Enjoying the great outdoors in the UK can seem like a summer only activity. Once the nights close in and the weather turns cold(er) and wet(ter) the amount of motivation required to get out may seem too high for the return.
"...a great short break won’t need to involve a long flight to another country. It’s right there; on your doorstep."
But get your clothing right and your equipment tuned for winter and the rewards for being outside can be even bigger than during the heady summer months.
One great way to have a break and leave the house is to go winter camping. Here are 5 reasons that will convince you to book your first trip.
1) You don’t have to be cold.
There are so many options for winter camping in the UK now, you don’t have to pitch a tent with freezing fingers to find yourself in a remote location in the beautiful countryside. Choose from a range of heated options including pods, bell tents, yurts, tipis and mini log cabins and the best bit, being outside in the winter weather, will be all the more enjoyable. The site PitchUp is a great tool to find a suitable location and it allows you to filter by these winter friendly options.
2) You’re basically already outside.
One of the hardest things to do in the winter is to drag your cosy behind off the sofa, into some thermals and open the front door. With winter camping you’re already half way there. You’ll be closer to nature, and after a good night’s sleep you’ll be ready to leave your accommodation and step out into the world. After a short while the little rain that would put you off at home after a hard day of work seems less significant and becomes part of the adventure.
3) It’s great value.
Heated winter camping options are not super cheap with prices ranging from about £20 to £100 per night. However that’s cheaper than a good hotel and you get a great location, a lot more privacy and a feeling of being closer to nature. Combined with the fact you can be self-sufficient with food, cooking what you choose on a gas stove, and can bring your own alcohol (which will easily remain cold outside) you save a lot on bar and restaurant bills.
4) You earn your evening.
So exploring nature is easier when you’re winter camping, but the weather stays the same. There is a good chance you’ll get cold and wet (not unlike the British summer).
"...look back on your day’s adventure really feeling like you’ve earned the right to veg out."
But pack the right protective clothes for the day and get stuck into blood pumping activities like mountain biking, running or cycling and you’ll soon be grateful for a cool breeze. At the end of the day you can sit by a fire or heater, with a hot drink while cooking some tasty food, and look back on your day’s adventure really feeling like you’ve earned the right to veg out.
5) You’re already there.
There are so many options for winter camping in the UK that chances are you’re no more than an hour away from a good one. Often you’ll find sites popping up around great outdoor adventure areas giving you chance to hike, mountain bike on trails, cycle in the hills or run along rivers. There are so many dotted around our tiny country that a great short break won’t need to involve a long flight to another country. It’s right there; on your doorstep. Take a short drive or a quick train ride and you’ll be surrounded by the best Britain can offer when it comes to outdoor beauty on a crisp winter’s day.
So put your tent away by all means, but keep your sleeping bag, head torch and camping stove handy and there’s still a chance to use it even at this time of year.
What we did recently. Our last trip was to West Stow pods. The pods are essentially mini log cabins in the middle of the woods in Suffolk. We went in December when it was wet and very cold and spent the days walking around the local area and thrashing about the muddy trails of Thetford Forest Mountain Bike Centre. The accommodation was warm and comfortable and the owners were very welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable. It’s well worth a visit that will allow you some quiet time and fresh air in beautiful, peaceful surroundings.
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