Our plan for the first proper trip away was to visit the city of Bath and the surrounding area, so looking at sites to stay nearby we decided to use the Caravan and Motorhome Camping Club site at Longleat. This would give us a base to visit a few places including Bath. We also booked tickets to go to Longleat, the safari and house, and also Cheddar Gorge for later in the week.
We booked it some time ago, so after a very busy week, it was time to get everything ready, checking the car tyres the day before suddenly gave me an issue, I’d been monitoring one of the front tyres that was becoming close to its legal limit, and thought it would be alright. Checking it again and one on the rear I realised I’d be pushing my luck, not only was this one at the 2mm limit so was the rear! And not only that both had some wear on the outer edge making them look worse. I didn’t want to chance it and took the car first thing to get them both changed…we had time as we planned to set off around 10.30 so we wouldn’t turn up before the arrival time, but it still felt like I was cutting it fine only getting it done on the day of departure!
With that done it was time to pack the car and go to the storage site and get the caravan ready, I wished we’d had time in the week, but as I say it was a very busy week. I checked the tyre pressures and had to increase them due to our higher than standard weight plate, 850kg. I used this site to determine what they should be, I then checked the tightness of wheel bolts.
Next loaded up, checked the nose weight, and felt I could go a bit higher so moved a few things forward to get the reading I wanted. Then it was just a case of switching the fridge to battery and checking all the doors were shut, I then locked the door and probably checked it was locked another two times before we set off!
One thing I had done the night before was check the directions to the site, there is a note not to take a very narrow lane, which is the one the sat nav wanted to take us down, so that was a check worth doing!
The journey was trouble free with only a little traffic on the M25 to slow us, we also did a detour round Stone Henge, as the usual queues would have taken some time to get past. My towing confidence definitely improved again, with a few necessary overtakes on the motorway achieved and strictly sticking to the speed limits for towing making it a pleasant journey.
We arrived at the site early afternoon, got checked in quickly and went to choose our pitch, we tried to get one where our awning would be in the sun morning to evening, the problem was there was no sun, just cloud (despite the promise of sun all week from the weather forecast), so we went by the direction of the site map which told us where north was.
We were partially successful, as when the sunshine finally arrived the sun was mostly shining in the right direction, one thing that could have improved it would be where the tree line obscured both the early and late sun, it was only really possible to see this when the sun was shining, but we still sat in the open awning each evening enjoying a sip of wine, chatting or reading or just watching the other campers go about their business.
I can’t fault the site, everything was in good order, pitches all nice and level, and it turned out there was a stream behind our pitch, and a little distance off was the minuture train from Longleat, and best of all you could hear the Sea lions barking occasionally, it made for some pleasant surroundings.
I must admit to being both tired and hungry when setting up and was adding a new annex tent to the side of the awning, I got slightly obsessed with having the awning absolutely perfect and hammering in to the hard ground and pulling the pegs out a few times to correct the shape was taking its toll! With some final determination it all went up and made for a good usable space. Next time I don’t intend to shoot for perfection, just a water and nearly air tight assembly!
As for the shower/loo’s, they were of really high standard, warm and clean, so much so that I looked forward to the stroll across the site in my ‘crocs’ to have a morning wash, not something I’ve thought on previous camping trips, there is nothing like feeling clean. And that’s how caravanning should be, in fact that goes for all the extra facilities you get with a caravan, hot water, heating and so on, and yet sitting effectively outside each evening gives a totally different experience to say a hotel break, you are not slumming it, and these facilities dovetail perfectly with the high quality experience that having a caravan should be.
We visited a number of places whilst in this area, right on our campsite was Longleat House and Safari Park and we took this in on our first full day of the holiday. Next was our visit to the City of Bath. The following day we went to Glastonbury. On our final day we went to Cheddar Gorge, what a great day that was.