You wouldn’t believe the number of times I have sat down to try and write this post over the last few weeks but every time I did, I felt as though I wasn’t quite doing our recent trip to Northumberland with Ross Holiday Cottages justice. I wanted to try and capture the many mini adventures we had, and what a beautiful part of the country it is.  Without just giving you a long list of reasons why you should visit!

Northumberland is a part of the UK which none of us had been to before and when Ross Holiday Cottages got in touch to offer us a stay in one of their converted Coastguard Cottages we immediately took them up on it.  It was just over three hours drive from us but involved an epic journey of passing through the Lake District and winding through the Pennines; picturesque locations for sure but not a straight road in sight so we were very happy when we finally made it to our home for four days.

Originally we had hoped this break away would offer us the opportunity to relax a little, but if you are a regular reader here then you’ll know we don’t do anything by halves so we immediately hit the ground running.  The cottages at Ross are situated just a 15 minute walk from the beach and a short drive from some of the area’s best attractions, and we planned to make the most of our time.  We were staying in the East Coastguard Cottage; a two bedroom which sleeps four and has all the amenities you would expect from 4 star self-catering accommodation plus a few cheeky extras like an enclosed garden with stunning views, and a jacuzzi bath which was a personal highlight for Eli who asked for a bath every single day: morning, noon and night!

Getting to the cottage was straightforward; we were given a code to access the key and then we were met by the caretaker, David, who brought us a complimentary bottle of wine and a branded corkscrew which was a very nice touch.  He talked us through some of the facilities offered by the cottages such as access to a Pelican Canoe and BBQ and we chatted through some suggestions with him on how to spend our time.  A friendly face is always welcome when you are new to an area and David made us feel right at home.

east coastguard cottage private garden

east coastguard cottage ross garden

stairway east coastguard cottage

Master bedroom east coastguard cottage ross

During our stay we were offered complimentary visits to a number of attractions, and I’m sorry that we didn’t have time to visit and fully explore them all.  I will try and write a separate post on the many things for families in the area as there is absolutely stacks to do, and it was really tricky narrowing down which we had time for during our stay.

Before we headed to the cottage on our first day, we stopped off to visit Bamburgh Castle and the beach.  It was a glorious day with blue skies and sunshine and Bamburgh Castle offers some fantastic views as well as a wealth of history.  There was a trail for the kids to follow inside the Castle, lots of open space for them to run around outside and although there was a chill to the North Sea on the beach, there was a long stretch of golden sands for the kids to build sandcastles and play.  The village of Bamburgh is also home to the Grace Darling museum which I would have liked to have explored but we just didn’t have the time.

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Beach

In the sea at Bamburgh Beach

For avid Harry Potter fans like ourselves, no trip to this area would be complete without stopping at Alnwick Castle; the location used in a number of the movies.  Even if you aren’t fans of the wizarding world, this is a top family attraction with plenty going on.  We had a lot of fun in the medieval Artisans Courtyard where you can dress up and enjoy some traditional games and crafts.  It was unfortunate that we visited on a school day and there were a number of class trips so we weren’t able to join in the crafts (something it would be good for the Castle to address actually; we weren’t the only family left with disappointed children!) but both Meg and Eli (and James!) enjoyed dressing up and the staff all really got into character too which was great.  There is also the Dragon’s Quest in the Artisans Courtyard which is highly recommended.  It is a short interactive experience and we happened to be the only ones on our tour around, I’m not sure if that made it better or worse as there was nowhere to hide!  And of course, for Harry Potter fans I can’t fail to mention the broomstick flying lessons which take place on the huge green.  We found ours to be absolutely hilarious; again the staff really got into character which made it so much fun.  There is no additional charge for this once you are in the castle but it is a ticketed event and very popular so I’d suggest heading to the Courtyard to book your time slot on arrival.

During our visit there was also a wild bird display and of course the Castle itself which is interesting.  They have plenty of events taking place throughout the year so it’s always worth having a look on their website to see what is taking place if you are planning a trip in the near future.

Directly adjacent to the Castle is The Alnwick Garden which requires separate tickets but again, is very much worth a visit.  They are so much bigger than I expected with lots of different themed gardens.  There is a Giant Adventure for children to enjoy and Eli in particular, was fascinated by the Poison Garden.  I love attractions like this where you feel as though there is something waiting around every corner.

At The Alnwick Garden there is a Treetop Restaurant which we had a quick peek around; it was closed for a wedding but I imagine that would be a very cool place to dine if you had the opportunity too.

in the stocks alnwick castle

Calling broomsticks alnwick castle

Alnwick broomstick training

Poison Garden Alnwick

Soldier Alnwick Gardens

We also managed to squeeze in a couple of trips to the nearby Lindisfarne Nature Reserve which is a 15 minute walk from the cottages and well worth the walk.  It’s a little bit further than you might think at first with the rolling dunes and you do pass through land which is occupied by livestock, which may give you a fright if you aren’t expecting it.  I’m not saying that happened to anyone during our trip but a sheep suddenly appearing out of nowhere is pretty startling…

From the beach you can see both Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island and although we didn’t stray too far, we pretty much had the beach to ourselves.  The whole coastline which runs alongside the cottages has been classes as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it really is a beautiful spot to talk a walk.

If you fancy staying closer to home, the Pelican Canoe available for us for cottage guests which James and the kids ventured out in a couple of times too.  You can stay nearby and paddle through Ross Low or head out into Budle Bay.  On arrival David warned us about keeping an eye on the tide times if we planned to head out into the Bay and these were printed in a folder in the cottage too.  It is definitely important to keep an eye on these otherwise you will get caught out.

Finally, I want to round off this post by talking about our trip to Barter Books.  Barter Books is the second biggest used bookstore in the UK and on discovering that it was in nearby Alnwick, just 20 minutes drive away, I knew where we would be spending some of our time!  We actually spent the whole of Sunday morning at Barter Books.  They offer a service where you can bring in some books and they give you store credit to use against other books which I obviously had to take advantage of, although I seemed to end up with more books that I dropped off.  Strange that.  There is also a cafe, stacks and stacks of books and even a children’s area.  It is housed in the old Alnwick railway station and often times there is a miniature train running around the top of the bookshelves which is a very unique touch!

view from east coastguard cottage ross window

Ross Sands Beach

lost in the stacks barter books

Barter Books

I think that just about covers it but truly, I think Northumberland is a place which we will definitely look to return to in the future as there is just so much we didn’t get to explore.  Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle in particular along with the Northumberland National Park, a trip to the Farne Islands to see seals and puffins and maybe we could even manage some horse riding or cycling…again a full itinerary if we decided to go for round two.  A huge thank you to Ross Holiday Cottages for inviting us and allowing us to explore just a smidgen of this beautiful part of the UK.

We were offered a complimentary stay in Ross Cottages in exchange for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.
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Imagine an island which has stunning scenery as far as the eye can see, rugged clifftops and long stretches of sandy beach at almost every turn and you’ve just about summed Guernsey up in a nutshell.  When we were invited to visit the Channel Islands by Condor Ferries, we genuinely didn’t know what to expect.  The Channel Islands weren’t somewhere we would necessarily have considered visiting before; if you’d invited me to take a ferry trip I’d automatically think of visiting France.  I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel like this but having been and experienced the delights of Guernsey, I can honestly recommend it as a place worth visiting.

Leaving the Port of Poole behind on a grey and cloudy June morning, we set sail aboard the Condor Liberation; Condor’s flagship ferry.  It takes 3 hours to reach Guernsey and the boat follows a route which goes from Poole to St Malo via Guernsey and Jersey, and then back again.  Boarding was an absolute breeze with our e-tickets and we had pre-booked seats in Ocean Plus which was accessed through use of a code given to us on arrival.  There are wide windows everywhere you look in the Ocean Plus lounge and I imagine on a less foggy day the views would be panoramic and breathtaking.  As it was, we could see very little until we began to reach the islands and the sky cleared.  Both Meg and Eli preferred to be out on deck, despite the brisk weather, so I got to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lounge whilst James braved the elements with the children.  Our journey was relatively stress-free although Eli suffered with seasickness on the way out.  I have to say thank you to the member of staff who came back to check on us when I was stuck in the toilets with him, and to the two ladies who were very concerned that I not be there for the three hours!  Luckily, we picked up some wristbands from the on-board duty free which we used to coax him out of his toilet cubicle and we used these on the way back as well, meaning we had no trouble at all on our return.

Condor Liberation

First view of St Peter's Port

Seasick episode aside, the three hours flew by and when we began to dock at St Peter’s Port we were greeted with sunshine and beautiful blue skies.  We had definitely left the miserable English weather behind!  This was our first introduction to life in the Channel Islands; on every corner you see a unique combination of Franglaise culture and it began for us with the sudden turn in the weather.  St Peter’s Port is a bustling and busy part of the island and is considered one of the prettiest harbour towns in Europe.  With its cobbled streets and picturesque marina, it’s not difficult to see why.

We had just over two days to spend exploring Guernsey, from our arrival at midday on Friday until our ferry back to England at 2pm on Sunday and we planned to make the most of it.  Determined to hit the ground running, as much as we would have loved to hang around and explore the Port our first stop once we alighted was to check into our hotel which was located on the north side of the island in Vale.

We were staying in The Peninsula Hotel in a family room.  The room was light and bright with sufficient space for a family of four.  I have to admit that when we travel we don’t usually stay in hotels; we prefer accommodation which offers a separate living and bedroom area so that we can chill at the end of the evening, whilst Meg and Eli sleep and I was initially worried about the problems with getting the kids to sleep whilst James and I were pottering about but we were all so exhausted each night that we tended to crash as soon as we made it back to our room, so this really wasn’t an issue.

Peninsula Hotel Guernsey

After check-in, we decided to spend an hour exploring the area immediately surrounding the Peninsula.  The hotel is just a short walk from the Rousse Headland so that is where we headed, indulging in some real Guernsey ice cream along the way.  Rousse Headland is on the north-west of the island and is home to a Napoleonic loop-holed tower, a kiosk selling drinks, snacks, and most importantly ice cream!, a beach and a small harbour area.  There weren’t many people about during our visit but we did pass a number of walkers.  A little playing on the pebbled beach here and a quick scout of the nearby Rousse Tower was sufficient and we made our way back to the hotel to enjoy the rest of the sunshine by making use of the Peninsula’s outdoor pool.  Our weather app (reliably it turned out) informed us that our first afternoon in Guernsey was going to be the only day with any sunshine so we really wanted to make the most of the sun’s rays whilst we had the chance.

A few hours wearing the kids out in the pool and then it was off to Cobo Beach; our most recommended destination.  We were told by several people we know, and a number of people on the ferry, that watching the sun set on Cobo Beach was an absolute must.  And I would have to agree!  Parking was something of an issue as it was very busy, with the outdoor area of the nearby Cobo Bay Hotel absolutely rammed with people; we ended up parking a 5 minute walk from the beach.  We also had to queue for quite a while to get food from Cobo Fish Bar (although it was totally worth it; I have been ruined for chips and gravy ever since!) but we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves and it was wholly worthwhile to relax on the golden sands and watch the sun go down.  It may have only been our first night but watching the kids play happy and carefree, silhouetted against the beautiful backdrop of the shoreline was definitely a highlight of the trip for us.

rousse tower cannon guernsey

Rousse Headland

Sunset Cobo Beach Guernsey

sun set on cobo beach

giggling cobo beach

The island of Guernsey is perhaps best known for its German occupation in the Second World War (and especially thanks to the popularity of one of my FAVOURITE books which is now a movie) and there is evidence of this occupation almost everywhere you go.  But there is also an older history to the island if you want to go back even further.  On Saturday we headed to the south of the island towards the Pleinmont Headland and Table des Pions, otherwise known as the ‘Fairy Ring’ which hails back to the 1830s when it was used as a dugout picnic bench (kind of…) by officials who were inspecting coastal defences.

One of the things which struck us most during our trip was the fact that there was plenty to see and do, no matter what the weather was up to. You could be active, or take it easy, enjoy some sight-seeing or just keep the kids entertained for an hour or two.  And being on such a small island meant that you were never more than 20 minutes drive from anything.  It’s probably a good time to leave a small note on the roads in Guernsey; we decided to drive rather than use public transport, and it’s worth bearing in mind that they have slightly different road rules to the UK.  There is an interesting ‘give-way’ system which is called a ‘filter in turn’ system; at these junctions all vehicles have the same priority.  A large number of the roads we went on were also only about a lane and a half wide and we regularly had to mount the pavement to pass on-coming traffic.  It’s generally okay if you take it slow, but I’m glad James was there to do the driving as I don’t think it would be for the hesitant motorist!

Parking is also rather quaint; all public parking in Guernsey is free.  However there are various zones known as ‘disc zones’ around the island and drivers have to use a parking clock to indicate time of arrival.  There are different time limits in different zones and these are clearly marked, from 1 hour through to 15+ hours.

Portelet Beach Guernsey

Looking over Portelet Beach

lighthouse portelet beach

We squeezed in visits to the German occupation museum, the Guernsey Aquarium, The Little Chapel, Cornet Castle and Pirate Bay Adventure Golf as well as a return visit to Cobo Beach.  I could go into so much detail about each and every place we went to but there has to be a limit to my word count somewhere!  On Sunday morning we explored the bunting-strewn streets of St Peter’s Port: each Sunday in the summer months they have a themed market.  On the Sunday we were there the theme was ‘Arts’ and although the weather was against us it was lovely to see some local talent on display.  Even reading that list makes me feel like we managed a lot and yet we left feeling as though we had only scratched the surface of everything this wonderful little island has to offer.  If we were lucky enough to return then I would definitely want to explore some of the picturesque gardens or book a guided bike tour with Donkey Tours; we enquired about booking a tour but there was no availability for our dates.  I can’t say cycling in the mist would have been the best way to see the island but on a clear day I imagine it would be a fantastic and fun way to experience Guernsey through the eyes of a local.

Eli looking into fish tank Guernsey Aquarium

Little Chapel Guernsey

Castle Cornet Cannon

With soldier castle cornet

Pirate Bay Adventure Golf Guernsey

Pirate Bay Adventure Golf Stocks

St Peter's Port Market Summer

St Peter's Port flag street

Then of course I can’t finish talking about our short break without mentioning the food.  Guernsey is a seafood lovers heaven.  As I mentioned above, we ate at Cobo Fish Bar the first night but two other places I wanted to specifically mention are the Terrace Garden Café which has impressive views over St Peter’s Port as well as delicious Thai food, and Crabby Jack’s which is a real must for families, although be sure to book a table in advance.  We ate here on Saturday evening and it was absolutely packed to the rafters.  We ended up being seated outside which we actually didn’t mind because the play area is outside but if you want to be indoors then you should bear this in mind.  And of course you have to sample real Guernsey ice cream; it certainly got the seal of approval from Meg and Eli, who couldn’t even stop themselves from eating whilst we captured it on camera!

Pizza at Crabby Jack's

Terrace Garden Cafe Guernsey

The final thought I want to leave you with, was the friendliness of the people.  I was struck by how welcoming and chatty everyone was.  The whole island has an almost ‘small village’ feel to it and it creates a relaxed and ambient vibe which permeates through everything.  From being stopped on the street by someone who wanted to know where James’ coat was from to having people engage with the kids when we were visiting tourist attractions or just buying our lunch, there’s such a friendly atmosphere and it really brought an added element of enjoyment to our visit.

I am certain this won’t be our last visit to the Channel Islands and a huge thank you to Condor Ferries for inviting us along, organising our trip and inspiring such a fun adventure for us all.

We were provided with a short break to Guernsey by Condor Ferries for the purpose of this post.  However all thoughts and opinions are our own.
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Summer is the time of year when people begin to think about taking long road trips; maybe to go and visit family and friends or to travel somewhere new.  In fact, we have just returned from a long driving trip ourselves so I am speaking from personal experience!

This is a sponsored post…read on for more tips:-

When you’ve invested time and money in planning a trip, organised and packed up your stuff up and even got to the stage of starting to feel excited about your break away (albeit perhaps not at the thought of long hours spent in the car with the kids!) the last thing you want to be faced with is pulling over at the side of the road, watching the other cars speed by, all because you forgot to do a little maintenance before setting off.  All of the tips I will include in my list are so simple to do, and yet it’s often our cars which fall to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list when planning out trips.  It’s something I can understand: who wants to worry about fluid levels when they could be dreaming of the beach?  And yet, it’s so important.  We are lucky in that we’ve never yet been in that situation but I wanted to create this post in case it prompts you to run a few checks before your next trip, and potentially save any heartache.

Not only that but hopefully these tips will potentially save you money down the line, because you will be keeping your car in good condition and ensuring that everything is working as it should all year round.

1. Check oil levels

I will hold my hand up here and say this is one of those car maintenance jobs which I just don’t do as often as I know I should, but not refilling oil can have a serious impact on your car.  In fact, I know of someone who had to get a new car after they failed to top up their oil because of the damage done to their engine.  Definitely not something you want to be facing as you set off on holiday!  So it 100% pays to ensure that you are regularly checking oil levels and topping up oil as and when needed.

2. Check radiator and coolant levels

According to statistics, overheating is one of the main causes of car breakdowns over the summer so this is another tip which is vital if you are planning on taking your car for a long drive.  It can feel like something of a faff as you should only check your coolant levels when the engine is cold but this is something which you should do on a regular basis.  If you are having to repeatedly top up your coolant levels then you might have a leak.  Check what type of coolant you should be using in your car as well.

3. Test the brakes

It’s possible I should have popped this one closer to the top as having an issue with your brakes could be incredibly serious if you are driving.  Now I am no car expert but even I know that if you have squeaky brakes, or brakes which grind then you should get your brakes looked at, as it could be a sign that you need your brake fluid topping up, or your brake pads changed.  If your brakes are slow to respond then this could be a sign they are worn down and need replacing.  If you drive the car fairly regularly then this is something to keep an eye out for.  It’s unlikely to catch you by surprise but is something you should keep at the forefront of your mind as you prepare for your road trip.

4. Inspect the tyres

Before setting off on any driving trip, give your tyres a good looking over to ensure that none of them need replacing.  Look closely at the tread (there are loads of guides and handy videos online if this is something you are unsure of) to make sure none of them are worn down, and check tyre pressure.  Good tyre pressure is not only essential for safety but it can save you money on fuel as well, a definite win when you are thinking about travelling long distances.  If your tyres do need replacing then make sure you get it sorted as soon as possible; there are tyres available in all sizes and for cheap prices from Jet Wheel Tyre.

5. Make sure lights are working

My final tip, although there are a good deal more I could have mentioned including air-conditioning, power steering, batteries and so on, is to give the exterior of your car a once over and make sure all your lights are working.  Test your brake lights, your indicators, your tail lights and your headlights.  It is a pretty cheap and easy job to get the lights changed in your car so is definitely something to sort out before you set off, rather than discovering your lights aren’t working on the road.

Hopefully these tips will come in useful this summer and will prompt you to make some safety checks before setting off on your road trip.  The being trapped in the car with children for the duration of your journey I can’t help with…other than to say that being prepared is key.  That, and a good pair of ear-plugs!

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I can’t be the only one who turns their thoughts to a holiday in the sun at this time of year.  When you are staring at grey skies, frost on the ground and rain more often than not, it’s easy to begin dreaming of warmer weather and travel plans for the summer.  Although we have a lot of renovation work to do on the house we are definitely hoping to get away during the school holidays.  It makes such a difference, whether you enjoy a staycation or travel further afield, to take an actual break from every day life and work responsibilities.

We sat down a couple of weeks ago and laid out our thoughts on where we would like to travel to and what would be achievable.

Our first, dream location, was Marrakech in Morocco.  We’ve had friends recommend this to us and I just think getting to experience the sights and sounds of Morocco would be an absolutely incredible experience.  Not to mention the scorching heat.  I have spent many an hour in recent weeks researching the best places to stay in Marrakech and the more I read about, the more I definitely want to make visiting here a priority.

Freeimages.com / Sergei Montaner

Our second option was Malta.  This is somewhere I have wanted to visit for the longest time as I just think it looks like such a stunning place to explore.  On reflection however, we feel a trip here would be less about lying by the pool, relaxing, and more about getting out and sightseeing which isn’t the type of holiday we are after.  I’ve got my eye on Malta for either later in the year, perhaps the October half term, or a short travel break in 2019 instead.

Freeimages.com / Rudy Tiben

The final option was to return to Tuscany.  Myself and James went to Tuscany for a short break last year and completely fell in love.  Everything from the food to the weather, the people to the rolling Tuscan countryside just made for the perfect holiday and we said right away that we wanted to one day return with the kids.  Having browsed around for potential accommodation and flights, it also seems like the most affordable option; one which would allow us to take a chilled out holiday as a family without having to compromise too much on work on the house.

How gorgeous is this villa on Clickstay?  We stayed in one of Clickstay’s villas in Spain in 2016 so we know that we can expect good things.  I’m already dreaming of hazy evenings spent with a glass of wine in hand.  Flights tend to be pretty cheap to Italy too so I really think a trip here is something we can achieve practically.  Oh to be back in the stunning Tuscan countryside already!

Hopefully we will get to visit at least one of these locations for our main family holiday but we will also be looking to take a sightseeing break later in the year.  I think Malta would fit perfectly here but as we’ve talked about before there are a number of other European places we’d love to explore including Croatia, Budapest and Prague.  I’ve spent a lot of time browsing Clickstay and looking up flights.  A girl has gotta dream!

Where will you be travelling in 2018?

This is a collaborative post
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You may well ask what we were thinking, agreeing to go glamping in the bitter depths of winter but when we agreed to review a two night stay at the luxury Caalm Camp in Dorset, it was with the express purpose of proving, to ourselves and to friends and family, that winter glamping is entirely possible!

Caalm Camp is an award-winning site which is home to six traditionally made Mongolian Yurts.  Originally a dairy farm, the Camp has been family run for the last 6 years and claims to put the ‘glam’ in ‘glamping’.  It is in a beautiful setting, surrounded by countryside, and with no city lights to interfere with your stargazing come night time.  Each Yurt is named after a different wildflower and during our stay we were in Daisy.

Although our journey was pretty straightforward it took us around 5 hours to get down to Dorset but we were met with a friendly face when we pulled up; the owner, Mark, greeted us warmly and showed us around, explaining how everything operated.

Mark was an incredible host, making sure we had everything that we needed throughout our stay and recommending local places we could explore.  He was particularly helpful on the ‘staying warm’ front (more on that later…) and we felt he really went out of his way to ensure we were having the best stay possible.

The Yurts themselves are absolutely stunning.  From the intricately painted designs to the use of horse hair in their construction (not a bolt or nail in sight!), you really felt as though you were getting an authentic experience.  In each Yurt is a double bed and two single beds, perfect for us as a family of four although Caalm Camp do say that it is possible for a yurt to sleep six.

The Yurts come equipped with a toasty log burner to keep it nice and warm, crisp bedlinen and cosy blankets, an outside fire pit, drinking water tap and a picnic bench as well.  We didn’t make use of the outside facilities as temperatures were in the minuses but I can imagine it being the perfect place to gaze at the stars in the summer months.

I am going to be honest and say that I am not a fan of camping; I don’t understand why people would pay to be cold and wet when they sleep and why they would find enjoyment in using damp and even chillier facilities.  Even though we were glamping, which is by nature slightly different, it’s still something I was concerned about but it really couldn’t have been further from the truth.

There is a building called The Old Haybarn on site which offers shared kitchen facilities, a communal dining and social area complete with TV and a selection of children’s toys, books and board games, and a private wet room for each of the Yurts.  Incidentally, Daisy Yurt is closest to the Old Haybarn so if you don’t fancy walking far in the cold and dark then ask for that one when you book!

There is also a games room complete with two resident goats(!), a tennis table and a pool table.  My only thought here is that it would have been nice if this room could have had some patio heaters as it was bitter.  It is in the old dairy barn so has very little insulation and although Meg and Eli enjoyed having a game or two of table tennis, I couldn’t stand the temperature!

But I know the major question of the moment is whether we were warm in our Yurt?

If you are familiar with our travelling experiences you will know that we can’t go anywhere without having a little ‘adventure’.  Think James getting lost at 12am in an unfamiliar French city after our hotel was booked for the wrong night and having to be retrieved by me after I’d persuaded some terrified hotel receptionist to watch the kids.  Think driving past our Appartamento in Tuscany several times, commenting each time that it ‘looked very much’ like the place we were meant to be staying but didn’t quite match with the sat nav and you get the idea.

So were we warm in our Yurt?

The straightforward answer is that when our log burner was going, we were incredibly warm.  There are logs available for use in your log burner and these come free of charge.  There is also the possibility to purchase a bucket of coal for £3 which we were advised by Mark to do and to place the coal in the burner overnight, ensuring heat the whole night through.  I don’t think that we had quite made it clear to Mark that fire and James don’t mix however and the first morning we woke, snug as little bugs in our beds, but with temperatures absolutely freezing in the Yurt.  In short, our fire had gone out.  And of course we had run out of matches the night before.

Cue James driving to the nearest petrol station to get some matches and a big thank you to the gentleman who offered him what he thought was a box of matches, free of charge, but which actually turned out to be a box of staples.  You can’t make this stuff up!

But honestly, once we had spoken to Mark in the morning and figured out how to use the burner properly overnight, the second night we woke to find that we were much, much, warmer.  In fact, when the log burner was going it took about 20 minutes for the Yurt to heat up and you would never have known you were in a Mongolian Yurt in the middle of the Dorset countryside in January!

Additional facilities on-site include a children’s playground, a shared fit pit area and a shared picnic area, all of which would be ideal if you were staying in a larger group.  Caalm Camp does allow hen and stag parties, as well as big family groups but each Yurt is far enough away that you don’t really hear anyone else.

The pathways are also well lit and clearly marked so there’s no worry about losing your way if you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

There is plenty to do in the surrounding area from visiting the beautiful Shaftesbury to taking some local alpacas for a walk and Mark is more than willing to recommend places to go to explore and eat if you need advice from a local.

Overall, our winter glamping experience was a very positive one.  The camp site is well looked after, well thought through and we would definitely recommend a visit, even in winter!

*We were offered a two night stay at Caalm Camp for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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