We’ve all fancied a go in a campervan for a while now. I love the look of them and Joe loves the Peppa Pig song (“We’re going on holiday… in a campervan.”) We’d put ‘Hire a Camper Van’ on our Summer To Do List and so I went about finding one.
We only wanted to try it out – we haven’t been camping so we weren’t sure how the boys would react to being so cooped up – so I booked a van for just one from Jolly Campervans. I went for The Baron, because it was the biggest and I figured the more space the better.
I booked the campsite at Malham Tarn, which I chose because it’s National Trust, so I figured it would be safe and professional. And then I got very overexcited. (We hadn’t told the boys about it; we wanted it to be a surprise.)
The week before we were due to go, I got an email from Jolly Campervans saying that as they’d been invited to go away while we had the van, would we like it for a bit longer for no extra charge? Well we weren’t going to turn that down. So on Sunday, we drove over to pick it up… and then took it to meet some friends for lunch nearby. (We met the friends, not the van.)
I loved it pretty much straight away, but David took a while to get used to driving it – no power steering, for one! The boys loved it too (although they seemed very far away):
After lunch, we drove home again to get used to it before taking it out on a site and, you know, sleeping in it. But the boys wanted another go (and so, for that matter, did I) so we drove to a nearby reservoir and watched the sun set while drinking van-made hot chocolate:
I’d booked a campsite near Morecambe for the next night and we spent most of the day meandering there. By the time we’d had dinner and all settled down in the van, the weather was a bit wild and I was nervous.
Harry had chosen to sleep in the roof and David volunteered to sleep up there with him, while Joe and I slept “downstairs.” I worried that the roof space would collapse and Harry and David would fall on us in the night, but, you know, that didn’t happen. It was rainy and very windy, but the boys slept well and I slept much better than I expected to, despite dreaming that the van had blown into the next field. I was woken by Joe saying, “Is it morning-time, Mama? Can we keep this camping van?”
It was a gorgeous morning and we ate bacon and eggs – cooked in the van (by David) – while watching the tide come in. Bliss.
We moseyed over to Malham and after a hairy drive up some steep and windy hills, found the campsite. It was a mudbath. The staff there said they’d find some hard-standing for us to park on and, once the staff had left for the day, we settled into a surprisingly cosy parking area.
We walked down to the Tarn itself to watch the sun set and it was utterly gorgeous.
Back in the van, Harry wanted me to sleep up in the roof with him, so I did, despite worrying that I would slide out of there during the night (only the blanket did, thank goodness). In the morning, we all had porridge and then set off for Saltaire. We’ve been before and love it, the bookshop in Salt’s Mill, especially.
We had time for dinner before returning the van, so we stopped off at a pub nearby (and I won a fiver on a quiz machine – result!) and then it was time to give The Baron back. None of us wanted to (it’s VERY unusual for David to wait until the last minute to return something – usually he thinks any holiday is over first thing on the last day, but we literally returned it the minute it was due).
Driving home in our own car, we talked about the brilliant time we’d had and when we’d be able to rent a van again. We’ll definitely be doing it. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done.