Zoos and Apes – A mini-adventure in Cheshire

Read about the Lonsdale Family, fellow GOWTK Subscribers, and their mini-adventure in Cheshire. 

The Lonsdales in Cheshire

We have just come back from 3 nights camping at Shay’s Farm in Cheshire.  It’s our second family camping trip with our Outwell Montana 6p but our first short trip in the Spring and our first with electric hook up.  We chose the campsite as it was close to extended family who live 20 minutes away, close to Chester Zoo (25 mins away) and close to Delamere Forest (20 mins away). It was also very cheap at just 15 pounds a night.

The site itself is in a valley away from all the roads and is pretty small and quiet. At the moment they are building a new shower and toilet block so the toilets and showers we used were in a mobile and pretty basic but always clean and well looked after and never any queues. There was a place to wash up and that’s about it.  The owners were very friendly and relaxed and there was plenty of space for the children to run around. We chose to pitch in a field with just one other caravan when we arrived and I guess as it was mid week it didn’t get that busy the whole time we were there.

Pitching the tent
We were a bit nervous about pitching the tent. We had a practice pitch last year and then had a week’s camping in August so it all seemed quite a long time ago. We didn’t need to be though as we had it all pitched and guy roped in an hour and a half which sounds long but we were pretty pleased. No arguments with hubby and the children were happy running around while we did it.

Time to eat
Being April it was pretty cold at night but we had plenty of advice from experienced campers before we left. We had a fan heater which we hooked up when the sun went down and aimed to stay warm through the evening so we didn’t go to bed cold. We warmed our sleeping bags up with hot water bottles before we went to bed and drank hot chocolate before we went to bed. We slept on self inflated mattresses from Outwell and had equally warm sleeping bags and none of us got at all cold in the night. We didn’t cook on a campfire this time but enjoyed cooked breakfasts each morning, egg, beans and sausage one morning, porridge another and bacon sandwiches another.  We tried to make life easier by taking frozen meals (chilli and bolognaise) as we knew we would be out a lot and not want to cook when we got back each night. It also helped to have some idea what our packed lunch would consist of and as it was a short trip we took almost all of our food with us.

Going Ape
We had two whole days to enjoy Cheshire. The first day we went to Chester Zoo. It was a lovely warm sunny day and although it was really busy we had a great day wandering round the zoo which is full to the brim with animals. We particularly liked the Meerkats and the tropical bird house. The second day we met some friends at Delamere Forest as we had booked our kids (age 9 and 7) into Go Ape Junior (a tree top assault course) which they loved. They were both a bit nervous to start with but once they got used to their safety harnesses they didn’t want to come down. It was nice to be able to watch them with other parents and see their confidence grow. We had packed a picnic so afterwards we went with our friends for a walk in the woods and finished with tea and cake, a reward for all our efforts.

Making Camp
Taking the tent down was quite sad. Our last night at the campsite was very very windy and wet (we had good weather up until then) but our tent stayed put and it was great to see it in action in not so great weather. We had to dodge a few showers to get the contents in the car without getting soaked but managed to get the tent in the bag first time (we have never managed this before) On the way home we visited some of our extended family who live half an hour down the road which was a perfect ending to our short break.

At Chester Zoo
We really enjoyed our 3 day trip away, it was great to explore a new campsite and area, be together and watch the children experience new things. We would defiantly go back to Cheshire again and might book into Shay’s farm to check out the new toilet block with underfloor heating? If we had to change anything for next time, I think we would make a fire and try and cook something simple and worry less about the kids bedtimes (they were so tired most nights, begging to go to bed). We have another trip booked in June for 3 days this time not so far away so having done this trip are so much more confident and very much looking forward to our next camping adventure as a family.

Photo credit: Katie Lonsdale

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Katie Lonsdale
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Katie is a mum of two and a GOWTK subscriber. Katie and her family first started camping in 2014, and love getting out with their kids. Read about their adventures here on Get Out With The Kids.

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