A jolly relaxing weekend…

The recent late summer warm weather provided the perfect excuse if any were needed for further adventures in the Bedford Bambi Campervan; it had been a very busy few days at work so we were looking forward to a jolly relaxing weekend!

We’d left it rather late to book, but success came just a few phone calls later and we were on our way to Comberton, a pretty little village just about six miles from Cambridge city centre.

Comberton Village Green and duck pond

 

Our destination and base for the weekend was Highfield Farm Touring Park run with amazing attention to detail by the lovely Beverley and crew.  We usually avoid the larger organised sites, preferring the more relaxed approach, however we were very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Highfield to find a beautifully manicured site which offered an element of privacy through clever planting of the hedgerows.

The site

Entrance to the campsite at Comberton

 

Our allocated pitch was at the farthest end of the camp, conveniently placed for access to the extensive dog walking routes through the local farmland.

Bambi parked at Comberton, Cambs

 

It doesn’t take long to set-up camp, especially with the help of Herbie, the mischievous Miniature Schnauzer! We’ve spent many weekends away in the Bambi so it’s quite a practised routine now we’ve got the hang of it.

Herbie the mischievous miniature schnauzer goes camping

 

Although we spent many happy hours wandering through the stunning countryside, of course no weekend away is complete without a visit to the local hostelry!

The pub in question is the rather charming Three Horseshoes where we found the staff to be friendly, super-efficient and the standard of food was just right. There’s plenty of parking; a lovely beer garden and patio area and especially important, it’s dog-friendly!

There is a designated dog-exercise area and a walk around the farm is about 1.5 miles offering stunning views of the village and surrounding Cambridgeshire countryside.

So we certainly succeeded in our mission of having a jolly relaxing weekend, Highfield Farm is definitely on the list for a return visit, highly recommended!

 

 

A weekend in West Norfolk

This time of year we’re usually headed off to Kernolou but after failing to find a suitable channel crossing we decided to make the most of the lovely weather with a long weekend trip to Norfolk in the Bedford Bambi Campervan.

A quick glance at the map showed the M11 as being the quickest route, however cruising speed in the Bambi varies between 45-50 mph so we opted for a more leisurely path following the A10 up through the leafy Hertfordshire countryside, onto Cambridge and the Isle of Ely and made our first stop at the pretty market town of King’s Lynn.

More than just a sleepy market town awash with historic buildings, beautiful old Merchant’s Houses and cobbled streets, King’s Lynn has been an important port since the 12th century and was the first Hanseatic town in Great Britain.  We were both quite enchanted with the town and fascinated by its architecture and maritime past so we’ll definitely be back to explore further.

On this occasion though we wanted to get settled in the for weekend so after a brief stop for a bite to eat we continued the journey onto our base for the next few nights at Hilgay, which is situated just a few miles from the picturesque town of Downham Market.

Lodge Farm Meadow is a Camping and Caravanning Club certified site which allows for just 5 caravans or motorhomes and up to 10 tents at any one time so on a site of over five acres this meant plenty of peace and privacy.

It takes less than half an hour to set-up camp including erecting the small awning that hooks over the back of the campervan.  By this time Herbie was starting to get a little restless so after a long and lazy walk to give him some much needed exercise we settled down with a glass or two of red and relaxed in the glow of the sunset over camp.

The next morning after a hearty breakfast we headed off to Hunstanton, a Victorian seaside town described on the website as an elegant resort. First doubts started to creep in with the appearance of the ‘Land Train’ quickly followed by the sight of hordes of under-dressed crowds thronging the beach and boardwalk, itself lined with souvenir shops and penny arcades. Not quite the genteel resort we’d conjured images of and so after devouring a punnet of chips each we headed off into the calm of the countryside.

Next stop Sandringham, the Norfolk retreat of HM the Queen.  There are over 200 acres of parkland to explore and enjoy which we made the most of.  Dogs are not permitted in the gardens or the house so instead we visited the pretty little church of St Mary Magdalene with its stunning decor and amazing stained glass. The church is used regularly by the Royal Family for worship and is also open to visitors during the summer months.

St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham

Another fine day followed and we headed over to Brancaster Beach, four miles of golden sands which forms part of the National Trust’s Brancaster Estate.

Herbie loves the beach and we had a lovely couple of hours walking along, splashing around before returning to the campervan via the sand-dunes.

We’d certainly worked up an appetite and on leaving the car-park spotted the Ship Hotel where we enjoyed a delicious lunch before heading back to base camp for our last night in Norfolk.

How lucky we were with the weather, we’d enjoyed lots of sunshine and unusually high temperatures for the time of the year with just one thunderstorm overnight to douse the parched earth.

A return visit to East Anglia and in particular Norfolk, a stunning part of the country is most definitely on the cards for later in the summer.

 

Our Farm & Fens weekend…

The weather looked set fair for the weekend, so early Saturday morning we loaded up the Bedford Bambi and headed up to the Fens and a return visit to the lovely Gayton Farm

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By lucky happenstance when we arrived these lambs were playing in the field; they were born at 04:00 that morning, amazing how strong and lively they are for just a few hours old.

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Although not particularly sunny, it was a warm humid afternoon and perfect for a hike across to Quy Fen, (a Site of Special Scientific Interest), a few miles from base camp at Horningsea.

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Herbie loves the open countryside

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After a quick glass of wine at the local we went back to camp and following a rather splendid steak dinner (cooked al fresco), we settled down for a little Eurovision entertainment.

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It rained through the night, hard enough at times to be woken by the tinkling on the roof of the Bambi….

A lazy Sunday morning for us (Robin and Carolyn were up early and away to South Suffolk where they were showing their prized Belstead Lincoln Reds).

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After the obligatory fry-up we burned the calories with another yomp across Field and Fen before returning to break camp ‘helped’ by one very reluctant to leave puppy!

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I’m sure we’ll be back soon to this stunning area of the country, but I think we’ll give Kent a try next time; the harbour town of Whitstable is about 60 miles south-east so well within the range of the Bambi!

return to Cherbourg…

St Malo is by far the most convenient port for us in northern France, however on rare occasions when we can’t get a crossing we use either Caen or Cherbourg.

In the summer months Brittany Ferries operate the Normandie Express, a daily service between Portsmouth and Cherbourg with high speeds of up to 42 knots giving a nippy journey time of just 3 hours.

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This month we were on one of the first crossings of the season and very fresh it was all too.  There is a new Club Lounge with extra-comfy seating which is spacious enough to recline without impacting on your nearest neighbour.  In-seat USB connections are a real bonus and complimentary hot and cold drinks are provided at the beginning and end of each journey. Well worth the extra few pounds…

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Also new for this season is a small range of hot meals from Le Cafe, a very welcome addition.  Cooked breakfast was keenly priced and very tasty it was too; the perfectly scrambled eggs, tomatoes and sausages were accompanied by a rather strange (and unnecessary) mashed potato affair. For later in the day there is a limited but good choice of hot food again well priced at around £5.00 or a choice of delicious soups for £3.50.

Of course there’s a shop, just the one but it sells all the usual papers, magazines and things you never knew you needed plus wines, beers, spirits and tobacco; oh and giant Chupa Chups.

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We disembarked just a few minutes earlier than scheduled and after a very brief queue at Cherbourg French border control we were whisking our way down the peninsular. It is a bit of a gruelling drive home at around 7 hours with a few short stops, but much nicer for pampered pooch who only had to endure being left for 3 hours instead of the usual overnight in the kennels on the ferry.

Time then for feet up and a relaxing glass of something sparkling…

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I’ll be adding more pics and info to the Normandie Express page shortly, but in the meantime check out our oh so favourite Brittany Ferries ship, the MV Bretagne