So I decided a few months ago to attempt to find some holiday destinations that are suitable for Jude. Initially, the thought of holidaying with Jude fills me with utter dread but I realised their MUST be a destination on this earth where we are able to relax and Jude is able to find his little place of refuge and chill out in his own way too.
Glamping. Not something I ever thought I would do as it is too close a notion to camping which in my eyes is never a relaxing or fun experience. However, we were offered a visit to Jollydays Glamping site in Yorkshire* and I had a crazy “what could possibly go wrong?” moment and agreed to come and stay for a couple of nights en masse with the whole crazy crew. Now don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of people love camping and go on regular tent-related adventures however, I am not habitually one of them!
So you can probably guess from the above that I wasn’t entirely looking forward to our visit. However, I absolutely love the outdoors, exploring forests and being one with nature. I love wandering through woods, having picnics, watching birds and just generally breathing in the fresh air so this side of our trip appealed massively to me. What I was dreading was the tent.
Clearly, I had nothing to fear…
Here are a few images of our tent:
The main room – two sofas (out of view), a log burner and then the cool pink (bathroom and kitchen) sheds
Our amazingly comfy big bed and the children’s bedroom with two lovely single beds
Living room area
View from our little terrace, plus the bbq and picnic bench for our tent
Elsa, rushing to choose a bed!
There were lovely decorative crate boxes housing candles that we lit each evening.
Chilling in our tent 🙂
Elsa, who never feels the cold, lying outside with her book. Meanwhile, I had two jumpers on.
There are different styles and sizes of tent to suit all manner of group situations. Click here to see the variations.
Highlights of the trip for me were the relaxed nature of the camp. Everyone just meandered around at their own pace, doing their own thing. The children generally were free to explore, play on the rope swings and make friends without the encroachment of parents watching over them. Elsa made friends easily and spent time listening to music in the Tea Tent, climbing trees and just running around being child-like. It was an amazing time for her.
Another highlight for us was the lovely camp fire that people lit up in the evening. On the second night, Elsa asked if we could go to the camp fire once Jude and Emmeline were asleep so of course we agreed. It was so nice to sit outside with a glass of wine, feel the heat of the flames, chat to some of the people we had become familiar with and just let the children carry on with their games. I didn’t think this was a suitable situation for Jude to engage with and frankly, I wanted Elsa to have a bit of time just for herself. So much of our day is about Jude and as Elsa is able to stay up later, I wanted to give here these couple of hours without her brother being apparent. It was the perfect decision and she had an amazing time with her new friends. It was at this time I could see why camping is so popular with families – you become a bit of a community, sharing treats and swapping stories. There is a stone pizza oven by the camp fire and this evening a couple were cooking their dinner whilst joining in the campfire chatter. I think if the camp had a small shop selling homemade pizzas then we may have tried it but because we had taken food with us, we couldn’t be bothered to drive into town just for some pizzas to cook. If they had been there, we may have created an impromptu late night snack to go with our wine.
There is a small shop on site selling locally produced alcohols and a selection of wine however it is quite limited and no food is purchasable unless you drive into the local town (literally a few miles away).
But what about Jude – was Jollydays Glamping site a Jude-friendly venue?
Yes, it is very Jude-friendly. He isn’t under any pressure, can take or leave whatever aspects of engagement that he wants but still gains the benefit of new experiences, fresh air, a holiday environment and the chance to be free to play all day.
Whilst we were away, Jude found a safe space in his bedroom so we were able to go out for a walk around the woods knowing he was content and didn’t need supporting for a short amount of time. He did venture out a few times to the main tree swing play area (the children called it “the park”) and was able to explore at his own pace, knowing he didn’t have to join in if he didn’t want to. Overall, it is probably a really good place for Jude. However I’m not certain he had a great trip and you could almost visibly see his anxiety building up as time went on culminating in a constant “are we going home soon” throughout the second day. I just don’t think he likes being away from his comforts any more and perhaps glamping is a bit too different from his normal for him to entirely relax.
Overall, my views on Jollydays Glamping site are really positive. It’s a fantastic place for families, couples, groups of friends to go and relax and enjoy some time away from normality. I would love to go back some time, especially now we are more familiar with the set up. It only took us a few hours to get there by car so is a realistic weekend away option for us; we would even happily choose Jollydays as an additional summer holiday venue as it was such a fun place to be.
Seeing as I took so many pictures, I will be streaming other images from our trip to Jollydays Glamping site through my Instagram feed so follow me there at @livingwithajude or on Twitter @alice_soule or Facebook @livingwithajude All of which the photos will feed through onto.
*Jollydays provided us with a complimentary two night visit. Please click here for pricing bands.