When Johnny first mentioned camping in the UK it didn’t exactly fill me with excitement. I had never camped before and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much. He finally managed to talk me into it with the promise that Daisy would have a great time. We borrowed a tent (buying one seemed like I would be committing to a lifetime of camping, and that was a commitment I wasn’t quite ready for) and after four attempts to pack everything into the car, we head off to the New Forest. Fast forward five years and add a campervan into the mix, and I now love planning our yearly UK camping trips!
We decided to book a last-minute UK camping trip with a group of friends to a local campsite- Hardwick Park. We booked online at www.hardwickparks.co.uk which cost us £93.00 for three nights on a non-electric pitch. This was the price for taking our campervan, awning, all five of us and Jasper the dog.
We choose a pitch on the edge of the rear field. The surrounding trees offered some shade which was needed as we had a rare bit of English sunshine that weekend. Whilst we set up the tents, the kids went to cool off with the water shooters we had bought along. Hardwick park has 2 lakes with swimming areas and a range of water sports. There is a shop selling food/drinks, ice creams, inflatables etc. There is also a clubhouse with a bar, restaurant and a play area for the kids.
After setting up camp, we took our picnic blankets and inflatables and went to the lake. We spent the whole afternoon swimming, admiring the beautiful scenery and enjoying a cold drink from the clubhouse which overlooks the lake. Then it was back to camp for a game of rounders, and time for Jasper to break free and join another family for their evening BBQ! The toilet/shower block is conveniently located in the centre of the campground, so it’s only a short walk away from all pitches. There were plenty of shower cubicles available. We were impressed with how clean the facilities were.
As we live locally, we decided to have a relaxing weekend on the campsite but there are lots of things to see and do nearby. Such as:
- Standlake equestrian centre- If you fancy a go at horse riding you don’t have far to go. Great for all ages and abilities (0.1 miles)
- Crocodiles of the world- See our blog post to find out more about the only crocodile zoo in the UK https://bigworldlittlefootsteps.com/category/ukdaysout/ (8 miles)
- Oxford- The beautiful city of Oxford offers some spectacular sights. Why not visit the Oxford castle and prison or go for a relaxing punt along the river (12 miles)
- Blenheim palace- You can easily fill your day exploring Blenheim palace and gardens, the birth place of Winston Churchill. Tickets are available online at www.blenheimpalace.com (12 miles)
- Cotswold wildlife park- Home to over 260 different species of animals. A fun filled day for all the family. (13 miles)
- Undiscovered Cotswolds tour- Offering a variety of different tours, and with flexible pick up points, there is no better way to discover the beauty of the famous Cotswolds (visit www.undiscoveredcotswolds.com )
We usually stay at campsites with only basic facilities, so on Saturday night we decided to have a drink at the clubhouse after our evening BBQ. The garden has the most amazing views over the lake with plenty of outdoor seating. We sat outside and enjoyed some live music which was set up on the outdoor patio. They have a range of entertainment during peak times, such as live bands, tribute acts and quiz nights, so check out the website to see what they have going on. If you are camping on the grass area next to the clubhouse and are looking for a peaceful Saturday night, you may want to check the dates of the live music or request a pitch a bit further away.
On Sunday, as it was our last day, so we decided to try out the water sports they had on offer. You can try anything from wakeboarding to inflatable rides. The activities can get booked up during peak times so I would recommend booking these activities in advance. To finish off what had been an incredible weekend, we went for an evening walk around the lakes. It really is a beautiful place! I can see why Hardwick park is an award-winning campsite and we are so lucky to have it right on our doorstep.
We will definitely be returning to camp here again!
If you’re planning a trip camping, don’t forget to check out our top 5 games/toys to take with you https://bigworldlittlefootsteps.com/2019/01/28/camping-uk-hardwick-park/