I’ve always loved camping. From the ripe old age of 16 when we used to set up camp in Eskdale, banging out the latest rave tunes from our trusty battery operated CD player, telling silly ghost stories around the camp fire and giggling ourselves to sleep as we recalled anecdotes from the day. I’ve always loved the sense of freedom camping provides. Just friends, fresh air- and in our case generally a whole lot of booze!!
When my friend Anna suggested taking the babies on a camping holiday to Dorset, I jumped at the chance. We’re yet to take Ettie away on her first family holiday and with the house still chugging away slowly, we’re not sure when this will be so we were more than happy to plan a little staycation to Dorset.
Now other than our weekend jaunts to the Lake District as teenagers, the majority of my camping experience has been at music festivals, opting to do away with as many creature comforts as possible if it meant I could carry more booze on my back! If you’ve ever done the hike from the car parks to the camping fields at Glastonbury, then you’ll know exactly what I mean!!
This trip was not like that! This was proper adult camping with stoves and tables and duvets, the works!!
We went as a group of eight, three couples, two babies and a sausage dog! The men whole heartedly throwing themselves into the role of hunter gatherer, cooking bacon over a burning flame and continually positioning windbreaks to maximise comfort.
Eweleaze Farm is located on the cliff tops just outside Weymouth meaning it has amazing sea views from most of the site. The farm only opens its gates to campers for four weeks of the year meaning spaces sell out quickly and there is a real bohemian vibe about the place.
There are many things which make Eweleaze unique. Camp fires are allowed next to the tents with fire wood being sold in the local farm shop. Campers can park right next to their chosen spot on most of the fields, without having any space restrictions as to the size of the area they wish to call home, and there are numerous activities available for children including a craft tent, kayak tours and storytelling area.
The centre of the site is home to a farmyard housing tame pigs, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ponies and alpacas for the children to see and touch and there are a whole range of eateries selling home farmed organic produce such as beef and lamb from the farm, a bakery, patisserie, ice cream shop and pizza van . There is even a sauna and Turkish bath area!
The site also has access to its own private beach with two pontoons which you can swim out to. Its a shingle beach with quite a sharp incline down to the water so remember to bring appropriate footware, Being part of the Jurassic Coast the scenery is beautiful with views all around the cove to Weymouth.
We spent our first night setting up camp, cooking a massive chilli for dinner and getting the babies to bed! They were so excited with all the commotion it took us ages, but the look on Etties face when she realised we were all sleeping together made it all worthwhile. She was fascinated by everything.
True to British summer tradition it rained the first night so we piled into one of the tents and played camp games trying to avoid drips from the precariously positioned poles which were making make shift shelters!
The next morning we awoke to bright blue skies!!! The boys cooked us up a full English Breakfast on the camp fire while the girls went and washed the pots from the night before (no stereotypes here!!) There are a number of pot washing sinks around the site with access to hot water, but remember to take a tea towel and washing up liquid!
After breakfast the girls negotiated an hours free time to go down to the beach and have a look around. The views out from over the campsite were stunning. We took the steps down to the sea and had a walk along the beach then came back via the farmyard area to get a fresh juice and check out the times for Yoga the next morning.
When we returned the babies we’re just waking from their morning naps so we got them ready and had a chilled out morning relaxing around the camp. I took Ettie down to the farmyard to see the animals and Stu and the boys set up a make shift cricket pitch and batted around a few balls.
By early afternoon the clouds started re-appear so we decided to take a walk around the cove to the Smugglers Inn and get some food.
The walk was sooo pretty! It was hard work going up and down the hills, especially with the babies in the backpacks, but also so worth it! The views out of the coastline were spectacular and the weather held out so we managed to take some lovely photos. People are always so friendly out in the countryside! We had booked a table so walked quite quickly on the way there and it took about an hour.
The Smugglers Inn was a traditional English country pub with its own stream outside and oak beams on the inside. It had been modernised in recent years which was a bit of a let down as I feel it might have lost some of its original character, but the food was good and service was friendly so it was ideal for what we were looking for.
We walked a bit slower on the way home to take in the scenery, but Ettie found it all a bit much and fell asleep in the carrier!
Not wanting her to hurt her neck, Stu and I stopped off at the beach on the way back to camp and woke Ettie to play with the shingle stones! She loved throwing them up in the air and seeing them come back down again! I remember one of her first giggling fits was in reaction to Stu doing the same thing with a cricket ball! Maybe she’s destined to be a cricketer – or she could just find sport all a bit ridiculous like me!
Night two was spent toasting marshmallows on the campfire looking up at the sky watching a comet show and counting the number of shooting stars we could find! Sounds romantic but I lost and only managed to see three so enough said about that the better 😉
We struck lucky again on the third day waking up to yet more blue skies!! So the girls wangled another hours free time nipping off down to the sea for a sea swim. We swam all the way out to both pontoons and had a much needed break relaxing in the sun, even stopping off at the Turkish baths on the way back to camp.
That afternoon the group divided as we decided to do our own thing, myself and Stuart opting to take Ettie to the sandy beach in Weymouth. It was only a ten minute drive away past the Osmington White Horse on the hill side, but with it being Sunday it took us another fifteen minutes to find a parking spot.
Weymouth was so pretty. Its a proper little fishing town set in the heart of Dorset, with a beautiful wide sandy beach set against a backdrop of lovingly preserved Georgian houses. It has as much to offer as any foreign holiday, if not more.
We bought Ettie a bucket and spade and took her down to the sand to show her how to build sand castles! She was fascinated, but didn’t like it when the wet sand stuck to her fingers and interfered with her munching on a carrot stick!!
We had a dip in the sea then had a lovely lunch at one of the local cafes on the seafront. There really is nothing better than sitting watching the world go by at the seaside! Once lunch was finished, we headed back to camp to get ready for dinner, grabbing a slice of pizza from the pizza van on the way. We bathed the babies in our inflatable duck which had been doubling up as a fridge – very practical. Then once they were asleep we set up the ‘Games Area’ for the evenings entertainment!
On the Bill tonight was Glow in the Dark Beer Pong and that Speak Out game with the mouthpiece that stops you moving your lips and is absolutely hilarious!! – especially following a few wines and glasses of local scrumpy cider!
We had a bit of a lazy morning on our final day, slowly packing up camp and munching on any food that was left over. The men had another game of cricket whilst I played in the hay bales with Ettie.
We stopped off at Corfe Castle on the way home and had Cream Tea in a cafe overlooked by the castle ruins. So very British! We had a wander around the village which was beautiful with amazingly well preserved thatched roof buildings and lots of independent retailers. Then we walked up to the castle grounds to admire the impressive views out over the valley.
All in all an incredibly successful holiday, and all on our back door in lovely England!! I’d never really thought about holidaying in England before – other than the odd weekend city break or hen party. But its definitely something we’ll be doing again and we’ll most definitely be making our trip to Eweleaze an annual event!