travels

No. 5 place to visit post-lockdown

No. 5 place to visit when the pandemic is over is a pub stopover. Close to my No. 4 place to visit – the beautiful tunnel of trees at Halnaker – it’s a perfect overnight stopover for me and Dolly. And it means more time to explore, more time to relax, and more time to walk on the South Downs.

Apparently, the Prince of Wales pub is only 15 minutes drive from Chichester and it has a few camper places in the field behind the pub. Even better, you can enjoy traditional pub food and there are overnight facilities – a must for Dolly and me. It’s got some good reviews on PitchUp too.

Why is it important for me and Dolly to have overnight facilities?

  • Dolly has a water supply but not a toilet
  • It’s always nice to be able to enjoy some pub food after long walking stints
  • In the UK, wild camping (camping anywhere) is illegal
  • I feel safer
  • I never know who I might get chatting to at the pub!
No. 5 place to visit with Dolly the Caddy Camper

No. 5 place to visit is my final top 5 suggestion

Just to recap, I started the theme of my ‘top 5 places to visit when the pandemic is over‘ way back in September 2020, just before the covid virus got worse again. When we are all allowed to get out and about again, simply focusing on these top 5 places has given me lots to look forward to. Here’s a reminder of my top 5 places to visit:

Good start to my 2021 planned trips in Dolly the Caddy Camper!

We’ve all needed some positivity to get us through these dark virus times. And we all have different ways of coping and ‘looking forward’ Dolly and trees give me reasons and passions to ‘look on the bright side of life’. What are yours?

Always look on the bright side of life

Until next time,

Sarah x

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travels

Why I chose a VW Caddy Camper

Dolly!

VW Caddy Camper – why I chose one

VW Caddy Camper is an ideal small camper.  I discussed my caddy camper conversion with Darren from  Vantastic Campers and he transformed the back space of the van into a living/sleeping space that included:

  • a rocknroll bed
  • a mini sink and one ring burner
  • a fridge
  • hanging space
  • 2 small storage spaces
  • lots of space behind the front seats
  • space underneath the rocknroll bed for bedding
Why I chose a VW Caddy Camper
Compact interior

A caddy campervan doubles as an everyday vehicle

VW caddy vans are sleek, nippy, easy to park, uncomplicated, and easy to drive.  They double as an everyday vehicle and the campervan space can be packed away in minutes.

It’s important to keep ultra organised in the camper space. And to keep possessions and ‘things’ to a minimum in order to avoid feeling cluttered.  In fact, one very important thing I have learnt is that, when the bed is folded down, I can’t open the fridge.  So, to make a morning cuppa, I have to get the milk out of the fridge the night before.

It’s amazing what a mini -fridge can hold

I can stock the mini-fridge with enough food for a few days.  There’s a separate mini freezer section at the top with a mini ice tray, 2 small racks for holding food, a section on the bottom for a basket for fruit & veg, and separated sections in the door for milk, dairy, and other kinds of drinks.

Another tip.  I have to remember to turn up the fridge the day before I set off on my travels. This makes sure the freezer section is cold enough to start freezing some ice.

I have a leisure battery that recharges whenever I drive the VW caddy van so I’m always assured of enough charge for the fridge, the lighting, and the heater.

The cosiness of a VW caddy van camper at night

Whenever I look at Dolly from the outside I still can’t believe that her super interior space doubles up as a very cosy night-time space with comfy bed, night-light, and heating, where I feel very safe, warm, and secure wherever I bed down for the night.

Why I chose a VW Caddy Camper
Cosy at night

On those chillier mornings all I have to do is flick the heating switch on and wait for about 15 mins for the space to get warm and toasty.

It’s certainly a very compact (but comfortable) sleeping space, and with two people in the bed-space I would advise that you’re ultra-organised!  An awning can always be added on to the van and this is something that I’m planning for the future.

But hey, just think of those warm sultry evenings and nights when you can leave the back doors open, drift away listening to the sounds of the night, and wake up at sunrise looking out on the most incredible view of your choice.

My journey of exploration with Dolly the Caddy Camper has only just begun.  But am I glad that I’ve chosen such an easy, small-space, uncomplicated, comfy and cosy VW Caddy Van camper for my partner in travel.

Sarah

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travels

Word of the Week – coddiwomple

Coddiwomple

Coddiwomple…do you?

Coddiwomple is an English slang word but what a lovely word it is. I think so anyway.  It’s meaning? To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

Of course I do sometimes like to plan my travel and destinations.  However, the joy of waking up some mornings, seeing a brilliant blue sky, feeling the warm sunshine, having a free day, and knowing that Dolly the caddy camper is waiting just outside, means I can simply jump onboard and coddiwomple off to  travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

It’s spontaneous, freeing, exciting, and adventurous.  And isn’t that what campervan travel is all about?

Anyone can coddiwomple

Actually, you don’t really need to own a campervan to coddiwomple.  You can do it anywhere.  Set off walking around your local streets simply to just….explore.  I never knew that there’s an amazing inter-connecting set of alleyways between most of the roads where I live that cut across main roads and get to some places in a different way. Until one day I followed one and got to the local post office in double quick time.  I now coddiwomple along these alleyways frequently, often not really knowing where they will take me.

Coddiwompling is a great way to explore any destination, local or afar.  And it’s often the best way of coming across that lovely little bar, cosy family-run restaurant, or amazing view.

Nothing wrong in making a beeline for that beauty spot or tourist attraction that everyone has been telling you about.  But sometimes our expectations can be dashed when we discover that, actually, our jaws didn’t drop after all.

Codiwompling with Dolly

Dolly the Caddy Camper

I’m looking forward to doing more coddiwompling with Dolly this year.  Like a lot of people, I’m a bit hard-tuned to setting a destination, working out the route, and calculating how long it will take me to get there.

Well this year…no.  I’m going to practice setting off with a vague idea of whether I want to head north, east or west.  Can’t go south as the sea is there.  I shall drive along for a bit, turn left or right or head straight on, find another interesting road, and then coddiwomple along there for a bit.

Who knows what I’ll find and where I’ll end up, but that’s coddiwompling for you.

Take a coddiwomple sometimes and embrace the unexpected.

Sarah and Dolly

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travels

Scarborough campsites – my top 3

Scarborough coastline
Scarborough coastline

Scarborough campsites – campsite 1

Scarborough campsites – my top 3. They are the Scarborough Camping and Caravanning Club site, the Camping & Caravanning club site at Filey, and the Row Brow Farm campsite.

Dolly and I stayed for 3 nights at the Scarborough Camping and Caravanning Club site.  Set high up just above the town, it’s a great location for walking to the sea and the town, and close to lovely coastal walking routes.

So far, as a novice campervan traveller, I haven’t joined either the Camping and Caravanning Club or the Caravan and  Motorhome Club.  I gather that both Clubs offer great benefits and experiences for their members, as well as well-run campsites – particularly for families.

I’m an independent traveller and I’m keen to experience all types of campsites at this early stage of my Dolly adventures.  And that includes Club sites and non-Club sites. So, for the time being, I’m prepared to pay non-membership rates at the Club sites (which can be quite high).

Scarborough C&C club camp site

The Scarborough CCC site is huge!  On arrival, I booked in at reception, and was shown to an empty field….yay!…. by a man on a scooter.  Yes, the site is so big that it takes a ‘man on a scooter’ to show newcomers where to pitch.  I was joined by one other camper later on, and for the 3 days I was there, it was just the 2 of us. Nice.

There is everything campers need on this campsite.  There are at least 4 shower/toilet blocks, all kept very clean and functioning well, and there’s a well-stocked shop at the reception building.  And, a short 5 minute walk away, a family-friendly pub offering great value pub meals.  And free wifi.

Was it my kind of ‘Scarborough and campervan’ campsite?  It was great for bedding down in Dolly each night. I was out and about most days anyway – staff were friendly and helpful, and the facilities were excellent.  More than that?  Perhaps not.

Filey campsite – campsite 2

Next campsite was the Centenary Way Camping and Caravanning site at Filey, just south along the coast from Scarborough.

Another biggish site, very well kept, and a charming reception hut just next to the owners’ house.  There’s a lovely footpath from the site that takes walkers down into Filey a short distance away, great for dog walking too (I gathered).

Morning wake up view
My view from the Centenary Way campsite at Filey

I had a pitch just next to the entrance, with this beautiful countryside view.  The pitches were quite close to eachother, with not much ‘tree’ protection (at least not where I was), and I did feel a bit exposed to neighbouring caravanners.  However, once cosied up in Dolly, I could easily shut out the world.

The toilet/shower block was fairly small, and there was a continual queue for the shower (in the evening).  Clean though and lovely hot water.

I used the washing machine too, but had to ask reception for change.

Again, a great site for families staying for longer visits enjoying the pretty Filey beaches, and good for an overnight stop too. 

Scarborough campsites top 3 – campsite 3

My final Scarborough camping experience with Dolly the Caddy Camper was at the Row Brow Farm campsite (home of Dotty the Donkey), a short distance from Scarborough town centre. I had read both good and not so good reviews of the site, so no sure what to expect.

I was greeted by a rough and ready looking man (who I later discovered is the owner of the campsite) who put me on the right track on the road to the campsite a way up the hill.

On the phone earlier, I had been told to drive into the campsite and find a spot in the campsite field on the left.  As I found the campsite, I did as I was told, and drove into the field.  A small, slightly overgrown field, next to a pond, with electrical points dotted around.

How did I know it was the right field?

There were two other campers there – a young couple with a small tent, and a VW campervan.  Dolly felt at home straightaway.

On further investigation, I found the Ladies – one single toilet and a washbasin.  And I assume it was the same for the Gents.  I was told that the showers were further up the hill – I didn’t investigate.

Row Brow Farm campsite
Row Brow Farm campsite

This was quiet, peaceful, basic (yet functional and clean), and had a lovely, rural, farmyard feel.

Quacking ducks woke me, and I was lulled to sleep by Kylie Minogue.  She was performing at a concert at Scarborough’s open-air theatre close-by. Lucky me!

No wifi at this one though, and no sign of Dotty the Donkey.

I met the owner again (and his wife) just as I was about to leave.  They were very relaxed about the pitch fee, and, best of all, it was only £12.

Scarborough and campervans – 3 very different campsites

So there you have it. Scarborough campsites – my top 3.  I would recommend all 3 for very different reasons, as mentioned above.

There are certain things though that I know I’ll be looking out for in the future. Campsites with views, campsites with trees, and campsites ‘off the beaten track’.

So much to see and so much to learn!

Love Sarah and Dolly

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travels

Dolly the Caddy Camper’s first trip

Dolly's first stay at The Meon Valley campsite
Dolly’s first stay

Dolly the Caddy Camper’s first stay – where was it?

A Caddy Camper’s first overnighter is a very important event indeed. My first overnight stay in Dolly the Caddy Camper was at a very peaceful spot in Hampshire.  It was an great experience and  Dolly gave me everything I could ever need in a cosy small-space campervan.

At Scotts Haven camp site in rural Hampshire in the beautiful Meon Valley.

A secluded peaceful camping and caravanning site run by such a warm, friendly and welcoming couple, Mr & Mrs Scott.

This is a no-frills non-commercial campsite with only one loo on site for campers and caravanners who don’t have their own facilities.  I did wonder whether this would be adequate in the height of summer…

And why?

I wanted to kill two birds with one stone.  I was visiting a friend who was staying close by in Fareham, and I wanted a short hop from my home in West Sussex for my very first caddy camper overnight stay.

How did it go on arrival?

A peaceful caddy camper pitch

Excellent.  Mrs Scott came out to the gate to greet me and, after a quick booking in, showed me to my caddy camper pitch – a lovely peaceful spot that backed on to green fields and rolling Downs. Being mid-April, there was a quiet feel to the campsite and it continued that way through the whole stay. 

What were the first things I did with my caddy camper?

1. Worked out how the electric hook up thing worked.

Darren at Vantastic Campers had told me which electric hook up cable to buy and what it looked like.  This was as far as I had got.  I took it out of it’s bag and hooked up one end to the electric hook up point next to my pitch.

What to do with the other end?  I couldn’t see an electric hook up connection on Dolly the caddy camper.  Mrs Scott and I looked everywhere.  I rang Darren and said ‘help’.  He guided me to the connection which he had placed discreetly out of the way underneath the near side rear wheel.

I struggled to get the cap off the connection. ‘Help’ I said to Darren again.  We realised that it must be tough to unscrew due to its newness.  So I persevered and eventually the cap came off.  On went the other end of the electric hook-up cable to the connection and, hey presto, Dolly was all hooked up to electrics.

2. Put a bowl underneath the waste water outlet pipe

Don’t forget to buy a small bowl to catch the waste water from the sink.  I had bought a plastic bowl, but guess what.  The bowl had holes in its sides.  Doh!!

Caddy Camper bed – how was it?

The caddy camper bed

Perfect.  I got the bed ready when it was still light and then went to meet up with my friend at a local pub in Fareham.  By the time I got back to Dolly for the night it was dark and I was SO pleased I had made the bed up beforehand.  Luckily I had remembered a hot-water bottle…I needed it…it was a chilly night.  Dolly bedspace is very cosy and comfy and I slept really well for my first overnighter.

And how did breakfast go?

Excellent.  Making porridge and more tea on my one ring burner in the cosy nest of the caddy space was fab.  I love the feel of ‘slowness’ that an overnight stay in Dolly brings.  The world simply…. slows down….

What was the BEST thing about my first Caddy Camper overnight stay?

The morning.  What a joy it was to wake up in the morning, to slide back the curtains, to put the heater on and feel the cosy caddy space heating up, and to look out on a lovely view of trees and green fields.  I made at least 3 cups of tea while relaxing on my cosy caddy camper bed.

Caddy Camper pack up

The beauty of a small campervan is the ease of packing up.  I mentioned in Why a VW Caddy makes for a great campervan that I keep Dolly packed up with everything all the time so it’s just a matter of hopping in, starting the engine up, and off I go.

Hence, the ease of packing up.  I washed up, cleaned the mini sink and gas ring, emptied the rubbish at the campsite rubbish bins, swept the floor, and that was it….

The only things left to do when I get home is empty the fridge and give everything another quick wipe down ready for the next trip.

Thank you Dolly. Where to next?

Oxfordshire…and Bridge Villa …

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Tales, travels

Don’t be a tourist, be a traveller

Don't be a tourist, be a traveller
Don’t be a tourist, be a traveller

I saw this ‘Don’t be a tourist, be a traveller’ sign in a shop window on my recent visit to Thessaloniki, Greece.

And it got me thinking.  Is there really a difference between tourists and travellers?  I suppose we’ve all been tourists at times and we’ve all been travellers.  And some of us seek out travelling and some of us seek out sticking to the tourist hotspots (which we do as travellers too). Most of us  share the desire to visit and explore amazing locations, and however we do this is our choice, there is no right or wrong.

For me, to be a traveller is:

  • To arrive at a new destination and just……breathe
  • To know a little about the history and culture of where I’m visiting
  • To ask myself ‘how does this place make me feel?’
  • To take time to watch the locals as they go about their daily lives – what are they wearing, how do they move, how do they look?
  • To pick and choose where I want to go and which tourist spots ‘say’ something to me
  • To wander down a side street or two and see what’s round the corner
  • To take time to watch the locals as they go about their daily lives
  • To seek out the shops that have been there for years
  • To try some local dishes
  • To hop on a local bus.
  • To sit in a park and watch the world go by
  • To leave with memories of, and feelings for, a place

An authentic traveller

Having said in my previous post that I’m taking a sabbatical from my web content writing work, I now find that I’ve been asked to write travel articles for a long-term client.

He used the word ‘authentic’ travel articles.  And it made me smile.   I said in my last post that I’m on a journey to find my authentic writing voice.  And now I find that I might be able to combine both – authentic writing with authentic experiences.

And perhaps that’s what being a traveller is all about.  That it’s an authentic experience more than an organised experience.

What does being a traveller mean to you?

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