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We've Been Challenged!

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Aug 2016; updated May 2023.

We've been challenged!!! The Camping and Caravanning Club has challenged us to try a caravan for a year. But not just trying one. We've got a serious challenge to do as well!

We've been challenged!

As you know, we are avid tent campers. We camp whenever we can. We have big tents. We have small tents. We have tents for summer. We have tents for winter.

Yes, we love camping.

we've never tried Caravanning before.

However, we've never tried Caravanning before.

We did try a Motorhome last October, which was very different to our normal camping experiences.

Well, the Camping and Caravanning Club, along with the caravan maker Compass, have given us die hard tent campers the challenge of using a caravan instead. In this case, it will be the Compass Casita tourer, which is a new model for 2017.

The Challenge

The challenge is not just staying in the caravan.

The challenge involves visiting ten of the Treasure Houses of England and ten Capability Brown style gardens over the year, each using the caravan as a base at one of the Camping and Caravanning Club's sites.

That's around two places per month! Including through the winter!

We're absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity and a little daunted at the same time!

The Treasure Houses and Gardens

Treasure Houses Map

We do take the kids to castles and stately homes and gardens, but we've not been to these Treasure Houses, so we're looking forward to that.

What are the Treasure Houses?

The Treasure Houses of England are a collection of castles, palaces, and stately homes.

Here are the houses we have to visit. I'm sure the names of some will be familiar to you.

The Gardens

2016 is the Year of the English Garden.

There are a lot more gardens for us to choose from, but it's still going to be a challenge to get around 10 of them.

We're still trying to work out the best route, but here are some of the places we might be visiting: Levens Hall Gardens, Chatsworth Gardens, Arley Hall Gardens, Blenheim Gardens, Kew Gardens, Great Dixter House and Gardens, The Beth Chatto Gardens, Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, Burton Agnes Hall Gardens, and the Alnwick Garden!

Treasure Houses and Gardens Map

And Campsites

And we will be reviewing plenty more campsites in the process too.

Our travel plans aren't finalised for the year yet, but the map below shows the campsites we might be staying at.

Treasure Houses Gardens Campsites Map

Oh, and some Family Challenges, as well

We shall also be given family activities to complete at many of the locations.

Camping and Caravanning Club Video

Here's the video the Club has put together about the challenge.

YouTube Video Thumbnail

Still Tent Camping Too!

We'll still be camping in our tents when we can

This doesn't mean we're giving up tent camping. We'll still be camping in our tents when we can.

Things we want to try with the Caravan

We are looking forward to seeing how touring with a caravan compares with using a tent. And of course, we'll be publishing our results here for you to see how we get on.

Here're some things we want to test:

  • Do you need to take less gear than when tent camping for several nights?

  • Is there less space in a caravan than a large tent?

  • Do we need to use a caravan awning as a family? Are caravan awnings easy to put up?

  • Is it quicker to put away than a tent?

  • Is it easier than a tent in the cooler months? How does it compare to staying in a tent? Is there no drying out that you need to do with a tent?

  • How easy is it to get around the UK in a caravan? Is pitching harder or more difficult? How do we avoid the Sat Nav taking us down a road that's not suitable for caravans?

use the caravan as a base for many different outdoor activities

We also want to see how easy it is to use the caravan as a base for many different outdoor activities.

So, there you go. We've been challenged!

Will we manage it? How will it compare to family camping?