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Holden – we’re coming!

picture showing a leaflet of holden farm

Matilda loved camping at Holden Farm

Holden – we’re coming!

It’s not often, during the holiday season, that we get two nights over a weekend to camp out.  So, when the opportunity to getaway in one of our VW campervans for hire happens, we grab it with both sweaty mitts.

 

 

It also happened that we needed to be in Ringwood, in the New Forest, Monday afternoon for our VW campervan, Matilda, to have her gas safety check.

 

In the interests of efficiency, we felt it best to camp overnight halfway and being a VW Westfalia Continental campervan, she had all the home comforts we would need – a two ring hob, fridge and comfortable rock n roll bed. Plus a leisure battery as there wouldn’t be electrical hook up at the campsite we had chosen.   Always best to know these things in advance.

Who would be the lucky campsite to receive our hard-earned dosh?

Holden Farm, near Cheriton, on the South Downs Way.   We’d chatted on social media for months, now we are finally going to meet.

Matilda the VW Campervan waiting outside reception

Matilda waiting while we booked in at reception

 

As soon as we arrived at the campsite we were impressed.  Stunning views of undulating green and gold British countryside surrounded us.  Everyone was so helpful, including fellow campers, pointing out the great benefits, such as, unisex toilet and shower blocks – great for families.  No more “who’s got the toothpaste?”.  Other well thought out services include phone charging points, an ice making machine, free freezing for freezer blocks and indoor washingup facilities – with lashings of hot water.  The ice cream that is sold is sourced locally, as are the knitted water bombs yes, you read right, knitted water bombs!

They also have regular events like the Wild Night Out held on Saturday night.  Campfire stories, music under the stars………

Becca and her team believe in collaborating with other small businesses to keep the local economy thriving.

The camping field is huge!  Lots of space for kids to run around and for old fogey’s like us to find some peace and quiet.  Fire pits along with fuel can be rented and the essentials like marshmallows can be found in the suitcase shop

On Sunday we took a walk to the Flower Pots Inn, Cheriton to investigate the micro-brewery. 

picture showing two half pints of beer

I’ll ‘ave ‘arf! Flower Pots Ale & Elderflower Ale, that is.

picture showing two small casserole dishes of stew

Stew pots! lush!

In the interest of market research, we forced ourselves to test their wares.  Kevin had the Flower Potts Ale and I tried the Elderflower Ale. We weren’t disappointed.  Real ale brewed on the premises – lush!  They even do take away beer! They also have several stews with chunks of bread for mopping up on the lunch menu.  Well, it would have been rude not to try them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshed and refuelled we walked on.  This time to Tichborne. The Tichborne Arms that is.  An old established pub with beams and stone floors.  Again, real ale on draught.  A couple of halves of Winchester Ale were consumed.  Oh! And an amazing rhubarb and ginger wine crumble.

 

Back we wandered over hill and vale to Holden Farm Campsite.  We booked a fire pit for a very reasonable £5 and bought £10 worth of logs.  Within minutes the fire was blazing, the sign of well dried out wood.  Everything at this campsite has been well thought through.

At £12 per night per adult at the weekend, it’s great value for money, clean, inviting and friendly.  It’s what we call affordable fun.

Fire pit – essential to any camping trip

 

Fancy a night under the stars?  Check out our campervans for hire, great for first time and experienced campers alike! You can rent one of our campervans from as little as £299 for 3 nights – same price all Summer too.  www.kevskampers.com

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4 Days, 3 vineyards and a Peugeot 108……

Here at Kev’s Kampers we like to research our offerings before we, well, offer them to you.  The next big thing is our Wine Tour to Portugal!  Yes!  We know! Exciting!

Research can be hard, but we want you to know that we think you’re worth it, so we decided at short notice to take a cheap flight (if you have ever seen Fascinating Aida, you’ll know there’s a reason they’re cheap) to Portugal to undertake said research.

Rui, our trusted Portuguese guide came with us to make sure we didn’t get into any diplomatic  scrapes.

We’ve all done it, a weekend on a budget – time wise as well as financial.  So, the best we could do was grab a flight to Faro, then immediately drive 4 hours north to Gois where our epic adventure would begin.  4 hours in a Peugeot 108. Two tall men and a short woman – we just about fitted. Our first work stop was Chaves – a beautiful Roman Spa town in the north of the country.

We had a splendid lunch, a little bit of wine (except Rui – aka Des), then a taste of the revitalising spa waters.  What a relaxing, elegant town.  Just the place to start our wine tour.  Maybe even with a Spa experience to relax you after your drive to Portugal.

The Reading Three then moved on to Ponte Lima before exploring the countryside for campsites and gastronomic experiences.

Portugal really is a stunning country, with mountains, plains, lush greenery and steeped in history.

Day 2 – Sunday – we headed for the coast.  Our target was Nazare, where the highest surf waves in the world are.

A mooch around the old town, a spot of fish stew Caldeirada de peixe  for lunch (Kev not so keen lol) and we were revitalised to head towards Lisbon.  We passed Obidos, famous for it’s chocolate production, Batalha Monastery and so many other places worth taking time to stop and stare.

Once in Lisbon, we met up with Ana, who sings Fado in the local restaurants.  Fado is a traditional Portuguese style of singing, it wrings the emotion from the heart and just makes you fall in love with the people.  Tick! Another item for the tour!

Monday and off to Reguengos to our main vineyard.  An amazing place with views to die for.  We were shown round the estate, vat rooms, production area – even the space where we could possibly camp.  Negotiations took place and we nailed the deal to have this as the cherry on our cake for our wine tour of Portugal.

 

We were due to fly home Tuesday, so decided that as we were flying out of Porto, best do some research there.  Wow, another stunning city.  The river, the architecture, the port…… oh yes, we tried the port and they don’t stint on the tastings either! Definitely on the itinery.

4 days, 2600km and goodness knows how much espresso coffee and pastel de nata (custard tarts to you and me), we had an itinerary worthy of presenting to you, our wonderful customers.

The first tour starts in Chaves on 15th September.  So, if you have your own campervan or motorhome, love wine and adventure – contact us now on info@kevskampers.com

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Um……Bongo!

Bank holiday weekends are some of our busiest times throughout the holiday season and this Spring Bank Holiday was no exception.  The weather was sunny, if a little stormy at times, great for those outdoor adventures and camping trips.

Running a campervan hire company, we need to do our market research.  Not just with our vans but the types of campsite that you may want to visit.  So, with all the vans off on their travels by 5pm Sunday evening and no-one due back until Monday afternoon, we grabbed a cheeky night out in our latest recruit – Edwina the Bongo!

 

We took Edwina all the way to California!

Well, California Chalet & Touring Park, just outside of Finchampstead, Berkshire.  What a little gem of a campsite.  They offer chalets and camping for everything from tents to RVs.  The park originally formed part of Windsor Forest and was favourite hunting ground of the Tudors.  It is now designated by the Countryside Commission as a Country Park.

 

We rocked up at about 7pm, had a beautiful walk round the perimeter of the park, through lush, green lanes with hundreds of rhodedendrons.  Back to Edwina to cook our tea.  We decided to use the gas griddle outside as the weather was so balmy.  Pork chops, tinned potatoes & sweetcorn, with apple.  Not bad for an impromptu meal!

 

 

 

A quick look at the emails – yes, we’re sad like that – work, work, work, but what an office 🙂 And so to bed.  Edwina’s bed is amazingly easy to assemble.  The seats go flat as in a normal car, out comes the bonquet and Voila! the bed.  The great thing is, is that you can use the reclining seats to sit up and read in bed. We played cards and listened to the radio.  Radio 2 in fact and we had a shout out from Suzi Perry!  Fame at last!

 

At last, a camper with power steering and automatic gearbox on our fleet.

Edwina the Bongo is warm, comfortable and being an automatic, very easy to drive – she even has power steering – the only one on our fleet, so far.

Breakfast of egg, bacon and tomatoes was cooked on the two ring gas hob.  Washed down with lashings of tea.  It  took us less than 10 minutes to pack away.

A great little outdoor adventure in beautiful Berkshire.  Edwina is available for hire now! She’s great for 2 for a short break or if you need a comfy overnight stay for an event.  Prices start at £299 – call 07428560261 or email info@kevskampers.com for more details

 

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Wherever I park my dub…………

Being self employed generally means you don’t get too many genuine holidays.  Even when you do manage to escape you’re constantly checking your phone for emails, quotes, money hitting the bank etc.

The team here at Kev’s Kampers fully understand this as we’re exactly the same. However, we do feel we have an advantage – our campervans.  We can work in comfort inside a VW T2 camper when we’re away and at the same time put it down to market research!

Having electrical hook up so you can run all your electricals means the laptop never runs out of charge.  More importantly the gas stoves mean you can pop a brew on anytime.  Never again do you have to buy a Cost-a-lot coffee at a service station (to be fair Kev & I are partial to a skinny Cortado now and again).

Then, there is the view from the “office” window.

Well, it can be anywhere you like, beach, countryside, cityscape, car park……… and it can change whenever you want it to. To paraphrase Paul Young, “wherever I park my dub, that’s my office”

The facilities at campsites across the UK are amazing these days and many have WIFI facilities, so you don’t need to use up your data for the whole month in a day.

This is true flexible working. Particularly for the self-employed who need to get away, but still need to keep in touch. It also means that if you have an unexpected quiet spell, why not give us a call, see who’s available and make best use of your time.  One of the things we have learnt over the last 6 years, is that instead of worrying that things are a little quiet at times, that is precisely the time to grab a getaway.  Relax. Refresh. Recharge the batteries.  After all, as long as we have WIFI we can operate.

So, what do you do if you don’t have WIFI – like the Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny used to say, “Relax, unwind…..”  One of our favourite campsites Holden Farm, Cheriton, on the South Downs advises you to turn everything off, enjoy the scenery, the dark skies and the silence.  We feel another blog coming on……….

Truly #flexibleworking in a #vdub #campervanlife #camping #workingholiday #staycation #workingfromhome #selfemployed #kevskampers

Posted by Kev's Kampers on Monday, 23 April 2018

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Here comes the sun…..

What a difference a day makes!  It’s been such a long, cold, miserable Winter, hasn’t it?  Don’t get us wrong, we love snow, but the cold & wet can do one now, we’ve had enough – humph!

Saturday was a gorgeous day – it reminded us that if we’re patient, Spring will be sprung – eventually.  The warmth in the air, that big yellow disk in the sky, the trees and bushes sprouting green shoots.  Suddenly, the hedgerows are colourful instead of that dreary grey/brown.

It makes you feel all warm and fluffy inside *sighs*.  Winter is great to give Enzo and his pals, Boris, Otto, Sky, Freddie, Dylan and Matilda a rest, have a few check ups with Matt the mechanic and a spa day with Marcus the Masseur (valet to you and me).  However, they are now ready to rock and roll!

Depending on the size of your family, whether you’re taking the dog or whether you want heating – we have a van for you.  Check out their profiles at www.kevskampers.com and choose which campervan you would like to take for your camping holiday in Summer 2018.

In fact, the sun must have gone to our heads – just for reading our blog we’ll give you a 10% discount if you quote the code #KKBLOG0418 – keep camping!

 

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Let our campervans “carrie” you to the school prom…

Sorry for the awful pun, but it is imperative you know who is taking your children to the school prom.

Of course, if your friends or family want to take your child in your own vehicle, that’s fine.  You know them and no money is changing hands.

It’s when cold, hard cash comes into the equation that things change.  Once money changes hands that then becomes driving for hire or reward and depending on the circumstances the driver/operator may need a PHV licence.

Weddings & Funerals are exempt from this  licencing (although there are insurance implications) however proms are not.  Anyone taking money for prom transport to a fall under the private hire regulations and should be licenced appropriately.  This should also include a DBS check, where the individual’s background has been checked to make sure they are suitable to be working around vulnerable people and minors.

Kev’s Kampers don’t have this private hire licencing – that’s why we offer self-drive for prom transport.  That way not only do you get to see your teenager in all their glory but you have the chance of more value for money by having the vehicle for at least 3 days – that’s a family weekend campervan getaway!

A 3 night hire costs £399 including insurance for two drivers and unlimited mileage.  We have extra availability this year as Glastonbury isn’t on – that’s normally around prime school prom time.  So, check your prom transport has the right licencing with your local council – or check suppliers such as PromDay Online.

 

 

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Holiday Research

Hello there Kampers!

Over the last 2 months Kevin & I have been carrying our holiday research, as those of you who have been trying to contact us will attest.

This was partially due to spending 5 years working full time jobs and running Kev’s Kampers.  Kev has now gone part time in his day job to dedicate more time to our campervan business.  So we thought we had better try a bit of rest & recuperation to set us up for another busy Summer holiday season.

The full relaxation holiday was to Gran Canaria, all-inclusive 4* hotel jobby.  Wow! What a beautiful island.
It’s called the little continent as it has everything from sand dunes, where the nudists literally hang out, to lush green mountains.  The all-inclusive restaurant was great.  No thinking, “what are we going to have for tea?”  “Where can I buy the ingredients?” The only decision was, “what shall I put on my plate?” And “is my plate big enough?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, we did draw a strange comparison to camping.  On your average campsite each morning, you see a range of people wandering around in pyjamas, bed headed, scratching parts of their anatomy that should only be seen in private, walking to the amenities.  Although, they are in this vulnerable (wouldn’t normally be seen bra-less and without make-up) state, they make friendly eye contact and chirrup “Good Morning!”  But put people in a restaurant, dressed (albeit in less than pjs) and eye contact seems to be forbidden.  They are still half asleep, but for some reason not as friendly.  And don’t get me started on sun lounger hoggers!  It was a lovely, relaxing holiday though.

Our 2nd outing was to Jersey.  This was a return visit for us.  We spent part of our honeymoon there in 2010 and it’s where we fell in love with our first VW campervan – Frankie.

  

You HAVE to go.  What a gorgeous part of northern Europe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s like Cornwall and the Mediterranean rolled together with the best of the British weather.  Walking along the coast in early spring sunshine, seeing red squirrels and hidden sandy coves forced a tear from my eye.  (This is a woman who is dry eyed at Bambi and Dumbo – yes! Even the scene where Mrs Dumbo is in jail!)

Jersey is only 5 hours on a ferry from Poole, or you could go via the Euro-Tunnel to St Malo via our friends at Chateau Monfreville – great road trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what has our holiday research taught us?

  1. Everyone needs holidays – even us
  2. Campers are the friendliest people on the planet
  3. If you’re self-catering, plan your meals, take what you need with you
  4. If you’re not taking food, research where the local shops are – give your hard earned cash to local businesses – contribute to the local economy.

    We’re now energised and
    refreshed for another busy season, so until we blog again…..
    …..Keep Kamping! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Retro Fest Review!

We have attended many festivals and shows this summer, so here is our reminiscence of RetroFest…

3 days of dance, decadence and days gone by…

We’ve always been interested in yesteryear, so when we had the opportunity to exhibit at Retro Festival, we jumped at the chance.

The new venue of Newbury Showground is home from home for us as we also exhibit at the Royal Berkshire County Show each September.  Our set up day, Friday was thankfully dry and we managed to shimmy Dylan, Simba and a Morgan representing Richard Thorne’s self drive hire department onto the stand quite quickly.  As Kevin dashed back to the yard to see vans in and out, Maxine and her friend Meta, wandered off to see who else was there.  There were some beautiful clothing stalls, every era from 1940’s to 1970’s.  But then we found the food tent setting up…  A gin tasting session at the Silent Pool Distillery ensued – and very nice it was too…hic!

One of the great things about Retro Festival is the music on offer.  3 tents to be precise.  A Vintage tent with 1940’s music; after watching the amazing dancing in the 50’s music tent, we wandered over to the Ricky Tick 60’s stage, where The Small Fakers were performing.  We were soon joined by Kev, who promptly began to bounce around the dance floor like Tigger on blue smarties.

When we got back to the pitch at 11pm, it dawned on us that we hadn’t actually got round to setting up our sleeping arrangements.  Oops.  We hadn’t put Simba’s roof tent up before, but there’s nothing like putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.  Needless to say, it popped up like a favourite old storybook and we were in our pjs, tucked up in our sleeping bags by 11.45pm.

Saturday’s weather warmed up nicely and after another visit to the food tent (oh my word the flapjacks from The Wilde Bakery and pork pies from Rose Cottage Pantry were a-ma-zing) we were ready to meet our public. A busy day ensued and we decided to try out the Cabaret show in the Vintage tent for that evening’s entertainment.  Having only brought Kev’s Kampers promotional clothing with her, Maxine didn’t need much of an excuse to pop across to TODO Clothing and pick out a new frock for the occasion.  Everything from magic, to burlesque and harmonised singing made for a very pleasant time.

retrofest 2

Sunday came round and after a fry up in Dylan, we were ready to meet the day.  Kev dashed off again to see Enzo and Hermione back in, so Maxine took care of the stand.  Tea was shipped in by Bunny, bringing much needed supplies in the form of burgers and sausages (vegetarian option available).  Back to the 60’s tent in the evening for another northern soul session with The Flicks playing live.  The weekend’s partying was rounded off with a sing-song round the Phoenix Dubs’ camp fire.

Early Monday, it was Maxine’s turn to dash off to see Freddie in safely, leaving Kevin to load up Dylan on a trailer, (as wonderful as Kev is, he can only drive one thing at a time). Said trailer was kindly supplied by Lovell’s Trailers and Simba towed him home.

A great weekend all round – we’ll be doing that show again!  See you all next year 🙂

retrofest

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Dylan’s dash to Normandy

You may be aware that we recently brought Dylan, the 1972 Dormobile conversion on board. He’s not quite ready for his public yet, so we took some time to road test him – to Normandy, France and back – the long way.

The first leg was a dash to the Channel Tunnel. Our VW camper vans are classed as larger vehicles, Tip! You don’t have as much flexibility on Channel crossings, but they do give you a two hour window each way. Once we were in France we started off to Normandy, using a mix of toll roads (peages) and minor roads. It wasn’t long before Kev mastered the art of lining me, his rather short wife, up to the ticket/card machine on the Peage. Although, there were a couple of Forward! Back! Closer! Bloody seatbelt!! moments.

The great thing about camping holidays in France, is that you can sleep in many of the “Aire” service stations. Park spaces that give you privacy, with basic facilities such as toilets. Some even have electrical hook up. Now, not all toilets in French service stations are the same. Some are still a hole in the ground with two feet marks to show where to stand/squat. Tip! Make sure it’s not an automatically cleaning one – shimmy back too much and you may get an surprise akin to being “douched” by an errant garden hose on sprinkler!

We finally arrived at our destination – Le Chateau de Monfreville. This is an idyllic French campsite, run by our friends Paul & Zoe. Once a year we visit, offer our menial labour in return for food and alcohol. If you would like to find out more visit www.chateaumonfreville.com.

Kevs Kampers Blog Photo

Four days later and we’re touring France in Dylan again. Considering we hire our vehicles for 10 months of the year, we rarely get the opportunity to spend any quality time with our VW camper vans. But Dylan was a dream. It rained, thundered, shone, blew – some days there may have been more than 4 seasons in one day….. Yet, we were warm and dry. In fact, the weather makes the experience more enjoyable.

Once back in Blighty we visited Jimmy’s Farm (www.jimmysfarm.com) and Tiptree Jam Factory (www.tiptree.com) Then finished off with a trip to Southend on Sea.

A couple more tips:

  • Buy decent sleeping bags!
  • Get at least a 3 season one
  • If you have old sleeping bags give them to a homeless charity such as www.launchpadreading.org.uk
  • Take a tea towel!
  • Egg boxes are ideal for holding fiddly things in place such as eggs… lemons, bits of change etc.
  • Write a holiday journal – it will help you remember the happy times you had

Over a thousand miles in 9 days… we lost count of the smiles per mile 🙂

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