Gandalf the Campervan is back out on the road again after an extended break of non camping, due to increased work load, rising fuel costs, a trip of a lifetime to Peru and family commitments; but an opportunity came up this weekend for us to nip away for the night for a change of scenery. Providing Gandalf passed his MOT on Friday, which he did, with flying colours once again. Well done Gandalf!
Due to the dreaded scheduled mot, we left it very late to book somewhere, but we were also mindful of not wanting to travel too far or to somewhere too expensive. We’re currently chugging through around £130-£150 a week in diesel for work, so our down time miles are being very carefully planned out! And we’re using our electric bikes much more for non work leisure time.
I’d been thinking for a while about how we should perhaps give a Temporary Holiday Site (THS) a go this summer, so when I saw one happening this weekend near the sea in Norfolk, and the weather looked good, I gave the steward managing bookings a call. I couldn’t believe our luck when she said they had room for us- and even better- just £10 for the night.
THS’s are a cross between a pop up campsite and a rally field. They are part of the Camping and Caravanning club and tend to be large fields, with a water tap and an Elsan emptying point and not much else. Those who attend need to have their own facilities member of C&CC. They tend to last just a couple of weeks to a month and are all over the UK, especially in the summer. You can find a list here
We were a little apprehensive about our first try; we are burnt out from a hectic and stressful half term, and although we are normally fairly sociable people- this weekend we needed to sit and read and have some quiet time. We worried that by attending we would need to join in activities etc, and we just weren’t in the mood for that. Still, we decided to give it a whirl, a decision helped by the fact this particular THS was on the coast at picturesque Sea Palling, Norfolk.
We arrived just before lunch, and were greeted by a really friendly steward who checked us in, took our money and told us we were free to pitch up wherever we liked (as long as we were 10 paces from the next unit). No faffing about lining up to pitch markers. And no signs of groups of people sat round campfires.
We found a suitable corner of the field with a terrific view over the corn fields. The high sand dunes were just to our right and in the distance we could see the iconic red and white stripes of Happisburgh lighthouse, just 1 mile or so down the road or beach.
Set up was quick and we were soon saying cheers with a nice cold beer, feeling the stress if he previous weeks beginning to seep away.
We made our way the short distance to the beach and couldn’t get over our luck as we crossed the sand dune. The glorious Sandy beach was practically empty. The stony breakwaters in the sea ahead reminded us of being in Greece.
We settled on the beach for a couple of hours enjoying the lapping of the waves and a couple of cold drinks and our books.
Soon though our bellies started rumbling so we walked about half a mile along the beach towards the main resort of Sea Palling. A small but active seaside village with a bar, fish and chip shop, beach shop, one small amusement arcade and a donut shop. It was a bit fresh on the beach but glorious sunshine.
We enjoyed eating our fish and chip lunch on the beach, before a spot more people watching and reading before making our way back to Gandalf. Where I promptly fell into a deep nap! Perfect. The site was so quiet. All I could hear was the ripple of the corn in front of us in the breeze. Honestly it was just what we needed.
We grabbed showers using our 12v shower and gas kettle combo (no electric here- the so;at pane; was doing well as it was actually quite hot off the beach). Before cooking up delicious steaks and noddles whilst watching the sunset over the field.
Once the sun had set we went inside to continue reading before falling into a heavy slumber after lots of fresh air. The site still was oh so quiet.
Sunday dawned and we were allowed to ‘not rush off’. So we had a lie in, then a full cooked breakfast on the Cadac, before another hour or so on the now much busier beach.
I think we could have stayed all day but we had things to do at home, plus it was verging on a bit warm for Jazz, even with the slight sea breeze. So around midday we made our sad retreat back to Gandalf to pack away and make the short journey home. My goodness what s difference 24 hours can make. We really needed that escape.
We absolutely loved our THS experience. This particular one is located on a rally field of a certified campsite also part of the C&CC network. It’s called ‘Keith Farm’ and looked lovely. The campsite has electric hook ups too and a couple of hard standings too. But for our needs this weekend the THS was just what we needed.
You can find the list of this years THS’s here– but you do need to be a member to see it in full.
We’ve got two more weeks to work, including two days in school during the heatwave… , a family funeral to attend and then 5 weeks of summer fun ahead of us. Some of which will be spent in Gandalf of course. So we look forward to sharing our adventures with you soon.
Until next time