THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE UK… ISLE OF HARRIS

My number 1 in the Sussex Campers ‘Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the UK’ is the amazing Isle of Harris, situated in the outer Hebrides chain of Islands, off the West coast of Scotland.

There is an incredible diversity in the landscape, from the mountains in the North, to the numerous, unspoilt beaches in the South, the dramatic, rocky west coast and all of the glorious cliffs, moorlands, lochs and meadows. The spectacular scenery in this tranquil, idyllic getaway will really take your breath away. Although the furthest place away in my top 10 for most people, it certainly seems the most worthy of the long trip up there!

Make sure you visit the magnificent beaches of Scarista and Luskentyre, and explore the Harris Hills to discover the castles nestled in lonely bays. Get involved with some salmon and trout fishing, and a game of tennis or golf. Take a cruise to St Kilda, and the other remote islands of the Hebrides, which has been recognised as a wildlife and marine life habitat of world importance, with many different animals and plants including puffins, gannets and guillemots. Whilst sailing the ocean you are also likely to see whales, sharks, dolphins and grey seals. All of the Hebrides itself are great for many activities like sailing, sea kayaking, windsurfing and kite surfing and with the most consistent surf in Europe, the islands are a great spot for surf enthusiasts. Divers can explore a paradise of reefs, caves and forest kelps, all in beautifully clean and clear waters. The Hebrides have a wonderful, unique and spiritual civilised culture with vibrant and lively festivals, the friendly locals will make your stay all the more enjoyable. Find more info on festivals and things to do at visithebrides.com

 

 

 

Travel up through the lovely city of Glasgow, cross the Skye bridge onto the Isle of Skye and take a Calmac ferry from Uig to Tarbert. I would recommend visiting in June or July as they are the hottest months, with the longest days of sun and lowest average rainfall. There are two main campsites on the adjoining Island of Lewis that would be perfect for a trip in your campervan; Laxdale Holiday Park and Eilean Fraoich Camp Site with all that you would need from electric hook ups to clean, hot showers.

Embark on an adventure to the Isle of Harris in the Hebrides for an experience that you will never forget!

Make your holiday how you want it – that is what’s great about having a campervan- you can tailor make it to what you want! Our holidays mostly revolve around our campervan these days – flexible, fun, and family all at once! That’s why we founded Sussex Campers a few years back.

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IN AT NUMBER 2… THREE CLIFFS BAY

Here is the next instalment of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK, to give you some ideas for trips away, or maybe even a tour of the UK in your campervan.

Three Cliffs bay, on Gower Peninsular in South Wales, is set in a valley, with huge limestone cliffs towering over the golden sand, surrounded by salt marshes and sand dunes, with a river running through the middle. In 2006 the BBC declared Three Cliffs bay to be ‘Britain’s Best Beach’ and it has since been nominated for Britain’s best view, and once you have visited, it is easy to see why.

As the bay is not that easy to access, it has remained unspoilt, and is a popular spot for horse riders and surfers. The three cliff provide a great challenge for climbers, and walkers and visitors get their fair share of a challenge with the steep sand dunes and cliff top walks. Walk through an archway in the cliff face, leading to the lovely Pobbles beach, or cross the stepping stones to the west side of the river, but make sure to return to the main beach before the tide comes in! Whilst visiting the bay, explore the eerie ruins of the 12th Century Pennard Castle, rumoured to be the home to many magical fairies.
Visit the nearby city of Swansea for a touch of cosmopolitan lifestyle, with its array of bars, restaurants, cafes, shops and museums, just a small selection of what this Welsh jewel has to offer.

The Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park, a fantastic campsite overlooking the bay itself, is open all throughout the year, offering electric pitches, an on site shop, a toilet and shower block and laundry facilities. It has, in the past, won the title for “Number One View from a Campsite in the World” so is a fantastic place to stay.

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OUR NUMBER 3… ST IVES

Here is my number 3 review of the Sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK, giving you ideas for places that I think would be worth while for you to visit in your campervan or car.

No top ten would be complete without St Ives in Cornwall, as it feels like you are transported to another world. It won ‘Best UK Seaside Town’ in 2012 and 2011 from the British Travel Awards and has been listed as one of the 32 most beautiful bays in the World. It is clear to see why, with the fine golden sands and the crystal clear waters- possibly the cleanest bathing waters in Western Europe.

Embark on a boat trip to Seal Island to see the grey Atlantic Seals in their natural habitat and spot some porpoises, basking sharks and dolphins on the way, or choose from one of the many different types of boat trips that may suit you, weather you just want to relax or do some birdwatching or fishing. Take surf lessons on Porthmeor Beach, one of the prettiest beaches in Cornwall, or relax on one of the many other beautiful sandy beaches in the area. The Loft Restaurant and Terrace has amazing food on offer, cooked with local produce and fresh seafood or experience the culinary delights of one of the many other restaurants, bars and cafes. Visit the Sloop Inn, one of the oldest inns in Cornwall ‘circa 1312’, on the Wharf to experience some real charm and character.

There are many other interesting sights, within Cornwall including the famous Eden Project, beautiful Trebah Garden, a sub-tropical garden with a coastal backdrop, and Carnglaze Slate Caverns and Woodland Garden.

Ayr Holiday Park is the closest campsite to the centre of St Ives, and so boasts the perfect location to explore the local area, as well as great facilities including electric hook up, shower and toilet block and a laundrette. There are more lovely holiday parks and campsites further out of St Ives itself, but still near the beach, with fabulous facilities like swimming pools and bars and restaurants, if that takes your fancy, for example, St Ives Bay Holiday Park and Polmanter Touring Park.

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IN AT NUMBER 4… THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

Here is my number 4 in the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK, to give you some ideas for fantastic trips away in your campervan… the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland.

It is thought that the cooling of some molten lava millions of years ago created the fascinating shapes of the Giant’s Causeway or, alternatively, that a giant ripped up the rocks as he ran along the coast… whichever you believe, this is a truly spectacular sight. For something really special, visit at sunset to catch the sea mists rolling in for a magical view. Once you have seen this coastline for yourself, it is easy to understand why the Causeway Coastal route, from Belfast to Londonderry, has been voted one of the top 5 tourist drives in Europe.

When you have seen seen the Giant’s Causeway, visit Portcoon, with its famous sea cave, made popular with tales of smuggling and ghostly pipers, or take a ride on the old Causeway Tramline. If you are feeling daring, take the coastal footpath to the exhilarating, and vertigo inducing, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Go over to Carrick island with its diverse birdlife and amazing uninterrupted views across to Scotland, making it well worth the scary walk!
There are so many activities to choose from in the area including horse trekking, sailing, sea and lake fishing, surfing, and coasteering. Dunluce Castle, situated on a cliff edge, is definitely worth a visit as it is surrounded by jaw dropping scenery, and gives you an insight into medieval Irish life.

The coastline, dotted with fishermen’s cottages, small sheltered harbours, isolated ruins and shoreline fields, reminds you of the hard life farmers and fishermen endured throughout history, and a new state of the art visitors centre is due to be opened in September 2012, which will allow you to really delve into understanding the history and culture of the area, and give you tips for how to explore it for yourself.

Ballyness Caravan park is ideally located for you to explore the Causeway Coast with all the usual facilities you could need, including electric, water and drainage hook ups, free hot showers and laundry room, as well as internet access and wifi.

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OUR NUMBER 5… STANAGE EDGE

Here is the next instalment in the countdown of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK to give you some ideas for short trips away or perhaps even a UK tour in your campervan.

Stanage Edge is the largest and most impressive of the gritstone edges in the Peak District. The beautiful backdrop and spectacular cliff edges has meant that it has become a famous location for rock climbing, and a popular spot for walkers. Picturesque views across the surrounding moors and countryside make Stanage edge well worth visiting, and many agree as it has even been featured in productions of two romantic, epic classics; Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. See if you can spot the Highland Cattle on one of your walks, and discover to remains of the Long Causeway Roman road.

There are so many historic building in the area that I love to visit, and that I think you would like too including, historic North Lees Hall, pretty Chatsworth House and Gardens and handsome Hardwick Hall, which was featured as the Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter!

The Heights of Abraham is one of my favourite family days out in the area, with cable cars transporting you up the beautiful hillside to the Hilltop Park, with great play areas for the kids, as well as historic buildings and fascinating cavern tours, which allow you to retrace the steps of the underground miners, through passages that date back millions of years. Whilst your in the area see the residents of Meerkat Mansion and stunning falconry displays, as well as many other lovely amimals, at the Tropical Butterfly House, take a trip to the local cities of Sheffield or Nottingham, or experience thrills at the nearby Alton Towers.

Greenhills Holiday Park is in a great location for you to explore the Peak District, and is situated near Bakewell of Bakewell Tarts! It has all the facilities that you could need, as well as a cafe and shop on site, kids playground, evening entertainment and internet access.

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CAMPERVANNING TIPS

One of the great things about having a campervan is that you get to explore the great outdoors whenever you feel like it, as well as having some home comforts wherever you are in the world.

With the luxury of being able to step outside straight into fields and onto beaches comes the small downside that there is lots of muck you and the kids might bring into the camper. The benefit of having a small campervan so you can easily get around anywhere you like, without having to worry about turning circles, height or weight restrictions, will mean that there is limited kitchen space for the preparation of fresh food. With the privilege of having running water in your own vehicle comes the need to utilise less water than you may be used to, in order to save supplies in between water tank fills ups. These few worries will easily be wiped away with a few tips from us campervan lovers over at Sussex Campers:

Help, I am running out of water!

You can have lots of different sizes of water tanks in your campervan but you will still probably need to get used to using a lot less water than you do at home- (it may even make you realise just how much water you waste at home)

For cleaning the camper

Make sure you use hot water and antibacterial washing up liquid when cleaning up after food preparation and meal times but if the rest ofyour campervan gets mucky, you don’t necessarily need much water to keep it clean- you just need a few good tools and antibacterial products.

Have packs of antibacterial wipes like Dettol or similar around so you can wipe down sides, cabinets, floors and any spillages.
Dettol antibaterial spray and kitchen roll
Get a handy spray floor mop or similar from somewhere like JML so you can easily wipe the floor down quickly, perhaps once a day, and they are usually very easy to store.

For you and the kids

Take packets of face wipes and refreshing body wipes.
Stock up on the antibacterial hand gel that doesn’t require water to use in between proper hand washes. Make sure you wash your hands with hot water and antibacterial hand was when you go to the loo or prepare food.
Take packets of face wipes and refreshing body wipes.
Keep a few bottles of drinking water as well as your water tank in case you run out and need a drink.

Help! Where do I prepare my food?

The great thing about a campervan is having your own kitchen- being able to cook whatever you want and stop for a cup of tea whenever you want. You will, however, be unlikely to have a kitchen in a campervan that is as big as your one at home but you can still easily cook pretty much whatever you want!

Chicken- Chicken scares some people but as long as you are careful and clean up properly, like you would at home, you will be fine.

Washing up and cleaning after food prep is the one place that I wouldn’t skimp on water. Boil a kettle and mix with a bit of cold water and washing up liquid to wash up everything you have used for cooking. Clean down the sides with antibacterial spray too.

If you have a small kitchenette area go for the two topped kitchen unit that we install so that you can have half of your lid down over the hob or sink to create more work surface space when you are cooking or washing up.

 

With all the food preparation you could always do some preparation at home before you leave eg chopping up vegetables, making salads or marinating meats, and then put in tupperware boxes or freezer bags and keep in your fridge or freezer. Marinating the meats before you go away also means you will get some really, lovely juicy food- pop it on a BBQ for a really tasty treat!

General Tips

Don’t leave any food out uncovered as this will attract flies.

If you are reheating food, reheat once, make sure it is piping hot and then throw away left overs (I doubt there will be left overs where you are having nice long walks!)

Make sure that you have chemical loo cleaner, available from most camp shops, rather than just ordinary toilet cleaner.

Change your hand towels more often than you would at home, take one for every day and a couple spare, or enough to last until you do a big wash.

Use this simple tip: take your shoes off before going in the camper. Have a special shoe bucket and indoor slippers/ shoes- this will minimise the need for cleaning inside.

IN AT NUMBER 6… WASTWATER LAKE

To make sure that you are never short on places to visit if you fancy a weekend away, or a longer trip or tour in your campervan, here is number 6 in the countdown of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK… Wastwater Lake in The Lake District.

Wastwater Lake is a beauty of great proportions, as it is the deepest lake in Britain, the bottom being lower than sea level, and is surrounded by some very high mountains, including the highest in England, Scafell Pike. Wastwater offers some of the most spectacular views, often voted as the best in the UK.

Wastwater and the town of Wasdale are very secluded, perfect for a getaway retreat, with miles and miles of walkways to immerse yourself in. Take care if you chose to walk around the whole lake with ‘The Screes’, a ledge of thousands of fragments of broken rock, on the South East side being quite treacherous. If avoided, the rest of the walks are really pleasant, and safe.

If you need a bit of a rest after all of the activities you can take part in at near Wastwater like canoeing, gorge scrambling and rock climbing, visit the nearby coastal town of Ravenglass with its pretty shingle beach overlooked by lovely fishermen’s cottages or the lovely sandy beaches at Drigg and Silecroft. Muncaster Castle is great for a family day out with plenty of history and some great events year round, and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway has lots of charm with steam trains running daily through the vast picturesque countryside.

The National Trust campsite at Wasdale, nestled under the Scafell mountain range, offers the perfect retreat if you want some peace and quiet and a great base to explore Wastwater and the surrounding area, The nearby Wasdale Head Inn has fantastic pub grub, perfect after a long day exploring the magnificent countryside.

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MY NUMBER 7… THE SHROPSHIRE HILLS

To give you lots of ideas for spectacular places to go away to, for a weekend, or on tour in your camper van or car, I am carrying on with my reviews of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK.

The Shropshire Hills, an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, has always been one of my favourite places in the UK. There are hundreds of miles of walkways and bridle paths for you to explore amidst the lovely, vast rolling hills. The scenery acts as a stunning backdrop to a great way of life, with various activities and festivals, lovely locals and great food.

There is so much history and heritage in the area to discover; “revel in the nostalgia of costume, film and pop culture, food and drink, shopping, sport or travel” in ‘The Land of Lost Content’, a fascinating museum set over three floors in the old town hall.; and visit the Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, to see what life was like on the Shropshire Hills at the turn of the century.

Shropshire has many diverse and bustling market towns, with Ludlow said to be one of England’s finest. It is easy to see why the area is renowned for amazing food; with great markets, independent butchers and specialist food shops all selling fresh, local produce, so make sure that you taste all that they have to offer.

My tips to you: check to see if any festivals are happening when you visit so you can really get involved with local life, and if visiting between mid July and mid September take a trip to the fantastic maize maze, set on eight and a half acres of farmland with 5 miles of walking paths, and lots of fun guaranteed. Also take a trip to Ironbridge, said to be the birthplace of industry with the first cast iron bridge, and wander round the recreated Victorian town.

Fox Holes Castle Camping, a ten minute walk from Bishops Castle market town, is a perfect base for exploring the Shropshire Hills, by foot, bike, rail or camper. Visit the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms to take advantage of the wealth of local knowledge, to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful area.

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MY NUMBER 8… WISTMAN’S WOOD

To give you ideas for spectacular places to go away to, for a weekend, or on tour in your camper van, I am carrying on with reviews of the sussex campers top 10 most beautiful places in the UK. In at number 8 is Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor.

Enter the mystical world of the ‘Wood of the Wisemen’, an ancient forest in Devon, said to be the most haunted part of Dartmoor. The silhouettes of the stunted and gnarled oak trees, with their finger like branches, entwine against the backdrop of the beautiful moors, creating an eerily enchanting atmosphere. If stories of the supernatural don’t put you off, then this is a great place to visit! Thousands of visitors flock to see the sites of the Wistmans Wood, situated on the slopes of the west dart river, with fantastic walking and cycling trails all around the moors.

Park near the Two Bridges Hotel, close to Princetown on the B3357, which runs between Tavistock and Ashburton, and embark on a journey to the mysterious wood. Moss covered boulders line the forest floor so take care if you dare to enter, or just walk the path along the top of the woods for a safe look in and a stunning picture. From the wood, climb to the summit of Longaford Tor, where you can enjoy a windy, panoramic view of Dartmoor, and take the opportunity to explore the rest of this historical national park.

Nearby, Barley Meadow Camping and Caravanning Site offers a peaceful retreat with easy access to the surrounding Devon area. Along with the standard facilities you would expect to find at an award winning camp site, there are also buses to Okehampton and Exeter right outside, and a local Fish & Chip van which stops on site. Enjoy local produce from the on site shop and nearby Inns, horse ride on the moors, or take a trip to one of the beautiful beaches of South Devon.

If you are travelling to the Dartmoor area this summer, be sure to stop at the Wistmans wood- But remember that it is best to visit during daylight hours if you want to avoid the ghostly goings on and the roaming ‘wisht’ hounds…

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