28 August 2012
This trip to Gulliver's Land camping site is the first where I've taken my children camping without my wife or other family member. It was just me and the two kids aged 7 and 4. The reason that my wife wasn't able to make it was that this was during the school holidays and we each took some time off whilst the other was at work to help with covering childcare during the holidays. I was expecting this to be hard work, which it was, but it was also good fun. At least it must have seamed worth it as I booked another camping trip with just me and the kids almost as soon as we got back.
Before the trip I'd already purchased a new tent for the occasion. Our family tent is the Easy Camp Go Taranto 600 which is difficult for two people to put up together, but would be virtually impossible for just one person. So I bought a Hi-Gear Pitch and Go DS4 4-person pop-up tent, which is quite easy for just one person to erect.
When we arrived at the site we were directed to a couple of suitable pitches on the site. The pitch we decided on was close to both the children's playground and the toilet and shower block. It did mean it was a popular route for people walking past, but that was a small price for the convenience of the toilets and playground being close by. We were close enough to the playground so that I could keep an eye on them when cooking, although I also gave my daughter a two-way radio (Binatone 750) to save me having to shout. My children enjoyed the playground, which was a great way to keep them occupied.
The part of the site we were in was occupied by families with children, which is something that is done intentionally. The families around were all friendly and it felt a safe and friendly site.
There is an excellent toilet and shower block, which also included an indoor washing room, a laundry room and a games room with a table football table. This was modern and clean and tidy. There are two family rooms within the shower room, which are locked by a combination lock. The combination needs to be requested from reception. We used the family room for our showers on the first morning which made it much easier. On the second morning there were more on the site and the family rooms were in use. We therefore used the normal showers, which was much less convenient as they were too small to share the showers, and the dressing area in the showers is very small.
It is only a short walk to Gullivers Land, Splash Zone and Gullivers Dinosaur and Farm Park. It would however have been useful to have been provided with a map; as walking via the main entrance to the camp site was much further than a direct path which went from near the children's playground to the entrance to Splash Zone and the Dinosaur and Farm Park, and then just a little further to Gulliver's Land.
We had a BBQ on the first night, but on the second we went out to The Barge Inn at Woolstone. Which is a good pub serving good food and real ales, about 10 to 15 minutes walk away. We were recommended this pub by another camper who said that the other nearby pub (opposite the main road entrance to the Splash Zone and Dinosaur and Farm Park) was normally very busy with day visitors leaving Gullivers. The Barge Inn is found by walking out of the camp site entrance and then onto a footpath on the left, just after the pavement for the road. The path runs parallel with the road for a short while, but when the road bends to the left the footpath goes straight on.
The main reason for going to this particular site was to visit Gullivers Land, which is a children's theme park we've visited before. My last review of Gullivers Land at Milton Keynes was about 5 years ago, here's the updated review - Gullivers Land Theme Park in Milton Keynes. This was also our first visit to Gullivers Splash Zone and Gullivers Dinosaur and Farm Park. There was a special offer ticket for two days park-hopping, which does work out quite good value, but if you don't want to visit both parks on the same day then it's cheaper to buy the standard tickets. In our case we went to Splash Zone on the day we arrived for an hour or so, then a full day at Gullivers Land on the following day and then just over half a day, on the last day, at the Dinosaur and Farm Park which worked out really well.
The Camping and Caravan club charges based on the number of people staying rather than by pitch. They don't charge for under 5's so only paying for one adult and one child meant it was cheap to camp there. It would be more expensive for a large family where everyone was camping together.
We had a great two nights camping and would recommend the camp site and the Gullivers attractions for families with children.