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First time camping in Jersey

Family camping at Beuvelande Campsite

Camping with Trepidation

When deciding on a family holiday, I confess I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the idea of camping in Jersey when it was first suggested. I have two fears in life – spiders and drowning (I obviously watched the film ‘Titanic’ at far too young an age) and what was being suggested involved perhaps a close encounter with both. In fact, for me, the idea of dragging the kids on a long boat journey only to be greeted by nothing but canvas separating me from the outside world couldn’t be further from my idea of a ‘relaxing family holiday’. Not withstanding having to survive the boat journey and be brave enough to face the barrage of creepy crawlies I expected lay in wait for me, we were in possession of two Houdini minded under-fives amongst our large family, whose idea of a fun day was seeing how far away from Mummy they could run or hide. I had visions of having to tie weights to their feet and me spending the entire week not getting a wink of sleep in fear of them making a midnight run for it. I also wasn’t at all sure our two teenage lads would be impressed with the lack of wall sockets. So it was to my entire dismay and surprise that I found myself out-voted and before long I was reluctantly heading off to a campsite in Jersey.

My first pleasant eye opener was the boat journey. We took our car and boarded the early Condor Ferry from Weymouth. From start to finish, the whole experience was easy. The kids enjoyed sitting and playing travel games interspersed with trips to the on-board shop and café. I was even brave enough to venture out on deck with them. Boat trip survived, we made our way to the dreaded campsite. Winding slowly down Jersey’s leafy green lanes I was getting more nervous by the minute. Forget escapee children, I’d only just remembered there would be shared toilet facilities! Arriving at the campsite, we were again pleasantly surprised. There was a shop, swimming pool, restaurant, games room, laundry and children’s playground all within easy reach of the neat little rows of ready set up tents – no grappling with tent pegs and guy ropes here. And it was no ordinary tent. This one had cute little zip-up pods for bedrooms and not a spider in sight. There was a little kitchen area, gas stove and even a fridge! The kids thought it was great. Happy that I might stand a chance of at least getting through the evening, we nosied around the rest of the site. Further areas were given over to camper vans, caravans and those brave enough to tackle their own tents, but best of all were the yurts. However there was still one hurdle to  overcome – the shared toilets and washrooms. With quite a bit of trepidation, we made our way over to inspect and again I was pleasantly surprised – a set of men’s, ladies and even family facilities and all were spotlessly clean. Worse fears overcome and armed with little more than a pack of cards, sleeping bags and some eggs and bacon, we set about making tea and settling down for the night.

My last experience sleeping under canvas had been at Brownie camp and all I can recall is being frozen and wet, as the tents leaked if we touched the sides. Nobody told me that there’s actually something quite magical about the whole thing. Maybe it was the mild Jersey climate or perhaps just how well set up the tents were at Beuvelande campsite but the escapees didn’t stand a chance. Worn out after a day playing in the open air and snuggled up in their sleeping bags after torch lit stories, the little ones slept soundly and so did I once I realised that in order to escape they had to undo several noisy zips on their sleeping bags, pods and never mind the inner and outer doors. Tent living is so simple: a trip to the camp shop in the morning for fresh croissants and milk; washing up in the open air; a quick swim in the pool; followed by a day out and a dip in the evening before a drink in the patio restaurant and then games by candlelight – this was usually the order of the day. We talked and just spent time together and anyone with teenagers knows just how much of a rarity that is. We even got a rainy day and night and stayed up just listening to the gentle pitter-patter on the canvas whilst playing shadow puppets.

I can honestly say Jersey is just beautiful and there is so much to see and do but experiencing it in ‘the raw’ in the open air was really special and genuinely was the relaxing holiday we all needed. And it wasn’t just me who enjoyed our week – my older ones are asking when they can go back with their friends, albeit unaccompanied. I’m not sure if me or Jersey is ready for such an event. Mind you, I quite fancy that Yurt next time …

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Posted by Christina

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