Farewell to Fran the van, and our fave campsites

Fran driving off into the sunset for new some new adventures

So this week we said farewell to our campervan after 4 years and a fair few adventures.  I know it’s just a vehicle, but there is something special about a campervan (this is the first vehicle we’ve ever named, for example) and I think it’s to do with the nature of the time you spend in it.  For us, because we’ve had a car as well, travelling in the van has been all about fun: holidays, trips and weekends away rather than school runs, shopping or club pickups.

Camp is officially complete when the washing line goes up!  Near Lake Garda, summer 2014

To mark this momentous event, I asked the kids for their favourite campsites and this is what they came up with:

1. Booth Farm campsite, Peak District

Our first trip, 2012.  Loved this site — all green rolling hills, a stream and not much else.

2. Mathevies, Dordogne

Chilling at Mathevies with Harry Potter

We spent 10 days at this perfectly formed site at the top of a hill nearish to Sarlat. Full of British kids having a ball, which is why it’s the kids’ fave.  We would have loved it even more if we’d managed to get a pitch slightly away from all the action rather than in the thick of it!

3.  Merendella, Corsica

Such a gorgeous beachy site. Ticks all over the place:  Sea, tick.  Something to jump off into the sea, tick.  Cafe, tick.

4.  Camping Le Calinchiole, Elba


Could this be the best view from a camping pitch EVER?  Okay, so we did have to crash the van to get into it, but it was definitely worth all that paperwork in quadruplicate!
Calinchiole, Elba.

A proper Italian site, this.  No other Brits, seaview pitch, pool and plenty going on (often until WAY after our bed time!)

5.  Llangennith, Rhossili Bay, Gower

Sand dunes, humungous beach, fires and hills nearby — love it here.

The year we went to Italy was HOT so we took as many ferries as possible to avoid long drives with no air-con.  This was taken at Marseilles to go to Bastia, Corsica.  From there we ferried to Elba and then again to Pisa.  

Other favourite destinations have included the Ile de Re via Brittany, the Forest of Dean, the New Forest, the French Alps, Tuscany and Umbria, the Dolomites, the Brecon Beacons and Suffolk. 

For us, the van is the perfect combination of continuous motion (great for Garry and I as we’re all about what’s around the next corner or over the next hill) and familiarity (the kids get a lot out of the routine and regularity of camping so are noticeably more relaxed).
For these reasons, we will definitely have another van in our lives this year.  It might just be a slightly different version!  Poring over the options as we speak…. 


Useful info

We bought and sold our van through Bilbo’s 

Cool Camping is an essential first stop for finding cool sites to stay. We have a couple of books and use the website too


Proud to add the #mondayescapes (from Tin Box Traveller, Mini Travellers, Extraordinary Chaos and Travel Loving Family) badge to this post…



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