Corfe Castle Camping & Caravanning Club Review

Corfe Castle Caping and Caravanning Club

Ah the summer, remember that? Seems like a long time ago though I am still enjoying the warm October sunshine. Summer 2016 was awesome and it ended with a wonderful trip to one of my favourite places in the whole world – Dorset.  I was given the opportunity to review a Camping and Caravanning Club site and I decided to choose the Corfe Castle site as this is an area I come to a lot, and I’ve stayed in various campsites in the area but despite being a fully signed up C&C Club member, it’s not one I’ve ever stayed at before.

Having stayed at a few different C&C Club sites there is a standard I expect to see – that’s not being overly fussy or picky, but generally the sites I have stayed on have been tidy and well-kept with extremely helpful staff so I was keen to see if Corfe Castle would match up. Especially to my favourite of all their sites, Hereford. I have stayed there several times and always had the best time.

First impressions – the site is relatively easy to find, could be a bit tricky if you don’t know the area but there is a brown camping sign on the main road. The campsite itself is up a narrow, very bumpy track – luckily we never met anyone coming the other way because I imagine with a caravan in tow it could be a bit hairy. At the start of the track is a private property with a bit of a ramshackle garden which seems to serve a graveyard for unloved vehicles. Not exactly welcoming but neither is this (I presume) anything to do with the campsite. Saying that, some well placed screening would make it look a little more salubrious.

Corfe Castle Caping and Caravanning Club

Are non members really welcome?

We went to check-in when we arrived. I had to take a picture of the entrance sign because the ‘Non Members Welcome’ made me laugh, I’m not sure if this is ironic but as soon as we were arrived we were told under no circumstance could we camp if they didn’t see our membership card. I thought this was odd for two reasons – firstly, are non-members welcome or not? and secondly, I was there under a press booking so wouldn’t the presumption be that I wouldn’t be a member? Nevertheless I did have my member card with me so all was fine – other than the fact they had no record of my booking despite me having a printed confirmation with booking number on the top.

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The reception and shop area

After this hiccup, we were shown to our pitch which was very large, had electric hook-up as promised and was relatively flat. I had read online that pitches could be quite sloping so that was a relief. A bit more grass would have been nice, the pitches were very worn but I guess end of the season, it could be expected. We were set up in no time and enjoyed the last of the evening sunshine.  We had decided to have a BBQ and having read the info pack we were given, we duly went to reception to ask for the bricks that they requested we use. Possibly asking for a piece of moon rock would have gone down better as they seemed confused that we asked for these, and they had none.

My only other niggle about the site (might as well get all the niggles out at once) was that we had asked for a late check-out but we were told that we couldn’t have one, despite the fact it was Bank Holiday Monday and absolutely nobody was arriving on a Bank Holiday Monday. They did however agree to let us leave our packed up trailer near the entrance.

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The campsite

I know I sound rather negative and I don’t mean to be – we had a really lovely time and we’d definitely go back to this site. Compared to some campsites I’ve stayed at over the years, this is like the Rolls Royce of campsites – these are just some small niggles that I think could quite easily be rectified.

The site was beautifully kept, very tidy and very clean. It feels safe enough to let my children have a little wander and is totally locked up after hours.  It’s peaceful after 10.30pm which is an absolute essential for me – apart from the wildlife and the noisy fox cubs that brazenly ransacked our neighbours rubbish – and it was quiet in the morning, I was able to sleep in until about 7.30am which is unheard of for most campsites!

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The glamorous washroom shot

The toilet blocks were kept clean and tidy, with nice hot showers that I never had to wait to use. They closed for a period of the day for cleaning but you were given fair warning and notice about the times for this.

A pizza van came to site one night which I thought was a nice touch as there’s not much in the local area unless you want to get in the car and the shop stocked my very favourite Purbeck ice-cream which was enjoyed on more than one occasion.

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What can you do in the local area?

There are some really lovely places to explore in this part of Dorset. While we were at Corfe Castle we visited the castle itself, spent a day on the beach at Studland Bay, visited the very atmospheric abandoned village of Tyneham and Worbarrow Bay and did the obligatory visit to Lulworth Cove. (Advice, don’t do this on a Bank Holiday weekend…).

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Also in the area, just down the road you can hop on the steam train to Swanage, go to Kimmeridge Bay, Durdle Door, go to Monkey World or the Tank Museum, walk the South West Coastal Path, take the chain ferry over to Sandbanks…the possibilities are endless, there is so much to do.  I don’t think there are many stones I’ve left unturned in Dorset!

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Again, I may have made this sound more negative than it should, overall it was a great weekend, but just a few tweaks to the customer experience and it could be fantastic! Certainly, the last thing you want when you check in after a long drive is hassle, but the quiet, rural setting with clean and tidy pitches and peaceful respectful neighbours definitely made up for it!

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On top of the world and totally off-grid!

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Over Easter we decided to give ourselves a much-deserved week off with the children. We’ve never been away at that time of the year before but we thought we’d take advantage of the Bank Holidays. The trouble is with Easter is it flipping cold, it’s normally very wet and that obviously limits your choices somewhat. We knew we didn’t want to go abroad so we plumped for somewhere that we would never ever go camping – Wales.

When I was a young child we used to go camping in Wales a lot, normally to Barmouth. It pretty much always rained, that is my everlasting memory. As a teenager I went camping in Aberystwyth with my youth club. It was April – I barely felt my legs for the entire time we were there. So yes, Wales, not really that high on my list of camping destinations.

With this in mind I long ago decided that Wales should be done by staying in a hotel or cottage, and I recently discovered a company called Sugar and Loaf whose properties looked rather lush so I snapped one up in the back of beyond. I won’t lie, I was totally won over by the hot tub – I am that fickle.  Now, when we originally booked this cottage back in August 2015, we did so under the belief that wi-fi would be installed. A couple of weeks out from Easter and we were contacted to be informed that this was not the case. What did I do?

Panic of course.

Our whole lives run online and we already knew there was no mobile signal to speak of in the area. The kids reaction was different “You’ll have to pay more attention to us then”. That’s sad isn’t it?

After my initial fear about being totally offline and the general annoyance at being let down subsided, I did actually start to warm to the idea. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad? I got myself organised, made sure I had maps, knew all the details of the things we wanted to do and places to go as Google would no longer be my friend and off we went.

How was it?

Bloody marvellous.

It was SUCH a relaxing week. Yes, of course Wales didn’t disappoint and there was oodles of rain – including a very well-timed thunderstorm during a 5 mile hike through Waterfall Country but there were also plenty of sunny moments and we were even treated to a complete whiteout blizzard which the children loved, what with the mild winter we’ve had. We walked, soaked in the hot tub, talked, played games, read, watched TV in our downtime (me and my 10 year old got proper sucked into Come Dine With Me re-runs most days) and it was totally chilled. There was no getting het up about what anyone had said on Facebook or Twitter, no checking of emails, no work intruding on our personal time and no news! Seriously, we didn’t buy a newspaper or watch the news so we knew nothing of what was going on in the outside world. As the news has been pretty horrible recently, this was a blessed relief.

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Going off-grid really wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, it was quite a tonic. 

I don’t normally buy into the idea of a digital detox – I don’t think it’s necessary at all. Digital is so ingrained in our daily lives, it’s never going to go away, and I would never try and give it up when living my usual life but on holiday? I think I am a total convert!

I think my new theme for our camping holidays this year will be “OFFLINE”.

Have you ever been totally off-grid for a holiday? Leave me a comment below!

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The Tudors do…Camp Bestival?

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As if the damn fine Space theme at Camp Bestival 2016 wasn’t quite enough – last month they only went and announced something that made both me and my 10 year old whoop with glee….yes the Tudors are on tour!

No, sadly we won’t see a shirtless Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Henry Cavill living it up in the WI tent but the actual real-life Tudors*  (*maybe).

Camp Bestival have teamed up with Historic Royal Palaces to create a festival-within-a-festival which will allow you to step into the Tudor world.  There will be the chance to strut your stuff in the Tudor Costume Tent, have a go with a cross-bow and even meet the old man himself in The King’s Pavilion.  There will be skills on display from some master crafts-people as well as a theatre show, stories, Tudor cooking and fun and games. Oh yes.

Here’s what Rob da Bank had to say about it..

 “So, this has nothing to do with Outer Space but everything to do with the glorious and sometimes a bit bloody and gory history of the United Kingdom. Bizarrely, having DJed at a few Royal Palaces lately, we felt it would be good to bring some of that history to Lulworth Castle, a location not exactly lacking in stories itself. So from Tudor crossbow to cookery and a good old fashioned dressing up tent, naturally, I’m looking forward to unleashing my inner Henry VIII and whizzing back in time”.

Excited, much?

Tickets for Camp Bestival 2016 are on sale now and they have even have a handy Weekly Payment Plan available to help spread the cost.

Weekend Ticket Prices:
Adult Weekend Ticket – £197.50*
Student Weekend Ticket – £185*
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket – £118*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket – £93*
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket – £45*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket – £15*
Babes In Arms (1 & Under) – FREE (but ticket required)*

 All tickets include camping from Thursday or Friday.

Car Parking is £20 and needs to be paid in advance and if you want to bring your Campervan (like we usually do) there’s a charge of £85 per vehicle. For caravans and Trailer Tents, the charge is £96.

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Space is the place…Camp Bestival is THE place!

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Am so very excited about Camp Bestival this year – especially with the space theme. I am LOVING the space theme.

I am so completely obsessed with space right now and my new hero is Tim Peake – it’s fair to say I’ve become a bit fanatical, constantly boring my husband with tales of what Tim is up to now, and his adventures with Astro Pi is also keeping me hooked! I’m turning into a space geek and I am not ashamed!

This week the organisers of Camp Bestival released a little more information about what will be occurring at Camp Bestival 2016 and in my humble opinion, 2016 is going to be the best ever.

I’m just going to leave a few words here.

  • Royal Albert Hall presents ‘Space Symphony’
  • National Space Centre
  • The Science Museum
  • UK Space Agency
  • Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Brickies Lego Space Academy
  • Cosmic Cocktails
  • Astro Pi Code Club Workshops

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Just how awesome does all that sound?!

Tickets are now on sale and there’s an excellent payment plan available to help spread the cost. Visit the Camp Bestival website to find out more info.

Hope to see you there!

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Camp Bestival 2016 – It’s going to be out of this world…

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So the Camp Bestival theme for 2016 was announced a month or so ago – in case you missed it the theme is Outer Space! I don’t know about you but I am TOTALLY feeling the theme this year – even more so with the very wonderful Tim Peake currently orbiting the earth (what a fabulously charismatic and entertaining man he is too!) and obviously with the news of the sad departure of a cosmic hero and honorary spaceman, David Bowie, this week.  The space theme feels really apt right now.

From a recent press release, Rob da Bank had this to say:

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Need to start planning our fancy dress!

Camp Bestival is immense fun. If you’ve never been before than why not read some of my previous reports. I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice before, in 2012 and 2014, and I’m really looking forward to going back this year (it’s accidentally turning into an every-other-year thing…).

Camp Bestival 2014 Part 1 and Part 2
Camp Bestival 2012 Part 1 and
Part 2

There’s even a post offering my top tips for Camp Bestival, but as I’ve been again since I wrote this post I’ll be updating this a little nearer the time.

They’ve not yet announced the full line-up but so far Fatboy Slim, Tears for Fears and Jess Glynne are confirmed. My 10 year old daughter is a big fan of Jess Glynne so this is not something we can miss! I’m also quite excited to see Fatboy Slim. Mr M isn’t a fan but I used to love “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby” so would love to hear a few tracks from that to whisk me back to 1998!

Another thing I love about Camp Bestival is the food, oh the food. The WI tent is just about my favourite place to be when I need a cuppa – really reasonably priced and perfect for my fussy-eating son as they do basic sandwiches and tea-time cakes and they do it well. Hats off to these ladies who are pretty much rushed off their feet for the entire time!  The Jam Jar Bar are also going to be there – mega excited about this and the sound of a rhubarb martini! And of course, don’t forget the Feast Collective – full of artisan food producers, independent chefs and street vendors. There is ALWAYS something tasty to be found there.

I’m also looking forward to my children being that much older this year. Mine love their beds too much so in previous years we’ve not really stayed out that late. I’m hoping this year they’ll man up a bit so we can get to enjoy a bit more of the evening entertainment!

And with that, I’ll leave you with some words from the Starman himself…

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I’ll talk a bit more about Camp Bestival over the coming months, but if you are considering going, feel free to ask my any questions and visit the Camp Bestival website for more info on tickets and activities.

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