Our caravan at Boroughbridge Campsite

Caravan Challenge Over! So how was it?

Posted by Shell Grayston.
First Published Jul 2017; updated May 2023.

After 10 months of travelling around the country, our caravan treasure hunt challenge is over. But how did we do?

So did we complete our challenge? Well, in one word, no!

The challenge set by the Camping and Caravanning Club and Elddis was to visit the ten treasure houses in England and ten English gardens staying at Camping and Caravanning Club sites in a caravan kindly supplied by Elddis.

Image of challenge statistics

So here are the statistics:

Treasure houses 9 of 10

Gardens Visited 7

National parks visited 3

Miles travelled 4400

Campsites stayed at 12

Other Activities:

One mountain climbed (Snowdon), one safari park visited (Woburn), one Theme Park (Gullivers), cycled bikes and went on many hikes.

The Result?

We failed. I'm disappointed we failed and felt we let the Camping and Caravanning Club and Elddis down by not succeeding in our challenge.

It sounds easy visiting ten treasure houses and ten gardens in a year but fitting it into everyday life has proved to be very difficult.

The Difficulties

So we encountered a few hurdles that made the challenge hard and, in some cases, impossible. Treasure houses and campsites closing for extended periods over winter had a big effect on our plans.

The logistics of visiting a treasure house at the weekend were challenging. With most of the Treasure Houses, over a three-hour journey away from us, with school and work hours thrown into the mix, making travelling at weekends impossible on some occasions.

Towing the caravan out of storage

The Positives

We have stayed at some beautiful Camping and Caravanning Sites and can't fault them. Helpful staff, beautiful locations, and clean facilities have made for an enjoyable caravanning experience.

We have stayed at some places that, without the challenge, we would have never visited. It's been great discovering new places to explore.

Photos of gardens

The Treasures houses have all been individual, and we have enjoyed visiting them all.

Every Treasure House has made us feel very welcome, so a big thank you to them.

Before the challenge, we had never been to a Treasure House!

One thing we have learnt is that there's more to a Treasure House than just a house! Playgrounds, Gardens, lakes, boats, farms, trails are to name a few of the things we have discovered at Treasure Houses. Can't help not to mention the great food too! Cups of Tea and slices of homemade cakes to keep us going on our challenge. 🙂

Photo of cakes

We had to adapt the challenge slightly and include National Parks in the Garden List. As a result, we stayed at a couple of our favourite sites: Beddgelert campsite in Snowdonia and Bellingham campsite in Northumberland.

At Hadrians wall

Climbing Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), cycling, touching Hadrian's Wall and getting chased by cattle in a field made for some unforgettable experiences. I don't think we will ever forget reaching the summit of Snowdon on a clear day with views you can only dream of.

On the path at Mount Snowden

The Caravan

We have discovered a new way to adventure and love Casper the caravan. He's become part of the family, and we even found ourselves talking to him (mad, I know!)

When we return him to storage at the end of a trip, we always say, 'back home safely, Casper.'

The caravan has provided us with a home on wheels, light, comfort and warmth especially appreciated during the cooler months.

The caravan at night

Arriving at a site and being set up quickly has opened our eyes to one of the advantages of caravanning over tenting.

Having a few comforts like a TV and electricity made life simpler and less stressful.

Switching on the kettle anytime made me very happy (never turn down a cuppa!)

Casper the Caravan at Sunset

When the Olympics were on last year, we were able to set up the TV in the awning and cheer on GB, which the kids loved.

It's little things that make all the difference!

The caravan's layout suited us perfectly, and we couldn't find fault with the workmanship of the caravan.

The caravan nestled among the trees

It's not all been plain sailing with the caravan.

We have had a few narrow misses, mostly down narrow streets in the dark resulting in Casper taking on a small injury. ( nothing drastic!)

The caravan at Slingsby campsite

We have learnt so much about caravanning in ten months - most importantly: don't arrive at a campsite in the dark and attempt to hook up, especially if you are a novice like us!

Having faith in the towing system is something I've personally had to overcome, and now I'm a lot more confident with our hitching up and towing ability.

The awning has not been without its moments! When it's up, we love it; giving us much more space and storage.

Getting it up has caused a few problems and arguments! I put it down to us being inexperienced caravanners, and after seeking tips from fellow caravanners, we have got better at it.

The caravan awning

We have become very fond of Casper; he's like a family member. We will be very sad to say goodbye to him (going to be emotional). We hope he has enjoyed his adventures with us and has many more happy adventures to come.

We want to thank the Camping and Caravanning Club and Elddis for asking us to take on this challenge and having faith in us to do it. We might have failed the challenge, but we gained so much more.

We are quite proud of our achievement. Visiting nine houses and nine gardens/National Parks in ten months is pretty acceptable. We couldn't have done it without the support of the Camping and Caravanning Club and Elddis, so thank you. We are taking away great memories and experiences.

Also, thanks to Peugeot for lending us a towing car and Vango for the Awning.