First of all, I’ve a bit of a cheek claiming I’ve been camping. As this post unfolds, you will see this is camping of a sort, but not as you traditionally know it. It’s a sleeping-under-canvas adventure with enough luxury touches to well and truly smooth off any rough edges.
The Readycamp Experience
The Readycamp offering is a pre-erected safari tent camping experience delivered by The Camping and Caravanning Club. This was my first experience with the C & CC and it turned out that a lot of the assumptions I’d made about the club were wrong.
For example, I thought you had to be a member to use their sites and I thought it was all about seasoned campers and caravanners. This couldn’t be further from the truth- many sites welcome non-members and this is the club, ‘for all campers, however they choose to camp’
We decided to base ourselves at the Chipping Norton site in the Cotswolds. A great base for exploring. Didn’t hurt that this campsite is literally steps away from Diddly Squat Farm– handy for the early morning milk run or an afternoon pint.
After a warm welcome and a fuss-free check in from site staff we were shown to our Readycamp tent. There’s a clue in the name here- everything is ready for you. No pitching up, no hammering pegs. All the preparation is done for you.
The sandy coloured canvas tent complete with a wooden verandah inspired thoughts of grand adventures and drifting about in Out of Africa inspired outfits. Cue me saying things like. ‘Imagine if we were, like, pioneers’ and ‘ We can be like the Famous Five’.
The reality is that these tents are a thoughtfully designed option with some very welcome touches. Like bedside lamps and a heater, should you need it. Really, no roughing it at all.
The tents are divided into two bedrooms and a kitchen/lounge/dining area, sleeping up to six. There’s even a little sofa. The fabric walls of the bedrooms are created with a thick, black out canvas. No early wake up calls due to the light streaming in.
Sleeping arrangements involve a full size double bed, a double with single bunk above and a pull out bed. With mattresses. Bedding is not provided, but I like that. Sleeping bags for them that want them, cosy fleece and vintage wool for me and the Mr.
Spot the ‘his’ and ‘hers’ side of the bed. I like my favourite Ikea pillow, a pillow case with hearts and a hot water bottle. Mr THL: any old pillow and ‘ I can sleep on top of a fuel tank so this will do’.
A kitchen, well equipped. Two hob cooker, fridge with ice box, microwave, kettle, toaster. All the crockery and cutlery. A washing up dish to carry dishes down to the sinks. There’s no running water- cleaning takes place at the wash block, drinking water fetched in a carrier.
That bit feels wilderness-y and adventurous (well, until you remember you have a kettle, electric and all that)
We moved the table and chairs out onto the deck to enjoy the sunny days and warm evenings. There’s something lovely about sitting out, watching the sky get darker with the cosiness of the tent to retreat to.
And that’s the beauty of the Readycamp tent. You get all the lovely bits of camping with none of the effort. It was a fabulous experience, much enjoyed and I whole heartedly recommend it.
This is also a very budget friendly option- our trip broke down to around £20 per head, per night.
Beds and mattresses are provided but no duvets, pillows etc. Pack all your own bedding.
Pack warm things to sleep in, and socks. I like Catherine Tough for cosy socks. Even in August, it can get a bit chilly first and last thing. Especially on a clear skies night. Those nights are great for star gazing though!
There’s no plumbing or running water at the tent, so you use the communal wash block. Take a lightweight washkit and quick dry towel. I pack a cotton Hammam towel, bought mine from Sorbet years ago and it’s still going strong.
All the cups, plates, forks etc are plastic. If that’s going to bother you, pack a mug and a mess kit. I found it a bit strange, I forever associate plastic kitchenware with small children. I’m a grown up, I’ll have a mug please.
Be aware that the club campsites are usually run by a small team and so facilities may close for cleaning. In Chipping Norton, this was 10-12 daily.
Not all Readycamp locations have a shop on site, check when booking. You might have to pack everything you need or factor in a trip to the local supermarket.
The Practical Stuff
Readycamp is delivered by the Camping and Caravanning Club at multiple locations across England, Scotland & Wales. Find all the details here.
You don’t have to be a C & CC member to book, but if you are you can claim a 20% discount.
No pets are allowed in the Readycamp tents. The Wolf went on his own little holiday to the kennels.
Check in is from 17.00, checkout for 10.00 on day of departure and it’s a 3 night minimum stay.
Are you a happy camper, glamper or Champer? Or do you like four walls and an en-suite? Tell me in the comments. If you liked this post, you might also like to read about our camping adventures in the German countryside.