If you had told me 6 months ago that I would have been going glamping in Winter with my boyfriend and two young children I would’ve most likely laughed in your face. Going away anywhere with children can be a challenge, albeit also a good challenge. Clearly I felt the need to push myself to the limit, test my stamina, my stress limits and just generally tire myself out to exhaustion.
That said, it was a fantastic mini break away for the four of us and our second test taking the children away since the London trip. In an attempt to introduce a sense of adventure with them we decided to pick them up from school on the Friday afternoon with the car full to the brim of camping equipment and head straight out to the countryside without telling them straight away what our plans were. The guessing game went on for a good hour whilst we sat in traffic, we’d exhausted ‘I Spy’ and some other games that I’m certain they made up specifically for the adults to fail at.
As night fell we arrived at our destination. Our home for the weekend was the new Star-gazing Yurt curtesy of the Dorset Country & Events Group. We were grateful upon entering the Yurt to find it more than adequate for a comfortable Winter glamping break. Fitted with a double bed, two single futons, an electric fire, TV/DVD and plug sockets, there’s little else you need to bring with you. Robert the site manager is on hand for absolutely anything, and as we were glamping customers he was keen to make sure our stay was as extra special. He made us cups of tea, gave us fire wood, reserved our parking spaces, answered our endless questions and even offered to do our washing up!
The following day having had a peaceful and comfortable sleep under our belts (despite the endless rain storm and gale force winds) we actually awoke to blue skies and sunshine. It was a welcome break from the dark miserable weather over the previous week. We had to strike while the iron was hot and all piled into the car and headed to the coast. I know, how overly British. The first sign of sunshine and we are all at the beach, despite the temperature still being in single digits. We arrived at Lulworth Cove to explore a part of the Jurassic coast with the children for the first time. A steep hike up half of the Durdle-Door track to one of the most incredible viewpoints was a winner. Taking the off-track route up the grass was a struggle but the kids loved this adventurous trek and made it all the way to the top without needing to be carried – a win if ever I saw one.
The descent was in fact far more daunting but we all mad it unscathed and raced towards the beach, stopping to look at the ‘Stair Hole’ viewpoint with some incredible natural rock archways. When we got down to the water front the tide was in so much we could barely stand on the pebbled beach. We had to resort to stone skimming/dumping, collecting every rock that can fit in your pockets to take home and starting up an obsession with cuttle fish remains. Wondering back up through the gorgeous little village we were lucky to come across the fresh fish shop open for business. Fresh local cockles and mussels caught that morning for £2.50 a pot. It really doesn’t get better than that. We took a picnic bench by the visitors centre and sat down to tuck in to our sea fare. At 3 and 6 years old I did not expect them to want to try a mussel, I mean, let’s be honest they do not look appetising, “It’s just a chicken nugget in ketchup and mayo” I declared – it was worth a try right?! To my shock Jack the youngest chucked it straight in his mouth. They tried both the cockles and the mussels in the end and the mussels were a hit! The seaside chicken nuggets as they are now known were devoured in about 5 minutes – I think the smothering of seafood sauce helped.
Throughout the weekend we explored different beaches, visited the famous Corfe Castle near Swanage, stroked wild horses in the New Forest and if we weren’t cooking on the tiny teeny camping stove in the pouring rain, or trying to keep bonfires going in torrential storms then we were sitting in cosy, historic Dorset pubs by the fire eating good local food.
Yes there were tantrums, mud covered clothes, a mountain of washing and some fussy eating, but overall we had a spontaneous adventure full of fun, laughs, hot coco before bed and plenty of new experiences. I would highly recommend picking a weekend soon and just going somewhere new with or without your children, show them that there is more to life than school and CBeebies. Take them somewhere different, broaden their taste buds and get muddy!