how this trip would pan out with a nearly 4 year old in tow, but she, and all her little friends, were angels and had a whale of a time!

This is how it went:

Friday afternoon

3 o’clock.  We need to leave in an hour and the bag isn’t even packed yet.  Throw in enough clothes and shoes to last Miss D for a weeks holiday.  Add a jumper and clean socks for me.   (obviously Ben had already 3/4 filled the bag with his carefully planned wardrobe for the weekend). Packing done.

Grab anything in the house that could possible come in useful.  Torch, tent, mallet, check. Bug spray, bottle opener, suncream, check. Hair conditioning treatment, body lotion, ok – I’m maybe being a bit ambitious here.

4 o’clock. Stuff everything in the car (not a small car, and still it is completely full) and collect Miss D from preschool.

4.15pm.  We’re off! Yay!

4.45pm. Oh, wait……traffic. Boo.

6.30pm. After what felt like an eternity, we have arrived!  Now to the small feat of putting up a tent that we have never used before (kindly loaned by some friends). It is actually surprisingly easy and we have it done within half an hour.

7.00pm. …..and relax! Kids are eating and playing, we all have a glass (actually a Paper cup with an Easter bunny) of bubbly Prosecco and enough crisps to feed the entire campsite, lovely.

8.30pm. The kids are still going strong, lets put a film on. The kids are quiet for about ten minutes.

9.30pm. They should probably be asleep by now. No chance!

10.30pm.  One by one, they are starting to fall asleep in their beds.

11.15pm. Finally, they have given in!  Just in time for us to go to bed!



6.15am. How on earth can she be awake already?! Thank god for iPads. We get to snooze for another 45 minutes before we give in and get up.

Late morning. After a dull start, it is brightening up and we decide a trip to the beach is in order, so its off to Studland Bay for everyone (I knew that National Trust membership would come in useful sometime)!

On the way. Hang on a minute – that sign says Pirate Festival………interesting! So its a quick diversion to Swanage Pier to check it out.  I can safely say I have never seen so many pirates in one place before, there are pirate re-enactments taking place, and everyone is taking it very, very seriously…….brilliant. After a quick paddle in the sea and some fish and chips, it time to go to Studland Bay

Mid Afternoon. a happy few hours in the sun (which has decided to come out at last), building sandcastles, playing in the sea and riding on a paddleboard.

Early Evening.  Back home, a shower for everyone and dinner.  Kids nibble at a picnic, while the grown ups light up the BBQ. After a trek around the village to find ice (we can’t drink warm prosecco), we all settle in for another relaxing evening.

I get a lovely surprise birthday cake and a great rendition of happy birthday from everyone.

Late Evening. The kids gave in slightly earlier tonight, and are all tucked up and asleep by 9.45.


As we are all sat around the fire, tucked under blankets and appreciating the evening, I realise why people enjoy this……..what a fabulous way to spend a weekend.


I am still not sure I could spend a week camping (I enjoy my creature comforts too much for that and I am definitely a fair weather camper – I am sure this would be very different post if it was raining!), but we had a great time and I am already wondering whether we could fit in another trip before the summer ends…..?




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