Our summer holiday this year needed to be dirt cheap. And the first rule of dirt cheap camping is to avoid sites with lots of facilities. Which we did. So no - no club houses.
We're huge fans of the Cool Camping books and website. They've never let us down when it comes to locating amazing campsites in stunning locations, and this year was no exception. Their recommendations often include small sites and the more quirky. (All our own judgement here - I'm not being paid or sponsored to mention them).
After rejecting a couple of Cool campsites further west into Pembrokeshire on the grounds of cost, we decided upon Skrinkle Bay Campsite.
|Photo swiped from Cool Camping's picture of the campsite |
- that's not our tent.
Near the village of Manorbier, a few miles west of Tenby, it's a cliff top site, with spectacular views of the coastline and the ocean. And all this comes at a price of £8 per night for a small tent, or £10 for a large tent, regardless of the number of occupants. Although camp fires are allowed, the other facilities are few and far between: three loos, a 'cool' shower (appropriately enough for a Cool Camping campsite!) and a water tap. Definitely no club house. And absolutely no wi-fi. At the tail end of Hurricane Bertha, not many campers either. Fantastic! All the more room for the kids to fly the kite and play football.
|Church Doors beach with the little Shoestrings |
frolicking in the waves if you look very closely
And for much of the time we had the nearest beach, Church Doors (which is a few minutes walk down the cliff) all to ourselves.
|The 'Church Doors' rock formation - wow! |
At high tide you can swim through the doors
It was our first visit to this area of Wales and we loved it. There are beautiful beaches (as well as Church Doors and Skrinkle Haven, we visited Tenby, and on the way home, Pendine Sands) and coastal walks along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. This kept us fully entertained for most of our visit.
For a slight variation on the theme of beaches we visited Caldey Island. I would like to think that the kids will remember all the things we learned about the Cistercian (Trappist) monastery (which owns the island) and the fascinating history, however I suspect that the highlight was the return boat trip at low tide, which featured a ride on an amphibious vehicle for part of the journey.
|The Italinate Cistercian monastery on |
Caldey built in the early 20th century
Other top tips for a successful dirt cheap camping holiday
- Keep travel costs down - don't venture too far from home. (We're lucky - for us the Severn bridge is not far; as soon as we're over it we're in a different country and it feels as if we are miles away from home!)
- Acquire camping stuff second-hand. A lot of our gear is second-hand, including our tent (see a picture of our leaky tent here in last year's camping blog post!). And now is a good time to look for stuff in the sales, ready for next year.
- Borrow stuff. Most people's camping kit sits around doing nothing for most of the time. This year we borrowed a top box for the car from our neighbours. And when we were at the campsite someone left their camping chairs by the bin when they left the site so we borrowed those too!
- Our trip was from early Monday to late Friday, so although it felt like nearly a whole week it was actually only four nights. A tenner each for nearly a week's accommodation! Not bad!
- Keep the catering simple - we had a hearty camping breakfast, a light lunch of sandwiches or rolls and usually pasta in the evening.
- Apart from the Caldey Island trip, by picking a location with lots of natural interest, we didn't need to pay for any other days out.
- Ignore the weather forecast - we nearly bottled out of the whole trip when we looked at the weather forecast for our week, but it turned out to be one of the driest (although also the blusteriest) holidays we have had.
- Good old fashioned games are lots of fun. Battle ships was the game of this holiday.
- You're never too old for a bucket and spade. Nearly-14-year-old Daughter begged us for a bucket and spade in Tenby, which provided, perhaps not hours, but many minutes of fun!
- Don't be completely miserly - make sure to budget for the odd ice cream, milkshake or cup of coffee!
Any other tips for frugal camping? Have you been camping this summer - any great locations to share?