For the past few years we've taken our VW camper to Vanfest, which is the biggest VW camper festival in the UK, held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern. Last year we felt it was getting a bit big and commercial and anonymous - we had real trouble finding a spot to camp in, let alone a nice spot, we barely spoke to anyone as there were so many people and we just fancied a change. So this year we went to CamperJam in Shropshire, which was first held last year, so much smaller.
The surroundings were lovely, the grounds of Weston Park, and we had a great spot
but now that we've done three camper festivals, we feel we've done them really. They're all a bit the same - a line-up of shiny campers (or deliberately rusty ones, the so called rat look), the stalls selling VW accessories or anything else that they think festival goers will buy, the beer tent, the stalls with rusty old parts (and we do rummage through those as we want a period cover for the interior light), some entertainment (even the band is the same at all the festivals!), and the stalls selling food. The food stalls this year were all together in a square with picnic tables in the middle, which worked really well - we found a nice quiet table on Saturday to have lunch at, and the food was very good, so were the milkshakes with every flavour you can imagine.
But what we like best about these weekends, is just being away, discovering a new part of Britain, having a barbecue in the evening and sleeping in the tent.
And if you turn up at a campsite and there is another VW camper parked there, that is fun - you go over and have a chat, sometimes a drink together. If there are 1500 or 2000 people who all own a VW camper, it's not quite so exciting to bump into a fellow owner.
We left on Sunday at lunchtime and as we were so close, we made a short detour to Ironbridge, where the first cast-iron bridge of Britain is.
Lovely little place, yes lots of tourists but still worth a visit, the museum was small but interesting, the sun was shining and on the way home, we suddenly came across another little iron bridge.
I felt as if we were on a proper holiday. Next year, we're just going to go away for a long weekend before the main holidays and explore a bit more in Britain. Not in the west though. It always seems to rain in the west...