For our first glamping trip with Little F we chose Welsummer Campsite in Kent. We chose it because we know it, we have been there once before, and we know it’s family friendly. It was easier to take Little F to a place we knew. There was no need for lots of research and asking multitude of questions.
Pre-baby I used to spend a lot of time researching our camping holidays, as we are quite particular about what we like. And what we like are small and medium campsites in a nice setting, with no caravans. We don’t like their big bulky bodies blocking the view. We don’t mind basic facilities, as this usually means a nicer, more remote campsite.
Welsummer is a medium sized campsite with three fields, and some pitches in the forest. There is also a small Wendy House, just in case you don’t actually want to sleep under canvas. And a B&B if you want to enjoy the campfire, but want to sleep under a proper roof. There are a few bell tents, but no electric hook ups for caravans. The best pitches are in the forest, which in April and May is filed with bluebells – do book in advance, as they go quickly!
The site is named after a breed of chickens kept by the family. If memory serves me well, the eggs were delicious!
We had an opportunity to have a chat with Laura, who runs the campsite with her French husband Med. We had a lot to talk about, as we are also a bilingual family and we share love of green and outdoor living. Though living in the countryside Laura definitely scores more points than us when it comes to the latter!
I love the story, which Laura told us about how the family came to own the campsite and the cottage. Her parents bought the wood when she was 7 to have somewhere to camp! It’s so unlike the usual scenario, where you buy a holiday home! The neighbouring plot with the house and the field came up for sale years later and the family decided to buy it. It wasn’t until much later that Laura and Med moved in permanently and set up the campsite. It has now been running for 10 years.
I can see many changes compared to our previous visit. There are live fences everywhere, patiently pleated together every year. And young native hedges, planted by Laura. There is also a large public ‘room’, which was nearing completion during our stay. It’s a wonderful large construction under an ancient oak. It’s made out of untreated wooden beams. When it eventually disintegrates, there will be no harmful chemicals leaching into the soil.
We were the only ones on the campsite, as we came a little early in the season. The temperature forecasted for that night was 3 degrees, something we forgot to check before booking! In the evening a couple of cyclists came to spend a night as well, before cycling off the next day.
We stayed in one of the spacious bell tents. It was nice to be able to stand up in it, and there was lots of space for our bed and Little F’s travel cot (provided by Laura). The quirky cutlery, crockery and pots were stored in two old suitcases, which I thought was a lovely idea. The furnishings were finished of with a few colourful rugs and a little side table with flowers. The tent was clean, fresh and bright. The cream-coloured fabric makes the interior look bright even on a grey day.
Our sitting area and fire pit were a few paces away from the tent, which was great as our chatting wasn’t disturbing Little F’s sleep. It always surprises me how bright the nights are, as soon as you are out of the city and the light pollution. The moon was up and we had no need for torches.
The bell tents are setup on a large field the furthest away from the facilities and washing up area. We always chose pitches away from facilities, to avoid the noise and commotion, especially at night, but with a toddler it’s best to be closer. Especially if they are out of nappies, which Little F isn’t yet, so it wasn’t an issue.
I really like that there are some toys scattered by the washing-up area, and there is even more in the ladies shower-room. It kept Little F entertained for a little while!
There are also tables and chairs by the facilities, so you can use them as a picnic area, or just sit and chat with whoever you happen to meet at the campsite.
You can have a wedding in Welsummer, but hen nights and stag dos are not welcome. If there is a wedding the whole campsite is booked, so no one is disturbed. If I wasn’t married I’d consider this as an option! Especially with the new communal space.
Laura is a great source of information on local pubs and places to eat – The Pepperbox Inn is highly recommended. We did have a lunch on our way to Welsummer and it did not disappoint!
Our favourite walk is to the Leeds Castle, which takes about 1 hour and a half. It’s a nice walk, which takes you through bluebell wood and rape seed fields, as well as next to some gorgeous horses (Little F is obsessed with horsies at the moment). Leeds Castle itself has well kept grounds and a garden. There is a castle themed playground and sometimes appropriate shows – we’ve seen falconry presentation. You’ll need a carrier for your toddler, as there is a number of stiles to go over during the walk, so buggy just wouldn’t work.
The only minus of the Welsummer campsite is that you can hear the noise from the road if the wind blows your way. It’s not a big issue, as it is a very monotonous murmur and you quickly forget that it’s even there.
The bottom line is, will we be back? Yes we definitely will!
PS. We have been offered a discount in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are entirely my own (with Daddy and Little F chipping in!).