Every year I ask my children if they would rather have a party with their friends to celebrate their birthday, or have a family outing (and pray to whoever is listening that they say a day out).
For Graces birthday she chose a day out, and being at the height of summer, we chose to go camping! By we, I mean the 7 of us and grandparents. We chose a campsite called riverside in Cononley, Yorkshire and hoped we would be lucky enough to get some sunshine.
I know what people will be thinking, camping on its own doesn't sound the most desirable thing-sleeping outdoors in a field surrounded by sheep and communal toilets-without the sweet bribe of being absolutely shit faced at a music festival, I can totally understand why it isn't too appealing to people. Especially with the added factor of children. But honestly it's one of them things, don't knock it.
I enjoy going back to basics. And my kids so happen to love being outdoors too so we're already winning.
Whilst there we had a day out to Skipton Castle which was beautiful and the kids really enjoyed exploring and learning the history. We had another day out, first to Billy Bobs Ice Cream Parlour (THE best ice cream in the world may I add), an American style diner with a great play barn for the kids-which we all thoroughly enjoyed. When we finished we went just a few minutes down the road to Bolton Abbey, where we had a lovely (long) woodland walk and indulged in some pebble skimming. We walked and walked, and there was kids activities called "the welly walk" along the way which kept them going (big shout out to whoever thought of that, you saved me 4 moaning children and allowed me to burn off earlier mentioned ice cream)
Even if we smelt like hell on earth, we enjoyed ourselves and no one made any complaints about the state of us.
My kids were surprisingly well behaved, despite how little sleep they had, there was only one of the three nights we were there did I feel compelled to drink wine-that in itself is a victory over staying at home.
We got some fabulous family time in and was made even more special to share that time with our parents.
The weather held out too, with a little bit of rain which was expected (that my kids enjoyed rolling around in) but most of the time it was sunny and quite mild. All in all it was an amazing trip, one of them that I know the kids will remember in years to come. I'd recommend for anyone to give camping a go-just make sure you take your waterproofs!