This summer Hubby put a budget away so that we could go on some mini breaks. It was so exciting to have the chance to pick pretty much anywhere. Hubby randomly decided that Glamping would be a fun idea and found availability at Chalke Valley Camping in Salisbury and so we booked to stay for two nights. Unfortunately the journey down there was absolutely atrocious. It was the first weekday of the school holidays which clearly meant that everybody else was travelling too. Thankfully, two movies on the DVD players in the car kept the girls entertained.
We arrived at exactly the check in time of 3:30pm. There are six bell tents of the site and Hubby picked the one closest to the toilets, seeing as we are potty training P3. I have never been glamping before but have plenty of experience with camping. We were greeted with a basket of logs, a cooler box with marsh mallows and a couple of bottles of cider. The bell tent was huge, it had a double bed in the middle with two futon style beds on either side. There was provided cutlery, dining items and plenty of candles. I loved the twinkling fairy lights going up the pole in the centre.
We unpacked our car and the girls roamed freely. Hubby then got to work with setting the fire alight. It was the funniest thing seeing my Hubby be all manly with the wood and lighter. There is absolutely no electricity on the Chalke Valley Camping site so we had to pack foods that could be eaten as they are or cooked on the fire. Thankfully there is a cooking shed area with a gas hob and fresh drinking water. We took frozen sausages with us for the first night which we cooked on our disposable BBQ. Seriously BBQ sausages take so long to cook!!
The girls were desperate to get their hands on the marsh mallows. I walked to the cooking shed to boil up some milk for the hot chocolates to accompany the sweet treats. With no electricity and literally no phone signal, we enjoyed time chatting over their drinks and being really silly with the girls. It really is the strangest feeling being off grid and out in the open country air.
The camping site at Chalke Valley is set in a field with a pond. The girls had so much space to run around and there was just two houses for as far as the eyes could see. It was just so immensely peaceful with just the sound of birds and sheep. I loved watching the girls chase after each other and it was so wonderful for Hubby and I to chase around like children with them too. It’s so easy to become immersed in your life and the technologies surrounding us. At Chalke Valley, although it has the luxury comforts, it really is rural and living a basic life.
With the sun setting late the bell tents were pretty bright inside and the girls took absolutely ages to settle. Especially P3 who adores to sleep, although she was settled we ended up bringing her outside for some cuddles by the fire to make her a little more sleepy. In the end Hubby and I went to bed at the same time as P3. I had also forgotten the mad dashes in the dark to the toilets. I always feel completely panicky when it’s dark and kept shining the torch all around me as if I was going to be greeted by an axe murderer or something pathetic like that.
P2 woke up early on our first morning declaring that she loved camping before falling back to sleep for another few hours. I was first in the shower which was also gas operated. In fact I was pretty impressed at the toilet and shower shed, they were clean and well equipped including tooth paste and shower gel. Everything at Chalke Valley was clean and well looked after if I’m honest. We all got up and were out of the tent by 9am ready to head to Longleat Safari Park. We love Longleat and it’s the one thing that we save our clubcard points for.
We worked out that we haven’t actually been to Longleat for about two years, so both P2 and P3 would have been much younger. P2 seemed a little grumpy, possibly due to the late night and early morning, and she kept saying she didn’t want to be in the car. Eventually I perked her mood up by allowing her to sit in the front with me whilst we drove around the safari and looked at all the animals. I felt like they were lacking animals compared to previous times we have visited but it was still really good to get very close to some really dangerous animals. Hubby of course avoided the monkey enclosure for fear of losing some parts on our car.
We decided to head straight to the Jungle Cruise. This bit can get really busy and you’ll end up queuing forever, we luckily only had to wait for about 15 minutes. In that time the girls moaned about being hungry, ate most of what we’d packed for lunch and then right as we were about to board the boat P3 decided to need the toilet. I had a mad dash to the toilets and back whilst they were loading the boat. The girls loved feeding the sea lions and seeing two hippos during the journey.
It is the Marvellous Monster take over at Longleat at the moment. There are gigantic models of various bugs and insects across the adventure park. The girls were in absolute awe by them and especially loved the wasp on the jam sandwich and being able to touch the giant bees too. They had a really fun and inspiring section full of sensory activities. P1 really loves this type of thing and spent absolutely ages digging for worms. P2 loved fishing out the toy insects from the “ball” pond. P3 took a nap at this point, she had got a little bit stroppy so it was nice to have a little break to sit as the other two explored nature. We even enjoyed a show where they brought out some of the unusual monsters.
After having some pizza from one of the restaurants at Longleat, we hopped on to the train that takes you around the lake. I actually found it a little boring if I’m honest, but the girls enjoyed the experience. I even bashed my head getting out of the train which hurt quite a lot. We then bravely made our way to the playground area. This place is huge and it’s so easy to lose sight of the girls. P2 was the little dare devil she always is and climbed the huge hanging basket things giving me heart palpitations. The girls were getting quite tired at this point so we took a slow stroll around the rest of the animals and then we decided to head home.
Longleat is around an hour away from Chalke Valley so it was inevitable that the girls would fall asleep. In fact it was P1 who never sleeps and P2 that lost their eyeballs to dreamland. The journey home was really lovely though, there’s so much countryside and tiny country lanes to travel down. It is so picturesque and stunning. We arrived back to our tent at about 6pm. The weather had been beautiful all day and it was much less windy than the previous day. We didn’t have any meats to cook on the BBQ so instead opted for some pot noodles.
I felt like we needed to cherish every second of our last evening and night at the campsite. Being at Chalke Valley honestly felt like we were in the magical little bubble. The bugs and basic way of living felt so right. We laughed so much and let’s not even mention the exercise I got walking back and fourth from the tent to the toilet, to the kitchen shed and running around the field after my girls and even Hubby. We had so much fun. As the sun set I got out the colouring books and sat with the girls colouring for such a long time.
Bedtime was definitely much more tricky than the night before thanks to the naps they had in the car. We tried to wear them out by running around the field a million times. We read stories by torch light and eventually after a few trips to the toilet and a bribe of a surprise for the person who falls asleep first, managed to get all the girls asleep. Hubby was asleep long before anybody else and P3 the very last. After about an hour of sleep P3 woke again saying she wanted her own bed, and she ended up in our bed too. It gets pretty cold at night in a tent and having her close like a personal little water bottle was probably the best place for us all.
We sadly woke up on our last morning to rain. We were so incredibly lucky to capture and experience lovely moments of us in the fields for the first two days. Thankfully we could take the morning slow. Check out was at 11am which is later than when you stay in a hotel. I was definitely the last on the campsite to get showered on our last morning and then we packed up the car to head for Hubby’s Grandparents house. It was his birthday and we spent the entire afternoon with them followed by a meal out with some of Hubby’s family too. I filmed our entire holiday and I think it may be my longest video but I am so glad I captured all of our amazing memories. We had such a wonderful family holiday to remember forever.