WITH many of us planning staycations in the UK this year, one family from Newport got the chance to try out camping for the first time.

Danielle Walsh and Jason Pritchard were the lucky winners of a competition run by GO Outdoors and the Camping and Caravanning Club and - along with their four children (triplets Zac, Ashley, Sophie and eldest child Joshua) and TV presenter Julia Bradbury - got to spend five nights camping at Drayton Manor Camping and Caravanning Club Site in the West Midlands.

The family had never been camping before and Mr Pritchard has been looking for a holiday that would keep his children away from electronic devices.

Mr Pritchard said: “They (the children) haven’t asked for anything with a screen once, they’ve loved it.

“I just wanted to show them there was a bigger world out there, away from a screen”.

The competition was part of the annual National Camping and Caravanning Week celebrations.


The Camping and Caravanning Club has said pitch bookings are up 48 per cent compared with what they would normally expect for the time of year, and its new member recruitment was the highest ever for the month of April.

They have speculated this is due to more people looking to holiday within the UK this year because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Julia Bradbury has been president of The Camping and Caravanning Club since 2013 and accompanied the family on their trip.

“We had such fun during the week - games on the green, forest bathing, archery – simple outdoor activities,” she said.

“Lockdown has really reminded us of the essential value of ‘Vitamin N’ – the great nature boost – and we want people to enjoy the outdoors responsibility and safely.

“The club has worked so hard to make sure that all of its sites are operating in line with the latest guidance and ready to welcome campers back – new or established – to have a summer of fun after the crazy past 15 months.

“They’ve also got some great sites in unusual places, slightly off the beaten track where there is good last-minute availability”.

Mr Pritchard and his family are already planning their next camping trip.

“We’ve already talked about where to go next, and we’ll probably head towards west Wales,” he said.

“This week has been great, and we’ve all enjoyed trying our hand at pizza making and den building.

“Camping is definitely something we’ll carry on doing”.

Ms Bradbury put together a list of her camping tips:

  1. Dress for all weathers. Think about a lightweight, quick-dry, waterproof jacket, T-shirts, fleeces and extra layers and socks for chilly nights.
  2. Make sure you have the technical know-how to properly use your kit. If you can, have a practice in the garden before you go to make sure everything works and no bits are missing.
  3. The Camping and Caravanning Club offers ‘Ready Camp’ safari-style tents around its campsite network where everything is provided, except bedding and towels.
  4. Make sure you have basic food such as cereal and snacks to keep you going while you set up camp.
  5. If you can’t get away, don’t forget you can camp anywhere – in the kitchen, living room or garden. Ms Bradbury said: "In the past I’ve done some amazing stunts to raise awareness, camping on a barge or on top of the O2, but the most fun I have is at home with the kids in the back garden."

For more information visit campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk