Join the caravan of love and get ready for an in-tents experience in Essex this summer
Essex is blessed with lush countryside, big skies, a massive coastline and idyllic rivers – perfect for packing your bags and escaping to with the family.
As adults in 2016, these days we tend to crave a certain level of comfort, if not sheer luxury, with summer break. Kids however, will happily slum it, because they’re having an adventure. Which is why a camping holiday makes perfect sense.
Caravan parks have a huge amount to offer families, whilst rural escapes in traditional gypsy caravans or cosy CargoPods guarantee fun-filled memories that will last a lifetime.
Located in the heart of Mersea’s unspoilt countryside and overlooking the sparkling Blackwater Estuary, Waldegraves Family Holiday Park offers a variety of family holidays, from camping to luxury caravan breaks, plus activities for every age and the choice of fun packed or tranquil locations.
There are nearly 300 holiday caravans sited across the park. Each can comfortably accommodate up to six guests and Waldegraves offer three grades of accommodation to suit your budget and needs. The outdoor, heated pool is open throughout the summer and popular with energetic youngsters. For those who enjoy the bucolic delights of fishing, there are four, well-stocked lakes, while golfers can practice on the driving range, test their skills on the 18-hole pitch-and-putt course or give the new craze of FootGolf a go.
Waldegraves also features a boating lake, children’s play areas and a private beach. Top quality evening entertainment is provided all year round in two venues, while the Granary restaurant proudly serves excellent cooking, using local; produce.
For those looking for a slower pace of holiday, Bouncers Farm Gypsy Camp in its own private orchard is Heaven on Earth.
Styling itself as ‘off-grid glamping’, Bouncers campsite has no electricity, so light is provided by candles and guests cook in the traditional way, by using a campfire.
Bouncers is an ideal place to escape to and enjoy the changing seasons; from the abundant apple and cherry blossom in the spring, lambs dancing around in the adjacent fields, the bluebells in the 300-year-old copse, to apple picking in the autumn.
If that wasn’t romantic enough, then the prospect of tumbling into bed in one of the two, genuine bow top wagons has to be. The ‘bender tent’ is made using locally grown willow and poplar and constructed by local craftsmen using ancient techniques. Other charming and traditional touches are the day beds and Queenie stoves (rather like little wood burners) with all the cooking equipment also being authentic.
As the name suggests, Lee Wick Farm Cottages offers the choice of a brace of delightful holiday cottages, but it is the lure of the Cargo and MegaPods that gives this popular glampsite extra appeal.
Albeit the CargoPod now features a log-fired hot tub, the concept is simple. Pitch up with your camping kit, albeit after leaving the tent at home and peg out in this funked-up, brightly painted and beautifully furnished former ship’s container.
The distinctive, wooden arc-shaped MegaPods offer cute, comfortable accommodation with French doors leading out onto similarly bijou decking. Lee Wick also welcomes well-behaved pooches, with the MegPod and CargoPods able to accommodate two dogs along with their owners. However, Great Dane owners might be advised to ring in advance of booking a MegaPod.
Lee Wick’s location, in the ancient village of St Osyth makes it an excellent family base for the many sights and delights of North Essex.
If the appeal of exploring the county’s glorious countryside and wending your way round quiet country lanes means you don’t want to be tied down to one place, then Essex Camper Hire is right up your street.
Using VW’s latest generation camper, the T5 California, customers can benefit from modern day conveniences – such as air-con, larger and more comfortable beds, heating, electronic roofs, a generously proportioned fridge, Bluetooth and more – and the ability to cruise along, without the perennial fear of breaking down. Something owners of the earlier generation split-screens and bay windowed campers will know all too well. Hiring from ECH is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of touring and explore Essex at your own pace.
Layer Marney Tower was built as a statement country house in which to seek favour from Henry VIII. Now you can experience glam-king in one of six encampments nestling below the stunning Tudor Gatehouse.
Imagine getting ready for a good night’s sleep knowing that owls and deer are your new neighbours. That’s just one of the exciting and unusual experiences offered by a stay at Layer Marney. The site is ideal for families who would like their children to enjoy the adventure of making dens, playing outside and just messing about without the distractions of Pokemon Go and iPhones.
Each encampment, which sleeps six people, has its own shower, toilet, running water, proper beds, wooden floor and veranda. They also come equipped with all the cooking equipment you might need, including indoor and outdoor stoves. A campfire area provides the perfect opportunity for toasting marshmallows and singing songs.
For even more ideas about destinations where you can go wild in the country, plus ideas for days out and things to do, go to www.visitessex.com or like the Facebook page and follow @VisitEssex on Twitter.