Travel

Camping with Kids: Why we love Wowo

Rob and I discovered our love for camping not long after we met. It was a natural progression to  take the boys and it has now become part of family life. We love campsites that offer freedom and adventure. We first came across Wapsbourne Manor Farm or Wowo (as it is affectionally known) about six years  years ago before we were married. It is a very family orientated site it but certainly isn’t exclusive to families and we felt very comfortable. In fact, I think everyone feels welcome at Wowo. They have created a culture or micro community that feels like home the moment you arrive. It is a place for proper old school fun with an emphasis on allowing your kids to be ‘free range’ in their 150 acres of natural playground. So if mud pies, rope swings, camp fires and den building send you into a panic, it’s probably not going to be your thing.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCamping is split into five fields which all have a slightly different feel and aspect. Best thing to do is try it out, have a wander and see which you prefer for future trips. We love wandering round the site and checking out where we might pitch up next time! This trip we were in ‘Upper Moat’ (reserved for large group bookings) as we had over ten pitches on this occasion. We requested to be at the North end near the trees and rope swings, and Wowo were helpful as always and had allocated us more than enough space for our group to be comfortable and happy.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetWe arrived a day ahead of the group to get ourselves settled. The campsite was quiet even though it was half term as weekends are busiest. There is some sort of magic about this place. I mean camping in general does give you an opportunity to escape the urban life we are used to, with screen free time and hours in the day to while away, just pottering about in a contented kind of way. But Wowo is just all kinds of special. You arrive and are immediately transported into a calmer, better version of yourself. Children are just running free all around. Within an hour Arthur had made friends with a nearby family and the older boys took him under their wing. Once our other friends arrived, the kids played ALL DAY LONG from rope swings, digging in the dirt to role-playing their favourite tv heroes, they are more contended than ever. We allow them freedom to explore and the confidence they feel is evident.

Processed with VSCO with b5 presetIf you are looking for something more secluded, you can camp along the ‘Tipi trail’ where pitches are nestled in the woodland, or if you are more a glamping kind of family you can opt for one their very cool yurts or shepherds huts. One of our group didn’t have any camping equipment so they hired one of the bell tents arranged via Wowo which came fully kitted up with everything you could possibly need for the weekend. To be honest, it was the envy of the whole group! These can be pitched anywhere so a really flexible option.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetYou can do as little or as much as you like here. If your kids want some more structured activity (or you really want to finish them off for bedtime so you can have a glass of vino), theres plenty of options. You can book onto different workshops depending on the time of year but examples are; circus workshops, bushcraft, foraging or woodland walk. I personally love the fairy preservation society workshop! On Friday night there is a pizza and fish & chip van, so if you want to just come for the weekend, pitch up and relax this is perfect. Now don’t be misled, this makes it sounds a bit commercial but it really isn’t. It is just a perfect solution for people wanted total and utter relaxation! They have some breakfast options including waffles and pancakes too. At the weekend the were also supporting a local brownie group with a bake sale so we go some delicious cake too!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetOne of the best bits of the weekend is the Saturday night soup. Grab a bowl, rock up to the village where the giant Teepee stands and you will find freely flowing (and yummy) soup, bread and butter. How much do they charge for this? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The sceptical of you might say “well thats just included in the price of your weekend”. Well no, camping is cheap, very cheap compared to a lot of other family holidays or days out. I’ve never known anywhere else that does anything like it. So why do they do it? To build a sense of community, to bring strangers together to enjoy acoustic music, a natter and hearty food. It’s awesome.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCampfires. What can I say? It’s just not camping without a real fire to toast marshmallows (vegetarian ones available on site) and keep you warm of an evening as you sup on your cider and catch up with family and friends. We’ve done quite a bit of fire building at forest school and its a fantastic kids activity. Arthur loves making ‘dragon sneezes’ which we learnt at Sussex Wildlife Trust when using our flint and steel to create sparks. The kids really enjoyed joining in to make their contribution to the fire. Logs are delivered every evening around the campsite so it couldn’t be easier.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThere are plenty of facilities with showers and toilet blocks, including family showers. You will find compost ‘pump’ toilets in all fields. At the entrance, you will find a large barn that houses  not only fridges and freezers but sofas, toys and ping pong if you fancy a break from the sun (or rain). There is also a small shop at reception selling milk, local eggs, apple juice, sausages and various other camping essentials.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetWe tend to stay on site as thats the kind of camping we like. We hang out, we relax and we enjoy our surroundings. If you did want more from your trip there is loads near by. The Bluebell railway is just down the road (walking distance) which is amazing for all your little (and big) train obsessed people. Sheffield park gardens and Wakehurst place are a short drive away and also well worth a visit.

So if you are looking for some off-grid, screen free time where nature is your playground, then you might have found your perfect spot.

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Please note: I have not been asked or paid to provide this review. All opinions are genuine and my own. I just love this place x

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The Helpful Hiker