It’s only when you immerse yourself in something that you really find out that there is so much more that you are missing. Now that I own a caravan I am reading blogs and magazines and realising that ‘camping’ isn’t just a type of holiday, it’s a hobby, a pass time, a ‘thing’ that people do out of choice and when you do something out of choice you realise that there is no limit to when you can do it. If you think of camping as just a holiday, then you only think of doing it in the summer, but if you wangle your Christmas holiday right, there is at least two weeks of holiday that you can entertain yourself with a camping trip.
Now that I am reading and speaking more to people on twitter I have become aware that lots of people go away for a few days over the Christmas break, so, not the one to be held back by the weather, I booked two nights away at Delamere Forest Camping and Caravanning Club site in Chester. The site is your usual CCC site with clean facilities, a reception/shop and friendly staff, we had a hard standing pitch with electric hookup and very handily the water point was just opposite. I did a quick count and there were about 30 other caravans and motor homes on the site most of whom had Christmas lights or some form of Christmas decoration.
Delamere Forest Camp Site
Of course we managed to pick the two coldest nights of the year, the frost that we woke up to each morning was thicker each day as it hadn’t thawed from the day before, but actually that was really nice to see for a change. The campsite is nestled between the edge of the forest and a train line, which means if you go one way you get to walk through the forest trails and if you go the other you can catch a train to Chester or Manchester. We did both, walking in the forest we came across the GoApe centre but unfortunately it wasn’t open. There are a lot of pools in the forest so I should imagine it’s teaming with life in the summer, that’s not to say there isn’t anything going on now, lots of people were out walking their dogs or cycling.
Photo: Joe Blackford
The train ride into Chester was busy, so busy that the ticket inspector didn’t get to sell us a ticket before we reached the end of the line, so we had to buy our tickets on the platform. It’s a short(ish) walk into town from the station and when you are there it’s just like any other city, the shops are busy and it’s all a bit sprawling. We made our way down through a Roman garden to the river hoping to have a boat trip, but again it was closed for the winter. We did however find a way up onto the city walls and was able to walk back into town on top of the old wall until we got our bearings again. After something to eat and surprisingly finding bargain school shoes, we headed to the train back to Delamere. We topped the night off with a trip to a pizza place in Runcorn to spend our Christmas vouchers. The trip to Runcorn took us through some major road works but the new CoPilot sat nav app I treated myself to worked amazingly well, more on that in a different post.
Our time at Delamere was short so it was soon time to pack up and leave for home, we didn’t use the awning this time so packing up was a doddle, maybe we will think about leaving the awning behind more and invest in a rollout canopy? Your thoughts are welcome on this please in the comments below. Delamere is only about 53 miles away from our house in Telford so the journey home wasn’t long, but it sure was dirty! I have never seen the van so dirty and oddly it was then back panel that was the worst!
Delamere Forest Train Station
A very dirty caravan
A very clean caravan
So will we do it again? Most definitely but we will probably book more than two nights so we can get around the area better, the days are short in the winter so it’s best to leave yourself plenty of time. Will I wash the van before we go, definitely not, I’ll do that as soon as we get back, if this trip was anything to go by a wash is definitely required. Winter camping brings different practices to your normal routine, things like having to think about keeping the heating ticking over while you are out or overnight and how to deal with the morning condensation (not cracked that one yet!) Also you need to think carefully about what you can do when you are away, we might be of the mind that everything should be open, but the reality is that attractions and things to do shut down over the winter period and that can be challenging when you have kids expecting to be entertained. Should that stop you? Definitely not, I really enjoyed our mini break and I’d do it again this weekend, however I really don’t want to wash the van again so soon!