Earlier this month, the family and I went on our annual camping trip with our Leamington friends. After last year's bone-breaking 10-hour car ride to the Lake District, our friends took pity on us and we all agreed upon Dorset as our destinations. After packing the car to the gills and a speedy two-hour ride, we arrived in Poole.
Upon arrival at South Lytchett Manor, I was impressed at how easily it was to check in. We then had someone personally show us to our pitch and we got to unpacking our car. Although we liked the Low Wray campsite last year (our pitch was lakeside so it was lovely), we did not enjoy having to park away from our pitch. It just made life a bit more time-consuming when it came to unpacking and packing. Our pitch was next to a water tap, which was also quite handy when it came to cooking. Though it was a bit annoying as people kept walking by our pitch to fill up their water containers.
South Lytchett Manor also accepts motorhomes, and they have caravans and sweet little Romany caravans to rent. But we have bought this camping gear and are determined to get our money's worth. This year we got a few new items including a bench table and seats and an electric coolbox. You can pay for electric hook-up at the campsite, so we thought we would get it and make life a bit easier. This meant that I could bring my straightening iron - oh happy days! The campsite also had the cutest red phone box that they used as a library (one of those 'leave a book, take a book'). And there is a playground, though the time we went it was heaving and we were the only adults there. The campsite wasn't that picturesque but it is a very practical campsite.
Our pitch was convenient as it wasn't far to walk to the well-maintained toilets and showers (and they have family/disabled rooms where you can take all your kids for a private shower rather than squeezing into a small shower cubicle). There is also a games room and laundry room, neither of which we used. The camp shop was well-stocked and sold fresh bread and fresh croissants in the morning, amongst other things. And while Husband cooked most of our dinners, we ate at the local pub on the last night (the campsite gives campers a voucher for a bottle of wine per couple when ordering dinner there, which is delicious).
Regular readers will know that I am not a natural camper. I am, however, a natural at a posh hotel (I will even go down to a three-star hotel if necessary). Last year was my first time camping and I agreed to go for two nights. This year I increased it to three nights. All our other friends went for five nights but I would not be swayed. This year, camping did improve on me. Husband and I got two single airbeds after last year's self-inflating-mats almost destroyed my back and hips. I slept much better because of the airbeds. Also, the nights were not as cold in Dorset as they were in Ambleside (where I remember waking up shivering in the early morning). Brrrr.
South Lytchett Manor was a lovely place to camp, and I can't recommend it enough. We would spend the mornings lazily eating breakfast while the children played. Then we'd all go for group outings. There were so many things to do in that part of Dorset. We went to some lovely beaches. But sadly we didn't have enough time to visit Monkey World or go for a boat ride, as we had wanted. I can understand why people would camp for longer when going somewhere with so many attractions. I could definitely see us returning to Dorset for another camping trip, maybe even next time for four nights.