You will have come across Camping Pods before, if not on a campsite, at least on this blog. My family and I have over the last couple of years stayed in a camping pod on numerous occassions. So I thought it was time I devoted a larger piece to the Pod that in my mind has done more to expand the camping season and appeal of camping to more people than anything else in recent times.
To discover more, I met with Andrew Lock from Newfoundland Lodges one blustery evening in North Yorkshire.
Who was the brainchild behind the Pod?
Ian Bone is the designer who created the Pod as an experiment in design during some down time at his luxury lodge building facility in the Lake District. A keen mountain biker Ian often wanted to spend a full weekend away cycling but could never find affordable, secure accommodation.
Who is the Camping Pod aimed at?
Pods are designed to appeal to families, couples, walkers, ramblers, cyclists and tourists alike, anyone who loves the great outdoors.
What would a family staying in a Camping Pod need to bring with them?
Simply take all for a camping holiday, minus the tent
How many campsites currently have Pods now?
Over 80 in the UK and Ireland with many more in France, Switzerland, Holland and Germany
Can you tell us more about your new developments?
Our latest model is the Mega Pod which is the height of glamping luxury! Fitted beds, a kitchenette and wet room elevate the humble Pod to luxury status. Look out for them being rolled out in 2013.
The Scottish highlands are an area sparsely populated with incredible countryside and mountain ranges. They are located in the north west of Scotland and are a very popular destination.
The stunning scenery and picturesque views make it a haven for any nature lovers but there are also many amazing lochs and trails around hills and over the mountains. Below are 4 great examples of places you can go or stay if you’re looking to go camping in the Scottish Highlands.
1) Wow Scotland – Wild camping in the Scottish Highlands
If you’ve always wanted to explore the Scottish wilderness, but are not that confident that you won’t get lost, why not try a guided camping tour as a family with Wow Scotland?
This company are very flexible and allow you to decide how long you want the journey to be, as well as what kind of area you’re looking to camp in. For example, some prefer to explore the mountains while others enjoy relaxing by the lochs.
The guides can also teach you camping skills such as cooking with a gas stove and navigation techniques, so that you’ll be all prepared to take your next trip alone!
2) Red Squirrel Campsite Glencoe
This site consists of 22 acres of camping space and is right next to the River Coe. Surrounding this fantastic park is a wooded area, perfect for exploring or going for relaxing walks.
The site also boasts a small lake used for swimming, and a permit for fishing in the river if you so wish. Or, if you’re looking for a little civilization outside of the site, there is a friendly, local pub approximately a 10-minute walk from the site!
My latest trip around the UK, took me as far north as Dunfermline in Scotland, via Northumberland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. I stayed the night at Riverside Holiday Park in Wooler, a small town on the outskirts of the Northumberland National Park.
Camping, but this time in a Camping Pod. The pod, one of three available at the park, meant I could stay warm and could continue working using the electricity available in the pod to power my laptop. I arrived in the dark, so didn’t get to see much of the park or area, just managed to prepare my bed for the night and say hello to my next door neighbours for the night, a couple who had come to stay in the pod next to mine.
In the morning, I had a walk around the park, and was almost late for my first meeting of the day; the park is deceptively large. Split into differently named sections, the park caters for static caravan holidays as well as camping and tourers. It has all the facilities you would expect from holiday park of this size and more. For campers and tourers you have the choice of grass/hard standing, electric/non-electric pitches and also a large range of static caravans for hire.
Within the park there are a couple of children play areas, plenty of paths to cycle on. Wooler Water, the small river pictured above, runs through the park and there is also a fishing lake that will be of interest to keen anglers. Also part of the park, but situated a few hundred metres down the road is the Restaurant, Bar and Swimming Pool. This was closed when I arrived but Swimming lessons for holidaymakers were being advertised.
For me, my stay was short, but would return to explore the area with my family next year for sure. If you are looking for camping in Northumberland, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Riverside Holiday Park.
Notes to self: Jedburgh Abbey, Redesdale forest and lake and Kielder Castle Water look interesting to explore more next time.
There is no escape, winter is on its way! But that doesn’t mean you need to hibernate. The winter months are a great opportunity to get out and about and enjoy some great places without the crowds.
Here are my top 10 UK places for you and your kids to beat the winter blues…
1. Coventry Transport Museum, Warwickshire
For rainy, miserable days – go out, but stay in by visiting this great museum for free. Coventry is the birthplace of the British cycle and motor industry and the museum takes you through 150 years of history of transport. You and your children, regardless of age, will love going from generation to generation of cars, cycles, motorbikes, and more. http://www.transport-museum.com/
2. Family Cycle Trail, Forest of Dean
Get out and about in the Forest. The family cycle trail is a circular route in the heart of the Forest of Dean. The 11 miles the route runs is suitable for children of all ages. You can join the route at Coleford, Lydbrook or Cinderford and expect to take 2 hours without stops.
3. Conkers Woodland Adventure, National Forest
A nature reserve, an adventure playground and a science museum all rolled into one indoor/outdoor forest-themed great day out, is one way I have heard being described. Fun and education is what Conkers is all about, with its Enchanted Forest play area and exhibits to stimulate young minds. A family of 4 can get in for £28, or book online for an extra 10% off. www.visitconkers.com/
4. Holkham Bay, Norfolk
Blow the cobwebs away on a crisp sunny day on the first of our 3 trips to the beach this winter. Holkham Bay in Norfolk is a real gem, walk on 4 miles of sand and explore the dunes, pine woods, lagoons and saltmarsh that fringe the bay. The beach can be accessed by parking at Burnham Overy.
5. Bluebell Railway, Sussex
Make your way to Sheffield Park Station for the Bluebell line that meanders through unspoilt countryside. The old-fashioned carriages will your kids thinking they are on their way to Hogwarts. Return tickets are £37 for the whole family. www.bluebell-railway.com
6. Woolacombe Sands, Devon
This is one of the best beaches in the UK, only rivalled in my opinion with the beach at St Ives, with nearly 3 miles of beautiful sand this is paradise for kids and adults alike. Woolacombe is rightly-so a hub of activity during the summer, during winter it is an opportunity to explore the area, play beach cricket and even dip your toes into the sea!
I asked local resident and travel writer, Jamie Monteath, to give us his top 5 places to visit around Edinburgh, Scotland.
Stunning as it is, if you are visiting Edinburgh you’d be missing out if you didn’t take a trip further afield to explore some of the surrounding areas.
Living in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, I like to think I am spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do and places to go. With some of the most stunning landmarks in Scotland and a whole host of diverse attractions, it is pretty easy to get caught up in the city and all it has to offer. However, I recently started to wonder what lay beyond the boundaries of Scotland’s capital. Surely there was a wealth of unexplored territory just waiting to be discovered? It turns out I was right!
I decided to make my first trip one that may be considered a more obvious draw for tourists – the magical Rosslyn Chapel. Made even more famous for its inclusion in the smash hit The Da Vinci Code novel and film, it has been intriguing and mystifying visitors for many years as they ponder over the meanings of some of the incredible carvings which practically cover the entire surface of the chapel. I was blown away by the details and I didn’t need to travel far to get there – the village of Rosslyn lies only 7 miles south of the city and is easily accessible by car or using the local bus service (I drove, car parking at the chapel is free!). (more…)