2020 changed the world as we know it. I, like many of us, hoped that by the time 2021 arrived, everything would be back to normal. How wrong we were! However, it isn’t all doom and gloom! Travelling locally, whether that is in your own town, county or country, is a wonderful opportunity to explore your own backyard, especially by camping! Last summer I got a taste of what the UK has to offer camping in Mabel the Motorhome, and I am looking forward to seeing more this year – once travel restrictions allow!
This post is sponsored by the Caravan and Motorhome Club
Moving Forward – Slowly
When restrictions do allow, travelling anywhere will be an absolute thrill for me, I cannot wait! And I am sure I’m not alone – after a year of lockdowns, false starts and new regulations the chance to travel again will be a huge relief.
However, things won’t go back to “normal” for a while longer. We will need to adapt to the changes and change our outlook too. Where before I used to jet off abroad at the first opportunity, concerns over safety and constantly changing rules has certainly made me more wary about taking a flight to a foreign country. For the moment at least, I am more than happy to stay closer to home and get out and about in the UK.
What I will do while travelling will also change. I used to love staying in hostels, joining in group tours and activities and getting to know as many people as possible. I am sad that has had to change, but I’m not quite ready yet to get right back in there, so I will be spending more time outdoors, and enjoying the solitude of my own campervan.
Why Camping is the Answer
Having my own campervan last summer was a life saver. I am very glad I was able to buy Mabel and enjoy some of the treasures of England that I hadn’t seen before. Camping – either in a campervan, motorhome, caravan or a tent offers a unique opportunity to explore the countryside, while being able to stay socially distanced and as self-contained as possible!
Think about it, you bring your own bed with you, use your own cooking equipment, your own glasses and cups to enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, and if you have your own toilet facilities on board you don’t need to share facilities with anyone!
Every campsite now has strict protocols in place. The Caravan and Motorhome Club sites, for example, have a Covid Secure Commitment and they changed some procedures on their Club Sites to ensure they keep members, guest and staff, safe and well whilst touring with the Club.
If you don’t own your own van, then renting is the next best thing. I am sure there will be a very high demand this year for hiring campervans, tents and other camping equipment, so don’t miss out!
The Benefits of Camping
Aside from the benefits of camping relating to COVID, I have fallen in love with camping for many more reasons. These are just a few of the things that I love about camping, and why I plan to continue camping long after the pandemic has gone!
You Get Close to Nature
A few years ago, the only way you’d get me into a tent was for a music festival (I’m looking at you Glastonbury!), and while I much prefer the warmth of my campervan, I still love waking up in the morning in the middle of a field.
You can hear the birds tweeting, you might see a rabbit hopping around, and the fresh air seeps into every cell of your body. At home I love a lie-in, but outdoors there is so much to see and do that I can’t wait to get out of bed!
There is a Close-Knit Community
My goodness campers are a friendly bunch! There is a sense of camaraderie among campers that you just don’t get in hotels, as we gather together by the water tap to fill up in the morning, we can’t help but talk about the weather (a must for any English person), discuss the best places to walk nearby or where to find a bacon butty and fresh bread for breakfast.
If you need anything, your fellow campers will come through for you – you forgot a mallet? No problem. Need some help putting up your tent? No worries. Got stuck in a muddy field after torrential rain? There is always someone willing to help.
And that’s just the guests – the campsite staff are always on hand as well, as they go about their daily business cleaning the facilities, mowing the grass and welcoming new arrivals.
One of the best things that I’ve discovered about having Mabel the Motorhome is the freedom she gives me. I am not used to having my own transport, so being able to hop in the van and drive to all of the incredible places I’ve visited is an incredible opportunity.
Freedom to decide that tomorrow you can go somewhere else. Or book to stay another night at a lovely campsite. Freedom to drive across the country, stopping off whenever you spot something beautiful. Freedom to park up and enjoy a cup of tea and a sandwich while admiring the view. And freedom to be able to stay nice and warm in the van if the weather is horrendous!
My Plans for 2021
If all of that hasn’t managed to convince you of the benefits of camping, perhaps my camping plans will help persuade you. I cannot wait to get out and about again in Mabel, so here is what I’ve got planned for when lockdown lifts!
I also made a video for the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Club Week which will go live on Thursday at 8pm UK time – you can watch it here, and I’ll post it directly in the blog once it goes live!
My goal is to drive around the whole of England’s coastline, getting as close as I can to the coast, and finding some fabulous places to camp along the way. I miss being by the sea, so touring around England’s seaside towns and coastal areas is just what I need!
I want to stay as close to the coast as possible, finding hidden coves and staying in coastal campsites wherever I can. The Caravan and Motorhome Club has gifted me a membership to their club so I’m looking forward to staying in some of their sites – from what I’ve seen they are in some fabulous locations and will be perfect for my coastal adventure! I’m also keen to take advantage of their member offers and discounts on attractions!
I’ll be starting at the closest point to where I live now, which will be where the River Severn meets the Bristol Channel and flows out to meet the Atlantic Ocean. I remember going to Weston-Super-Mare for family holidays when I was little, so I’ll definitely call there to see what’s changed! Hurn Lane Caravan Club Site is nearby so a couple of nights there will give me a good chance to stroll down memory lane.
From there, I’ll head down into Devon and Cornwall to try some surfing, walk the South-West Coast Path and do some diving, as well as hunt out as much tasty food as I can. Some of the places I’m hoping to stay include Trewethett Farm Caravan Club Site which is perched on a clifftop near Tintagel, and Merrose Farm Caravan Club Site in the Roseland Heritage Coast area which looks absolutely gorgeous. And that’s just for starters!
I plan to be away for several months, and my only concern is how popular Devon and Cornwall are likely to be, so while I want to see it for myself, I also want to make sure I’m discovering some of the lesser-known coastal regions of England too. So, I’ll continue my journey along the South Coast, up the East coast of England and head up to the border with Scotland.
I would love to head up to Scotland, but depending on how much time I have I might go cross-country and head to the North West coast of England, through the Lake District and south through Lancashire to where I grew up, near Southport. Staying in Southport Caravan Club Site would be a fitting end to my adventure – going back to where it all started!
My plan to explore the whole of the English coast is pretty ambitious I think, but something that I really want to do. Along the way I will be spending as much time in nature as possible, and visiting some of England’s historic sites to learn more about where I come from.
This year I’ve got really into bird watching, so with my trusty binoculars I’ll be spotting as many of our birds and animals as I can, as well as getting back into diving. I started diving in Central America and miss being under the water. Diving in English waters will be a little different to the Caribbean I’m sure but fascinating nonetheless!
And as for our history, I’ll be joining English Heritage and National Trust to really make the most of this year. I hope you will follow me along on my adventures, to explore more of our beautiful country. No matter where you are in the world, consider getting outdoors this year and going camping. You won’t regret it!
Just to let you know, this post may contain paid or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you! I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.Last updated: February 25, 2021