When I told friends we were taking two babies and a three year old camping, I was mostly met with people questioning my sanity – with the added bonus of swear words.
WTF? Was the general consensus from them, if I’m totally honest.
I think they may have had a point, you know.
A year ago when I was offered a weekend trip in a Eurotent, my mush of a baby brain combined with the intense fogginess of dealing with two month old twins and a two year old, must have made me think this would be a good idea.
So I agreed to the trip. In hindsight I realise now I thought I was agreeing to glamping, and that it would be a piece of piss. This is why you should never be allowed to make decisions in the first two months of Mumming to three children under three. Your brain is basically f*cked.
Fast forward nearly 12 months and the trip is imminent. I look online to remind myself what I’ve agreed to, and quickly start to panic. I’m going camping with a just-three year old who thinks he’s a T Rex, and 13 month old twins – one who crawls at the speed of light and likes nothing more than rifling through cupboards, and the other who has just started walking but is already capable, if given half the chance, of climbing up and standing on windowsills.
Shit. The. Bed.
Let me just point out, in case you’d not guessed already, that I don’t do camping. I’ve been once in the last 25 years since Guide Camp, and it was in such a small, shit tent, it resulted in me not being able to walk for three days.
So it’s not like I have a clue what I’m doing. But it’ll all be fine because the kids will love it, right? That’s what friends told me. Once they’d realised I wasn’t joking about taking them. And that’s what I told myself.
Luckily the place we were heading, Trevornick at Holywell Bay in North Cornwall, were putting us up in one of their five star Eurotents – a pre-pitched tent which sleeps six people and already has all the gear you need in it. All you bring is your bedding.
This sounded MUCH more like the no hassle type of camping I’d be up for.
And just as well, as by the time we packed two travel cots, two high chairs, the kitchen sink and all the rest of the crap you have to take even for just two nights away with young children, there was no way we’d have fitted in our own camping gear even if we’d had it.
The Other Half loves camping so was excitedly hoping I’d enjoy myself so he could declare our future family holidays were to be spent under canvas. I went with an open mind determined to embrace it all.
With a Trevornick Eurotent, all you need to take with you is your bedding and food – everything else is already there in the pre-pitched 3 bedroom tent. They have one double and four single Z-framed beds so can sleep up to 6 people, as well as a spacious kitchen/dining area. It has gas and electric, so you’re hardly slumming it.
And here’s the best bit – the fully equipped kitchen has a gas stove, a full-size fridge (for the gallons of milk my boys guzzle each day), non-electric kettle, crockery, pots, pans and utensils. It even had a TV, DVD player, microwave and toaster! A tent with a TV and microwave FFS! Clearly I won’t be expecting those if I ever go camping again.
It has waterproof flooring, an internal light in the living area, a storage compartment with hanging space, additional electrical sockets (no need for your phone to run out of battery or the sanity-saving iPad!), plus a table and chairs to eat inside, or a picnic bench outside.
Okay, I get it. Some of you are thinking this sounds more like glamping, than camping, but believe me, it’s not.
It is still all pretty basic (maybe apart from the TV and DVD player!) and let’s face it anywhere with no running water or a toilet can hardly be described as luxurious, but as far as camping goes, this is probably as good as it’s going to get.
For a taster of family camping, especially if you don’t have your own gear, this was the way to do it. Just be realistic to think you’re PROBABLY not going to have it this good again if you go it alone. Annoyingly.
Located five miles from Newquay, the 200-acre Trevornick site is right on the coast and literally a few minutes’ walk over the dunes to the stunning National Trust’s Holywell Bay beach. So whether surfing or sandcastles are your bag, there’s loads of fun to be had.
Unless that is, you have two babies, one of whom eats sand by the handful, the other of whom screams if even an inch of his skin touches the grainy stuff. Then you just avoid it and mentally wish the next few years away to a time when your family holidays will be SO much easier. (That’s what I tell myself at anyway).
Luckily there’s so much to do at Trevornick, we didn’t actually need to leave. There’s an outdoor heated swimming pool and little-ones pool which Toddler loved, a three-tiered indoor soft play area, and a sports field for a game of footie with the family.
There is the Funny Farm Playground (yes really) for younger visitors, a games room, 18 hole golf course, pitch and putt, its own surf school, table tennis, a nature trail, a fishing lake, and tranquility spa with sauna, jacuzzi and tanning room.
There is an outdoor skills adventure club for children called Wild Tribe which runs twice a week, where youngsters can follow Trevornick’s Wild Ranger Craig and his team down to the woodland and experience adventures in the great outdoors. And kids can also join in with a teddy bear’s picnic in the woods, and a Mermaid experience in the pool.
Obviously the Twins were a tad little to be cooking their own marshmallows and building dens, but if you have older children there is loads to keep them entertained.
And once you’ve exhausted all of those possibilities, you can head to the Holywell Bay Fun Park right next door to the campsite. Here you can try out over 20 rides and attractions such as waterwalkers, Hillbilly shooting range, sand and digger pits, trampolines, bouncy castles, football golf, Jolly Tots soft play, a giant inflatable pillow, panning for gold, kiddy karts, blaster bumper boats, Merlin’s Magical Maze, crazy golf and F1 go karts. It’s free entry then you pay for each ride individually but careful the spending doesn’t run away with you. Some people seemed to be spending a fortune.
Toddler’s particular favourites were the bumper boats, mainly because him and the Other Half managed to soak me whilst I watched, and the inflatable pillow – that boy LOVES those things. I’d like to say I’d learned my lesson last time and didn’t go on, but luckily my pelvic floor was up to it this time.
There wasn’t much for the Twins to do except the soft play, but loads for ages three and up. The Other Half’s particular favourite was the F1 Go Karts (this was serious adult only stuff) where you could channel your inner Lewis Hamilton and take on the chavs.
If you’re not too exhausted (we were but we went anyway) you can save yourself the cooking and eat out at the campsite at Fodders Cafe and Restaurant, Woody’s restaurant or the Beach diner at the fun park. We had a meal at Woody’s which had a great choice of children’s meals. The restaurant has fabulous views over Holywell Bay- although funnily enough I didn’t catch a single glimpse of them as eating out with the Twins is one of my least favourite things to do.
Bear in mind there’s no table service though – as I found out when the Other Half was at the front of the queue ordering at the bar and Toddler announced (loudly obvs) he needed a wee. I had to leave a friendly couple on the next table in charge of the Twins. Probably not what the ‘gentle parents’ would do, but hey, we all know I’m not one of those!
If holiday entertainment is your thing (it’s not ours!) there is a jam packed schedule on site with singers, magicians and comedians, as well as discos for the children.
Our entertainment was trying to get three young children to go to sleep in a tent – not the easiest of f*cking tasks, I can tell you. Then sipping a glass of wine in our camping chairs whilst we watched a beautiful sunset. Rock n roll baby!
Trevornick has seven fields and six different pitch types, so there’s a variety of ways to holiday there. They have over 600 camping and touring pitches, 36 Eurotents, and 26 top-of-the-range static caravans. They also have two holiday cottages. There is a launderette, farm shop, hire shop, and spotless washrooms – you can even hire a family bathroom suite with baby changing units for a fiver, so they’ve thought of everything for young families. I personally went for the greasy-haired look for the weekend we were there. It’s pretty much what I do at home, so nobody noticed.
After our weekend away, I’d highly recommend booking a Eurotent – it’s a great way to find out if you like it before forking out shit loads of cash on camping gear. There are four in each little grassed area at Trevornick, so there is plenty of space for the kids to play outside and make friends. It’s still camping – although I’m sure the hardened campers would argue otherwise – but why wouldn’t you want to ease yourself in gently?
You could well be thinking this all sounds too good to be true though. I told you I was going to embrace it all, I did have a great weekend – and obviously the kids LOVED it. Helped by amazing weather, I must add.
But if you’ve read any of my other blogs or social media pages, you know I’m not one to put a filter on things. Here’s a few bits of reality for you all to giggle at:
- I shat myself on the first day when the Other Half headed to the shop and Twin Two went missing, only to turn up in the tent across the way – occupied by non-English speaking Germans who gave a polite wave and pointed as he crawled into their bedroom compartment. Not embarrassing at all.
- The babies spent most of their time pulling saucepans off the shelves, trying to break plates, and playing with every ‘non-toy toy’ they could lay their hands on. Luckily, and I have no idea why, they didn’t discover the gas cannister and electricity sockets which are completely accessible. 13 month old babies don’t understand no.
- The Twins just laughed in our faces when we put them to bed in broad daylight. And there was sod all we could do.
- Toddler freaked out and sobbed like never before thinking I was practically emigrating to Australia alone (I wish) when in fact I was actually just going to the toilet block for a wee.
- Twin One chucked his guts up EVERYWHERE at 1.15am on the first night. Changing baby and bedding by iPhone torch light is not on my top 10 things I’d recommend to friends.
- Everyone was awake at 5.20am. Did I mention I love an iPad?
- Embracing having no toilet was the biggest challenge. I’m (almost) ashamed to admit the rather awkward situation of having to do an emergency tampon change and a wee on Toddler’s potty. TMI? (Told you I’m honest)
So there you have it. Would I take 13 month old twins and a toddler camping again? No I wouldn’t. Would I take a single baby and a toddler camping? Yes I would. It’s all about having enough people to keep an eye on everyone.
But am I letting the Other Half plan a camping trip next year? Hell yes!! Although it’s on the proviso it’s with friends and there are as many adults as there are little people so nobody ends up in a German tourist’s bedroom.
If you fancy a Eurotent break in Cornwall, click here to find out more. Prices start from £321 a week.