Well it's holiday booking time again and as we've already booked ours at this place I don't mind telling you about it now. This is a really lovely get away from it all yurt place. They have three yurts well apart from each other - Tim, the owner makes the yurts himself, beautiful construction. Extremely peaceful, right at edge of Bodmin Moor but easy to reach the pub (walking) and onsite there's nothing better than chilling in a chair and looking at the view. No cars on site, but they will give a lift down to the yurts with stuff in a Land Rover - it's a higgledypiggledy track, oaks and flowers. The yurts have raised wooden floors so no hint of damp, lovely and comfortable -and really clean (they suupply linen as well) double beds, futons for extra people. There is a woodburning stove in the yurt so really cosy, all cooking facilities on a gas stove and the bathroom yurt is fantastic. Just all in all a lovely slow place to stay with friendly owners in fantastic countryside. Very green too - I would say minimal impact and footprint - you can also get local organic meat and they produce eggs and veg during the summer. They'll also pick you up from station if you're on a mission.
For sheer romance and get-away-from-it-all luxury you can't beat a bit of winter camping.
Few people camp in even the most popular sites out of season, meaning you and your loved one can have amazing peace and quiet and views to die for all to yourselves. Cold doesn't need to be an issue if you prepare well, although you don't need any fancy equipment - just a good, solid tent, double airbed and two high tog duvets (one for under you and another on top!).
Ukcampsite.co.uk keeps a list of pubs with nearby camping sites (which can be checked against the CAMRA or Alastair Sawday sites) and most sites will allow you to pitch for under £10 a night.
Just think of it - a good romp through the countryside, a hearty pub dinner by the fire with a bottle of wine, a wee something else to send you on your way then totter back to your tent to create a little warmth of your own.
Having lived in Sweden in the early 1980's seeing the northern lights was a regular event. I didn't expect to see a stunning display on Iona, wild camping on a cycling trip around the west coast of Scotland on a September night in the mid 1980's. The stunning display of ribbon lights around the horizon was so fantastic that I dragged my sleeping bag out under the stars and was awestuck for hours. I've had two trips to Finnish Lapland the past two februaries and seen nothing so don't ignore the far north of this land!
Where's the best place to see the the aurora borealis? During your next camping holiday in the UK. Never mind a trip to Scandinavia, Canada or Alaska, there are rare occasions when the Northern Lights can be seen in the night sky here. No need to look out of the tent every night though, just subscribe to the free Aurora Alert email service run by researchers at Lancaster University. They will automatically send you an email when geomagnetic activity indicates that there may be chance of seeing the lights in the UK. If it's dark enough, with clear skies and you are far enough away from street lighting look for red and green lights in the northern skies.
Cape Tribulation campground rents out safari tents so you can have the experience of beach camping without carrying the gear. On the edge of the rainforest and 100 m from the beach. You are given a bed with bedding in a permanent tent with a small balcony looking out onto the rainforest. One of the best bits was meeting up with other campers in the well equipped communal BBQ and cooking area using the cooking kit supplied by the campground. From here you can walk up the beach to the mangrove boardwalk through the rainforest.
For those touring New Zealand Kaiteriteri is a beautiful spot in Abel Tasman, and for those travelling in a motor home, the Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp is the perfect place to stay and base your adventures from. Stay right on the beachfront and hop straight into your kayak!
A fly drive holiday in British Columbia and Vancouver Island is a really wonderful vacation and it’s very safe for families.
I had a few days in Vancouver then I picked up my campervan from Landcruise and drove to British Columbia Ferries for the beautiful journey over to Vancouver Island, where I saw all sorts of wildlife and whale watching (awesome).
Highway 19 is good and petrol is cheaper by half, than what it costs here in the UK, but not as cheap as it is in the southeastern part of America.
The campgrounds are all great and well maintained by the Province & National Parks www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/ - www.pc.gc.ca/eng/index.aspx
At Port Hardy we got back on the ship and went up the inside passage to Prince Rupert and then drove back to Vancouver through the interior of this gigantic province.
My tour was put together by Landcruiser Canada which was a real help.
I love Canada and will be going again.
We took the family camping there in the summer holidays and had an amazing time.The staff are really friendly and helpful. The kids loved the woods and the craft centre. Great location with beautiful views, but not too far away from civilisation!
Google map: tinyurl.com/yzsyfpo
The best way of seeing the desert around Alice Springs is by self-drive and bush-camping.
Camp n Drive in Alice hires out 4WD with all the equipment you need for camping.
We had no equipment of our own. Hired the car from Camp n Drive and drove out to Ruby Gap in the East McDonnell ranges. There was no one around. We set up camp by a ghost gum tree, lit a campfire, rolled our swag on the earth and spent a wonderful night in the desert under countless stars.
Camp n Drive is situated in Alice -48 Gap Road, Alice Springs, NT. 0870, Australia, 08 89520099. www.alicecampndrive.com/index.html
Ruby Gap is in the eastern MacDonnell ranges - easy to find. Follow the Ross highway from Alice, follow the signs to Arltunga and you will see signs for Ruby Gap. It's a 4WD road only after the Ross Highway.
Nant Y Croi Farm is a delightful working farm, perched on the cliffs near Ferwig and a short walk to the excellent Mwnt Beach, Cardigan. Not only is the location breath taking, it is run by Gordon and Mary Thomas who are nothing short of lovely and excellent hosts. They run a camping, B&B and self-catering business.
3 urbanites from London, we went for the option of roughing it in a tent. Hot showers, toilets are in the field (so not that rough) and up at the farmhouse, fridge & freezers, a sink to wash up are available for free (washing machines too at a small cost) you can even order some local meat to BBQ, and borrow a BBQ too if you came as badly prepared as we did.
You are made to feel very welcome by Gordon who does the rounds of the site on his quad bike, ensuring you have all you need for; local info and some quality banter thrown in to boot. It was an incredibly relaxed weekend. Nothing is too much trouble, we arrived at a 2am after a long drive from London, which wasn't a problem at all, we could arrive when we wanted to & pitch where we wanted to. On waking up the next morning we were welcomed by a stupendous view of the sea over the hedge at the bottom of the field.
It is a family orientated place too, with donkeys to entertain the kids. The simplicity, friendliness of the hosts and out-standing natural beauty makes this a rather special place to stay which I would recommend to anyone. There is the quaint town of Cardingan nearby, and the lovely beaches, Mwnt, Tresaith, Penbryn, to name a small handful. Most cars had not only the odd child strapped to the roof, but bikes, kayaks, kites etc...the area is for the outward bound and there is no end of sport available on dry land and the sea to keep you entertained and exhausted all weekend.
So, if you are looking for an un-commercial site, with the basics, views that money can't buy and splendid hospitality in an uncrowded field, look no further than Nan Y Croi Farm.
I admit that when I arrived at Limnopoula Camping in Ioannina (Epirus, Greece), I was tired and smelly. Any welcome and comfort would have made me ecstatic. What I was not ready for was the best view in Ioannina: forget all the hotels in town, here you can have a ground level lakeside pitch, close enough to the water for the slightly eggy smell of the lake to fill your nose and for the noise of jumping fish to punctuate your sleep like a curiously soothing and spasmodic metronome.
For just €12 I effectively got the best view in town. In the evening I watched the local kayaking club training. Go there and enjoy the historic town, the lake, the mountains and access to the villages of Epirus.
Some pictures attached on my travel blog:
A few minutes north of the old fort and on the edge of the lake
There are some huge, very well equipped, teeming and expensive campsites in the Loire Valley. There are also many small and cheap campsites run by the municipality - some in the most delightful places (one at Nazelles Negron near Amboise runs wine tastings and has a pizza van some evenings). We paid around 7-8 euros a night for two of us and a tent, and enjoyed a shady riverbank. There's also one we didn't stay on right next to the chateau at Chenonceau.
It's a Mediterranean mountain ecoretreat only 12 miles from the unspoilt beaches of the Costa Daurada, which has been missed by mass tourism. They run yoga classes each day in the olive groves with stunning mountain scenery.
Camping facilities are in a beautiful converted stable. You can pitch your tent in complete privacy (wild camping) and hiking possibilities are unlimited in the surrounding designated natural park (Serra de Cardo mountains).
The fishing villages are picturesque, the river fishing and kayaking are fun, the beaches and coves are golden and uncrowded, and it's only 20 euros a night. What's not to love?
Cute as a button, Altiplano Tipis is a quaint luxury tipi camping site near to the town of Baza that we found while travelling around Andalusia.
The three tipis situated in the courtyard were like a picture postcard, brightly coloured yellows and blues against a backdrop of the whitewashed cave house of the friendly owners, Louise and Andrew. The tipis were very comfortable and had a homely feel with coloured rugs on the floor and we even had our own private shower room, which made a nice change from our previous camping experiences!
Louise, the owner, put on a delicious spread every morning for breakfast including stewed fruits, home-made jams, bread and cheeses. The location was very peaceful, with only the sounds of the birds and bees and from the pool we could see the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance. A very relaxing place to have a glass of cava while watching the sunset. For €36 a night for two people including breakfast, this makes a great option for those on a budget or for those looking for something a little bit different.
Canada SoSal,18800 Baza, Spain
Phone: +34 664835417
Nearest airports: Granada and Almeria
Gavdos is a tiny island in the Lybian Sea, just an hour and half of ferry from Crete South coastal village of Hora Sfakion (or Sfakia). Apart from August, when the island can be quite crowded, you can enjoy the feeling of being away from the world (or not necessarily too far away, it's up to you).
From the port you can get a lift to Korfos, where an easy path leads to Tripiti in an hour walk. In Korfos there are a pair of good tavernas where nice and clean rooms can be rented, but my wife and I, we spent a week on the Tripiti pebbly beach with our tent, only coming back to Korfos when we need to refill our water tank or to enjoy the local food, sitting in a taverna porch. It was September, the days were very hot, but the nights were incredible: fresh with a sky full of stars, the silence complete, only the sound of the waves.
But you don't need to be so naive; staying in Korfos (where there is a nice little beach) and going sometimes to Tripiti is a good experience.
Yet, when the last daily tourist (if there were someone) has gone, the beach and the cape are your, till next day. It's a unique experience. And consider that you don't need a lot of camping gear, a sleeping bag, some water and tinned food are enough. Don't be afraid to be alone, there isn't any danger at all, apart that ones that you can provoke: don't light fires!
With a fifteen minutes walk along the beach and then on a path over the rocks, you can get the big concrete chair just over the cape: climb over it and enjoy the sight!
From Hania (where you can arrive by plane) there is a bus service to Sfakia, where the ferry sets off to Gavdos.
Looking at www.sfakia-crete.com/sfakia-crete/ferries.html you will find the ferry timetable for Gavdos as long as bus timetable for Hania-Sfakia service. Hania is the nearest international airport.
Sarakiniko is the Gavdos main hamlet, with a good choice of domata (rooms) to rent, tavernas and a wide sand beach. There is a supermarket, too.
I few hours hike up the stunning Gorges de Tavignano from Corte will bring you to this remote refuge at 1166m altitude, where there are dorms or shady camping spots by the river.
The refuge has basic catering facilities, and most importantly, a stock of cold Corsica Cola or Pietra beer after a hot morning's hike. A very peaceful site with little to disturb you except the occasional clanging of a cowbell or the yapping of the refuge's resident puppies.
It's a perfect spot to chill out for the day, lazing on riverside rocks and taking a dip in the mountain stream, before continuing towards the Lac de Nino and onto the GR20, or back towards Corte down a parallel valley.
Trains stop at the railway station in Corte. Pick up the trail behind the citadel, at the bottom of rue col-Feracci. Follow the orange paint flashes marking the long distance Mare a Mare Nord footpath.
Further to the "Best Beach Campsites" article this week, check out the Pavillon Royal site at Bidart, south of Biarritz. It is right on a stunning sandy beach, with it's own private gate to give access. Pitches on the cliffs looking out over the beach to the sea or back in the pine forest, perfect for hanging your hammock. This coast is a mecca for surfers and body boarders, but equally the countryside is rich with local character, foods and Basque customs and traditions. Biarritz is a mix of bling designer shops and surfers. I'd highly recommend going in June as it's a lot quieter.
Site pitches are generous, excellent facilities and friendly staff. And the sunsets... wow.
Site is south of Biarritz on road out to Bidart. Biarritz station is 10 mins away in a taxi.
Wine tasting holidays aren’t just for wine buffs with a lot of money to burn! Last year, my girlfriend and I drove around Bordeaux with a tent and a stove and managed to eat great food and taste a lot of excellent wine on a very little budget.
The vineyard owners welcome you in with open arms and at no point did we feel pressured to buy the wines we tasted. If you let on your ignorance, rather than sneering, most owners proudly launch into a long presentation about their wines, their grapes and their history.
If you are on a budget, going around Bordeaux and France’s other wine regions is probably the best way to taste wines that usually you wouldn’t be able to afford.
The tourist centre is amazingly helpful and will provide you with all the maps, routes, or any other information you might need.
The Pont D’arc of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc is a 40m high natural bridge above the Ardeche River and the starting point of a canoe camping adventure. Take boats for three days instead of the normal two; you will be given a large barrel but will still have to plan carefully what you put inside if you have not light weight camped before. Book one night at each of the two bivvy campsites; not as basic as they sound as they have wash blocks with hot showers and campsite barbeque stands. Bring all your own food, but you can refill your water bottles at the natural springs. The slow pace will give you time for long lazy picnic and swimming lunch stops and a chance to paddle in the afternoons when the crowds have disappeared downstream. With our children we found many fish, crickets, lizards, frogs, one otter, plenty of wild boar evidence and also, more scarily, a water snake. In the evenings we hunted for glow worms and cicadas before sleeping in a row outside, looking for shooting stars. Don’t risk leaving the tent behind though, it rains in August even in the South of France.
canoe hire: www.aventure-canoes.fr/
camp site by the river: www.campings-ardeche.com/camping_frs/ardeche/clients/camp-des-gorges/f1.html
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com