It all began when we left our jobs and went traveling for a year, two months of which we spent in New Zealand, living in our first van – Foxy a 1973, VW bay. We fell in love with the trials and tribulations of owning a vintage VW. Foxy had many faults, when it rained her horn continuously sounded, we got the key jammed in the ignition so had to have the steering column replaced, then the steering wheel jammed and we could only turn right and go around in circles, needless to say we familiarised ourselves with many garages in NZ. We also stayed at loads of campsites over those 2 months, some terrible, some great. We started compiling a wish list for our perfect campsite, with the vague idea that one day we would own our own campsite.
10 years ago, we returned to the UK and immediately set out to buy a VW campervan. T25’s were quite unfashionable then. We really wanted a bay, but with limited budget a T25 seemed like a good option. We bought Vinnie, a 1981 Aircooled, VW T25, Richard Holdsworth conversion, from a couple of Ozzie backpackers. They’d named him after their Uncles van in Australia and had travelled round the France and the UK in him for a couple of years. Apparently he had only had one previous owner a man who had used him for fishing trips, but then went blind and kept him in a garage for years. Despite the fact Vinnie wouldn’t start when we went for the test drive, we just got a good feeling and bought him on the spot. Our first camping trip resulted in being towed out the campsite by the AA, we really got our money’s worth from the breakdown cover in those first few years.
The idea always was that Vinnie was a stop-gap until we had got settled and could afford a bay. But very quickly we just totally fell in love with him and realised we would do anything in our power to keep him in our lives forever (aka spending insane amounts of money on keeping him going)
Along the way we have acquired our crazy, lovely, dog, Ruby, a Labrador/Springer cross and our equally lovely and crazy toddler, Sunny. So all campsites we go to allow dogs, vans and kids.
Our ultimate campsites are :
- slightly wild, with no formal pitches
- great views
- walks directly from campsite (preferably all on footpaths not roads)
- pub in walking distance
- we love a beach and a sea view
- we love a hot shower, but often the best places have very little in the way of facilities, so we are happy with that too.
We spend the majority of weekends in the summer camping in Vinnie and do a 2 week road trip every year. Next year we are fulfilling a long time dream of living in Vinnie for 3 months. Along the way we have done loads of research and discovered some pretty amazing places to wake up in. So would love to share them with our campsite reviews, also a bit of info on work we’ve had done to Vinnie and maybe the odd one of our favourite camping recipes.
Zoe & Josh