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The Great British Campout came about from a need for devoted campers to do something productive whilst travel is restricted. From a small idea came a great fundraising project. Over £170,000 has now been raised through 'pitch fees' and encouraging people to camp out in their gardens, driveways and and living rooms. If you're taking part, here are our top tips for camping at home.
1. Prepare For Your Journey
The long and winding road… to the garden. No hours of planning, no forgetting things and no toilet stops! Your journey couldn't be simpler. But, why not make it fun for the children and get them to do the planning. Making lists, choosing food, planning the interior design. With so many children being home schooled at the moment, why not give the older children a clipboard and make it a project, tying into some of their school work?
2. Pitch Up!
Select your favourite spot in the garden and set up your space. While you have your camping kit prep down to a fine art, consider making use of some of the things you wouldn't normally take away with you. From teepees to soft furnishings, flowers in vases to your posh occasional cushions. Make it an event to remember, because these are times that won't be forgotten!
3. Camping Food
You may have your kitchen close by, but keep as many elements as authentic as you can. Whether it's using your camping stove or the BBQ, these are the things that children will remember as childhood favourites. Crack open the BBQ; burgers, sausages and some fresh salads are perfect for outdoor eating. Get the marshmallows toasting as the sun goes down and revel in the outdoors, albeit in the garden.
4. Wildlife Trail
Your garden is a haven for wildlife, much of which you won't notice in a daily basis. But living in your garden for the night will enable you to appreciate the flora and fauna even more. You could consider creating a 'bug hotel' in advance of your camping event and hopefully by the time you camp out, you'll have some residents to observe. 'Wildlife Spotting Sheets' are available from Wildlife Watch to help identify the bugs you spot.
5. Garden Games
You don't have to have a big garden to enjoy garden games. The best for a smaller garden is 'garden bingo', you can create your own or download one of the many free templates online. If you're struggling for content, turn it into a treasure hunt hybrid and hide treats for the evening around the garden as well. Bingo need not be complicated; tent pegs, a snail, birds, stars, the moon, trees, flowers, a butterfly, a moth etc. For bigger gardens, race go karts, play croquet, boules, badminton and even try your hand (or legs) at the limbo! For more ideas see our pick of camping games, which you can adapt to play at home.
6. A Night Under The Stars
Sleeping under the stars is a special experience and even better if you have a clear night! The sky offers us a selection of items to spot; stars, constellations, planets, shooting stars, the passing International Space Station or even the moon! By using a pair of binoculars and a basic telescope, you'll open your eyes to a new world you've rarely been able to see. You don't need fancy equipment to get started with star spotting. The longer you spend watching, the more you will see. The BBC have some great Stargazing information available on their website, both a guide to the night sky and activities.
7. The Journey Home
No long journey, no mad packing up in time to vacate your pitch and no toilet stops on the way back home. Pack up the tent, take a leisurely walk around the garden and make sure you're leaving it as you found it and that's it – you're home!
While we hope the Best of British holiday parks will be open soon to welcome camping, motorhome and caravan guests, camping at home is a great way to get spend some precious time outdoors! If you decide to give it a go, we'd love to see your photos – share them on our Facebook page!